To the Max: Maxim Jakubowski on New Crime

To the Max: Maxim Jakubowski on New Crime

This month’s offerings couldn’t prove more diverse, ranging from a witty and devilishly clever Sherlock Holmes tale, which is anything but a pastiche and will have Sherlockians everywhere chuckling away in their deerstalkers, to the desolate sands of Mars with a locked room mystery for the 21st century. Elsewhere we roam the mean streets of Dublin, cruise the hotspots of the Mediterranean with the deadly Judith Rashleigh of MAESTRA infamy, smile along with a Norwegian Candide in upstate New York and its forests and lakes, patrol the dangerous streets of Oakland in California and reacquaint ourselves with Ngaio Marsh’s urbane Roderick Alleyn on assignment in New Zealand. Add a version of Macbeth with blood and guts and Scandi noir verve, the return of some favourite thriller authors and some interesting debuts and our menu has something for everyone.

Double Take: Two Views of John Harvey’s Body and Soul

Double Take: Two Views of John Harvey’s Body and Soul
Michael Carlson & Ruth Morse

John Harvey is the kind of journeyman crime-fiction writer one turns to naturally when he published the next book. He has a place for everything and everything in its place. Frank Elder is a retired detective, who lives in Cornwall, where he sometimes helps out at the local CID. His local friends include a woman he increasingly sees as part of his life. Most of the authorial points of view are brief, though not, interestingly, the home life of a lesbian couple, one of whom is running an investigation for murder.

Our Kind of Cruelty: Araminta Hall talks to Crime Time

Our Kind of Cruelty: Araminta Hall talks to Crime Time

Our Kind of Cruelty is a dark story of obsession and delusion. Mike and Verity have been together for nearly a decade, since university. They have enjoyed an intense, passionate relationship, in which they’ve played a secret game they call ‘The Crave.’ This involves them going to a bar and waiting for Verity to be chatted up, so that Mike can swoop in and rescue her, something which turns both of them on. Now however, Verity is marrying another man, but Mike is convinced this is just another hand in their Crave and that really nothing and no one can separate them.

Walls of Silence: Ruth Wade talks to Crime Time

Walls of Silence: Ruth Wade talks to Crime Time

BEHIND THE BRICKS IN THE WALL Walls of Silence is the novel that wouldn’t let me alone. I returned to it time and again over a period of twelve years, each revisit seeing me bolder and more experimental as my skills and confidence grew. After a mercifully brief flirtation with calling it The Hand-turned Dobby, I hijacked the title Walls of Silence from a novel I’d written early on in my apprenticeship about a motorcycle stunt show in a travelling fair.

The Lost: Mari Hannah talks to Crime Time

The Lost: Mari Hannah talks to Crime Time
Mari Hannah

Readers often ask if my experience informs my crime writing, whether my antagonists are real offenders formerly under my supervision or if investigations are based on criminal cases I came across in my job as a probation officer. I don’t regurgitate or glorify the lives of those with whom I came into contact. My clients all had form but I’m duty bound to keep their details confidential. Their stories are real, not imagined. However heinous their crimes, they deserve anonymity. Some of you may disagree with that, but there’s a more compelling reason. Let’s not forget that every criminal act has a victim. It would be unethical to dump their grief on a page in the name of entertainment.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK: Russell James talks to Crime Time

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK: Russell James talks to Crime Time
Russell James

Christie, as you know, grew to loathe Poirot, and Conan Doyle tried to kill Sherlock, but how many modern crime writers, I wonder, face the prospect of turning out yet another book in their series with a sigh you can hear in the room next door (where sits the all too understanding partner who has heard that sigh so many times before). “Just write the thing,” responds their partner. “Before the deadline,” the publisher appends.

The Pathetic Predator – C.L. Taylor Talks to Crime Time

The Pathetic Predator – C.L. Taylor Talks to Crime Time
C L Taylor

When it comes to characters there’s one phrase in the reviewer’s arsenal that would pierce the heart of even the most hardened writer – ‘pantomime villain’. Those two words, along with ‘two dimensional’ can unravel an author’s confidence faster than an empty signing line. No author sets out to write a cliché or a cardboard cut-out. We want our antagonists to be as real to the reader as they to us, but even the most established writer can occasionally produce a dud.

TO THE MAX: NEW CRIME

TO THE MAX: NEW CRIME
Maxim Jakubowski

Yet again a selection of titles that demonstrate with bravura the width and breadth of current mystery and thriller fiction worldwide, what with novels set not just in the present, the past and the future (and sometimes all of these periods within the same pages) but also developing in such varied settings as Delaware, Belgium, Manchester, Bogota, Cuba, Miami, the Mississippi Delta, London during the Blitz and now, Moscow and Washington where the ley lines of espionage converge and Brussels with a touch of rock’n’roll. What more can you ask for?

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