Category Archives: Crime fiction

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 …


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:

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.

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.

Kindle Spring Sale 2014 Now On!

KSpringSale2014The Kindle Spring Sale is now underway with many bargains in the crime and thriller fiction line. Click HERE for the full sale. Some highlights include:


  • One of self-publishing’s pack leaders: Rachel Abbott’s debut Only the Innocent at 99p. Her next novel The Back Road is also in the sale at 99p. (Note: Rachel’s third, Sleep Tight was published in February and is £2.99 outside the sale if you like to keep up to date!)
  • Now optioned for TV, Lisa Cutts’s Never Forget.
  • M J McGrath’s The Boy in the Snow, the second in her Edie Kiglatuk series.
  • Nicola White’s already award winning debut The Rosary Garden – see her at Harrogate in July.
  • Lindsay Ashford’s The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen – was it a natural death for Jane Austen? Ashford takes a look using fiction and her extensive research.
  • Michael Ridpath‘s 1995 debut financial trader thriller Free to Trade.
  • Two from Bill Kitson’s Mike Nash series, the debut Depth of Despair and the later Chosen.

In Threes Please!

  • Elizabeth Haynes’s superb third Human Remains comes in at the bargain offering of 99p too.
  • Meanwhile, David Mark’s just published third DS Aector McAvoy Sorrow Bound is available at only £2.09.
  • Are you up to date with Sara Sheridan’s Mirabelle Bevan mysteries? She’s also on her third with England Expects and again that one’s £1.09.

Alex Marwood’s staggeringly good The Wicked Girls is £1.99. Don’t let that one pass you by.

These are just tasters, there are more. Click HERE for the whole lot. There’s no excuse for a non-thrilling Easter.

More Novels in the Russell Series by Laurie R. King Available in the UK from Allison and Busby

Available from Amazon UK.

Available from Amazon UK.

By ScotKris

Fans of Laurie King have another year to wait until the next instalment of Mary Russell’s journals, so it is with considerable satisfaction that It’s a Crime! can report that those lovely people over at Allison and Busby are releasing the ‘missing four’ Russell titles, previously unavailable for a dozen or more years.

The first of these missing titles, A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary, are available now, with The Moor and Justice Hall coming shortly. What’s more, with four more stunning cover designs, the entire series of (currently twelve) novels is available for the first time with a uniform series ‘look’, and full credit to the publisher’s designer for such beautiful covers.

Available from Amazon UK.

Available from Amazon UK.

Where The Beekeeper’s Apprentice laid the groundwork, A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary were the early showcases of Miss Russell (with Mr Holmes, naturally), taking her forward to the 1920s and into investigations both baffling and intriguing. Theology and detective work go hand in hand and we also see the growing partnership between Russell and Holmes which forms the cornerstone of this unique series.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women sees an Oxford friend of Russell introducing her to the ‘New Temple of God’, which, if appearances are to be believed, is a sect involved in the suffrage movement of post-War years; however, appearances can be deceptive and when one murder follows another, Russell investigates …

More information at Allison and Busby.

More information at Allison and Busby.

The Moor then takes us to Dartmoor, paying homage to a certain Conan Doyle tale, but Justice Hall, for me, marked a turning point in the series. While following on directly from the events of The Moor, Justice Hall reintroduces characters first met in Palestine in events described in O Jerusalem, and involves Russell in a mystery that dates back to the Great War. Rich descriptions bring to life the Justice Hall of the title which, for me, is one of the most evocative books in this very compelling series and the closing pages remain with me some 12 years since I first read them – a telling sign.

More information at Allison and Busby.

More information at Allison and Busby.

As I have said before, one of King’s many strengths is her ability to create images in her novels that draw you into the era, cleverly combining real events with the fictitious, and in which her characters play their own unique roles. Never do readers feel they are subject to a history lesson; indeed they come away feeling enriched, entertained and truly satisfied.

With the reappearance of these four books comes an opportunity to revisit old friends or to discover them for the first time; the only shame is that a year must pass before Russell returns in Dreaming Spies!

Crime Saturday at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle 3 May 2014

LitPhil1If you are in or near Newcastle on Saturday, 3rd of May get thee hence!  All these authors are fantastic public performers.  Call the Lit and Phil on 0191 232 0192 to book/reserve your tickets.  From the Lit & Phil’s website:

Saturday 3rd May | 2pm | Crime Saturday | £5/3 per session or £12/8 for all three
An estimated 45% of the fiction borrowed from the Lit & Phil falls into the category of crime.  Our fascination with the subject seems to be not only ongoing but continually branching out into new areas.  Join us for Crime Saturday and meet some of the authors responsible for this interest.  We are hosting literary panels of experts discussing their particular area of crime fiction.

Historical Crime 2.00 – 3.30pm
Aly Monroe is the author of the Peter Cotton series.  Her third novel Icelight, was awarded the 2012 CWA Historical Dagger.  Samantha Norman is finishing Winter Siege, a book started by her mother, the historical thriller writer Ariana Franklin who died in 2011.  John Lawton has written seven novels, the last of which A Lily of the Field was named Daily Telegraph Thriller of the Year in 2011.

LitPhil2Women in Crime 4.30 – 6.00pm
Mari Hannah won the Polari First Book Prize for her debut novel, The Murder Wall and a Northern Writers’ Award for her second, Settled Blood.  Zoë Sharp has written a standalone crime novel, various short stories and ten books featuring bodyguard Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox.  M J McGrath is the author of the Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries.  The first in the series, White Heat, was nominated for a CWA Gold Dagger.

Icelandic Crime 7.00 – 8.30pm
Ragnar Jonasson is an Icelandic writer of the Dark Iceland crime series set in Northern Iceland, currently being developed as a TV series.  Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is the bestselling and award-winning Icelandic crime author of the Thóra Guðmundsdóttir series.  Quentin Bates is writing a series of crime novels set in present day Iceland. Cold Steal will be published in April 2014.

In association with Northumbria University.

Launch of Brighton’s Dark and Stormy Crime Festival

Dark & Stormy is a brand new UK crime festival, serving up a wicked selection of book, film, music & theatre events. We launch in May 2014, in partnership with Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, and Dukes at Komedia, to celebrate and promote this massively popular genre, bringing its fans, creators and stars together for one criminally good and unforgettable weekend.”  The site is up and tickets are now on sale.  The press release follows.


Winner of Harvill Secker and Daily Telegraph Competition Announced




Abir Mukherjee is the winner of the Telegraph Harvill Secker Crime Writing Prize, launched last July to find an unpublished crime writing star to join one of the country’s leading literary imprints, home to bestselling crime authors including Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Fred Vargas, Stuart Neville and Eva Dolan.  An extract from Abir Mukherjee’s winning entry – ‘A Rising Man’ – can be read at the Telegraph.

Set in India in 1919, ‘A Rising Man’ opens with the brutal murder of a British burra sahib in the backstreets of Calcutta. Was the killing politically motivated by the Quit India movement? Captain Sam Wyndham of the Imperial Police Force, a former Scotland Yard detective and a man scarred by the Great War, is asked to investigate.  Described as “a good man upholding a corrupt system”, Wyndham is assisted by the equally conflicted Sergeant Bannerjee, who is torn between his belief in British justice and the Empire’s repression of his own people.

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