Bait, Grist & Security by Mike Hodges

Bait, Grist & Security by Mike Hodges
Barry Forshaw

The protagonist of Bait is a low rent PR man, the eponymous ‘bait’ utilised by a tough detective involved in a cultish enterprise imported from America. Grist focuses on a writer (one is reminded of the novelist anti-hero of Hodges’ film Pulp) who has no compunction is about utilising real-life individuals for his novels but finds that there is a high price to be paid. The final novella, Security, features an American actor who has no faith in the film he is engaged in making and opts to stay cloistered in his upscale hotel, but the hotel itself becomes a hotbed of violence. As these synopses indicate, Hodges is uninterested in utilising well-worn tropes of the crime genre, and has come up with three startlingly original scenarios.

The Innocent Wife: Amy Lloyd talks to Crime Time

The Innocent Wife: Amy Lloyd talks to Crime Time

I received a comment from someone in response to a video I posted about The Innocent Wife. It went something like, ‘Florida, of course. It’s always Florida.’ Then there was a little eye-roll emoji. Until that moment I hadn’t even thought that people might read the synopsis of my book and think I was portraying Florida in a negative way, or that I was being exploitative of the state or its population. The book is set in Florida because, first and absolutely foremost: I love Florida. Deeply. It’s been two years since I was last there but I can still vividly recall the thickness of the air and the sounds of the insects in the bushes and the vastness of it, looking out over the landscape at all those stretches of green. It’s a place that feeds my imagination and it’s where I daydream about going back to when I have the chance.

Dissolution by C. J. Sansom

Dissolution by C. J. Sansom
Ruth Morse

C. J. Sansom is a fine historical novelist who can set a variety of books in a fine variety of places. With Tombland just over the horizon, going back to the beginning seemed like a good idea, and it is. Dissolution introduced Matthew Shardlake, a narrator to keep one awake at night, even when one knows what’s to come. Among the surprises come a series of characters one wouldn’t expect, such as the doctor, the Carthusian, the hard-riding Abbot, women and children, and the geography of the great monastery itself, as Shardlake looks over the marshes toward the sea. Jane Seymour has recently died in childbirth, and the king’s search for a wife begins again.

New Crime & Thriller DVDs & Blu-rays

New Crime & Thriller DVDs & Blu-rays
Barry Forshaw

COLUMBO, Season One, Various directors/Fabulous Films Dostoevsky may have done it first with his detective Porfiry slowly wearing down a murder suspect in Crime and Punishment, but this classic American series (the creators have acknowledged the literary source) ) is how most people will be familiar with the situation. The fact that it is established (and set in stone) in the very first episode here is remarkable, given how flexible this seemingly rigid format proved over many seasons – not least as a showcase of such considerable actors as Patrick McGoohan, cast several times in the seri.es as he and Peter Falk clearly liked working together It’s the landmark series that inspired an entire genre. Now Columbo television’s greatest detective comes to Blu-ray for the first time, fully restored and in hi-definition

Location as Muse: Alice LaPlante on Half Moon Bay

Location as Muse: Alice LaPlante on Half Moon Bay

The idea of using Half Moon Bay as a location for fiction has been germinating inside me for decades.

I’ve always loved the town and its environs, especially its dark and mysterious foggy summers. When my daughter was an infant, and I was still in that half-crazed new-mother trance, I’d take her with me for long drives up and down California’s famous Route 1, stopping to nurse her by the crackling wood stove at the San Gregorio General Store, located on the old stagecoach route that formerly ran between the coast and the flowering orchards in the Valley of Hearts Delight (the original name of the grim and now tree-less Silicon Valley).

Sleepers: Mark Dawson talks to Crime Time

Sleepers: Mark Dawson talks to Crime Time

It’s a standard question when I tell people that I make my living as an author: where do you get your ideas? I write espionage thrillers – think Bond and Bourne and you’ll be in the vicinity – and I’ve never had a problem with finding something interesting for my characters to do. The genesis of my new book – SLEEPERS – has been a little different, though. More immediate. Closer to home, and, once I started investigating and writing, much more difficult to stop.

Hallowdene: George Mann talks to Crime Time

Hallowdene: George Mann talks to Crime Time

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of history as a living subject. I think it’s very easy for us to look back at the events and attitudes of the past as things long gone, things that happened to other people; to consider, with hindsight, how much we’ve learned and moved on. Yet, to me, history is a continuum, a vast river that continues to flow all around us, moulding our culture and behaviour. Our society has been irrevocably shaped by the decisions of the past, and the aftershocks and repercussions of those decisions are still being felt, whether we choose to recognise them or not.

Wheel of Fire: Hilary Bonner talks to Crime Time

Wheel of Fire: Hilary Bonner talks to Crime Time

My latest novel, Wheel of Fire, brings a tale of international financial intrigue, culminating in arson and violent death, to the rolling green hills of the English countryside. The book is inspired by the tragically curious real-life story of Edmond Safra, one of the richest men in the world, who in 1999 choked to death along with his nurse in a fire at his Monaco penthouse. For some time after the fire broke out he could have opened the door to the specially fortified bathroom in which the two bodies were foud, and escaped to safety. He did not. And it is believed that when the nurse tried to flee he fought her into submission.

End of Term: A.C. Koning talks about the Blind Detective series

End of Term: A.C. Koning talks about the Blind Detective series

I started writing my ‘Blind Detective’ series almost by accident. I’d wanted to write about my grandfather, a soldier during the First World War, who was blinded at Passchendaele in 1917, and Line of Sight—which was published in 2014 to tie in with the WW1 centenary—began as an exploration of how my character, Frederick Rowlands, has coped with the loss of his sight in the ensuing decade. We first meet him when he is working as a telephonist in a London solicitor’s office. Connecting a call at his switchboard one day, he overhears a conversation which may or may not refer to murder… From then on, he’s hooked—both on the excitement of solving the crime, and on the need to bring the perpetrator to justice. Writing from the perspective of a blind character has been challenging, but I hope I’ve conveyed Fred’s experience of the world, relying as it does on his use of his remaining senses, as accurately and convincingly as possible.

Festival America launches in London

Festival America launches in London

We live in dark times. The world appears to be dislocating, with new forces in power and new allegiances being formed at both high and grassroots levels. As Britain continues its preparations for Brexit and the world appears to be retreating from its hard-won 20th century compact, our relationships with Europe and the Americas remain crucial for writers, readers, and audiences alike, the entire fragile global ecosystem of literature.

2018, therefore, is the ideal moment for London to provide a satellite for the much-lauded Festival America, founded in Vincennes in 2002. A large group of writers from across the continent will visit their French publishers and readers, and we are delighted that a contingent will travel on to London.

Wonder Valley: Ivy Pochoda talks to Crime Time

Wonder Valley: Ivy Pochoda talks to Crime Time

The first time I wound up in the Mojave Desert I was immediately struck by the various ways people managed to live off the grid, tangentially connected to society, playing by whatever rules appealed to them and then making up their own. It’s a wild and untamable landscape, a place where it is trivial to disappear. Depending on your outlook, the desert can appear both mystical and spiritual, filled with energy or power. Or perhaps it is just simply strange, remote, confusing, distracting, and possessed of a gritty beauty, a place where it is possible to be deluded into beliefs that are not your own.

BELIEVE ME by JP Delaney

BELIEVE ME by JP Delaney
Barry Forshaw in the ‘I’

In the thriller genre, psychological crime reigns supreme at present, but with an avalanche of new novels, something special is needed to rise above the throng. And that extra ingredient is unquestionably provided by JP Delaney’s Believe Me, the follow-up to his highly successful The Girl Before. The new book is actually a reworking of something previously written by the pseudonymous author, but it has no sense of being anything other than fresh material. Claire Wright is an attractive young British woman with aspirations to becoming a successful actress in the US.

The Daughter of Time & Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey/Folio Society

The Daughter of Time & Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey/Folio Society
Barry Forshaw

It’s comforting to say that a particular book is an author’s best – particularly when few well-read people are likely to gainsay you. So, without hesitation, let’s say that The Franchise Affair is Josephine Tey’s best book – and that in a career studded with many literary triumphs. Interestingly, this much-loved crime novel doesn’t actually contain a murder – though Tey gets away with the omission swimmingly. However, other Tey books have great distinction – such as The Daughter of Time and Miss Pym Disposes. Continuing The Folio Society’s celebrated Josephine Tey collection, beautifully bound new editions have appeared, illustrated by award-winning artist Mark Smith with bindings in the series style.

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