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The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham

The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham
Michael Carlson

Someone is killing cats up North London way, and although Tom Thorne can’t help but feel tomicide is not his proper calling, he’s going to be seconded to his old Kentish Town stomping grounds, an improvement over his new commute from his partner Helen’s place in Tulse Hill up to Hendon. And he knows there is always the possibility the serial feline killer might move on to something more satisfying, for both of them. That’s the grim reality for Thorne, an honesty that makes him one of British crime fiction’s most compelling detectives.

PERSONAL INSECURITY: James Swallow

PERSONAL INSECURITY: James Swallow
The author of Ghost talks to Crime Time

Hello, gentle reader. With nearly 2 billion users around the world, the chances are pretty good that you and most of the other people reading this own a smartphone. And you probably use those natty little headphones that came with it, right? You may even make use of the phone’s voice-responsive software apps that talk back to you like they’re a real person. All of it is cool tech, designed to make life more frictionless for the user.

What You Want to See: Kristen Lepionka talks to Crime Time

What You Want to See: Kristen Lepionka talks to Crime Time

Be nice but not too fucking nice. That’s the last thing private investigator Roxane Weary’s father says to her before his death, and it sticks with her. As a PI, she has no problem with the not too nice part. But women—whether they’re PIs or writers or whatever—are expected to be nice. Likable. Polite. Mild-mannered. If you’re a woman who doesn’t fall into those categories, you might get a label like bossy, or shrill, or domineering, pushy, too emotional, difficult. And once you’re pegged as difficult, you’re in real trouble.

Thriller Roundup

Thriller Roundup
Barry Forshaw in The Guardian

The best thrillers offer something more ambitious than simply raising the pulse rate of the reader. In Star of the North by DB John (Harvill Secker, £12.99), it’s geopolitical complexity: the book is set in the dictatorship of North Korea, and includes unusual protagonists as well as an unsparing picture of the regime, contrasting the wealth of the elite with the grinding poverty of the disadvantaged. North Korean/African-American Jenna Williams is desperate for news of her missing twin, who vanished in South Korea over a decade ago

Don’t Make a Sound: David Jackson talks to Crime Time

Don’t Make a Sound: David Jackson talks to Crime Time

Last year, I took part in a crime writing event called Liverpool Noir. It was hosted by Waterstones in the centre of Liverpool, and was put together and expertly hosted by none other than Barry Forshaw, the esteemed editor of Crime Time. Barry is originally from this fair city and can still slip into a convincing Scouse accent on request (and after a few glasses of wine). During the discussions, Barry told us about how, like Dick Whittington, he felt drawn to the gold-paved streets of London to pursue his career in writing (I have no idea whether he took a cat with him).

Beast (Michael Pearce, director)

Beast (Michael Pearce, director)
Michael Carlson

Michael Pearce’s debut feature Beast, which played at the London Film Festival in October, is set on Jersey, and begins at a birthday party for Moll, who has the spotlight stolen from her by her sister’s announcement of an impending baby. Moll, who is kept well under the thumb of her domineering mother Hilary, escapes from the party and spends the night dancing. But when her dancing partner begins to get aggressively amorous on the beach in the morning, she is rescued by Pascal, carrying the rifle he’s been using to poach rabbits.

New Crime Blu-rays & DVDs

New Crime Blu-rays & DVDs
Barry Forshaw

A declaration of interest: I supplied one of the Blu-ray extras for this definitive gangster movie from Roger: Corman. But even if I hadn’t, I’d be extolling the virtues of this violent and kinetic piece as one of the director’s best and most ambitious movies. The film — as well as being one of the liveliest crime movies you are likely to see — carries out its various levels of ambition with great panache. While the story of Al Capone’s most famous crime (the wiping out of his rival’s gang) is dispassionately told in documentary fashion, the visceral impact of the film (not least the copious bloodshed — something Roger Corman was never one to shy away from), it has the impact and intelligence of a far less sophisticated piece of work

Star of the North: D.B. John talks to Crime Time

Star of the North: D.B. John talks to Crime Time

On 19 December 2011 the North Korean public was told to stand by for an important announcement at noon. Many people, therefore, were gathered in front of television sets when Ri Chun-hee, the regime’s notorious news anchorwoman, appeared dressed in black. In a voice choking with emotion she announced that Kim Jong-il, the Dear Leader, who had ruled the country for seventeen years, had died. Working for the people until the very end, she said, he had suffered a heart attack on board his private train while travelling to one of his regular field guidance inspections. Even before she had finished speaking, a great outpouring of public grieving and mass hysteria was spilling into the streets.

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