Sunday, 23 August 2009

2009 Shamus Award nominations

The Private Eye Writers of America have announced the nominations for the 2009 Shamus Awards. These prestigious awards will be presented at the PWA banquet, to be held Friday evening Oct. 16, 2009, in Indianapolis, Indiana, during the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention.

A list of the nominees can be found here along with information as to how to obtain tickets to the PWA Banquet.

Congratulations to all the nominees.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Newsy Stuff

Crime writer Val McDermid has taken her love for her favourite football team Raith Rovers slightly further by sponsoring a stand at the grounds. More information can be found here.

Hard Case Crime are due to publish in pulp in December under the name of AC Doyle The Valley of Fear. The reinvention of Conan Doyle's sleuth into a pulp novel set in Chicago is an attempt to encourage readers who have been shying away from classic novels. More information can be found here.

We all know how much a hit Stieg Larsson's novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has been. Now according to Variety it also appears that the film is going to be a hit as well. It has already been sold to ten countries.

TCM are planning a series which are one-hour specials under the title the Suspenseful World of Thrillers and will provide a Film Studies 101 look at top cinematic genres. Starting on October 2 at 8:00pm the first episode will look at Thrillers and Hitchcock. They will also cover Political, Crime, Gothic and Psychological thrillers.

The annual Agatha Christie week is due to take place between September 13 and 20 in the UK to celebrate all things Agatha Christie. According to the Bookseller authors Val McDermid, Kate Mosse and Jasper Fforde (all of whom are fans of Agatha Christie) will be having a discussion at the Southbank Centre on 16 September on the author. Further events are due to take place during the Reading Crime Festival between 10 and 12 September and during the Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

2009 Ned Kelly Awards

The Crime Writers Association of Australia have announced the 2009 Ned Kelly Award nominations and they are as follows:-

Best First Fiction
Nick Gadd
Camilla Nelson
The Build Up,
Phillip Gwynee

Best Fiction
Bright Air Barry Maitland
Deep Water Peter Corris
Smoke & Mirrors Kel Robertson

Best True crime
The Killing of Caroline Byrne, Robert Wainwrights
The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper
A Question of Power, Michelle Schwarz

The SD Harvey Short Story
Fidget's Farewell, Scott McDermott
Farewell My Lovelies, Chris Womersley
Fern's Farwell, Bronwyn Mehan
Farewell to the shade, Cheryl Rogers

Friday, 14 August 2009

Have PWA Badge - Will Travel

Whenever I attend Bouchercon, I always make sure I have a ticket for the hottest show in town – The Private Eye Writers of America [PWA] annual Shamus Banquet. The event is organized by Bob Randisi and Christine Mathews, and is always a glitzy event. My first time was back in 2003 at Bouchercon Vegasclick here to see photos of that event.

Last year at Bouchercon Baltimore, I attended with Roger Jon Ellory the Shamus Awards at Westminster Hall, the last resting place of Edgar A Poe. I was fortunate to share a table with Charles Ardai of Hardcase Crime and had a wonderful time. After the event I managed to nail a long interview with Bob Randisi – the PWA president who explained the background to the PWA Shamus Awards -

Ali I really enjoyed this year’s Shamus Awards at Westminster Hall in Baltimore, and I plan to attend each year, so can you tell us about how you set up the PWA?

Bob In 1981 I found I was corresponding with many private eye writers. I thought I could do it much easier through a newsletter of some kind. I asked all of them to send me a quarter each for postage if they were interested. I did a second one and asked everyone to send me a dollar for printing and postage. From there I figured it was time for a Private Eye Writers of America. I charged $25 for dues and in 27 years we’ve gone up to $50. I created the Shamus Award because I noticed that over a period of about 30 years only three PI novels had won an Edgar—and one of those was a young adult novel.

Ali I believe Christine Mathews organises the Shamus Awards Banquet. How much work is entailed in setting up such a major event?

Bob She’s amazing, in that she manages to find people over the phone and through emails who will work with her when we have a small budget. Somehow, these strangers and she manage to pull the event off without a hitch—well, without a MAJOR hitch. It’s only been two weeks since Baltimore and she’s already planning the events in Indianapolis, San Francisco and St. Louis. She works very hard for at least six months, then lets me get up in front of people for 60 minutes and take the credit. So I’m glad you asked this question. She is determined each year to 1) take people out of the convention hotel to some other part of the city, 2) do something unusual and provide great food, 3) somehow, top the previous year.

Ali How do you feel now that the Shamus Award has become so prestigious in promoting the PI sub-genre of mystery fiction?

Bob I’m very proud of the award and of the members of this organization. It is, rightly so, the second most prestigious award in mystery after the Edgar. I became even more proud after Sean Chercover’s acceptance speech this year, when he said that when he started writing in his teens his goal was to win a Shamus Award. I felt old, but I also felt inordinately proud. And it’s the membership of PWA that keeps the genre going, and maintains the high level of writing and storytelling.

Read the Full Interview here with the prolific and talented novelist Bob Randisi.

So it was with pleasure I got news of this years Shamus awards from Bob Randisi and Christine Mathews -

The PWA Shamus Award Banquet will be held Friday, Oct. 16, from 6:30-9:00 at The Slippery Noodle, the most popular blues bar in Indianapolis. Good food, great music, and the Shamus Awards. Tickets are $50 and are available now. Reserve your place asap as seating is limited. Email Bob Randisi at with your home address and an invitation will be sent to you.

I hope to see you guys there!

Photo (c) 2008 Ali Karim - Charles Ardai and Reed Farrel Coleman getting their Shamus Awards at Westminster Hall - Baltimore at the PWA Shamus Banquet

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Inspector Banks and Aurelio Zen

It looks as if our thirst for crime fiction on television is being indulged once again. Left Bank Pictures the production company currently behind the successful Wallander series have signed deals to bring to the small screen two more excellent detective series. Left Bank Pictures are due to produce three of the late Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series for the BBC. The three books that are going to be adapted are Ratking, Vendetta and Dead Lagoon.

Peter Robinson's 2002 Inspector Banks novel Aftermath will adapted for television and shown on ITV.

More information can be found here

Friday, 7 August 2009

Honoured crime writer headlines second annual event at Ludlow Castle

Andrew Taylor, who has been honoured this year as the recipient of the 2009 Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement, the highest accolade in the crime-writing field, will take part in the second annual ‘Crime at the Castle’ evening on Wednesday 19 August. Andrew’s latest novel, Bleeding Heart Square, was short-listed for Ellis Peters Dagger Award for the best historical crime novel published in 2008.
This year’s line-up of distinguished crime writers balances some favourites from last year (Andrew, as well as organiser Kate Charles, Phil Rickman, and Marcia Talley) with new faces: Natasha Cooper, Martin Edwards, Suzette Hill, and Laura Wilson, recent winner of the Ellis Peter Dagger for her novel Stratton’s War.
Last year’s ‘CrimeFest at the Castle’ was a hugely successful event, in spite of less than optimal weather conditions. All tickets were sold out a week before the event, and those lucky enough to get a ticket were unanimous in demanding a return engagement in 2009.
‘Crime at the Castle’ 2009 will follow a similar format to last year. Ludlow-based Kate Charles, a former Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association, will moderate a panel of her colleagues. They will discuss their books and answer questions from the audience. There will then be opportunity to meet and mingle with the writers, and have books signed. Hopes are high that this year’s weather will be more clement and that the festivities will spill out into the castle gardens.
Books by all of the participants will be available for purchase and signing. Doors will open at 7.00 to allow browsing and book-buying before the 7.30 start.
Tickets for ‘Crime at the Castle’ are again strictly limited to 100, so early purchase is recommended. They are priced at just £5, to include a glass of wine, and are available at Castle Bookshop, 5 Castle Street, Ludlow (tel: 01584 872562).

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Media Round Up

According to Mark Langshaw, Gaming/Comics Reporter. Alibi is to be adapted for the big screen. According to Variety, Mandeville Entertainment will produce a film based on the spy thriller, despite the publisher's decision not to renew the book following its pilot run. The storyline centres around John Stephens, the world's best assassin, who can get away with high-profile killings because he always has an alibi. As the plot progresses, his secret is uncovered and his world changes forever. Created by Matt Hawkins and Michael Renegar, the series was written by Joshua Hale Fialkov with artwork by Jeremy Haun. Alibi is the second Top Cow IP to receive cinematic treatment in recent years, following 2008's successful Wanted movie.


If you listen to film critic Michael Medved he claims that a gay version of Sherlock Holmes will not be "appealing" to cinema audiences. Director Guy Ritchie reportedly wrote the characters of Holmes and his sidekick Watson as gay in his remake of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle detective story.

Star Robert Downey Jr recently explained that he and co-star Jude Law (Watson) share "circumstantial homosexuality" in the upcoming film.

However, Medved said that the actors are playing up the angle for the sake of generating controversy, the New York Post reports. He told the newspaper: "There's not a seething, bubbling hunger to see straight stars impersonating homosexuals. I think they're just trying to generate controversy." He added: "They know that making Holmes and Watson homosexual will take away two-thirds of their box office. Who is going to want to see Downey Jr and Law make out? "I don't think it would be appealing to women. Straight men don't want to see it."

Sherlock Holmes will open in cinemas on December 26.


Bashar Rahal has landed a role on Fox's 24, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He will reportedly play a general from the Islamic Republic of Kamistan who is involved in a conspiracy against Anil Kapoor's President Hassan. Rahal's previous credits include My Name Is Earl, The Unit and Arrested Development.


Blade Runner has been named as the top science fiction movie of all time. Ridley Scott directed the 1982 film which starred Harrison Ford as detective Rick Deckard, who was forced to hunt down four escaped human replicants in Los Angeles circa 2019. The picture also featured Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Daryl Hannah, and was based upon the novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

The adaptation bested such genre favourites as Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien to place first in The 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Movies list on Total Sci-Fi.


It was reported last year that Eagle Eye screenwriter Travis Wright was penning a follow-up to the sci-fi classic. Scott recently confirmed that he will direct a prequel to his 1979 film Alien, which starred Sigourney Weaver. Weaver has revealed that she is happy with Ridley Scott's involvement in the Alien prequel. She told MTV: "I'm glad Ridley's connected to it because I know it will be classy."

The filmmaker will return to the franchise for the first time since directing the original 1979 sci-fi classic. Weaver, who portrayed protagonist Lt Ellen Ripley in four Alien movies, welcomed his participation in the reboot. However, the 59-year-old actress ruled out the return of her iconic character in the new venture. She added: "I don't see how Ripley could be part of a prequel. But I'm fine. I wish them well. I can't imagine going back at this point."


"Thieves steal equipment from 007 studios"

It’s the kind of headline that makes for a good story. Recently thieves have stolen thousands of pounds worth of filming equipment from the legendary Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, reports The Daily Telegraph. Police said that the intruders gained access to the facility by breaking padlocks on the back gates, smashing windows and removing doors from hinges.
"They stole various specialist cameras and lenses which are worth a lot of money," said detective constable Sebastian Wilson. They have also stolen a Sony SRW 5000, a device which converts footage into high definition format and which alone is worth £65,000 pounds."
Among the items reported missing were cameras being used to film Gulliver's Travels, starring Jack Black and Emily Blunt, and the new Robin Hood film featuring Russell Crowe.
"The thieves were disturbed by a security guard who believes that one of the vehicles used in the daring raid was an expensive silver coloured sports car, possibly a Lexus," added Wilson. "I am particularly interested in speaking to anyone who may have been offered specialist filming equipment for sale or who saw vehicles driving in the area at speed."
So keep ‘em peeled, and please note that the police are not looking for a Gregory Peck look-alike for the crime!


Tom Arnold has admitted that a sequel to True Lies is currently in development. The Happy Endings actor previously said that he tried to persuade the original's Arnold Schwarzenegger to reprise his secret agent Harry Trasker role for director James Cameron in an update.

Arnold has now claimed that a follow-up to the 1994 action comedy, co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis, will go before cameras when Schwarzenegger's term as California's governor is over, according to the New York Times.

He said: "All I know is Jim Cameron's making it and Arnold and I are going to be in it, and it starts shooting in 14 months, the day after Arnold stops being governor of California." He added: "It's not going to be called True Lies II, but it might as well be. I can live with that."

It was reported earlier that Curtis's striptease in True Lies was named the best movie scene in history. Well, almost.

Chasing The Dragon

It looks as if the popularity of the filmed version[s] of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy shows no signs of abating anytime soon as reported in today’s Variety –

International sleeper hit “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which has grossed more than $70 million worldwide and been sold to 30 territories, has been picked up in five more countries, including Japan and Germany.

The Swedish crime thriller, which was helmed by Niels Arden Oplev and toplines Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace, has been sold to NFP in Germany, Paradiso in Japan, Polyfilm in Austria, Mirovision in South Korea and Lusomundo in Portugal.

Repped in international markets by Zodiak Entertainment, it was previously sold to U.K.’s Momentum, Australia’s Rialto, UGC in France, Bim in Italy and Vertigo in Spain, among other buyers. A U.S. sale is still pending.

Read More Here

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Mobile Short Thrillers

As Tom Cain’s BLOODSPORT online story continues over at THE RAP SHEET; I noticed that some readers were growing impatient at the bite-size chunks he is unraveling over three consecutive days. It seems Cain's story has got some readers really hooked. So perhaps reading novels in bite-size chunks might be workable, especially from the Thriller Genre.

I noticed that Barry Yourgrau [the first American author to write 'thumb novels'] explains over at The Independent about Japan's craze for reading fiction on electronic devices. It made me wonder if a technological solution maybe the way forward for diversification of publishing from print to screen - especially crime and thriller fiction which lends itself to this medium.

To me, most interesting aren't the micro-tales and poems, but the attempts at an ongoing narrative in short bursts, particularly hard-boiled crime thrillers – not surprising since the genre is conventionally lean and staccato. Take the "Twiller" (for Twitter thriller), by New York Times reporter and crime writer Matt Richtel (@mrichtel). "Think Memento on a mobile," says Richtel, as his hectic little saga of amnesia and peril unspools using text lingo and real-time posting:

"I'm just outta the hospital myself, AS PATIENT. i'm walking home with JD's chip and some asshole... Tackles me near an alley, punches my face, rips my earring, rifles in my purse, screams: where is chip?! (in broken english). I reach for... my penlight in my pocket and stab his eye"

So far, book publishers haven't been tempted by Twitter fiction. What has stirred them is clever tweets (the forthcoming Twitter Wit) and business advice from wine blogger Gary Vaynerchuk, whose now 300,000-plus Twitter following got him a million-dollar deal. But the Twitter-to-book route is still in its infancy.

Will route become highway? For fiction, I doubt it. Twitter narrative strikes me as a curio amid the insider updates and celeb-following. It lacks the urgency of cultural release that has driven keitai shosetsu in Japan. And Twitter may prove something of a curio itself: 60 per cent of new users fail to return the next month, a grim augury.

Read the full piece here

Photo : Tom Cain proof-reading ‘Bloodsport’ on his Mobile Phone with [Ali Karim’s youngest daughter] Miriam acting as Cain's telecoms security and technical advisor [Harrogate 2009]