Thursday, 18 December 2008

Crime Awards and news roundup

Nick Stone’s media column, Stone on Screen, is now live on the Shots website. Films reviewed include Body of Lies, The Changeling, Lakeview Terrace and What Just Happened?

Quercus Scoops Another Prize
Andrea Maria Schenkel has been awarded the Martin Beck Prize by the Swedish Academy of Crime Fiction for her novel The Murder Farm (the paperback edition of which comes from Quercus in January). Also shortlisted were Robert Harris’s The Ghost (Hutchinson), John le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man (Hodder) and Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore (Quercus).

Typhoon Hits The Times Top 10 Thrillers List
The Times has picked 'Typhoon' by Charles Cumming as one of the Top 10 thrillers of 2008, just behind le Carre's A Most Wanted Man and Devil May Care...
Read more. If you didn’t read it the first time around, Charles wrote a feature on writing Typhoon on the website which you can read here.

Michael Connelly International Guest of Honour
The organisers of
Crime Fest, the International Crime Fiction Convention being held in Bristol 14 – 17 May 2009 have announced that Michael Connelly will be the International Guest of Honour. Featured guest authors are Simon Brett and Hakan Nesser. First organised in June 2008, CRIMEFEST is quickly becoming one of the most popular dates in the crime fiction calendar. The annual convention draws top crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world and gives delegates the opportunity to celebrate the genre in an informal atmosphere. It now comes with the catchy strapline “Where the Pen is Bloodier Than The Sword”, thanks to a certain Mr Peter Guttridge.

P D James tops ebooks
Faber is seeing its digital publishing take off, with the first milestone passed this week - sales of 500 copies of the ebook of the new P D James, The Private Patient, released simultaneously with the hardback, on 4 September, and priced the same (£18.99). The Private Patient is far and away the e-bestseller and has topped Waterstone's charts, but the majority of the James backlist is now available, with those titles selling at the regular paperback price of £6.99. The sales are "smaller but solid".

Great British Fictional Detectives
Shots reviewer and author, Russell James investigates the crime-filled world of fictional detectives who are either British themselves or were created by a British author. His fascinating, fact filled A-Z listing contains over 400 detectives from world-famous policeman like Morse to lesser-known investigators, including Montague Cork. Russell's beautifully written chapters on crime fiction include the history of the genre and factual crime investigation, the legacy of Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Age of crime fiction, as well as top sidekicks and popular TV and film detectives. Discover historical detectives, authors' pseudonyms, forgotten starts and must read authors in this arresting book. Illustrations will include original film posters and first edition covers from classic detective fiction. It’s pretty comprehensive though it has been reported that there are some glaring omissions eg: books Philip MacDonald's Anthony Gethryn, Lee Child's Jack Reacher; TV Taggart (TV's longest running series after all), Life on Mars's Gene Hunt and, most surprising of all, Prime Suspect's Jane Tennison.

James Patterson to visit the UK
James Patterson will be in the UK in April 2009 to promote an exciting competition run in partnership with the
National Literacy Trust (NLT). The ‘James Patterson Extreme Reading Challenge’ is designed to encourage children to read with their dads/male carers.The ‘James Patterson Extreme Reading Challenge’ is being run in partnership with the NLT’s Reading Champions initiative. It will be launched as a key NLT World Book Day campaign in March 09 and will work with over 3000 schools across the UK. The idea for the initiative came directly from Patterson, who is passionate about getting boys hooked on books from a young age.

The site emphasizes the author’s interest in children’s literacy:

James Patterson says, ‘As a writer, and also as a father, I’m delighted to be working with the National Literacy Trust in really encouraging kids to discover the love of reading. I’ve been actively involved in getting kids to enjoy books in America and it’s great to be able to help bring this message to the UK. The Reading Champions initiative is a wonderful opportunity to encourage us dads to get reading with our sons, what could be better?’Helen Ginn, Brand Manager at Random House says: ‘Patterson’s writing is always fast and pacy, with short chapters and lots of dialogue--guaranteed to hook male readers especially, and therefore a perfect fit with the National Literacy Trust’s Reading Champions initiative.
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X comes in two editions, one specifically for younger readers and one for grown-ups, making it an ideal recommendation for this competition which is all about excitement and reading together’.
Reported by Book Trade:

TV News

Rupert Penry-Jones (who played Adam Carter in the BBC TV series Spooks) will play a detective hunting for a modern-day Jack the Ripper in one of three ITV drama commissions for autumn. Carnival Films is making Whitechapel, which stars Penry-Jones as media-savvy, fast-tracked DI Chandler investigating a series of bloody Jack the Ripper copycat murders. Set in contemporary east London, the 3 x 60-minute series sports the tagline "a modern police force is fighting an old adversary". Rupert Penry-Jones, who plays obsessive compulsive detective inspector Joseph Chandler in the series, and Phil Davis, who stars as hard nosed detective sergeant Ray Miles, both said they would endeavour to reprise the roles for second time.

The 1960s cult show The Prisoner, which starred Patrick Magoohan has been remade and will premiere in the new season. Set in Namibia, the six-part series will explore how the man-known as Number Six – finds himself trapped in a mysterious place called The Village, which is controlled by the sinister man Number Two.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Crime Awards and news roundup

I am pleased to announce that Nick Stone (of Mr Clarinet & King of Swords fame) is to become SHOTS’ new media reporter. He takes over the position from John Foster whose workload as film lecturer and director forced him to step down. Nick’s first column will appear later this month. I’ve read an example of a film review, and let’s say that Nick doesn’t take prisoners!


Mike Ripley announces his SHOTS OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2008 in his latest GAWM column. I recommend you look in on what the Ripster has to say but here are the “winners”.

Crime Shot of the Year: When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday), a pyrotechnic shaking up of the genre if ever there was one.

Thriller of the Year: A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr (Quercus), the fifth Bernie Gunther novel, set in post-war (if not post-Nazi) Argentina.

Historical Shot of the Year: The Death Maze by Ariana Franklin (Bantam), the second outing for Adelia Aguilar in this engaging and well-researched ‘CSI Medieval’ series, giving us a worthy heir to Brother Cadfael.

Shot in Translation: from the German, Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek (Pan) who cleverly offers to pull the wool over our eyes and we let him.

First Shot: (for a debut novel) The Maze of Cadiz by Aly Monroe (John Murray), historical espionage again, this time in Franco’s Spain in 1944, but so densely textured and convincingly done that I had serious trouble believing it was a first novel.

Those who have followed these awards over the years will have instantly spotted that I have not chosen a Comic Shot this year for comedy crime. This is not something I do lightly, but in 2008, two of my favourite authors in the comedy field were playing it rather straight for a change: Colin Bateman with Orpheus Rising and Douglas Lindsey with Lost In Juarez. Both excellent novels but (deliberately) low on the belly-laughs we’ve come to expect.
Craig Russell, author of the Jan Fabel detective series for Hutchinson, has joined Quercus for a concurrent series set in Glasgow in the 1950s. The series will star Lennox, a private detective whose clients are not always on the right side of the law.Jane Wood and Ron Beard bought UK and Canadian rights in three novels, starting with Lennox in 2009, through Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann. Wood said: "At Quercus we’re all fans of the Fabel novels and we couldn’t be happier that Craig Russell has joined us. The Lennox books are very different in tone and confirm Craig’s amazing range and skill as a crime writer."
David Shelley (über editor at Little, Brown’s Sphere imprint) has not only captured Val McDermid from HarperCollins after 17 years and his second coup is signing up Carl Hiaasen but by way of a tease, will announce another major signing in January. Who will it be? Watch this space.

Simon Winder, Publishing Director at Penguin Press, has bought five "remarkable and prescient" Eric Ambler thrillers, to be republished and upgraded from the old Pan Classic Crime to Penguin Modern Classics in May 2009 for Ambler’s centenary. The titles are Journey into Fear, introduction by Norman Stone, Epitaph for a Spy, introduction by James Fenton, The Mask of Dimitrios, introduction by Mark Mazower, Cause for Alarm, introduction by John Preston, and Uncommon Danger, which is introduced by Thomas Jones. The covers are pretty good being atmospheric in black and white.

Three titles are in contention in the Literature category of the South Bank Show Awards, to be announced on 20 January 2009 and broadcast on 28 January 2009. They are The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale (Bloomsbury), Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Simon & Schuster), and The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant (Virago). Summerscale is already winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize, while Smith was on the Man Booker longlist and Grant was on the Booker shortlist.

Stef Penney's Costa Award-winning novel The Tenderness Of Wolves (Quercus) has been optioned to Film 4 and Target Entertainment. Shooting is planned for 2009, under the direction of Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl).
Dame Stella Rimington, the former director general of MI5 was surprised when her criticisms of the television series SPOOKS led to the makers offering her a position as their official consultant. "I have always made it clear that I felt the programme had little to do with real life," she told Mandrake at the Cartoon Art Trust awards. "Now I have had an approach from the programme makers asking if I would like to advise them. Presumably, they feel I could make Spooks more realistic. As things stand, just three people seem to save the world in each episode." A spokesman for the producers, Kudos, confirms: "We have held early discussions about a possible consultancy role if an eighth series of Spooks goes ahead."

COMPETITIONS are running amok over on the website. Currently you can win signed copies of The Business by Martina Cole, Bait by Nick Brownlee, The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe and coming up: Quiver by Peter Leonard, Dead Man’s Footsteps by Peter James, Afraid by Jack Kilborn.