To the Max: Maxim Jakubowski on New Crime
No two books are alike in this month’s selection as we roam between a dystopian USA and the intricacies of the US legal system, skirt around such topical subjects as Brexit and its dubious cast of politicians, a case of almost familiar sexual harassment, the disturbing first-person narrative of a stalker who goes just that bit too far, romps through a country house which never ends (read the book to find out what I mean…), 1916 pre-feminist lady cops in full flow, the dark side of the American dream and disillusion, four decades of family travails, an heir to Sherlock Holmes in present day California and so much more, including a classy comic reissue by the much-lamented Don Westlake. The choice is yours.
Bled Dry: Abdelilah Hamdouchi Talks to Crime Time
When I started writing my first roman policier in the late 1990s and when I published my first novel the French press was interested in the subject despite the fact I was writing in Arabic. The magazine Jeune Afrique published an article entitled: Morocco Goes on a Whim. The review read “…the Arabic language cannot access the romantic space of noir fiction.”
The Nightmare World of Crime: Elodie Harper Talks to Crime Time
How do you describe the horror of losing someone to murder? In my job as a reporter I’ve witnessed the aftermath of violence on many occasions but it never loses its power to disturb. There is the grief, the rage. The sudden transformation of a person’s ordinary life into a nightmare, from which there is no escape.
Jackrabbit Smile by Joe R Lansdale
Hap and Leonard are back, and are about to be plunged into another melee of murder, mayhem and malevolence clearly signalled when the two detectives are asked to find what happened to a daughter (she of the jackrabbit smile) who walked out on her family five years ago – clearly signalled because the clients, bible-thumping, fundamentalist white supremacists, have asked for help from devil-may-care unbeliever Hap and the perpetually angry, black, gay, lippy Leonard.
The Ashes of Berlin – Luke McCallin [book offer]
Shortlisted for the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger Award 2017
Currently available on offer for just £6. 99 exclusively from No Exit Press
1947 and Gregor Reinhardt is back onto Berlin’s civilian police force. The city is divided among the victorious allied powers, tensions are growing, and the police are riven by internal rivalries as factions within it jockey for power…
Robert B Parker’s Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins
I read Cheap Shot on the flight to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII, and considering the plot revolves around a New England Patriots’ player whom Spencer is hired to protect/keep out of trouble, it seemed appropriate.
They Know Not What They Do by Jussi Valtonen
This is a remarkably long book, which isn’t surprising given that it is about life in more than one country, only one of which is Finland. It opens with the usual kind of scientist who is only interested in sex and science, lumbering through a series of scenes in which Joe, the Jewish protagonist, behaves with complete boorishness. It’s a bit like Ursula K. Leguin, illustrating first the wife’s point of view and then allowing the uncomprehending husband a few moments of what is absolutely not ‘helping’ with the household, their baby son, or the wife’s vulnerability. What he gets right at this point is the tremendous egotism of the ambitious scientist, whose research absorbs him utterly, to the detriment of everything else.
Be careful who you let in: Mel McGrath Talks to Crime Time
In paperback publication week for my first psych thriller, Give Me The Child, I want to tell you a bit about the true life events that inspired the book.
Savages: The Wedding by Sabri Louatah (trans. Gavin Bowd)
Those sceptical when grandiose comparisons are accorded to a new novelist (Louatah has been likened to Knausgård, Philip Roth and Zadie Smith) may be wary of Savages — and might also be reluctant to commit to the first part of a series (here, the Saint Etienne Quartet). Just a few pages, however, demonstrate the author’s panoramic range of ambition.
The Wanderer in Unknown Realms by John Connolly
How much of a John Connolly aficionado are you? I once wrote of him (in The Independent): ‘Connolly delivers such grisly and adroitly plotted novels as The White Road without working up a sweat; a sardonic Irishman who has become one of the most distinguished practitioners of US crime writing, Connolly has an unerring ear for the American idiom’.
Mick Herron’s London Rules and other New Crime
This is book five in the Slough House series, and like books 4, 3, 2, and 1, it is remarkably original in its own ways. One does not expect that Rosy-fingered Dawn will introduce the story as she steals through the rooms of sleepy Slough House, nor that her cousin, Dusk, will bookend the story, or that in-between times both Day and Night will carry the book’s time. This shouldn’t have fazed me, because it’s partly advice from Edith Wharton, whom I revere. In Herron’s hands, it seems to lean back towards Homer, but of course it doesn’t. It’s more like pastoral, but you have to ask yourself just what that means; it’s not as if Herron wrote cosy crime, or harked back in other ways to Golden Age fiction.
An Unquiet Ghost: Linda Stratmann talks to Crime Time
In 1871 Brighton, Mina Scarletti, small, frail and with a twisted spine, faces the world with steely defiance. Robbed of that traditional hope of Victorian women – marriage and motherhood – she views this apparent disadvantage as an opportunity to achieve anything else she pleases. Mina writes tales of horror and hauntings, and she also exposes the crimes of fraudulent mediums who try to extort money from the vulnerable bereaved. In An Unquiet Ghost, her third adventure, she is consulted by an engaged couple, cousins, whose family is blighted by a 20 year old unsolved murder
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
This wouldn’t be a book for everybody—and that would be a shame. Massey has done a lot of research about India’s first female lawyer, Cornelia Sorabji, a Parsi called to the Bar in London, who also wrote novels of women’s experience. She has not based her heroine, the attorney Perveen Mistry, on Sorabji’s life (Perveen read Law in Oxford), but used it as the foundation of a crime novel set in 1920s Bombay, and writes her historical fiction from a contemporary angle
The Feed: Nick Clark Windo Talks to Crime Time
Nick Clark Windo
Crime is perennial, that’s surely one of its delights. Murder, kidnap, adultery – all those awful occurrences in real life have been explored through different forms of entertainment for millennia. But crime has been evolving. Of course the old crimes are still there – they’re great, they’re perennials – but how we live seems to be changing the nature of possible crimes.
Ruth Morse on Recent Crime
Martin Suter is Swiss, and sets his crime fiction in Switzerland. Adrian Weynfeldt is an expert in paintings at a local auction house in Zurich. (Local is itself more or less a term of art.) He lives alone in the large family flat, which has at its centre the memory of someone who has already died—his mother–at a great age, naturally, leaving behind her only child. So well brought up is this last Weynfeldt that his veneer appears to be impenetrable
Holy Ceremony by Harri Nykänen (trans. Kristian London)
The third outing for Helsinki based cop Ariel Kafka, investigating what his department is slow to categorise as an outbreak of serial murder – perhaps because the deaths have been taking place over several years. Are they looking for a fictionally conventional serial murderer, or are the murders linked for another reason?
Give in to the Dark Side: The State of Current Crime & Thriller Fiction
Barry Forshaw & Louise Rhind-Tutt in ‘I’ Weekend Culture: Books
How have crime novels become the industry’s sure-fire money-spinner? Here are a few clues: suspense, menace and sex. Barry Forshaw investigates
To the Max: Maxim Jakubowski on New Crime
One of the most diverse months in memory as we enter a new year, with no book similar to any other. Ranging from a potent slice of dark Americana, a fascinating look into the paperback jungles of the past, French thrills and racial politics, a version of San Francisco far removed from what tourists expect, a clever and involving nod to Hitchcock, the return of an old-time favourite at the top of his game, a decidedly experimental crime investigation that comes right out of the blue, a possible successor to James Bond with a techno edge and a change of gender, a bleak dystopian future and a corruscating look into the London power scene through a legal lens, all these titles stand out for their originality and sheer readability in spite of their differing approaches, techniques, locales and plots.
The Child Finder By Rene Denfeld
Barry Forshaw in The Financial Times
The ingredients of many an excellent crime novel have been conjured solely from a writer’s vivid imagination, but Rene Denfeld — while clearly not lacking keen imaginative facilities — has drawn on elements of her own life for the highly persuasive The Child Finder. The theme in the author’s second novel is the tricky one of child abuse — a subject that was problematic for the crime genre until fairly recently but is now a staple of the genre.
A Kickass Woman in a Man’s World: Steph Broadribb talks to Crime Time
My protagonist Lori Anderson is a woman operating in a man’s world. She’s used to the male dominated environment of bounty hunting and, because of the experiences she’s had of always having to prove her worth in the profession, she feels she has to be better than the men in order to be accepted as an equal.
The Execution of Justice by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (translated by John E Woods)
The always interesting Pushkin Press have reissued four Dürrenmatt crime classics (in suitably grainy dramatic covers) to pique the interest of those to whom his is a familiar name and to draw in any crime fan who wants to vary their diet with an unexpected Chef’s Surprise. It’s not that Dürrenmatt always took the road less chosen, more that he carved out an entirely different and perverse path through the literary undergrowth.
The Night Market: Jonathan Moore talks to Crime Time
I have an office on the twenty-sixth floor of a Honolulu high rise. The view out my window, predictably, is stunning. One evening recently, I saw something very different from the normal fare of humpback whales and ships heading to Pearl Harbor. A blur of motion. A small red light. I swiveled around, and saw it: hovering just a few inches from the glass was a drone. Its camera watched me watch it.
This is What Happened by Mick Herron
A title such as this one emphasizes its wares; this is a stand-alone novel, written with a bit more schmaltz than one might expect from such a witty writer. Or, perhaps, one gets witty schmaltz whether one expects it or not—as with some of the denizens of Slough House in Herron’s series haunts. To say that it revolves inescapably around what is without doubt stalking only gives a plot thread
Crime Scenery: Tony White talks to Crime Time
My latest novel The Fountain in the Forest is a detective story set in contemporary London, and in the South of France during the mid-1980s, as well as at the Battle of the Beanfield at Stonehenge in 1985. The story begins in the present day with Detective Sergeant Rex King of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command at Holborn Police Station hurrying to a central London crime scene
Dancing Home: Paul Collis talks to Sean O’Leary
Sean O'Leary, Paul Collis
Paul Collis is the winner of the David Unaipon Award for a previously unpublished Indigenous writer. He is a Barkindji man from Bourke in New South Wales, Australia. Paul Collis has taught in juvenile detention centres to Indigenous inmates. He has a BA and doctorate in Communications. He’s a very serious man and he can be quite scary because he is so, so, passionate about Aboriginal rights
Force of Nature by Jane Harper, Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Barry Forshaw in the Financial Times
Force of Nature by Jane Harper, Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
New Blu-rays from Powerhouse/Indicator, Arrow, Sony, Eureka
WIND RIVER, Taylor Sheridan, director/Sony Taylor Sheridan’s film has been steadily acquiring something of a reputation for its effortless command of the material – not to mention its vivid sense of place. A gripping crime thriller set in the unforgiving snow plains of Wyoming. Elizabeth Olsen stars as a rookie FBI agent tasked with solving the brutal murder of a young woman in a Native American reserve. Enlisting the help of a local hunter (Jeremy Renner) to help her navigate the freezing wilderness, the two set about trying to find a vicious killer hidden in plain sight
The Wife: Alafair Burke talks to Crime Time
The Wife was born of a single observation: when a married man is accused of sexual misconduct, the public gaze inevitably shifts to include his private partner—the wife. No matter how hard she may try to avoid the spotlight, she becomes part of the narrative.