… and he discusses the location of Hull as evocatively comparable to Scandi noir here in the Hull Daily Mail.
Starting the year as you mean to go on? Writing crime? Why not use those quiet moments to write some flash fiction? The Flashbang 2014 Contest is now open and you have until 3 March 2014 to submit your entries. All prizes this year are CrimeFest-related:
- 1st prize is two weekend passes to CrimeFest 2015 (access to all interviews, panels and receptions; excludes accommodation, food, refreshments and travel).
- 2nd prize is one weekend pass to CrimeFest 2015.
- 3rd prize is a special CrimeFest delegate bag containing books and other goodies.
Get them rolling in and good luck!
Breakthrough crime novel wins over the public and claims the eBooks by Sainsbury’s title.
Lesley Thomson’s fast-paced crime thriller The Detective’s Daughter has been voted eBook of the year following eBooks by Sainsbury’s month long quest to reveal UK book-lovers’ top digital read for 2013.
Running throughout December 2013, the public was asked to select its favourite eBook from a long list of 150 titles designed to represent the breadth and diversity of British book publishing, covering genres from sci-fi to literary fiction from biographies to thrillers.
Sussex-based novelist Lesley Thomson’s The Detective’s Daughter, which tells the story of a neglected daughter who takes on the murder case that her workaholic detective father spent his life trying, and failing, to solve, surpassed bestselling authors and successful titles to win the coveted award.
Tim Lennox, Managing Director at eBooks by Sainsbury’s commented: “The result of the first eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year is both wonderful and refreshing, suggesting that eBooks have opened up a whole new world for readers and authors alike. We certainly saw this with Lesley Thomson’s The Detective’s Daughter, which enjoyed enormous success as an eBook in 2013, keeping a few well-known names off the top of the bestseller lists in the process.
“We’ve always thought that the convenience and portability of the eBook format played a powerful role in persuading readers to try something new. The fact Thomson’s breakthrough book won out against stiff competition from literary heavyweights certainly seems to bear this out. We’re delighted to award the first eBooks by Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year Award to Lesley Thomson, and look forward to more readers discovering new voices and favourite reads on eBooks by Sainsbury’s in 2014.”
For more information please visit the eBooks by Sainbury’s website
The third and final part.
Hanna Jameson wrote the first draft of Something You Are, the first novel in her London Underground series, when she was only seventeen. At twenty-two, she’s in print and shortlisted for the CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. Her creation, Nic Caruana is a man paid to kill people and in the introductory Something You Are he’s hired to track down the daughter of an arms dealer. In exploring the family’s relationships and particularly that of the parents with one another, Jameson displays a maturity approximately twice the number of years she’s clocked up on her passport. This one’s only 79p on Kindle right now too …
Doug Johnstone’s Gone Again is precision engineering in a thriller and packs in great emotional depth. In Edinburgh, Mark Douglas and his young son Nathan are forced to face the sudden disappearance of wife and mother Lauren. And it’s not the first time she’s disappeared …
The very worthy winner of this year’s CWA John Creasey Dagger: Norwegian by Night from Derek B Miller. Deep, seamless and even. Pitch perfect. When I had the privilege of moderating the two Fresh Blood panels at CrimeFest this year I likened Miller’s protagonist Sheldon Horowitz to Grumpy Cat. In the novel’s opening lines we get to know octogenarian Sheldon very well. He’s frustrated and we feel he deserves better. We love him and want to give him a big hug. His age alone presents many challenges but Sheldon swiftly becomes the guardian angel of a young boy when his mother is killed. Norwegian by Night follows their journey in search of safety. But there’s another journey here too: Sheldon’s own, through his inner turmoil. Norwegian by Night is an emotional and very satisfying read.
An obvious and enviable talent earning early high praise and bestowed with the CWA Gold Dagger for her debut novel Blacklands, I still felt there was something missing in Belinda Bauer’s initial work. But in 2013 with Rubbernecker she’s nailed it for me. One of the beauties with this novel is wondering where its disparate strands might lead. Characterisation is strong and deep. The dènouement satisfies. Bauer is an outstanding talent who will be around for a long time. Do not miss Rubbernecker.
More detailed reviews of all these novels will follow, if they are not already up. The next post in this series from me will be “Ones to Watch in 2014” and it will appear near/over the festive break. Similar posts from It’s a crime’s! regular contributors may follow.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting and liking. Enjoy your festive season and your reading!
Following yesterday’s part 1, here’s part 2:
Something a little different
It was great to see Thomas Mogford shortlisted for the CWA’s John Creasey Dagger in 2013. With a protagonist based in Gibraltar it would be too easy to assume his books are Gibraltar-based. What marks out Mogford is a choice of setting for the ex-pat world and places of lower taxation. Where his shortlisted debut Shadow of the Rock took Spike Sanguinetti to Morocco, Sign of the Cross sees Sanguinetti in Malta where all is not well with one arm of his family. These are classic crime novels in style and do not suffer from the sometimes over-indulgent 400+ pages.
Marianne Wheelaghan’s The Food of Ghosts is set in Tarawa, a coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific. Again, the style is classic crime but what shines here is Wheelaghan’s sympathy for another culture and fish-out-of-water, normally Edinburgh-based DS Louisa Townsend’s reunion with her distant family.
A D Garrett is the pen name of writing partnership Margaret Murphy – lovely to see her back in print – and forensics expert Professor Dave Barclay. In their first outing, Everyone Lies, the forensic detail infuses the novel with more realism and Murphy’s storytelling ability is well on show.
Elizabeth Haynes’s third novel Human Remains throws light into the work of a civilian police analyst in an investigation. Described as a ‘hymn to all the lonely people’, analyst Annabel’s own life is very close to those who fall victim when alone and unnoticed. It adds an extra and fascinating dimension to what is a gut wrenching tale of sadness at its heart. Moving to a new publisher with Under a Silent Moon (out now in e format), it will be interesting to see what Haynes does next.
Tom Vowler’s What Lies Within is simply stunning. In a remote Devon farmhouse, the equilibrium in the lives of Anna and her family is suddenly thrown off balance. Vowler charts a much less-chosen path in this one and writes from the female point of view too. Exceptional.
Recommended: do not sit down and read this one on Boxing Day as Colette McBeth’s Precious Thing may leave you surveying your presents and questioning all the relationships behind them. The style may prove a challenge but the plotting is exquisite. If you’re not the most secure of people, you have been warned.
More tomorrow. (This series of posts is also being used as a bit of catch-up after some absence in 2013.)
Some highlights of the year for me.
This was an absolute gem. You never know if panel events will work/take off and sometimes you can be fortunate enough to sit through an explosion of magic. Such was the case for “Cold War: An Infiltrating Chill” at CrimeFest back in May with Tom Harper, John Lawton, Aly Monroe, William Ryan, all superbly chaired by Martin Walker. And the “explosion of magic”? The double act that was Aly Monroe and John Lawton. They swept you up with their enthusiasm for the topic, their forensic knowledge and their naughty disclosures. Forget “Get Carter”, if you’re curating a literary festival get Lawton and Monroe.
Judith Tebbutt’s A Long Walk Home certainly brings home how fragile life is and how quickly anyone and the ordinary can be thrown into extraordinary circumstances. A Long Walk Home is inspiring and, at its heart, a testament to the power of love and family.
Jennie Rooney’s Red Joan is more of a woman’s novel and it’s great on period detail. Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, this novel is a proper and satisfying exploration in shades of grey, using grey matter. By the time you get to the end emotions are pricked and stretched; but what will you think of Joan?
Barbara Nadel’s name had been on my radar for quite a while but I didn’t pick up a book of hers until Deadline, one in her Turkish Cetin Ikmen series. Here Ikmen attends a murder mystery evening and suddenly finds himself in a game where life imitates art. It’s all very Agatha Christie but also draws beautifully from Nadel’s background as an actor. With such great characters in the Turkish police, thankfully there’s a series to savour.
“Shaping up nicely, thank you Sarge” – the developing police procedural series
Three of note here. Jane Casey’s DC Maeve Kerrigan’s series got to its fifth outing in 2013 with The Stranger You Know. The plucky Kerrigan is now proving addictive. Stav Sherez’s second Carrigan and Miller, Eleven Days, arrived in 2013. Sherez is an author who provides a feast for your senses while exploring humanity. And if you want to leave London, head to Northumberland with Mari Hannah’s DCI Kate Daniels. Hannah is proving prolific with her fourth, Monument to Murder, published in November of this year. The Daniels novels add a shot of realism to police investigations and the third, Deadly Deceit, opens with an oh so heartrending car crash on the A1.
Part 2 coming soon …
Constable & Robinson is delighted to announce that the television rights to M.C. Beaton’s AGATHA RAISIN series have been optioned by Free at Last Digital Limited. Free at Last is co-developing the potential long-running television series with renowned drama producer Mammoth Screen. AGATHA RAISIN was created by Beaton in 1992; there are presently 24 titles in the series, with the newest, SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMEONE DEAD, published in September.
AGATHA RAISIN is a truly global success, having been translated into 12 languages, including German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Estonian, Hungarian, Turkish, and Thai.
Free at Last TV was established in 2000 as a documentary and docudrama television production company. It has made over 450 hours of television, including scripted comedy and a successful series of docudramas. Barry Ryan, founder and executive producer, said: “I have been wanting to develop these brilliant novels for years. Agatha Raisin is a tour de force, a brilliant, charming and beguiling woman. It’s a miracle she hasn’t found her way to our television screens by now.”
Mammoth Screen is an EMMY and BAFTA winning production company established in 2007. Recent hits include PARADE’S END (BBC Two/HBO), ENDEAVOUR (ITV/PBS) and BLANDINGS (BBC One). Michele Buck, joint Managing Director of Mammoth Screen and Executive Producer, said: “We are delighted to be co-developing such a brilliant series. The novels are delightful, the characters are compelling and the scenery is beautiful. What more does a television series need? M.C. Beaton has a terrific television pedigree – we are determined to keep it that way.”