Heads Up: Some Goodies with Reviews Coming Soon #SummerReads

Time can be a bit limited now and again. Hence the reason the book reviews are slow on here at the moment. But, here’s a “heads up” post just in case you are about to embark on your hols and need something to read. Click on the images to get to Amazon.

These three have restored my faith in crime fiction this year. They offer something different with a focus on the victim. Both are stunning reads.

An ordinary case with extraordinary people.

An ordinary case with extraordinary people.

Gripping, thought-provoking,

Gripping, thought-provoking,

Classic crime from a strong new voice.

Classic crime from a strong new voice.

Non-stop page-turning domestic thrillers, with Paula Daly offering a quite remarkable ending.

Manipulation weaves its power ...

Manipulation weaves its power …

Once picked up can only be put down at the end.

Once picked up can only be put down at the end.

Two crime series, two sets of quite different locations. One consummate storyteller with an eye for culture.

Sensitive to culture & enlightening.

Sensitive to culture & enlightening.

Modern day Christie.

Modern day Christie.

Carol O’Connell’s Mallory Series Reissued by Headline in the UK

Here’s the schedule and here are some comments from others. Click on the schedule pic for a link to Amazon. And the It’s a crime! verdict? Both ScotKris and I think O’Connell’s a class act. This is fine, intelligent crime writing. Give them a go as O’Connell deserves a wider audience in the UK and that includes you. Try one and we believe you’ll be hooked on the series …

Mallory1

Click on pic for Amazon link to reissued series.

Reviews, thoughts and comments about this great series.

Reviews, thoughts and comments about this great series.

 

Behind Criminal Minds Event at Waterstones Piccadilly, London and Competition #fridayreads #blackbird

Event: Behind Criminal Minds at Waterstones, Piccadilly, London on Wednesday, 16 July at 7pm. Details below for bookings.

Competition: Courtesy of those lovely people at Canongate, I have three pairs of tickets plus one copy of Tom Wright’s Blackbird with each pair to give away. You have all day Friday (today, British Summer Time) to tweet me your original and/or funny answer to the question how will you be able to tell when the authors have arrived in the building next week? Only replies/tweets with the #blackbird tag will be considered. I’ll decide and announce the winners tomorrow, so we can make arrangements for the tickets in time!

WaterstonesPicIn my last year as a judge on the CWA’s Creasey – 2012 – we shortlisted Tom’s superb debut, What Dies in Summer. Here’s a little info on his new one Blackbird:

Kim Bodnia quits The Bridge

BodniaThe Radio Times reported today that Kim Bodnia has quit The Bridge for series 3.

‘”We had different perceptions of the season’s content,” Anders Landstrøm of Swedish co-producer Film Lance told Sydsvenskan. “Bodnia was not happy with how the character evolved. It is a shame, but we must move on and accept it.”‘

More at the Radio Times here.

The Kill – Jane Casey

The Kill – Jane Casey (Maeve Kerrigan 5)

Click on the pic for a link to Amazon UK.

Click on the pic for a link to Amazon UK.

The Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent series from Jane Casey stands alongside the best of the London-set police procedurals. Indeed, with this fifth, its strength and quality now see other notables only grazing its shoulders. The pack in its punch comes from a backbone of realism, strong and believable characters with ever-changing dynamics in their relationships, and solid character development across the series story arc.

The Kill opens with Kerrigan and Derwent’s team enjoying some rare time out, celebrating a colleague’s wedding in their own individual ways. But the pastures of love, lust and reflection are disrupted when they are called out to the murder of a policeman on the edge of Richmond Park. Clearly a professional hit, there are few clues and leads to follow, and victim Terence Hammond’s life must be pulled apart to find some sort of motive for the crime. Then, with the possibility of a link, the team is re-assigned to investigate another attack, this time the shooting of more officers, in a van on a notorious London estate. Convinced of a connection and anticipating more deaths, the motive remains elusive for Kerrigan, Derwent, their colleagues and their superiors …

Casey’s plot draws from the recent history of the Metropolitan Police and London, with its references to accidental shootings, riots and disorder, and she has clearly had some fun with descriptions of TV celebrity in the opening scenes.

With a limit to the amount of pressure a body can take, some old stresses are forced to the surface to be faced and tackled. Nicely done.

Published 5 June 2014, Ebury Press.

That Dark Remembered Day – Tom Vowler

Click on image for link to Amazon UK.

Click on image for link to Amazon UK.

Following his award-winning short story collection The Method, Tom Vowler is skilfully carving his territory in psychological suspense with That Dark Remembered Day, his second novel in this genre. Like his first, What Lies Within, we observe what happens when the equilibrium in human lives is thrown off balance. We also see how fragments from the impact can remain, fester and rise to create tumult at a later point in life.

Stephen receives a call from a friend of his mother letting him know that she is not well. He has always been reluctant to return to see her as she chose to stay in the town in which he grew up, the town in which a tragedy occurred leaving no one unscathed.

But on this occasion Stephen has ample opportunity to make the visit as he has some spare time on his hands. Following an out-of-character action at work, Stephen has been suspended as the university’s disciplinary procedures are pursued. Perhaps now is a good time to return to his childhood home town, to understand what has made him who and what he is, and to better understand his mother in her hour of need.

Carefully constructed, That Dark Remembered Day employs two timeframes to explore the past and its impact on the present. In the past, Vowler moves from teenager Stephen’s point of view to his mother’s and finally to his father’s, offering us the same events through prisms of different reality. The result is a page-turning read that hits a very emotional centre, knowing that the disaster is coming and being able to do nothing about it as a reader.

Now a father, can Stephen finally come to terms with this tragedy from his teen years? Can he find some sense of reconciliation with his mother’s choices and establish mutual understanding with her?

The hurt felt in this novel is very real. Vowler creates convincing characters and delivers his story in beautiful prose. The result is intoxicatingly addictive.

Vowler really does get under the skin of his characters, so it comes as no surprise to discover that he has an undergraduate degree in psychology. But he can also write. Oh boy can he write. With That Dark Remembered Day Vowler continues to build an oeuvre that will surely remain on shelves for a long time to come. And you have to wonder if he will join the ranks of William Boyd and Ian McEwan.

Published by Headline.

Writer’s Block – Judith Flanders

Click on image for link to Amazon UK.

Click on image for link to Amazon UK.

“You know when you can have one those days at the office? You spill coffee on your keyboard, the finance director goes on an expenses rampage and then, before you know it, your favourite author is murdered. Don’t you just hate when that happens?”

Meet Samantha Clair, a “middle-aged, middling-ly successful editor”. Having decided to publish a tell-all book by journalist Kit Lovell on the death of fashion-designer Rodrigo Alemán, life suddenly throws in some unexpected turns for Sam. In a staggeringly good comedy crime caper – of which there are few that actually work in a sustained fashion to the end – Sam’s life moves in the worlds of publishing and fashion, taking in a bit of money laundering, missing persons and murder along the way.

Why does this work so well? Sam is simply a very real character whose personal armoury comprises pragmatism, cynicism and sarcasm. Author Judith Flanders, well known for her historical non-fiction, has a background in publishing, so that is lovingly and hilariously laid bare. The rivalries of all serious matters “literary” feature and one of Sam’s authors delivers a manuscript that is definitely off-piste from her usual, reliable money-spinning fare, causing some consternation.

It’s easy to love Sam, but just wait till you meet her mother, lawyer Helena. Formidable, with more Energiser Bunny vigour than Margaret Thatcher possessed at her peak, Helena is both a stressor to Sam and a source of eccentrically delivered support.

It’s difficult to incorporate money laundering into a plot. Its very nature means that you can’t be too detailed. Then you need to ensure it’s not too light in order to keep it convincing. Flanders comes in pitch-perfect on this one. (Those familiar with these regulations may find the odd out of date reference but that doesn’t spoil the story one iota.)

This novel has arrived on the scene as a bit of a curve ball; make sure you catch it.

Published by Allison and Busby, available from Amazon here.

Institut Français du Royaume-Uni: Noir Is the Colour 2014

NoirIF

CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

The Institut Français du Royaume-Uni in London has announced that the King of Crime John Harvey & Prix Goncourt Winner Pierre Lemaitre will launch Noir Is the Colour, a new series about crime fiction at the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni on 29 May 2014. This festival runs on ad hoc days until it closes on 26 June 2014. Click on either pic below to visit the website. On twitter, follow @ifru_london and keep an eye on or tweet with the tag #NoirColour for this festival.

CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION