Category Archives: Book News

SPECSAVERS CRIME THRILLER AWARDS 2014 WINNERS

Announced tonight, the winners:

●     The Best Actress Dagger
Keeley Hawes, Line of Duty

●     The Best Actor Dagger
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective

●     The Specsavers ITV3 Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read:
Peter May, Entry Island (Quercus)

●     Crime Writers’ Association Goldsboro Gold Dagger for the Best Crime Novel of the Year:
Wiley Cash, This Dark Road to Mercy (Doubleday/Transworld)

●     Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for the Best New Crime Writer of the Year:
Ray Celestin, The Axeman’s Jazz (Mantle)

●    Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the Best Thriller of the Year:
Robert Harris, An Officer and a Spy (Arrow)

●     The TV Dagger
Happy Valley

●     The Film Dagger
Cold in July

●     The Best Supporting Actor Dagger
James Norton, Happy Valley

●     The Best Supporting Actress Dagger
Amanda Abbington, Sherlock

●     The International TV Dagger
True Detective.

Samantha Norman talks about co-writing Winter Siege with her late mother Ariana Franklin

“I would never have got round to writing a novel if my mother hadn’t died. I wanted to, but only in the way a lot of people want to write – in a rather dreamy, rare as hen’s teeth way: a sudden flash of inspiration one day leading to a perfect plot and 90,000 immaculately ordered words divinely processed through the fingertips by the next. It was never going to happen. Like most people, I had neither the rigour nor the discipline to do it and, when it came down to it, probably didn’t want to enough.

My mother, however – Ariana Franklin, the much-admired historical thriller writer and author of the Mistress of the Art of Death series – loved writing and was as good at it as you can get. She was also a great mum, and, as all great mothers tend to be, a terrific nag. Ever since I can remember she had nursed a conviction that I should write novels. So when she died, suddenly and unexpectedly, halfway through a book it felt not only like the most dreadful thing that had ever happened to me but a rather weird challenge as well.

I took it up hoping to do her justice, to make her proud (even from beyond the grave) and because it was the very last thing I could do for her. The result is Winter Siege, her last novel and my first, published this week.”

WinterSiege

Click on the pic for a link to Amazon UK.

For Samantha Norman the unfinished Winter Siege was a gift from her late mother, launching her on the road of a new career in writing. Published today, it’s a standalone novel set in a freezing cold 1141. Gwil, a battle-hardened mercenary, watches in horror as a little girl with red hair is dragged away by his own men. Caught in the middle of the fight for England she is just one more victim in a winter of atrocities. But a strange twist of fate brings them together again. Gwil finds the girl close to death, clutching a sliver of parchment – and he knows what he must do. He will bring her back to life. He will train her to fight. And together, they will hunt down the man who did this to her. But danger looms wherever they turn. As castle after castle falls victim to siege, the icy Fens ring with rumours of a madman, of murder – and of a small piece of parchment the cost of which none of them could have imagined …

A review of the novel will follow next week.

Anthony Horowitz to Pen New James Bond Novel Inspired by Original Unseen Fleming Material

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., The Ian Fleming Estate, the Orion Publishing Group, and HarperCollins US and Canada are delighted to announce that international bestselling and award-winning writer Anthony Horowitz is at work on an official new James Bond novel. Currently dubbed Project One, the novel is due for worldwide release on 8th September 2015.

The new book by Horowitz – a lifelong fan of Ian Fleming – will be set in the 1950s and will be unique among the modern James Bond novels, in that a section will contain previously unseen material written by Fleming to which Horowitz has had exclusive access.

Jessie Grimond, great-niece of Ian Fleming, said: “In the 1950s Ian Fleming wrote several episode treatments for a James Bond television series. But it never came to be made and he ended up turning most of the plots into the short stories that are now in the collections For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy and The Living Daylights. However, there are a few plot outlines which he never used and which, till now, have never been published, or aired. Given that Anthony is as brilliant a screenwriter as he is a novelist, we thought it would be exciting to see what he would do with one of them.”

The treatment chosen by Horowitz, which will serve as a starting point for his novel, is entitled Murder on Wheels, and follows Bond on a mission into the world of motor racing. Familiar characters in the TV treatment include ‘M’ and Miss Moneypenny.

One of the country’s most prolific and successful writers, Horowitz has over 40 books to his name. His recent Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk, sold in more than 35 countries, whilst his bestselling teen spy series, Alex Rider, has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide. As a TV screenwriter he created both Midsomer Murdersand the BAFTA-winning Foyle’s War.

Horowitz said: “It’s no secret that Ian Fleming’s extraordinary character has had a profound influence on my life, so when the estate approached me to write a new James Bond novel how could I possibly refuse? It’s a huge challenge – more difficult even than Sherlock Holmes in some ways – but having original, unpublished material by Fleming has been an inspiration. This is a book I had to write.”

Lucy Fleming, niece of Ian Fleming, said: “We are thrilled that Anthony has taken on the Bond mantle, and can’t wait to read his novel. Anthony is a brilliant writer, as his millions of fans around the world demonstrate. He has an exceptional skill for writing spy thrillers in particular, and it is this coupled with the original Fleming material and his knowledge of and enthusiasm for Bond, which makes for a really exciting proposition.”

Malcolm Edwards, Deputy CEO and Group Publisher, Orion Publishing Group, said: “James Bond and Anthony Horowitz is a match made in publishing heaven. Anthony is a writer of exceptional skill and I have no doubt he will deliver a book that will resonate and delight Bond fans around the globe. For our part, we will publish the book in a way that celebrates the legacy of literary Bond and mount a campaign that will make publication day one of the biggest publishing events of 2015.”

Jonathan Burnham, Senior Vice President and Publisher, HarperCollins US, said: “HarperCollins is thrilled to be publishing the new James Bond novel in the United States and Canada. Anthony Horowitz is an author of exceptional skill and range – his Sherlock Holmes novel, House of Silk, displayed his amazing ability to reanimate fictional characters to create a new and powerful narrative.  The combination of this talent, his inventiveness and brilliance as a novelist, and his access to hitherto unpublished Fleming material, makes this a uniquely exciting event for all James Bond fans.”

The book will be published by Orion Publishing Group in the UK, and by HarperCollins in the United States. The book rights were sold in the English language by Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown, on behalf of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd and The Ian Fleming Estate. International rights will be offered at the forthcoming Frankfurt Book Fair on October 6.

Further announcements about the project will follow in 2015.

Hercule Poirot Novels by Agatha Christie from The Folio Society

PoirotNovelSetFSThe Folio Society has put together a beautiful set of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels. Illustrated by Andrew Davidson and with introductions from Anthony Horowitz the titles in the set are: The Mysterious Affair at Styles; Murder on the Orient Express; The ABC Murders; Death on the Nile. This set retails at £110 from The Folio Society, available here. The quality of production makes it something to treasure as well as providing an opportunity to acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with Poirot, pursuing four of his best known cases.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

AC4When the wealthy Emily Inglethorp is poisoned at her country house, Styles, the culprit seems obvious. Her husband Alfred was heard to quarrel with her violently – and was seen buying strychnine in the local town. Yet when he is just about to be arrested, Hercule Poirot comes forward to save him. He reminds all concerned that appearances can be deceiving, and that there are unsolved oddities in the case – including the shattered coffee cup, the scrap of green cloth and the burned fragments of a will … The first novel to introduce us to both Poirot and Hastings, this is also one of Christie’s most satisfying mysteries.

Murder on the Orient Express

AC1A curious group of passengers is assembled on the Istanbul–Calais coach of the Simplon Orient Express. They include a Russian princess, an Italian salesman, an English colonel – and Hercule Poirot. The morning after the train is stopped dead by a deep snowdrift, American millionaire Mr Ratchett is found stabbed to death, his compartment bolted on the inside. It is clear that the murderer must be one of his fellow passengers – and must still be on the train. One of Christie’s most famous novels, Murder on the Orient Express boasts a truly audacious solution.

The ABC Murders

AC7Alice Ascher, an elderly shopkeeper, has been murdered in Andover. Next, the pretty waitress Betty Barnard is found dead in Bexhill-on-Sea. Each of these murders is hinted at beforehand in a taunting letter to Poirot, signed ‘ABC’. Together with his friend Arthur Hastings, and a team from Scotland Yard, Poirot must pursue the ABC serial killer – in a battle of wits that soon becomes very personal indeed. The murderer keeps one step ahead at first, but as Poirot puts it, ‘He cannot help throwing light upon himself …’ Unusually for Christie, The ABC Murders employs multiple narrators, spinning an ingenious web that culminates in a startling finale – a truly brilliant mystery.

Death on the Nile

AC6Poirot has decided to escape the winter with a cruise down the Nile River in Egypt. Among his fellow travellers are a couple on honeymoon, Simon and Linnet Doyle. They are being stalked by Simon’s former fiancée, Jacqueline de Bellefort, who shows Poirot her pearl-handled pistol – ‘a dainty toy’. Shortly afterwards, Linnet Doyle is shot in the head. Suspicion falls on Jacqueline, but Poirot knows that other passengers had their own reasons to bring death to the Nile. Inspired by Christie’s travels with her archaeologist husband, this world-famous story has twice been adapted for the screen.

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Reading Matters Moves

Kim’s wonderful book site, Reading Matters has moved and can now be found here.  It also has a new and rather modern look.  But above all, it’s the content that drives me, and I hope you, there.  And in a world of increasing commercialism among book blogs*, Kim retains sound values including independence at the core.  Take a look if you’ve not already done so.

ReadingMattersNew150914[* This might be the topic of a future post here.]

ITV3 Crime Thriller Season: The Crime Thriller Club

From the press release:

This September is ITV3 Crime Thriller Season, featuring a TV series dedicated to crime writing. The Crime Thriller Club, sponsored by Specsavers will, each episode, feature ‘Living Legends’ – a series of interviews with bestselling authors in the world of crime and thriller fiction. Authors interviewed this year will be Dean Koontz, Denise Mina, Robert Harris, Val McDermid, Michael Connelly and Lynda La Plante – who will all be members of the CWA Hall of Fame.
At the core of each episode of The Crime Thriller Club will be The Crime Thriller Book Club, in which six specially selected titles will be critiqued on air. This year’s selected titles are:

  • Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse (Bloomsbury)
  • Entry Island by Peter May (Quercus)
  • Letters To My Daughter’s Killer by Cath Staincliffe (Constable & Robinson)
  • Treachery by S.J. Parris (HarperCollins)
  • The Tilted World by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly (Mantle)
  • Watch Me by James Carol (Faber & Faber).

Complete Shortlists for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2014

Announced today, the complete shortlists for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards are:

The Film Dagger
o Cold In July
o Dom Hemingway
o Filth
o Prisoners
o Starred Up

The TV Dagger
o Happy Valley
o Line of Duty: Series 2
o Sherlock: Series 3
o The Bletchley Circle: Series 2
o The Honourable Woman

The International TV Dagger
o Fargo: Season 1
o Inspector Montalbano: Series 9
o Orange is the New Black: Season 2
o The Bridge: Series 2
o True Detective: Season 1

The Best Actor Dagger
o Benedict Cumberbatch for Sherlock
o Shaun Evans for Endeavour
o Martin Freeman for Fargo and Sherlock
o Matthew McConaughey for True Detective
o Steve Pemberton for Happy Valley

The Best Actress Dagger
o Brenda Blethyn for Vera
o Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Honourable Woman
o Keeley Hawes for Line of Duty
o Sarah Lancashire for Happy Valley
o Anna Maxwell Martin for Death Comes to Pemberley and The Bletchley Circle

The Best Supporting Actor Dagger
o Mark Gatiss for Sherlock
o David Leon for Vera
o James Norton for Happy Valley
o Mandy Patinkin for Homeland
o Billy Bob Thornton for Fargo

The Best Supporting Actress Dagger
o Amanda Abbington for Sherlock
o Vicky McClure for Line of Duty
o Helen McCrory for Peaky Blinders
o Gina McKee for By Any Means
o Michelle Monaghan for True Detective

The CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year
o The First Rule of Survival by Paul Mendelson (Constable)
o How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Sphere/Little Brown)
o Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly (Bantam/Transworld)
o This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (Doubleday/Transworld)

The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for Best First Novel
o The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin (Mantle)
o The Devil In The Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson (Hodder & Stoughton)
o The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison (Headline)
o The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter (Penguin Fig Tree)

The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year
o Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty (Faber and Faber)
o An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (Random House)
o I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Transworld)
o Natchez Burning by Greg Iles (HarperCollins)

 

Shortlists for the CWA Gold, John Creasey (New Blood) and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers 2014

Announced today, the shortlists are:

The CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year:
o The First Rule of Survival by Paul Mendelson (Constable)
o How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Sphere/Little Brown)
o Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly (Bantam/Transworld)
o This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (Doubleday/Transworld)

The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for Best First Novel:
o The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin (Mantle)
o The Devil In The Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson (Hodder & Stoughton)
o The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison (Headline)
o The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter (Penguin Fig Tree)

The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year:
o Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty (Faber and Faber)
o An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (Random House)
o I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Transworld)
o Natchez Burning by Greg Iles (HarperCollins)

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: