Thursday, 29 March 2007

In Under the Wire

Crime fiction writer Walter Mosley, author of "Devil in a Blue Dress," is being sued by his ex-wife for money she says he agreed to pay out of income from several of his books. Joy Kellman says in court papers that Mosley owes her at least $500,000 (€374,475), plus interest, from earnings on 11 books as provided by their divorce agreement. Some of the books were published after their divorce. The two were married from Sept. 5, 1987, until June 19, 2001, and had no children. Mosley, whose "Devil in a Blue Dress" was made into a movie starring Denzel Washington in 1995, is author of a crime series featuring private detective Easy Rawlins and sidekick Mouse. These and a few other books are the subject of Kellman's lawsuit. Mosley has been described by former President Bill Clinton as one of his favorite writers. Mosley's attorney, Kenneth Burrows, said he had no comment on the lawsuit.

Michael Crichton, sparking the imagination, and controversy An article in The Sherwood Gazette by Matt Chhay provides a short overview of the author
From the inner workings of a hospital, to the depths of the ocean, to the middle of a desert wasteland, Michael Crichton writes books that spark the imagination and exercise the human mind. Best known as the writer of "Jurassic Park," and the creator of the hit TV show "ER," Crichton is one of the most recognizable names among Hollywood writers.

Winfrey Picks Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’

Oprah Winfrey has named "The Road," by Cormac McCarthy, as her latest book club selection, The Associated Press reported. The novel, published in September by Alfred A. Knopf, is a despairing account of a boy and his father lurching across the cold, wretched, wet, corpse-strewn, ashen landscape of a post-apocalyptic world. In her review in The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, " 'The Road' would be pure misery if not for its stunning, savage beauty.' " Ms. Winfrey said yesterday: "It is so extraordinary. I promise you, you'll be thinking about it long after you finish the final page." According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales, "The Road" has sold 138,000 copies. A paperback edition of the novel, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize and regarded as a contender for a Pulitzer Prize, was not planned until September, but Vintage Books is publishing one now.


Galaxy British Book Awards - The results
Galaxy's TV campaign kicks off - see ad.
THE BOOK TRADE is to see the first ever national, multi-channel, generic TV campaign for books as a result of Galaxy's headline sponsorship of the British Book Awards and its aim of extending its relationship with books and reading. The television campaign launched on Sunday, 18 March, with over 60 slots booked on peak time television. The advert, which features a scene recreated from The Great Gatsby,will be seen by a predicted 34 million adults at least once. Channels booked include ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, Channel 5, E4, Sky 1 and Living, while the programmes it will be broadcast between range from Emmerdale to Sex and the City. Another advert will be broadcast after the awards, encouraging viewers to read the winning books. Galaxy is spending £1.4m on the media campaign, which also includes press and online adverts.
The books are the stars...
FOR A FLAVOUR of the night when books and authors become stars, have a look at our Gallery page, where you will see literary giants such as JK Rowling, Alan Bennett and Anthony Horowitz put on their best outfits to accept Nibbies at last year's event.
Visit the Gallery page here.
In brief:
Richard and Judy Best Read of the Year
WINNER - The Interpretation of Murder Jed Rubenfeld Headline Review
BCA Crime Thriller of the Year
WINNER - The Naming of the Dead Ian Rankin Orion
Looking Good Dead Peter James Macmillan/Pan
One Good Turn Kate Atkinson Doubleday
The Righteous Men Sam Bourne HarperCollins
WINNER- Anybody Out There Marian Keyes Michael Joseph
Close Martina Cole Headline
The Constant Princess Philippa Gregory HarperCollins
Wicked! Jilly Cooper Bantam

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Take a few days off and you get left behind in this blogosphere. Monday night I attended Headline's Crime Evening, and what a superb event it was. I'm just waiting for Snapper Karim to send in the photos and the report will be up at SHOTS. But enough of that ... on with some news:

Garry Disher has always been the quiet achiever of Australian crime fiction but Chain of Evidence deserves a fanfare. He wrote six crime novels featuring the career criminal Wyatt, starting with Kick Back in 1991 (a series inspired by the hard-boiled Parker novels of American Donald Westlake), then some eight years later created a new series character, Detective Inspector Hall Challis, who first appeared in The Dragon Man. Chain of Evidence, the fourth book in this series inspired by the regional police procedurals of British writer John Harvey, is by far the most successfully achieved.
The British Academy Television Craft Awards Nominations Announced From Life On Mars To Take That

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has today announced the nominations for the forthcoming British Academy Television Craft Awards. The stars will turn out to celebrate the heart of the television industry on Sunday 22 April at The Dorchester in London, when they will honour the unsung heroes of television. The evening will be hosted by Jon Snow.

With 5 nominations each, 70s cop series Life On Mars and feature-length Myra Hindley drama Longford, lead the way in a hugely competitive fight for the coveted BAFTA masks.Unique to the British Academy Television Craft Awards is the diversity of programming in its categories, which this year sees programmes Jane Eyre and An Audience With Take That….Live! going head to head for Production Design.

With 3 nominations each are some of the major television highlights of the past year: Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect : The Final Act, the costume drama Jane Eyre, the revealing Breaking Up With The Joneses, the fictionalised drama Tsunami: The Aftermath and natural history series Planet Earth.

Peter Morgan, who won 2 BAFTAs earlier this year for his film The Last King Of Scotland, will be hoping to make it a hat trick, having been nominated for his drama Longford in the Writer category. His worthy competitors for this award are Frank Deasy – Prime Suspect – The Final Act; Matthew Graham – Life On Mars and writing team Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant – Extras.

This year sees writers, directors and producers nominated for Break-through Talent. Neil Biswas writer/director of the feature length drama Bradford Riots, recreates the night of vicious riots in 2001, seen through the eyes of a group of young Asian men. Writer Sharon Foster in her feature length drama Shoot The Messenger, portrays a black teacher accused of racism for assaulting one of his black pupils. Producer/director Nick Holt in his documentary Guys and Dolls, shows the hidden world of grown men who embark on fully intimate relationships with life size, anatomically correct dolls. And last but not least maths teacher Brian Fillis is nominated for his first written work for television Fear Of Fanny, a drama about the first TV cook Fanny Craddock.

The British Academy Television Craft Awards for Interactive Innovation and New Media Developer underline their importance in complementing and expanding on the televisual experience. There is a wide spectrum of nominees in these categories, from CDX a broadband interactive game linked to the BBC history series Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire to Breaking the News, a Channel 4 website for users to experience how broadcast news works.
Memories Of Murder

Drama, based on a true story. The calm of a rural village is shattered by a series of murders The inept police seem to be getting nowhere with their investigations, will the arrival of a big city detective help catch the killer? In Korean with English subtitles. Strong language. [2003, Joon-Ho-Boon]

Detective Park Doo-Man ...... Kang-Ho Song
Detective Seo Tae-Yoon ...... Sang-Kyung Kim
Detective Cho Yong-koo ...... Roe-ha Kim
Sergeant Shin Dong-chul ...... Jae-ho Song
Sergeant Koo Hee-bong ...... Hie-bong Byeon

BBC4TV Sat 31 Mar, 22:35-00:45 130mins Stereo Widescreen

Denise Hamilton is delighted to announce the publication of LOS ANGELES NOIR, an anthology from Akashic Books that I edited featuring 17 brand new stories by Michael Connelly, Janet Fitch, Susan Straight, Hector Tobar, Patt Morrison, Robert Ferrigno, Neal Pollack, Gary Phillips, Christopher Rice, Naomi Hirahara, Jim Pascoe, Scott Phillips, Diana Wagman, Lienna Silver, Brian Ascalon Roley, Emory Holmes II and Denise.

LOS ANGELES NOIR brings the ethos of Chandler and Cain filtered through a twenty-first-century, multicultural lens. This is a literary travelogue from the Chinese mansions of San Marino to the day spas of Koreatown to the windy hills of Mulholland Drive, the baby gangsters of East Hollywood, the OG entrepreneur of Leimert Park, the old money of Beverly Hills, and the working class of Mar Vista. Los Angeles Noir offers tales of crime and passion and betrayal from some of the most
innovative and celebrated writers working today.

Publishers Weekly said:

Connelly's "Mulholland Drive," a nice tribute to the classic noir film Double Indemnity, is representative of the quality writing that followers of previous volumes have come to expect. The movie industry, both latter-day and the present, offers a rich background for tight tales of trapped men and women whose passions or desperate circumstances lead them to violent ends, such as the book's stand-out,
Janet Fitch's "The Method." Another highpoint is the collection's concluding story, Diana Wagman's "What You See," a depressing but compelling tale of a tragic obsession.

For those in the US you are invited to join the authors for one of the following
readings/signings/cocktail parties/movie screenings. For more info,
please visit or


San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini's imagination is in overdrive this week. But it's not to solve yet another murder case — the homicide prosecutor has handled 125 murder cases in a career spanning three decades, and has won every one of them. This week, he's huddling with longtime friend and best-selling crime writer John Lescroart to figure out how to nail the real killer in Lescroart's latest novel, which is set in San Francisco and Iraq. Read on for the full story.

According to Charlie Stross, ebook sales figures are dismal. At best, they tend towards 20% of hardcover sales by volume — and that's for ebooks that are available in open formats that are not tied to a particular hardware platform, and that are not crippled by DRM (digital rights management) encryption schemes that prevent users from reading them on more than one machine. DRM-infested ebooks sell an order of magnitude fewer copies, in many cases not even covering the cost of taking the existing typeset masters and saving them in an ebook format.

March is Women’s History Month. Nearly 600 state and local police officers in the Untied States have written books. And, twenty-one of those police officers are women. Like their male counterparts, they have written fiction, autobiographies, academic texts and even poetry. Interestingly enough, the most successful writer of romantic fiction is a retired male motorcop. Put the motorcop aside for the moment and let’s take a brief tour of the history of women police officers as writers.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Nicholas Cage buys book rights

Actor Nicholas Cage has purchased the rights to play an NYPD detective in a film based on the book "Circle of Six," which delves into the still officially unsolved murder of a city police officer inside a Harlem mosque in 1972.

Cage, who recently played a Port Authority sergeant in 2006's "World Trade Center" and is appearing in the film adaptation of the comic book "Ghost Rider", also bought the rights to shop around "Circle of Six."

Retired Detective Randy Jurgensen and Robert Cea co-wrote "Circle of Six," published in 2006. Jurgensen was one of the investigators who looked into the murder of Police Officer Philip Cardillo on April 14, 1972. Cardillo was killed in a Harlem mosque that at that time was led by the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan.

In "Circle of Six," the authors allege that city and racial politics of the day hampered the investigation, even though Jurgensen argues in the book that he captured Cardillo's killer.

Criminal News ....

The agent Brie Burkeman in association with Serafina Clarke has just concluded an option on the television rights in GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS by Joanne Harris (Chocolat, Five Quarters Of The Orange) to Bentley Productions. Peter Ransley (Fallen Angel, Fingersmith) is attached to adapt.


The Daily Mail launches a first novel award in association with Transworld Publishers

The Daily Mail has teamed up with Transworld Publishers to launch the Daily Mail First Novel Award. Transworld will offer the winning author a publishing contract of £30,000 and publish the winning book in April 2008.

The award will be judged by bestselling Transworld authors Joanne Harris and Lee Child; Jane Mays, the Literary Editor of the Daily Mail; Benedicte Page, the Book News Editor of The Bookseller, and Francesca Liversidge, Senior Publishing Director of Transworld.

‘We are delighted to be working with the Daily Mail on this exciting new venture’, said Francesca Liversidge, ‘and we look forward to discovering an author with real bestselling potential. Securing that all-important first publishing contract can be fraught with difficulties and we hope this initiative will provide an opportunity for new talent to reach the marketplace.’

All entries must be original, previously unpublished début works of fiction on any subject or genre, from romance to crime, science fiction to adventure. The closing date for the competition is 2nd July 2007.

For the terms and conditions of entry go to or, or for a printed copy send a stamped addressed envelope to Daily Mail First Novel Award, Transworld Publishers, 61-63 Uxbridge Rd, London W5 5SA


On 6 April, Macmillan New Writing will publish Borderlands by young Irish author Brian McGilloway. It is the first in a brilliant new series of crime fiction novels featuring Inspector Benedict Devlin. As you will see from the attached press release, Borderlands is a gripping and remarkably well written debut. It is tightly plotted with several intertwining stories and an exceptionally strong voice.
Crime fiction reviewer Ayo Onatade has already described the book as "a highly tense, taut debut novel with the same intensity one has come to expect from established authors."
Brian's equally dazzling second novel Gallows Lane is going to be published by Macmillan New Writing next April and Pan Macmillan has just signed Brian up for a three book deal, making McGilloway the first MNW discovery to find a long-term home with Macmillan.


There's a new crime blog site in town which I recommend you should all sign up for. It's only been two weeks since its launch and has already attracted names such as Jason Starr, Ray Banks, Donna Moore, Pat Mullen, Ken Bruen and a whole lot more.
Visit to see what it is all about.


Val McDermid
has written an article for SHOTS about writing THE GRAVE TATTOO
One of the joys of writing contemporary crime fiction is the way the supposed rules of the genre have collapsed. A succession of bold and adventurous writers have opened our horizons as never before. And what that means is that writers have more opportunity to boldly go wherever their imagination takes them. The only requirement, I suspect, is not to be dull.

Read the full article here


Wednesday, 21 March 2007

March of the Penguins ...

Penguin (UK) has launched a design award to encourage final year designers on a Degree or HND Art or Design course to engage in publishing during their studies and to respond to real jacket design briefs at first hand.

Penguin has evolved from being the first mass-market paperback publisher in Britain to one of the most recognisable brands ever. Its logo and the famous classic Penguin cover, with its basic horizontal grid, are recognized and imitated the world over.

Penguin covers developed together with graphic design as a profession. Under a long line of talented and creative designers, the design of Penguin books has matured and progressed. It is currently led by Jim Stoddart and John Hamilton, the two Penguin art directors who will be judging this award. Joining them on the judging panel are author Ali Smith, Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum and Jamie Hewlett, creator of Gorillaz.

The panel will be chaired by Penguin Managing Director, Helen Fraser, who commented, "We are very excited to see what Penguin’s design heritage will inspire from the freshest and brightest young design students. I’m looking forward to seeing the result.”

The closing date for the award is April 20th , so you'd better get your crayons out pronto, and the winner of the award will be announced at the end of May. For more details visit the website.

Ali Smith, is the author of several collections of short stories and three novels, including The Accidental, which won the 2006 Whitbread Novel Award. Ali works with Penguin on her book covers, which use images by leading contemporary practitioners in art, photography and film.
Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum. He has been Dean of Art, Design and Architecture at Kingston University, architecture critic for the Observer, a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art and editor of Domus, the international magazine of art, architecture and design. In 2002, he was Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale. His books include the The Edifice Complex, 100-Miles City, The Architecture Pack and monographs on John Pawson, Ron Arad and Richard Rogers.

Jamie Hewlett, Creator of comic-book military chick Tank Girl and co-creator of turbo boosted cartoon band Gorillaz, which won him the 2006 Design Museum’s Designer of the Year Award. Work by Hewlett’s graphics company, Zombie Flesh Eaters, includes a commission from Yoko Ono to animate John Lennon's original illustrations for inclusion on the Lennon Legends DVD.


Entrants will choose one of four books to design.
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – popular science about the power of intuition
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy – powerful and tragic love story
Mr Clarinet by Nick Stone – haunting thriller set in Miami and Haiti
Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell – a sophisticated comedy of relationships and family

See for full details.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

No Sh*t, Sherlock....

Hollywood creativity shows no sign of letting up as Warner Bros announced it is reinventing Sherlock Holmes as an action hero.

Neil Marshall, the British director of The Descent, has been hired to helm the project and transform the erudite sleuth of 221B Baker Street into something a little more rough-hewn. Studio executives are keeping mum about the storyline, although it is understood that Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary creation will employ his little known pugilistic skills and swordsmanship to vanquish Victorian villainy.

The story will be adapted from Lionel Wigram's upcoming graphic novel Sherlock Holmes, screenwriter Michael Johnson has already been assigned to work on the script with the British Wigram set to produce.

Holmes' newfound fighting prowess alone will not be enough to overcome his foes, however. In keeping with the vogue of buddy-buddy movies, the producers are pairing up the crime-fighter an re-invent Dr John Watson, in much the same edgy way that Christopher Nolan has re-imagined Batman for the company.

Since 1900, Variety reports that more than 75 actors have taken on the role of the British detective, either in television or movies.

Virgin Comics and Guy Ritchie have announced the details of their collaboration on an upcoming graphic novel and comic book series. On March 28th, the first issue of Guy Ritchie’s Gamekeeper will be released as part of Virgin Comics’ Director’s Cut imprint, a series of stories destined for the silver screen from iconic filmmakers across the world. Director’s Cut titles have included John Woo’s Seven Brothers, and Shekhar Kapur’s Snake Woman, as well as upcoming projects with Terry Gilliam and Nicolas Cage.

British filmmaker, Guy Ritchie reinvented the gangster film with his razor-sharp dialogue, dynamic editing and raw visual style. He has written and directed the highly acclaimed films Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, starring Brad Pitt.
The partnership between Virgin Comics and Guy Ritchie is a landmark endeavor for the two creative powerhouses. For Guy Ritchie, launching this series with Virgin Comics was a perfect fit. “By my creative nature I’m drawn to the visual sensibility of comic book storytelling, so creating a comic was an obvious and exciting prospect,“ says Ritchie. “In Gamekeeper, the harsh and primal order rubs shoulders with the alchemical wisdom of nature.”

"Guy Ritchie's creativity and maverick filmmaking embody the spirit of our mission here at Virgin Comics," commented Sharad Devarajan, CEO of Virgin Comics. "For a filmmaker the visual medium of comic books provides the perfect opportunity to create a story akin to a movie with an unlimited budget."

Chief Creative Officer, Gotham Chopra agrees: "When we launched our ‘Director's Cut' line, we said we wanted to work with the coolest film-makers. Cool defines Guy Ritchie. When we actually sat down and started to brainstorm ideas and Gamekeeper started to emerge, he raised the bar even more. I think people will really love this book—and hopefully one day—the film that comes from it, directed by Guy Ritchie."

Gamekeeper is an epic tale of espionage telling the story of one man’s battle with the brutal civilized world—and his animalistic inner-self. Brock is a reclusive, enigmatic groundsman who lives a quiet existence on the estate of Jonah Morgan, until mercenaries invade and shatter the tranquility of Brock’s refuge. Set on a path of vengeance, he is forced to face the dark events of his past in an order to unveil the sinister intentions of the dark forces that conspire against him. As he is drawn deeper into a world of politics, military and science, Brock must struggle to tame the animal within.

Nominees for 2007 Thriller Awards

The International Thriller Writers (ITW) just announced the nominees for this year's Thriller Awards. The winners will be revealed at ThrillerFest, this July in New York City.

The nominees are:

Best Novel
False Impression, Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin's Press)
Killer Instinct, Joseph Finder (St. Martin's Press)
Cold Kill, Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Messenger, Daniel Silva (Putnam)
Beautiful Lies, Lisa Unger (Shaye Areheart Books/Bantam)

Best First Novel
Shadow of Death, Patricia Gussin (Oceanview Publishing)
Switchback, Matthew Klein (Orion)
A Thousand Suns, Alex Scarrow (Orion)
18 Seconds, George D. Shuman (Simon & Schuster)
Mr. Clarinet, Nick Stone (Michael Joseph Ltd/Penguin)

Best Paperback Original
Skeleton Coast, Clive Cussler with Jack DuBrul (Berkley Trade)
The Deep Blue Alibi, Paul Levine (Bantam)
An Unquiet Grave, P.J. Parrish (Pinnacle)
Headstone City, Tom Piccirilli (Spectra Books/Crown)
Mortal Faults, Michael Prescott (Onyx Books)

Best Screenplay
Inside Man: Russell Gewirtz
The Departed: William Monahan
The Good Shepherd: Eric Roth
Children of Men: Alfonse Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata,
Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby
Casino Royale: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis

Congratulations to all the nominees! Some excellent books on there. And how about some predictions?
Best Novel
Killer Instinct, Joseph Finder (St. Martin's Press)

Best First Novel
Mr Clarinet, Nick Stone (Michael Joseph Ltd/Penguin)

Best Screenplay
The Departed, William Monahan

Any way it pans out, I'll be in New York to clap all the nominees.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Michael Marshall's THE INTRUDERS

With the imminent release of Michael Marshall's latest crime book The Intruders, Ali Karim (an ardent fan) questioned the author for a piece at During the interview Michael says,
"I’ve always thought of what I do more as ‘noir’ than crime, and essentially the core perspective has been the same right from the earliest novels. Those happened to be set in the future, and so got labelled ‘sf’ (and died in the crime market); the last three novels were set in the present day, so they’ve been seen as ‘crime’ (thus perplexing sf readers). To me it’s all been the same, just with changes in emphasis."
There is also a chance to download a pdf sample. The complete interview will be available to view on 16th March. Click here to check it out.

The Intruders is published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (2 April 2007)
Hardback £12.99

Potter vs Rebus - Round One

Crime books have given Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling a run for its money when it was announced that the sixth novel in the series was the most borrowed book from Scottish libraries in 2006.
Edinburgh-based crime writer Ian Rankin had two books in the top 10, as did James Patterson and Quintin Jardine. The statistics were released by the Public Lending Right (PLR), an organization which distributes funds to authors whose books are borrowed by library users.
Other authors that made the top 10 included Alexander McCall, Patricia Cornwell and Howard Roughan.The PLR figures show a growing trend towards crime fiction and a move away from romantic novels.
Jim Parker, the head of the PLR, said: "The Scottish figures are interesting in that they reflect a trend towards crime fiction and a move away from the romantic stories that once dominated the list. There does seem to be a preoccupation with grisly crime which features very strongly in the Scottish list. Also Scottish writers feature more heavily than locals do in lists from other parts of the UK, and I think that reflects the strength of crime fiction in Scotland at the moment."
Jacqueline Wilson was the most borrowed author from UK libraries last year, the PLR figures revealed.
Titles by the children’s writer were lent almost two million times between July 2005 and June 2006.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Jack's Back

A boy has been crucified in Galway city.

People are shocked; the broadsheets debate what this says about the state of the nation; the Irish Church is scandalized. No further action is taken.

When the sister of the murdered boy is burned alive, PI Jack Taylor decides to take matters into his own hands.

Taylor’s investigations take him to some old city haunts where he encounters ghosts – living and dead.But what he eventually finds surpasses even his darkest imaginings …

A novel of dark alchemy; a terrifying, uncompromising road-trip to Hell – and back.

By award-winning author, Ken Bruen.

....more to come ......


Brian Thompson's has signed a two book deal with Atlantic Books for his untitled Bella Wallis Mysteries, set in fin de siecle nineteenth-century London, starring a writer of sensationalist fiction whose search for plots for her own novels leads her to become embroiled in real mysteries. Previously Brian has written for the stage, radio, and television, and has published four novels. His previous foray into crime books was Ladder of Angels, published by John Harvey’s Slow Dancer Press back in 1999.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Recently in the UK, there have been newspaper and internet articles regarding books that people don't actually get to finish. I believe The Times started it off, and you can read the whole thing here.

According to a recent survey, "the average Briton spends more than £4,000 on books over a lifetime, but leaves nearly half unfinished". A high percentage of people surveyed confessed to buying titles that would look good in front of others. Admittedly my sons have the whole Harry Potter oeuvre but I've never delved into them.

My main reading time is taken up with reading for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and I must admit that out of the hundreds I have read, there are just a couple of titles I've not been able to finish (and that's in my three years as a judge). But here's the list of the top ten unfinished fiction books and you'll see that crime and thriller books comes out well.

1 Vernon God Little, D.B.C. Pierre
2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J K Rowling
3 Ulysses, James Joyce
4 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres
5 Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
6 The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
7 The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
8 War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
9 The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
10 Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky


And in an article in the Independent Online: The average author earns about £16,000, a third less than the national average wage, it is revealed. So what? They're doing what they love. But hidden behind that figure released by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a grimmer truth: when you take away the superstars who are earning shedloads, the actual figure for the rest is closer to £4,000.


Hot on the heels of all this is an interesting piece on Minette Walters in The Guardian Unlimited. I've met Minette on several ocassions and we've always had a laugh and she comes across as a very genuine person, interested in what you have to say but, as the article states, does tend to fight shy of the camera. So it's lucky that Snapper Karim got this shot of her at a CWA Awards Lunch.


How Bond nearly came from Prussia with love
by Murdo Macleod in Scotman on Sunday

A VETERAN German actor has revealed how one of his country's top thriller directors planned to make Bond films before Sir Sean Connery hit cinema screens as 007.

Joachim Fuchsberger, who starred in German action and detective films in the 1950s and 1960s, was asked to play Bond but a funding crisis in West German cinema meant that the project could not go ahead.

In an interview with the Hamburg-based magazine Stern, Fuchsberger - now 79 - described how his country's top thriller director, Horst Wendlandt, met him in the late 1950s to discuss the possibility of turning the Bond books into a film. Wendlandt wanted Fuchsberger to play Bond.

Fuchsberger said: "I told [Wendlandt], you have to make it in colour. And then there are the exotic locations. It's going to be really expensive.'"

In the event the first Bond film, Dr No, was produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli for $1m (about £357,000 at the time) in 1961.

Fuchsberger added: "I think that Sean Connery is for me the best Bond, he played the role brilliantly. Whether I would have played the role the same, I'm not so sure. Everyone has their own way of playing different roles."

And for those of you with Bond Withdrawal Symptoms, Casino Royale is out on DVD is as a two disc set, with extras including how Craig became Bond, a look at Bond's ladies, and a journey into the stunts of the film. It is also being released in the Blu-ray and UMD formats, not to mention the dreaded "full screen" formatting.


Weird title change: Reginald Hill's Death of Dalziel becomes Death Comes for the Fat Man (Doubleday, Canada).


Amanda Burton returns as Commander Clare Blake in three new films for ITV1 in Lynda La Plante’s series The Commander.

Some of the guest stars taking roles alongside Amanda Burton: Celia Imrie (Kingdom, The Last Detective, Calendar Girls) Greg Wise (Trial and Retribution: Sins of the Father, Elizabeth David: A Life in Recipes) Yorick Van Wageningen (The New World, Commander: Blacklight)Simon Williams (Doctors, Heartbeat, The Gathering Storm) Matt Day (Spooks, Hotel Babylon, Shackleton)Penny Downie (Trial and Retribution: The Lovers; New Street Law) and newcomer Blake Ritson (Mansfield Park).

About these three films Lynda says “We have three really fabulous films with very different styles – each director giving their strong stamp to the already successful Commander franchise. I am very excited and confident that Amanda Burton is delivering another hit!”

Brief details of the forthcoming series:

The Commander: The Devil You Know
Starring: Amanda Burton
Mark Lewis Jones – Celia Imrie – Simon Williams – Matt Day
2 x 60min
In a tragic opening, the body of a two year-old girl is discovered in a derelict mental institution, sealed in an oil drum. Eric Thornton, a schizophrenic ex-patient, soon emerges as the main suspect. As the hunt for Thornton intensifies, Commander Clare Blake (Amanda Burton) clashes with the drug squad tracking Thornton in a parallel investigation. In Blake’s desperate hunt to uncover the truth behind the girl’s death, events take an unexpected and deadly turn. Will the dark secrets of the hospital and its patients be revealed at last?

The Commander: Fraudster
Guest stars – Penny Downie - Greg Wise - Yorick Van Wageningen
2 x 60min
Donald Griffith, self-made millionaire, seems to have the perfect life - until he’s found dead in his own pool. Commander Clare Blake heads up the police investigation, alongside a returning Detective Van Hauten (Yorick Van Wageningen) from the Amsterdam murder squad. Together they uncover Griffith’s secret life of lies and deceit – a wife, a mistress and an affair with his secretary, plus seriously fraudulent financial dealings. Three women who appear to be adversaries, but all with motive - could they have conspired to pull off the perfect murder and inherit Griffith’s millions?

The Commander: Windows of the Soul
2 x 60min
On an East London estate, with a history of bad blood between residents and the police, a priest is brutally beaten and stabbed to death. Suspicion falls on Jimmy Bannerman, from the local boxing club – a talented fighter. Commander Clare Blake and DCI Doug James are polarised by this boxing protégé, the brutal competitiveness of the amateur boxing world resonating with Doug’s own youth. Following a vicious attack on a fellow detective, Blake and Doug are forced to put aside their differences and find the killer before he strikes again and more violence erupts on this already troubled estate.


Mystery Writers of America Elects New Officers; Bestselling Author Nelson DeMille to Serve as National President

New York, NY—March 7, 2007—Mystery Writers of America (MWA) recently announced the election of its national officers for the 2007-2008 term, including President Nelson DeMille.

DeMille is the bestselling author of: By the Rivers of Babylon, Cathedral, The Talbot Odyssey, Word of Honor, The Charm School, The Gold Coast, The General's Daughter, Spencerville, Plum Island, The Lion's Game, Up Country, Night Fall, and Wild Fire.

Serving alongside President DeMille are Secretary Frankie Y. Bailey, Treasurer Bob Williamson, and Executive Vice President Daniel J. Hale.

In his new role of Executive Vice President, Daniel J. Hale will be guiding the organization through a year of groundbreaking initiatives. Hale stated, “It is my great honor and pleasure to serve as the Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America, the premier organization for crime writers, professionals allied to the mystery writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those devoted to the genre.

“Mystery Writers of America is an organization dedicated to service. Through the newly announced MWA:Reads Library Initiative, we aim to provide books for American youth who might not otherwise have access to the wonderful world of mystery. We have also formed an Education Committee, one whose planned programs are designed to help increase the educational opportunities for the mystery community. Through it all, MWA remains steadfast in its dedication to promoting higher regard for crime writing, as well as raising the level of recognition and respect for its membership.”

Hale continued, “In the near future, MWA will launch its new website, one that has been completely redesigned. Not only visually stunning, it will usher in unprecedented opportunities for the 3,000 members of MWA, as well as those in the general public wanting to know more about their favorite authors.”

Mystery Writers of America’s membership includes publishers, editors, literary agents, and screen and television writers, as well as authors of fiction and non-fiction books.

The organization will celebrate the 61st anniversary of the Edgar® Awards on April 26th in New York City. The awards will be hosted by Al Roker of NBC’s Today Show and will honor Stephen King as the 2007 Grand Master. For more information about the Edgars, please visit

Friday, 9 March 2007

Morse At 20 - And An ITV3 Celebration Weekend

This April is a milestone in the life of Colin Dexter’s creation - Inspector Morse. He reaches a grand age of 20, in television years that is and a special ITV3 weekend next month celebrating his anniversary reaches a climax with Morse Live At The Albert Hall, a spectacular evening of music, hosted by Michael Parkinson and headlining opera stars Lesley Garrett, Sir Willard White and Alfie Boe.

The Albert Hall concert – staged with Classic FM – will include performances of music specially selected from the series, as well as pieces that illustrate the much-loved facets of the eponymous Oxford detective. Featured composers will include Wagner, Mozart, Puccini, Handel and Haydn. It will be held on 19 April, and transmitted on ITV3 during the Morse weekend on 28 and 29 April.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra will be joined on stage by the Crouch End Festival Chorus, conducted by Simon Wright. Award-winning composer Barrington Pheloung, who created the famous Morse theme and original music for the series, will also make a guest appearance on the conductor’s podium.

Performers include soprano Lesley Garrett, taking a night off from her acclaimed appearance in The Sound of Music, bass-baritone Sir Willard White and popular young tenor Alfie Boe.

Kevin Whately, who played Morse’s long-suffering colleague in the series and now stars in the new ITV drama Lewis, will also make a special appearance in the TV programme.

ITV3’s Inspector Morse Weekend will also feature new documentaries, including There’s Something About Morse, in which actors – among them John Thaw’s widow Sheila Hancock – writers and producers explore the unsurpassed success of the ITV series, and The Music of Morse, a detailed examination of how music is used in the drama, and narrated by Kevin Whately.

The channel will also screen 12 Morse episodes, each with an introduction by Kevin as he recounts his memories from filming, including his first encounter with John Thaw and their trip to Australia for The Promised Land episode.

The Morse episode from Super Sleuths, which shows how the Oxford detective made the transition from page to screen, will also be screened as part of the weekend, and there will be another chance to see The John Thaw Story, first transmitted on ITV in 2002, the year of John’s death at the age of 60. Morse Live At The Albert Hall is sponsored by Nescafé; its transmission on ITV3 is sponsored by Classic FM.

Steven Andrew, Programme Director, ITV Digital Channels, said: “Celebrating its 20th anniversary with a weekend dedicated to Inspector Morse is a fitting way to acknowledge Morse's important contribution to our television culture.
“Our contribution has been to commission a whole raft of original shows that examine both the series and the character, helpfully giving viewers a new insight into what has made this series so enduring.

“Our transmission of the concert demonstrates that ITV3 is about more than just repeats. We wanted an event that both supported ITV3 values as well as giving our viewers a chance to participate. This concert is the first step towards taking the brand ‘Great stories, beautifully told’ beyond TV. The choice of Classic FM is also important as it's a partnership that enhances and supports the channel’s core values.”

Classic FM Managing Director Darren Henley said: “Inspector Morse is one of TV’s great icons and we’re delighted to be working with ITV3 on the Royal Albert Hall concert and its Morse weekend in what will be the first in a new collaboration between Classic FM and ITV3. We’re particularly pleased to be embarking upon a new partnership with ITV3 by working with the channel on its celebration of Morse – a character whose name is synonymous with classical music.”

Also marking the 20th anniversary, ITV DVD, part of Granada Ventures, will be running promotions on its Inspector Morse DVD collection throughout the year in celebration of the hit show based on Colin Dexter’s crime novels.

Inspector Morse has attracted some of the largest drama audiences on British television since it was first seen in January 1987, and has been a world-wide best-seller.

It has always been a magnet for the cream of British acting talent in its guest roles, with suspects and villains, academics and victims being played by the likes of the late Sir John Gielgud, Richard Briers, Anna Massey, Richard Wilson, Sheila Gish, Frances Barber, Joanna David, Sean Bean, Sorcha Cusack, Jim Broadbent and Diana Quick.Early appearances in Morse saw actors such as Amanda Burton, Philip Middlemiss, Martin Clunes and Charlotte Coleman with the great detective, while a young Elizabeth Hurley appears in Last Seen Wearing as a pupil at a girls’ private school.

Behind the camera in the leafy streets and college quadrangles of Oxford have been future Oscar winners like Shakespeare In Love and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin director John Madden and Trainspotting’s Danny Boyle, while The English Patient director Anthony Minghella wrote the first-ever Morse screenplay for The Dead Of Jericho and two further screenplays. Another Country dramatist Julian Mitchell has written more Morse episodes than any other, 10 in all, and other writers include playwrights Charles Wood and Peter Nichols, and novelist Malcolm Bradbury.

The first ever Morse film The Dead Of Jericho established the format of two-hour drama on television, after executive producer Ted Childs and the first producer, the late Kenny McBain, brought the creation of former classics master and Oxford examiner Colin Dexter to the small screen.

Inspector Morse has had a global audience of a billion people in 200 countries, ranging from Canada to Mongolia, Malawi to Nepal, El Salvador to Papua New Guinea. In 1990 John Thaw received the BAFTA Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Morse, and the next year was voted ITV Personality of 1990 and TV Times’ Favourite Actor of 1990. Other awards have been bestowed on composer Barrington Pheloung and the team of writers on the fifth series.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Pistols at dawn - the Nibbies are coming

Just as the banner says, the Galaxy British Book Awards is the Oscar of the book world. Of special interest to the crime and thriller genre is the BCA Crime Thriller of the Year category. Kate Atkinson (One Good Turn)is the only woman on the shortlist while Peter James, Sam Bourne (The Righteous Men) and Ian Rankin The Naming of the Dead) are also contenders. This year sees the 20th anniversary of the publication of Ian Rankin’s first Rebus novel, and he will be hoping to pick up a Nibbie - the trophies are so-called because of their pen nib shape - to add to the celebrations.

And so will Peter James, who would love to add this trophy to his recent haul and is nominated for his novel Looking Good Dead. The announcement was made by Richard & Judy (UK TV hosts) to a glittering array of literary stars at the fashionable Sketch restaurant in Central London.

The nomination caps a triumphant year for Peter James, who has won a succession of foreign accolades. Last year, Peter James received the 2005 Krimi-Blitz award for Crime Novelist of the Year in Germany, and he also won Le Prix Polar International 2006, France, and earlier this year Le Prix Coeur Noir 2006, France.

On hearing that he had been shortlisted, a delighted Peter James said: "None of the awards I have won abroad has given me the thrill of this nomination in my own country. In my view, this award, about the sheer joy of reading, is by far the most important UK award - I would a million times rather be shortlisted for this than the dreary Booker."

Jilly Cooper is one of the four strong contenders for the Sainsbury’s Popular Fiction Award with her novel Wicked! along with Martina Cole (CLOSE), Marian Keyes (Anybody Out There) and Philippa Gregory (The Constant Princess ).

Now in their 18th year, the Galaxy British Books Awards are the only book awards where the public can vote for their favourites and help decide the winners. The public can vote at the Awards website: www.galaxybritishbookaw from 7th March until 22nd March. So get your chance to have your voice heard. Over the last four years, since the Galaxy British Book Awards have been presented by Richard & Judy and televised on Channel 4, the resulting book sales of all the shortlisted titles have been in excess of 50 million.

Galaxy®, is excited to be the first ever title sponsor of the British Book Awards, which take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on March 28th. Galaxy® has invested a £1.4m marketing spend around the awards to strengthen it’s relationship with reading and encourage consumers to lose themselves in a good book and Galaxy®. This biggest build-up yet to the Awards comes as Channel 4 gives the hour-long show a peak-time broadcast slot at 8pm on Friday, March 30 and a repeat on More4.

Richard & Judy will host the Galaxy British Book Awards ceremony, as they did the previous year,which Amanda Ross first brought to television with her company Cactus TV, and is now the most-watched book show in the UK. The campaign also invites the public to have their say, with voting cards available in bookstores and libraries across the UK. Since the show was first televised four years ago over 50 million of the shortlisted books have been sold.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Chris Mooney's THE MISSING

Penguin UK are going all out to promote Chris Mooney's thriller, THE MISSING. I've just finished reading it and it's a fantastic, pacy and claustrophobic read. Part of Penguin's promotion is a film-making competition to tie-in with the filmic qualities of the novel. So for all the budding Spielsbergs or Scotts (take your pick which one you want to be)out there this is your chance to make the big time.
Click here to take you to THE MISSING microsite.

It isn't the first time that publishers have approached the public to create a book trailer. It was done last year for Cody McFadyen's Shadow Man by amateur film makers. It is now on YouTube.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Something for the weekend, sir? or Crime authors and tittle tattle

To Catch a Spy .....

They say that life is stranger than fiction. So it should be no surprise when The Guardian reported that the poet WH Auden repeatedly evaded British intelligence's attempts to find out whether he was involved in the dramatic disappearance of the Cambridge spies Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean in 1951, according to secret files made public today. The suspicion was triggered by reports from a Reuters journalist that Burgess had tried to call his friend Auden the day before he left England. Investigators thought Burgess may have been planning to flee to Auden's holiday villa on the island of Ischia off Italy, near Naples.
Red the full story in The Guardian

Fifth Series Of Murphy's Law Filming In Dublin
Colin Bateman’s Murphy's Law is currently filming in Dublin for the fifth series of the hit BBC One drama. James Nesbitt is reprising his award-winning role of undercover cop Tommy Murphy in the drama, made by Tiger Aspect Productions.
Following the mysterious disappearance of two undercover officers, Murphy is forced back into the field to find and follow their trail. He enters a world of human trafficking, befriending a vicious criminal ring of sex traders and putting himself at their disposal. Can he find them without going too far himself?

The three-part series is scheduled to transmit in summer 2007. It is written by Russell Lewis; the producer is Stephen Smallwood and Colm McCarthy directs.
The Executive Producer at Tiger Aspect is Greg Brenman and the series' Commissioning Editor at BBC Northern Ireland is Patrick Spence. Following the success of the Shakespeare adaptations, BBC Northern Ireland currently has Lilies and Rough Diamond transmitting on BBC One.
Greg Brenman, Head of Drama, Tiger Aspect, said: "It is great to be back working with Jimmy on this new series of Murphy's Law, which has become an established favourite for millions of viewers. This year the stakes are even higher for Murphy and there will be a few surprises too. It is a drama we constantly reinvent to keep it fresh and series five is no exception."

John Harvey Interview and news
John Harvey dropped me a line to let me know that an interview with Marcel Berlins is scheduled for the Books Section of The Times this coming Saturday, 3rd. And he will be talking about the new book, Gone to Ground with, amongst others, Denise Mina, on the Simon Mayo Show on BBC Radio Five Live on Thursday, 8th March, between 3.00 and 4.00 pm. You can access this via the Internet. Both the new Heinemann hardback, Gone to Ground, and the Arrow paperback edition of Darkness & Light are in the shops [and supermarkets!] and are selling well.There's a brief on line interview currently on the Waterstone's web site
and they seem to be offering most, if not all, of the back list at 70% off list price.

Shady Geezers
Our competition over in the Shots Ezine seems to have had people rummaging around their scrapbooks for weird and wonderful images. These were taken back in 1991 where they had to pose in "what the well-dressed crime writer" would be wearing that autumn. Actually, it was a fashion shoot for overcoats so they all had to look alike apart from the coats. But Mark Timlin, the little rebel, refused to take off his PINK baseball boots and also insisted on sitting on the bonnet of a BMW. And in case you don’t recognise these crime writers, they are from l to r: Michael Dibdin, Mike Ripley, Philip Kerr, Mike Philips and the lone ranger is Mark Timlin.

And speaking of all things Ripley, Mike's latest GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER has been loaded up on the website.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

More Rankin that you can shake a stick at.

Based on an original idea by Ian Rankin BBC4 will be transmitting REICHENBACH FALLS
this Thursday 1 March 9pm-10.15pm; rpt 1.55am-3.15am; rpt Saturday 3 March 9.05pm-10.25pm

DI Buchan is a cop on the edge; Jack Harvey is a successful crime writer with the world at his feet. In Reichenbach Falls the lives of these two former friends are thrown together when a 100-year-old body is discovered beneath the streets of Edinburgh.

Buchan's murder investigation takes him into the dark Jekyll-and-Hyde underworld of Edinburgh and on a parallel journey into the Scottish capital's literary past. What he uncovers leads him to question his relationship with Harvey and threatens to push Buchan over the brink.

Cast and Crew
DI Buchan Alec Newman
Jack Harvey Alastair Mackenzie
Sinead Burns Nina Sosanya
Clara Laura Fraser
Professor Bell John Sessions
Arthur Richard Wilson

Writer James Mavor
Director John McKay
Producer Gaynor Holmes

You can watch a video clip of it by clicking here

There is also a very good article to read here