Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: Fatal Act by Leigh Russell

Fatal Act by Leigh Russell, May 2014, 320 pages, No Exit Press, ISBN: 1843442043

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This is another corker of a book from Leigh Russell, featuring her increasingly well-known female DI, Geraldine Steel. This is the sixth book about Geraldine’s ups and downs as a police detective and Russell’s talent for writing top-quality crime fiction just keeps on growing. FATAL ACT is a fairly quick read but keeps you guessing right until the end. As usual I finished it far too quickly and am now impatiently awaiting the next instalment.

Geraldine is now settling into her new life in London pretty well, despite missing her old friends. Her problems with her sister continue and she is back in the doghouse pretty early on in this novel, as a planned weekend visit from her niece has to be postponed when somebody goes and gets themselves murdered. This case is particularly mystifying. Anna, a pretty, young actress, fresh out of drama school, is killed in a head-on car crash and the driver of the other vehicle vanishes without a trace. Suspicion points its finger at the boyfriend, as it turns out that the other vehicle belongs to him, but he denies all knowledge and when two other young girls die things really start to get tricky. There is a link between all the girls – Ana’s boyfriend - who is a self obsessed womaniser, but Geraldine is not that sure about his guilt. She pays numerous visits to him, to the drama school that all the girls attended and sifts through a lot of dirt. Until, eventually, Geraldine’s sergeant, Sam, unintentionally finds herself face-to-face with the murderer and Geraldine must put everything on the line in order to save her friend.

One of the great things about this series is the very real insight into Geraldine’s life and how she struggles to juggle her career, family obligations and private life. She is still unsettled after discovering that she was adopted and her birth mother doesn’t want to know her. She is also continually unlucky in love but doesn’t seem to give up hope of meeting someone. It is also rather nice that she stays in contact with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, and their friendship now spans two books, as he has his own spin-off series. If you like well-written crime fiction that features a strong female character then I strongly recommend this book, and the others in the series, to you. You are in for a treat!

Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, May 2014.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

TV News: Amber on BBC Four

Amber, a four-part Irish drama, begins on BBC Four on Tuesday 3 June at 10pm. It stars Eva Birthistle (Waking the Dead) and David Murray as Amber's parents:
The disappearance of 14-year-old Amber Bailey sets off a two-year search during which her family will go through unimaginable pressures. As the days, months and years progress the mystery deepens and strange and terrifying clues come to light, raising yet more questions. The world becomes gripped by the mystery of the missing teen.
Find out more about the show on the RTE Website.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Judges - Camilleri, Lucarelli & De Cataldo

Judges by Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo De Cataldo, translated by Joseph Farrell, Alan Thawley and Eileen Horne, May 2014, 165 pages, MacLehose Press, ISBN: 0857052977

JUDGES is a collection of three short stories from three of Italy's top crime writers. The collection was first published in Italian in 2011 and in all three stories, the judge is fighting against a corrupt establishment.

The first story is Andrea Camilleri's Judge Surra, which has been shortlisted for this year's CWA Short Story Dagger, and like his Montalbano series, is set in Sicily but around a hundred years earlier. This is an amusing tale of how the judge unwittingly brings down a mafia boss whilst discovering the local delicacy of cannoli pastries.

The second story is Carlo Lucarelli's The Bambina, set in Bologna in 1980 at a time when judges needed protection from the police. The judge in this case is a young woman, nick-named Bambina who is assigned an older policeman. She's prosecuting a fraud case and doesn't think she requires a bodyguard however she is soon proved wrong and she finds a different way of meting out justice.

The final story is Giancarlo De Cataldo's The Triple Dream of the Prosecutor, set in modern day and the main protagonist, Mandati, is a public prosecutor in a small town who is trying to bring down the mayor, a rival from childhood, and who has his fingers in all the financial pies. The mayor usually thwarts Mandati but will he this time?

Each story covers a similar theme but are all very different in approach and time-frame and the high standard does make you wish that more of Lucarelli's and De Cataldo's books were available in English. All three authors have recently had tv series shown in the UK: Montalbano, Inspector De Luca and Romanzo Criminale, so one can hope.

More short stories from these three authors can be read in the excellent anthology, CRIMINI.

The stories were translated respectively by Joseph Farrell, Alan Thawley and Eileen Horne.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Reviews: Bates, Beaton, Bolton, Harvey, Meredith, Mogford, Morris, Roslund & Hellstrom, Wilson

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, one has appeared on the blog over the last couple of weeks and eight are completely new.

Since the last set of reviews, we've announced the winner of the Petrona Award 2014; I've been at CrimeFest and you can see my notes on twitter @eurocrime or on #crimefest14, and there's been lots of tv news.

NB. You can keep up to date with Euro Crime by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page.

New Reviews

Geoff Jones reviews the latest in Quentin Bates's Icelandic series, Cold Steal which has just been released as an ebook;

I muse on the latest books in M C Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series including Death of a Policeman;
Michelle Peckham reviews the fourth in the Lacey Flint series by Sharon Bolton: A Dark and Twisted Tide;

Mark Bailey reviews John Harvey's Darkness, Darkness which is the last in the Resnick series and, I understand, his final crime novel;
Amanda Gillies reviews The Devil's Ribbon by D E Meredith, which is now out in paperback;

Rich Westwood reviews Thomas Mogford's Sign of the Cross which is set in Malta;
Terry Halligan reviews R N Morris's The Dark Palace, the third in the Silas Quinn series, set in 1914;

Lynn Harvey reviews Two Soldiers by Roslund & Hellstrom tr. Kari Dickson, which is now out in paperback

and Terry also reviews Capital Punishment by Robert Wilson, which is the first in the Charlie Boxer series and is also now out in paperback.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Catching up with M C Beaton's Hamish Macbeth

I have a tendency to stock-pile books by my favourite authors which is how I've ended up four books behind in M C Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series and five books behind in her Agatha Raisin series. This is a compliment rather than a negative reflection on the quality of the books!

With the arrival of the latest instalment, DEATH OF A POLICEMAN, I thought enough is enough and I have binge read DEATH OF - A SWEEP, - A KINGFISHER, - YESTERDAY and - A POLICEMAN to get up to date.

I have reviewed several of the earlier books and I do find it difficult to say anything new as these books are very much about maintaining the status quo....:

An outsider moves in the tiny Sutherland village of Lochdubh (or nearby) where Hamish has been a thirty-something policeman for over twenty-five years. Often the outsider is killed or turns out to be the killer. The murder is solved. Hamish vacillates between two love-interests: Priscilla and Elspeth and another year passes.

In SWEEP, Hamish is joined in his home by another policeman. This has happened before and the new police officer doesn't usually last long. And it is the case with this one. However, his replacement, Dick, makes himself at home and appears from KINGFISHER onwards. Hamish also seems to be getting more keen to get a wife as Dick gets cosy and chintzes the place up.

In DEATH OF A POLICEMAN, Hamish's nemesis Blair has another attempt at sending a police officer to spy on Hamish and Dick, to gather information that the pair are lazy and underworked and that the police station can be closed. The spy, Cyril, is soon sussed out by the locals and turns for information to a librarian in Braikie who was once rebuffed by Hamish and bears a grudge. Hamish makes an off-the-cuff remark about shooting Cyril and when Cyril is indeed shot dead, Hamish is in deep trouble. Fortunately Dick is able to help get Hamish's name clear. The investigation into Cyril's murder has Hamish risking his life and career to unearth the truth about some of the well respected members of Strathbane society.

As usual I enjoyed all four books with my favourites being KINGFISHER and POLICEMAN. This is an addictive, uncomplicated, easy to read series and the place and people are fun to visit. Despite the high murder rate (!) these books must do wonders for the Sutherland tourist industry as it sounds beautiful.

As well as Dick staying for more than one book there was a short continuation of a murder-related plotline from KINGFISHER into YESTERDAY but really these books can be read in any order and with the new covers they are flying off the library shelves.

Series order and more reviews of M C Beaton's books.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

TV News: Quirke on BBC One

Benjamin Black's Quirke series has been made into a tv series starring Gabriel Byrne. The first of the three 90-minute episodes, is based on Christine Falls and is on Sunday 25 May at 9pm on BBC One. The cast also includes Michael Gambon:
Dublin, in the late autumn of 1956. City pathologist Quirke - we never get to know his Christian name - stumbles late one night from a party in the nurses' quarters with a view to sleeping off his hangover in his subterranean pathology lab. To his surprise his quiet refuge has been invaded by his adoptive brother, obstetric consultant Malachy Griffin, who is at Quirke's desk completing some paperwork for a recently deceased patient named Christine Falls.

When Quirke returns next morning to find Christine's body gone, he remembers his brother's odd behaviour, and, consumed by curiosity over what Mal was doing, recalls the body and performs a full post mortem.

As he investigates, all the time stirring up a hornets' nest of trouble for himself, Quirke uncovers the truth about a family secret that has remained buried for nearly twenty years, and begins to understand that there are some truths that may be better left untold.

Quirke has been shown in Ireland in February, on RTÉ One and will be available on DVD from 9 June 2014.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Publishing Deal: Sarah Ward

I'm very pleased to repeat the news that Sarah Ward has a publishing deal with Faber. Sarah is a friend of mine and many crime fiction fans, a Petrona Award judge and owner of the blog Crimepieces. She revealed the news of her publishing deal at CrimeFest and the the official news is now out.

I'm so looking forward to reading In Bitter Chill:
Faber and Faber have acquired two novels from debut UK author Sarah Ward.

Crime Editor Katherine Armstrong bought World rights from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates for IN BITTER CHILL and an as yet unnamed second book.

Armstrong said: ‘I am thrilled to be publishing Sarah Ward’s IN BITTER CHILL. This is a compelling debut from a new and exciting voice and it struck a chord with me from the moment I started reading. Two girls are abducted in Derbyshire in the late 1970s and only one returns home. Cut to the present day and the mother of the still missing girl commits suicide, re-opening old wounds for the girl who came back. This is a story that gets to the heart of a community and the legacy of a tragedy like this. It’s a story about loss and secrets – those we tell ourselves and those we tell each other.’

Ward, a well-known online book reviewer and blogger on Crimepieces, said: ‘I’m delighted that Faber will be publishing my debut novel. I’m impressed by their commitment to producing quality fiction and am a huge admirer of Faber’s existing crime authors. I’m looking forward to working with all the team.’

Faber will publish IN BITTER CHILL into trade paperback and eBook formats in summer 2015.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TV News: Braquo returns to Fox tonight

The third and final series of French cop drama, Braquo, begins tonight at 9pm on Fox (UK):

From the Fox website, here's the background:
Created by former policeman Oliver Marchal, this French import is dark, compelling and gritty, and stars Jean-Hugues Anglade, Nicolas Duvauchelle and Joseph Malerba.

The series follows a team of Parisian cops who blur the lines of the law to get the job done.

Full of intense interrogations and grisly violence, this is certainly not for the faint-hearted!

Last season, the team were thrown into a world of danger as they went from being the hunters to the hunted.

Caught up in the crossfire of a gang war, they faced a long and arduous road to redemption.

Now Théo is lingering between life and death after the explosion of his car and Roxane, utterly crushed, watches over him night and day.

Meanwhile, Caplan and Morlighem pay a visit to Vogel’s place with vengeance on their minds.

Despite a desperate thirst for revenge and recognition alike, these rogue cops still have a job to do.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Award News: And the Winner of the Petrona Award 2014 is...

Last night at CrimeFest, Petrona Award judges Barry Forshaw and Sarah Ward announced the winner of the 2014 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

And the winner is Leif GW Persson for Linda, as in the Linda Murder translated by Neil Smith (who also translated last year's winner, Last Will by Liza Marklund).

As well as this beautiful trophy, Leif Persson will also receive a cheque for £200 and should he wish to take it up, a pass and panel at next year's CrimeFest.

Leif Persson was not able to collect the award in person but sent in the following acceptance speech (read out by Barry Forshaw):

My character Superintendent Evert Bäckström is actually not a nice person. He embodies pretty much every human prejudice - and then some - and he does so proudly and wholeheartedly. He feels that he is not only God’s gift to humanity but also the object of every woman’s secret fantasies. I myself, am a fully normal person - but there is a joy that he brings me when I tell the story of his life and times.

Now he and I have received an award. A very fine English award, which makes me especially happy as a large part of my family lives in England. There is one person with whom I most profoundly want to share this honour and that is my excellent translator Neil Smith who has succeeded in making this Swede, with his spiritual and physical roots in the Stone Age, at least intelligible for an educated Anglo-Saxon public. Thank you!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Awards News: International Dagger 2014 Shortlist

At CrimeFest this evening the International Dagger shortlist was announced by Janet Laurence and is as follows:
Arnaldur Indridason - Strange Shores tr. Victoria Cribb
Pierre Lemaitre - Irene tr. Frank Wynne
Arturo Perez-Reverte - The Siege, tr. Frank Wynne
Olivier Truc - Forty Days without Shadow, tr. Louise Rogers LaLaurie
Simon Urban - Plan D tr. Katy Derbyshire
Fred Vargas - Dog Will Have His Day, tr. Siân Reynolds
More about the books on the shortlist and the judges' comments can be found on the CWA website.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

CrimeFest, CWA & Petrona Awards

Tomorrow CrimeFest begins and all being well I'll be there and tweeting/writing up panels.

There will be lots of Awards-related happenings:

On Friday, the shortlist for several CWA Awards will be announced including the International Dagger. For the first time in several years, this list will be a complete surprise to me as I'm no longer a judge. I'd love to hear what other people think will be on the shortlist. My usual Eligibles list is here.

On Saturday, at the Gala Dinner, the winner of the Petrona Award 2014 will be announced and it will be one of these titles, again which title do you think will win?:
CLOSED FOR WINTER by Jørn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press)
STRANGE SHORES by Arnaldur Indriðason tr. Victoria Cribb (Harvill Secker)
THE WEEPING GIRL by Håkan Nesser tr. Laurie Thompson (Mantle)
LINDA, AS IN THE LINDA MURDER by Leif G W Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday)
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME by Yrsa Sigurdardottir tr. Philip Roughton (Hodder & Stoughton)
LIGHT IN A DARK HOUSE by Jan Costin Wagner tr. Anthea Bell (Harvill Secker)

Also at the Gala Dinner, the winners of the CrimeFest Awards will be announced. Here are the shortlists:

AUDIBLE SOUNDS OF CRIME AWARD Audible Sounds of Crime Award recognises the best crime audiobook published in both print and audio in 2013. Courtesy of sponsor Audible UK, Britain's largest provider of downloadable audiobooks, the winning author and audiobook reader share the £1,000 prize equally and each receives a commemorative Bristol Blue Glass vase. Audible UK listeners establish the shortlist and the winning title.

The nominees are:
- Ben Aaronovitch for Broken Homes, read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Orion Audio)
- John le Carré for A Delicate Truth, read by John le Carré (Penguin)
- Robert Galbraith for The Cuckoo's Calling, read by Robert Glenister (Hachette Audio)
- Peter James for Dead Man’s Time, read by Daniel Weyman (Macmillan Audio)
- Peter May for The Chessmen, read by Peter Forbes (Quercus)
- James Oswald for Natural Causes, read by Ian Hanmore (Penguin)

The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the British Isles in 2013. The winning author receives a cash prize as well as a commemorative Bristol Blue Glass vase. A team of British crime fiction reviewers vote to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

The nominees are:
- A.K. Benedict for The Beauty of Murder (Orion)
- Thomas H. Cook for Sandrine (Head of Zeus)
- Sara Gran for Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway (Faber and Faber)
- Elizabeth Haynes for Under a Silent Moon (Sphere)
- Val McDermid for Cross and Burn (Sphere)
- Derek B. Miller for Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber)
- Denise Mina for The Red Road (Orion)
- Thomas Mogford for Sign of the Cross (Bloomsbury)
- George Pelecanos for The Double (Orion)
- Anne Zouroudi for The Feast of Artemis (Bloomsbury)

GOLDSBORO LAST LAUGH AWARD Goldsboro Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2013. The £500 prize is sponsored by Goldsboro Books, the UK's largest specialist in first edition, signed books. The winner also receives a Bristol Blue Glass vase. A team of British crime fiction reviewers vote to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

The nominees are:
- Colin Bateman for Fire and Brimstone (Headline)
- Alan Bradley for Speaking from Among the Bones (Orion)
- Colin Cotterill for The Axe Factor (Quercus)
- Shamini Flint for A Calamitous Chinese Killing (Little, Brown)
- Carl Hiaasen for Bad Monkey (Little, Brown)
- Suzette A. Hill for A Little Murder (Allison & Busby)
- Derek B. Miller for Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber)
- Teresa Solana for The Sound of One Hand Killing (Bitter Lemon Press)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TV News: Wallander's final series on BBC Four

The third and final series of the Swedish Wallander starring Krister Henriksson begins on BBC Four on 17 May at 9pm.

The first of the six ninety-minute episodes is based on Henning Mankell's final Wallander novel, The Troubled Man, with Linda Wallander being played by Charlotta Jonsson:

Attending a family meal at the home of his daughter Linda, Kurt Wallander is intrigued when Hakan von Enke, his son-in-law's father and a retired naval commander, is called away by an urgent phone call. It soon becomes clear that the call is related to the recovery of a body from the waters of the Stockholm archipelago - the same waters where, at the height of the Cold War, depth charges were exploded in an attempt to raise a submarine which had strayed into Swedish territorial waters. When Hakan goes missing, Wallander's investigations uncover a complicated international espionage.

Monday, May 12, 2014

TV News: Original Cast Members back for Broadchurch 2

It was revealed this morning on the Radio Times website that many of the original stars of Broadchurch will be back for the second series, which begins filming soon:
After over a year of rumours and speculation, can exclusively reveal that David Tennant and Olivia Colman will both be returning for the second series of Broadchurch.

The pair – who played crime-solving duo DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller – will be joined by Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan who portrayed parents of the murdered schoolboy Danny Latimer, as well as Arthur Darvill who will reprise his role as Reverend Paul Coates.

But while the return of the local police force and Latimer family all but confirms the action will remain in Broadchurch, writer Chris Chibnall and his team are keeping silent on what will unfold when the second series hits screens.

"We're delighted Broadchurch is back in production, but we're remaining tight-lipped about how the story develops," said ITV's director of drama, Steve November. "Suffice to say Chris has delivered as always and the scripts are just as exciting as the first series."

Read the whole article here. NB It contain major spoilers for series one of Broadchurch.

TV News: Vikings on The History Channel (UK)

Vikings begins tomorrow night (13th) at 10pm on The History Channel.
VIKINGS will chart Ragnar Lothbrok's ambitions to discover civilisations across the great ocean to the west as well as his inevitable conflicts along the way, especially with Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne). With the help of his jester friend Floki, (Gustaf Skarsgard, The Way Back), they build a new generation of boats -- faster, sleeker and more beautifully crafted than anything else on the sea.

The series will also delve into how the Vikings -- the last pagans -- worshipped ancient gods like Odin, Thor, Freya and Loki. Ragnar claims to be a direct descendant of the Norse god Odin, who, as well as being the god of warriors slain in battle, is also the god of curiosity.

Vikings has already been renewed for a second and third season.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

New Reviews: Boyd, Hayder, Johnstone, Oswald, Perry, Shoham

Here are six reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, two have appeared on the blog over the last couple of weeks and four are completely new.

NB. You can keep up to date with Euro Crime by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page.

New Reviews

007 is back in William Boyd's Solo which places James Bond in 1969, reviewed here by Geoff Jones;

Michelle Peckham reviews Mo Hayder's Wolf, the seventh in the Jack Caffery series

Amanda Gillies reviews The Dead Beat by Doug Johnstone;

Terry Halligan reviews James Oswald's The Hangman's Song, the third in the Inspector McLean series;
Susan White reviews The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry

and Lynn Harvey reviews Lineup tr. Sara Kitai by Liad Shoham, Israel's top crime writer.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Awards News: Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2014 - Longlist

The press release revealing the longlist for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year 2014:

Giants of the genre are pitted against each other as the longlist is announced for the tenth Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

One of the most prestigious crime writing prizes in the country, 2014 sees past winners Lee Child, Mark Billingham and Denise Mina in the running.

Lee Child who won the Award in 2011 returns to the longlist with his 17th Jack Reacher novel, A Wanted Man. Sizing up to the phenomenal bestseller is two-time award winner, Mark Billingham for his Tom Thorne novel, The Dying Hours.

Denise Mina, who has won the past two years’ could make it a hat trick and defend her title with her brilliantly plotted The Red Road, said to rival Ian Rankin’s best. Number one bestseller Ian Rankin also represents Tartan Noir, with Standing in Another Man’s Grave, his first new Rebus novel in five years.

A new Scot is on the block to take on the old guard, Malcolm Mackay is one of two debut authors to feature on the longlist with The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter. The first in a trilogy, it’s been praised as an intriguingly odd, remarkably original debut.

South African author Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls was a phenomenal bestseller and after being praised by Stephen King, it’s a hot contender.

Irish author Stuart Neville’s first three novels were previously longlisted for this award, and he’s back this year with his hugely gripping thriller, Ratlines. Stav Sherez is also back on the longlist with Eleven Days, his superior police procedural and sequel to A Dark Redemption.

No stranger to awards Belinda Bauer is the CWA 2010 Gold Dagger Award-winning author; her latest novel Rubbernecker has received glowing reviews.

Elly Griffiths also makes an appearance with her intriguing crime story, Dying Fall, which effortlessly brings together neo-Nazis, New Age hippies in Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Now in its tenth year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award was created to celebrate the very best in crime writing and is open to crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2013 to 30 April 2014. The 2014 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and Radio Times.

The long list, comprising 18 titles, is selected by an academy of crime writing authors, agents, editors, reviewers, members of the Crime Writing Festival Programming Committee and representatives from T&R Theakston Ltd and WHSmith.

The longlist in full:

Rubbernecker, Belinda Bauer, Transworld Publishers

The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes, HarperCollins

The Dying Hours, Mark Billingham, Little, Brown Book Group

Like This, For Ever, Sharon Bolton, Transworld Publishers

A Wanted Man Lee Child, Transworld Publishers

The Honey Guide, Richard Crompton, Orion

The Cry, Helen Fitzgerald, Faber & Faber

Dying Fall, Elly Griffiths, Quercus

Until You're Mine, Samantha Hayes, Random House

The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, Malcolm Mackay, Pan Macmillan

The Chessmen, Peter May, Quercus

I Hear The Sirens In The Street, Adrian McKinty, Profile Books

The Red Road, Denise Mina, Orion

Ratlines, Stuart Neville, Vintage, Random House

Standing in Another Man's Grave, Ian Rankin, Orion

Children of the Revolution, Peter Robinson, Hodder & Stoughton

Eleven Days, Stav Sherez, Faber & Faber

Weirdo Cathi Unsworth, Profile Books

From 22 May to 19 June, longlisted titles will feature in a four-week campaign across all 600 WHSmith stores and 80 library services, representing a total of 1645 library branches. The longlist will be whittled down to a shortlist of six titles which will be announced on 30 June.

The overall winner will be decided by a panel of Judges which this year comprises of Executive Director of T&R Theakston Ltd. and title sponsor Simon Theakston, Festival Chair Steve Mosby, Radio Times’ Alison Graham, and Head of Fiction at WHSmith, Dave Swillman, as well as members of the public. The public vote opens on 3 July and closes 15 July at

Previous winners of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award include Denise Mina, Lee Child, RJ Ellory, Val McDermid, Allan Guthrie, Stef Penney and Mark Billingham.
The winner of the prize will be announced by title sponsor Simon Theakston at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster and Festival regular Mark Lawson on 17 July on the opening night of the 12th annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winner will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Review: The Dead Beat by Doug Johnstone

The Dead Beat by Doug Johnstone, May 2014, 272 pages, Faber & Faber, ISBN: 0571308856

Reviewed by Amanda Gillies.
(Read more of Amanda's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Just when you think an author can't possibly get any better – he does. I love this book! It stands head and shoulders above Johnstone's earlier work and I am rapidly running out of superlatives to describe him with. Everything about novel, from the eye-catching front cover, to the intriguing first sentence, to the steady stream of awesome music that runs through it, has you drawn in and focused. You can’t escape from the world that Johnstone has crafted. Not that you would want to.

Martha has a new job. She is student journalist and has managed to get some work experience on her Dad's old paper. Except people don't know her Dad is her Dad and, as he killed himself two weeks ago, they won't be working together. Martha is set to work on the obituary column and even before she has a chance to settle in the phone rings. The caller is highly distressed and shoots himself while talking to her. Not a good way to start your new job. What else could go wrong? THE DEAD BEAT follows Martha's progress over the next few days as she struggles to deal with her experiences in the present as well as come to terms with her past.

One of the many reasons I love Johnstone's work is the way he messes with your head. True to form, this one does not disappoint and I imagine it will be quite a while before I am able to return to crossing North Bridge in my usual, casual manner. If you like a story that keeps coming back to you, long after you have found it a place on your bookshelf, then you are going to love this book.

Extremely Highly Recommended.

Amanda Gillies, May 2014.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Review: Wolf by Mo Hayder

Wolf by Mo Hayder, April 2014, 416 pages, Bantam Press, ISBN: 0593068181

Reviewed by Michelle Peckham.
(Read more of Michelle's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

A dreadful murder happened fourteen years ago that has left its mark on the Anchor-Ferrers family. Hugo Frink, just seventeen-years-old, had been out late with his girlfriend Sophia in the local woods, when they were attacked and killed in a horrific way. Lucia, the daughter of Oliver and Matilda Anchor-Ferrers, and just fifteen at the time, had been dating Hugo until they had split up just a week before he was murdered, and the family has never really quite recovered from the shock of it all. The murderer, Minnet Kable, was captured and locked up. But when Oliver, Matilda and Lucia, and their dog Bear, arrive at their out-of-the way country house, somewhere in the Somerset Mendips, they discover something strung up in the trees in their garden that brings back the murder of Hugo to the fore.

Has Minnet been released? Is he now exacting some sort of psychopathic revenge? Oliver, who has just had an operation on his heart, and his wife are worried, but they can’t ring the police to ask them to investigate as the landline isn’t working. Knowing that they can’t get a mobile signal unless they go to the bottom of the drive, they decide to barricade themselves in the house.

Soon afterwards two police officers turn up, ostensibly to ask about the murder of a woman in a nearby cottage, and to ask the family if they’ve seen anything. The family take the opportunity to show the two policemen what they’ve found. However, the policemen are imposters. Once they’ve earned the trust of the family, they tie them up, and rob them. But that’s only the beginning of the nightmare.

Meanwhile Detective Inspector Jack Caffery is still concerned with the disappearance of his slightly older brother Ewan, when he was eight, and his brother just nine-years-old. He has just heard that someone connected to the case, Tracey Lamb, has recently died in Holloway prison. She was his last hope in solving the case and finding Ewan. But, she has left a will, and it seems to reveal a final clue. To find out more, he needs to talk to a current prisoner, but to do that he has to make a deal with the character called the ‘Walking man’. However, the Walking man will only help if Jack finds the true owners of a lost dog called Bear, that the Walking man is looking after. Those of you who have read the Hayder books before will recognize the Walking man as someone who lost someone precious to him, and has taken to walking the countryside in the hope of one day finding out what happened. Here, the Walking man’s instinct that someone else is in trouble, prompts him to engage Jack’s help in exchange for helping Jack discover what happened to Ewan.

The story of the Anchor-Ferrers gradually builds up alongside Jack’s search for clues about his brother, and the links between the two story lines gradually become clear. Jack works on his own, almost going ‘absent without leave’ from the police force, to solve both mysteries. No-one has reported the Anchor-Ferrers as missing or in trouble, and as the situation deteriorates, the urgency for someone to discover them rises, nicely driving the plot forward. A kind of reckoning of sorts for Jack, and, through their own story, for the Anchor-Ferrers as well, with shocking and disturbing denouements for both. Mo Hayder’s books featuring Jack Caffery are always an entertaining and engaging read, and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Michelle Peckham, May 2014