Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Stylish Faber and Faber!

This week’s Stylist Magazine is very much book orientated and crime fiction authors have not done too badly out of it indeed.   
Most importantly, Stylist have linked up with Faber and Faber to find and publish a new crime writer.

 The judges are –
·         Ruth Rendell, award-winning author of over 60 crime fiction novels with book sales in excess of 20 million.
·         Lisa Smosarski, Stylist’s editor
·         Hannah Griffiths, publishing director, and Angus Cargill, senior editor, at Faber and Faber
·         Sue Swift, head of literary acquisitions at Kudos Television and Shine Pictures – a company responsible for adapting crime novels for TV and makers of Spooks

 To enter the competition you will need to complete the first 6,000 words of your original crime or thriller novel. The novel must feature a female protagonist. Alongside this you will need to submit an outline, no longer than 300 words, to show how the story will develop but which doesn’t reveal the ending, plus a 250-word biography of the central character.
The Prize - The winning author of our fiction competition will have their debut novel published by Faber and Faber publishing house and will receive a book advance of £5,000. The runner-up will receive a place on a three-month writing course of their choice – worth up to £1,750 – at Faber Academy, Faber and Faber’s esteemed creative writing programme.
Further information about the competition (including submission details) can be found here.

The Style List has suggested Lynn Shepherd’s gothic tale Tom-All-Alone’s.  Amanda Ross the creator of the Richard and Judy Book Club has picked Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes as one of her favourite reads of 2012.
With e-books having both their friends and their foes, Lucy Mangan’s column “I Love Books, But I Loathe E-Readers” makes for interesting reading.  I can actually agree with some of her comments one of them being “E-readers have the memory to store 3,500 books, but where are the memories real books bring?” The whole column is worth reading.

Alexandra Heminslet’s article Who Killed Chic Lit looks at the demise of Chick Lit and the rise of crime fiction written by women.  With insights from Claire McGowan, Director of the CWA who believes that this new genre has emerged as women naturally write crime differently to men.  She went on to say that “there’s a definite gender divide in the type of crime fiction people write” Kerry Hood, Publicity Director at Hodder & Stoughton explains “it’s much more in keeping with the times: “In the late Nineties, women wanted the fairy-tale ending, but now they are buying novels that start with a fairy-tale which then unravels…..””.  Whilst this is an interesting article, I am not sure that I agree with all the comments especially the one about simple economics being behind the move to a more unisex genre and authors as Jojo Moyes states.  She goes on to say that “Crimes and thrillers can be shared between couples, which makes them feel like more of an economical buy during a recession”.  I personally don’t think that is strictly true as dedicated readers of crime fiction whether they be male of female have been reading the genre (whether the author be male or female) for a very long time and have not just jumped on the bandwagon as a result of the Stieg Larsson effect.

In the online edition of Stylist they also reveal that Lucy Liu has been signed up to play Watson in the CBS version of Sherlock which is to be called Elementary.  In the US version, Jonny Lee Miller is said to be a British former addict, living in Brooklyn with his surgeon friend Joan Watson (who lost her medical licence after the death of a patient). Sherlock will work for NYPD instead of Scotland Yard.  Needless to say and as Shotsblog have commented on this before, the BBC will be watching this one closely.

The Stylist’s pick of the essential whodunnits have also been picked. The novels that they consider to be the top ten crime novels are:-

The Big Sleep (1939) by Raymond Chandler
The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1963) by John Le Carré
The Daughter of Time (1951) by Josephine Tey
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) by Agatha Christie
The Maltese Falcon (1930) by Dashiell Hammett
The Water’s Lovely (2006) by Ruth Rendell
Gaudy Night (1935) By Dorothy L Sayers
Rebecca (1938) by Daphne Du Maurier
The Name of the Rose (1980) by Umberto Eco
I can agree with most of the books that they have listed but have to admit to being a bit disappointed with the Ruth Rendell.  I would have chosen one of her earlier books.
Stylist are also looking for people to vote on their website for their favourite crime novel.   There is a list of 50 of their favourite crime novels to vote on.  The link is here. Please do vote and leave a comment as well.  If you feel more inclined you can also tweet @stylistmagazine.  Included amongst the 50 crime novels to be voted on are the ten novels included above as well as Mystery Man (2009) by Colin Bateman, Tell No One (2010) by Harlan Coben,  Black Lands (2010) by Belinda Bauer, Lucky You (1997) by Carl Hiaasen, The Black Dahlia (1987) by James Ellroy, Brighton Rock (1938) by Graham Greene, The Hard Way (2006) by Lee Child, Inspector Ghote Hunts the Peacock (1969) by HRF Keating, The Talented Mr Ripley (1955) by Patricia Highsmith, Over My Dead Body (1940) by Rex Stout,  The Day of the Jackal (1971) by Frederick Forsyth, From Russia with Love (1959) by Ian Fleming, Spook Country (2007), by William Gibson and The Murder Room (2004) by PD James to name a few. Certainly a mixture of classic and contemporary crime novels.
Cathi Unsworth is also holding a lunchtime Masterclass where she will be answering questions. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Anthony Horowitz on Why We Need Publishers

Interestingly what Anthony Horowitz says in the piece from the Guardian seems to be a continuation of Ian Rankin's speech at the Orion 20th Birthday party. He said that authors "really need publishers", especially "as more content floods the market, of varying quality".
Horowitz' piece opens with - "The title of this talk is, "Do We Need Publishers Any More?". I was going to call it "Thank Christ We Don't Need Bloody Publishers Any More" – but I felt that sounded too partisan. Relationships between writers and publishers are of course very strange and change all the time, rather like a see-saw."
Read the full article here
Roger Jon Ellory who shares Rankin's publisher, commented on the piece....
"E-books, wonderful though they are, will take the place of paperbacks the same way that photography took the place of painting, the same way that recorded music utterly supplanted live performances.  Basically, they won't.  There are certain aspects to e-books that are great, and some that are not.  When you travel a great deal, you are very much aware of the frustration occasioned by passengers who have to 'turn off all electronic devices' a good three-quarters of an hour before landing.  You can't share an e-book the way you can a paperback.  You don't have the wonderfully familiar tactile quality that comes from a paperback.  You can't give your e-books to hospitals, charity stores, libraries.  You can't get an e-book signed.  Giving an e-book as a gift to someone just isn't the same.  It's like sending someone an e-card at Christmas.  You tell them you're being ecologically responsible.  In truth the recipient knows that you forgot to buy one and post it.  Books feel good.  They smell good.  You can use them to interior design a room.  A bookcase says a great deal about a person.  When I met my wife and went to her flat for the first time, what did I do?  I looked at her bookcase (not a euphemism!).  She had Hesse, Kafka, Orwell, Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, and the complete works of Charles Schulz.  That's the girl for me, no doubt about it.  Everyone is concerned about e-books taking over.  Taking over from what?  E-books are still books.  Someone who reads is going to read, regardless of format.  Someone who doesn't read isn't going to start reading just because you've given them a gadget.  Apparently over a million e-readers were given as gifts this past Xmas.  It has also been reported that in excess of thirty percent of those e-readers have not yet been switched on.  Seems to me that if we spent as much time as we do talking about e-books actually addressing the fact that the education system in this country (and worldwide) has gone to Hell in a handbasket, we might solve the problem of whether or not the publishing industry is going down the pan by fixing the fact that we have just graduated the third or fourth generation of teenagers who 'don't read'.  That seems to be the issue for me - how do we get people reading again, not what format they are going to read in."

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Crime fiction news!

The British Library is to publish what is said to be the first ever detective novel after it being out of print for 150 years. The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Felix dates back to 1862.  Alison’s Flood article in the Guardian discusses in a bit more detail.

The Godfather films are of course considered to be classics and at least one of them will always find its way on to a top 50 list at least.  With The Family Corleone (a prequel) due out in July, it seems that Paramount Studios who own the copyright are not happy about it and have taken the Puzo Estate to court in an attempt to have it stopped.  The official complaint can be read here.  The Family Corleone is due to be published by Random House in the summer.  Paramount Studios claim that they bought the copyright in The Godfather in 1969.  The article in the Guardian can be found here. There is also a comment about it in the Telegraph as well.

Interesting review of Lloyd Shepherd’s debut novel The English Monster by Judith Flanders in the Guardian. Lloyd Shepherd has used the Ratcliffe Highway murders as the background to his novel.
Whilst not strictly crime fiction related, Shortlist have listed the 50 coolest TV programmes. The list can be found here. Pleased to see some of my favourites (including some of them from my childhood) in the list including, Joe 90, Dragnet, The Prisoner, The Singing Detective, The Simpsons, The Wire and Deadwood to name a few.
With it being Oscar night tonight (26 February) and the fact that rather sadly the brilliant Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy has been so overlooked.  Reading Anthony Lane’s excellent essay in the New Yorker might make up for it!

According to Book2Book Serpent’s Tail are to publish Attica Locke’s new novel The Cutting Season in September 2012.  Attica Locke burst onto the horizon in November 2009 with her debut novel Black Water Rising which was nominated and shortlisted for a number of awards including an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  It was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize. The Cutting Season is set in Belle Vie, a plantation house used as a museum and party venue; where black actors play slaves and modern tourists see a glossy interpretation of the past. Until a dead body appears...
Wow! A treasure-trove of comics bought by an American enthusiast when he was a boy has fetched $3.5m (£2.2m) at auction in New York.  According to the Independent the collection of 345 comics were not only in mint condition but were bought by Billy Wright who first started collecting them as a boy.  The owner died in 1994. The collection included a pristine copy of Detective Comics No 27, in which Batman made his debut and Action Comics No 1 from 1938, the first comic to feature Superman.
According to, The Killing Joel Kinnaman has been offered the lead role in the reboot of Robocop. The role was originally played by Peter Weller in the 1987 Paul Verhoeven version of the film.

As reported earlier by Shotsblog in January, there is to be a remake of Sherlock in the US entitled Elementary. According to the BBC the former Trainspotting star Jonny Lee Miller has been cast as Sherlock.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Forthcoming books to look forward to from Atlantic and Corvus books

Rome, 1605: a city of grand palazzos and frescoed cathedrals. But for the poverty-stricken artist Caravaggio, the city shows her other face, that of rough bars and grubby whores. Suddenly the Pope himself notices his talent, and Caravaggio is the most celebrated artist in Italy. But when he falls for Lena, a fruit seller, society is outraged. Discredited, but desperate to defend the honour of the woman he loves, Caravaggio is forced into a duel and kills a member of nobility. Even his powerful patrons cannot protect the lowborn Caravaggio from the death sentence and the artist is forced to flee. Exiled in Malta, his paintings continue to tell of his love for Lena. But before he can return to her, Caravaggio, Italy’s most famous artist, simply disappears …. A Name in Blood is by Matt Rees and is due to be published in July.

He play’s the oldest children’s game in the world, hide and seek. He plays it with your sons and daughters, but in his own way, with his own rules. The Eye Collector begins by killing mothers, then abducting children; he gives fathers 45 hours to find them. When time runs out, he kills the victim and removes the left eye as a grisly trophy. His method never varies and the Eye Collector never loses , until now. Just before the latest deadline expires, a mysterious witness comes forward. Alina Gregoriev is a physiotherapist. She is also blind and yesterday , she may have met the Eye Collector …. The Eye Collector is by Sebastian Fitzek and is due to be published in August.

The Divine Sacrifice is the second in the Dark Age Mysteries series featuring Malgwyn ap Cuneglas by Anthony Hays. Welcome to fifth-century Britain: the Romans have left, the Saxons have invaded, the towns are decaying and the countryside is dangerous. Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, an embittered ex-soldier who lost a limb in the Saxon wars, has become the trusted counsellor to Arthur, High King of all Britannia. So when a monk dies in horrific circumstances in Glastonbury Abbey, the Abbott calls for Malgwyn to investigate. His search for the truth will draw him into an intricate web of religious, economic and political deceit – and a conspiracy that could endanger everything Arthur has fought for. The Divine Sacrifice is due to be published in November.

The Blind Goddess is the first book in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series by Anne Holt. Somewhere in the grimy outskirts of Oslo, a drug dealer has been battered to death. Meanwhile, a young Dutchman, wandering the city is covered in blood, is taken into custody. He refuses to talk, except to the woman who found the body: lawyer Karen Borg. Days later, a notoriously shady lawyer is found dead. Is there a link between the two killings? It’s Homicide Detective Hanne Wilhelmsen’s job to find out. Hanne is a lone wolf, disdainful of her bosses and prone to dangerous shortcuts. But in a world where the Goddess of Justice is blindfolded, she always gets to the truth. The Blind Goddess is due to be published in December.

Lisa is a plastic surgery addict with severe self-esteem issues. The only hospital that will let her go under the knife is New Hope: a grimy, grey-walled facility dubbed 'No Hope' by its patients.  Farrell is a celebrity photographer. His last memory is a fight with his fashion-model girlfriend and now he's woken up in No Hope, alone. Needle marks criss-cross his arms. A sinister nurse keeps tampering with his drip. And he's woken up blind... Panicked and disorientated, Farrell persuades Lisa to help him escape, but the hospital's dimly lit corridors only take them deeper underground - into a twisted mirror world staffed by dead-eyed nurses and doped-up orderlies. Down here, in the Modification Ward, Lisa can finally have the face she wants... but at a price that will haunt them both forever.  The Ward is by SL Grey and is due to be published in December.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Bloody Scotland: Scotland's First International Crime Writing Festival

Leading accountancy and business advisory firm, Mazars, today (23rd February 2012) announces its headline sponsorship of Bloody Scotland, Scotland's first International Crime Writing Festival.

The inaugural Bloody Scotland festival will take place in Stirling between September 14 and 16 2012, and is already attracting great interest from leading crime writers throughout the country, including Scotland's very own, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, who will appear as two of the Festival's leading lights.

With UK crime sales totalling a substantial £143 million last year, this is the first time the specialist literary genre will be celebrated north of the border with its own Festival. Mazars is delighted to announce its headline sponsorship of this innovative event, which has already attracted substantial media interest both at home and abroad. The Bloody Scotland website goes live today at, where people can register their interest in attending events and secure early-bird tickets.

Speaking today, Peter Jibson, managing partner for Mazars Scotland, said: "Crime fiction is the single most popular genre amongst Scottish readers, and we believe Bloody Scotland is a truly fitting way to celebrate the nation's burgeoning literary talent. Few other countries have produced such a number of crime fiction writers of such a high calibre so the sponsorship of such an ambitious event in the literature calendar is a very exciting prospect for us. We look forward to working with such acclaimed authors in the coming months and supporting such a vital part of Scotland's cultural identity and heritage."

Crime literature is widely recognised as a distinct literary genre, with a devoted readership. Successful Scottish crime writing dates as far back as the 19th century, when Edinburgh author Arthur Conan Doyle created what has now become a British institution – the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

Alex Gray, crime author, is the brainchild for the event along with her good friend and partner in crime Lin Anderson. They are also the main organisers along with Jenny Brown (their literary agent), Gordon Brown and Clio Gray and are supported by fellow authors who have given their invaluable assistance to help organise the event. Alex Gray says:

"With over 40 literature festivals taking place in Scotland each year, not one has ever exclusively recognised the remarkable talent amongst Scottish crime writers. Bloody Scotland will showcase all that is great in Scottish crime literature and indeed the fabulous authors who continue to excite, thrill and entertain us.

"Mazars' support will allow us to make the festival the most exciting event in the literature calendar, and we are thrilled to be able to work alongside an organisation that truly recognises the value of Scotland's exceptional creative landscape."

Leading Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin said: "Scottish crime writing continues to fire on all cylinders, and talented new voices keep appearing. Bloody Scotland is a long overdue celebration of Scotland's favourite genre, one of its most successful cultural exports – and a chance to hear some of the most interesting international writers too."

Author Val McDermid added: "If Scotland does go for independence, there's one thing we won't be short of — we've already got more than our fair share of top class crime writers, and plenty of them will be on show at Bloody Scotland.'

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: "Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events, and it is hugely exciting to see Scotland's first international crime festival taking place this year. 2012 is the Year of Creative Scotland, and the Bloody Scotland programme will showcase some of the country's top literary talent alongside some of the best international authors on the crime-writing scene."

Bloody Scotland will take place over three days in the Barcelo Stirling Highland Hotel with headline events in the Albert Halls and master classes on the University of Stirling Campus. This ambitious festival will include the first Scottish Crime Awards and sessions on forensic technology, morality, e-books and a 'Dragon's Pen'.

For more information on Bloody Scotland, and to register interest please visit

More information on Mazars can be found at or telephone 0141 226 4924.

For media information, please contact Lisa Mennie, Skylark Public Relations on 07825 225414 / or Pauline Gregory on 07833 490964 /

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sam Bourne talks about his new novel Pantheon

Today’s guest blog is by author Sam Bourne who is the literary pseudonym of Jonathan Freedland an award winning journalist and broadcaster.  He is also a weekly columnist for the Guardian.   Pantheon his fifth book is published today.
Before I’d written a word of it, one thing about Pantheon, the new novel written under my pseudonym Sam Bourne, scared me. Where the four previous Bourne books had been contemporary stories, rooted in the here and now, Pantheon would be set in 1940. It had to be: the real-life events which underpin the novel happened in that first year of the Second World War. Whether I liked it or not, this book would have to be both a thriller and a historical novel.

That had an immediate consequence. Every action by any character, no matter how minor, would have to be extensively researched. Let’s say the protagonist is hungry. In a contemporary story that would pose no problem: I would know instinctively what and where he would eat. But in the Oxford of 1940? What did people like to eat then? More important, what was available in the age of rationing? (Not much it turned out: the speciality at one restaurant, The Racket, was baked beans on toast.)

I knew I had to get such things right. One lesson I have learned in my relatively short career as a thriller-writer is that readers will accept the most outlandish plot twists, just so long as the apparently mundane nuts and bolts are in the right place. Hitler won the war? (See Robert Harris’s Fatherland) No problem. But a character who takes the 106 bus to Piccadilly? That’s not on. Factual errors break the spell of a novel – and the scope for factual errors when writing fiction set not in the period one knows best, the present, but in a past outside one’s own experience, is immense.

The result was that the research stage of Pantheon took longer than for any novel I had written before. My aim was to evoke a 1940 world that would convince the reader, one that included both Oxford and Yale, where the bulk of the book’s action takes place.
That entailed multiple trips around Oxford, guided by an able local historian. I had to forget the city I had known as a student in the 1980s and imagine instead wartime Oxford, where the college windows were painted over and the traffic lights wore monk-like hoods to observe the blackout. This 1940 Oxford was a remarkable place: a kind of Whitehall-in-exile, where several government departments relocated in order to avoid the bombs targeted at London. Merton housed parts of the Department of Transport, Queen’s had the Ministry of Home Security and Balliol welcomed a section of the Foreign Office. (Word was that the section in question was the intelligence operation.) A further rumour insisted that an unnamed college was being kept empty, ready to house the royal family should the King flee London.

Rumours were forever attaching themselves to the city. One, which persists to this day, suggested that the Luftwaffe avoided pounding Oxford with bombs because Hitler planned to make the city the capital of Nazi-occupied Britain. But, at the time, few could be confident that Oxford would be spared – an anxiety on which a key aspect of Pantheon’s plot turns.

Evoking the Yale of 1940 was a challenge of a different order, if only because I couldn’t hop on the train whenever I needed to check an elusive fact. I spent several packed days in New Haven, Connecticut, walking the streets of the Yale campus, a university official pointing out what I would have seen had I visited seventy-odd years earlier. I tried to imagine how this place would have looked to the hero of my novel, Dr James Zennor, an Oxford man who had never crossed the Atlantic before. He had left behind a shabby, grey ration-book Britain fighting for its life; he would have marvelled at the plenty of an America at peace, a land of Coca-Cola and stationwagons where everything was big and in generous supply. I made sure to eat at Frank Pepe’s pizzeria on Wooster St, established in 1925 and one of the very first in America, whose roaring, open oven would have struck James Zennor as an extraordinary novelty.
Still, the highlight of my trip was an interview with Professor Gaddis Smith, longtime chair of Yale’s department of history and author of an upcoming history of the university. Rather than dismiss the hunch that had set me on the road to Pantheon, he confirmed it.

I don’t dare say any more, lest I give away the story. Suffice it to say, at the heart of Pantheon is an idea, one that strikes 21st century eyes as sinister if not horrific. Yet this idea was mainstream in the pre-war era on both sides of the Atlantic. And, Smith told me, it was not merely mainstream at Yale – it was “red hot.” The documentary evidence he was gracious enough to show me made my jaw drop.
And that was how it was for much of the year or more I spent researching Pantheon before writing it. The previous Bourne novels had all required me to use my reporter’s notebook, but this was different – as indeed Pantheon itself is different. I hope those who have enjoyed the previous books will devour this one too. But I also hope it appeals to others, those who look for a novel to be a cracking yarn but to do something else too – to shed light on an intense, dramatic and perhaps forgotten part of our own history.

A Shots Ezine review of Pantheon by L J Hurst can be read here.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

An Evening with Håkan Nesser and Barry Forshaw

Scandinavian crime writing's foremost expert Barry Forshaw will be in conversation with the celebrated Swedish crime writer Håkan Nesser. Håkan Nesser will be discussing 'Hour of the Wolf,' the latest instalment in his popular Inspector Van Veeteren series.

The event is due to take place at Waterstones Piccadilly, London on Tuesday, 17 April 2012, 7:00PM Tickets £5/£3 Waterstones Loyalty Cardholders available in store or via 020 7851 2400 or
Hour of the Wolf
A young boy is killed in a hit and run. Under the cover of rain and darkness, the driver escapes the scene. But the incident will change his life forever as he becomes the victim of blackmail ...Meanwhile Van Veeteren, now retired from the Maardam police, faces his greatest challenge yet when a family member becomes the victim of a terrible crime. And, as the body count rises, it gradually becomes clear that the person behind these murders is acting on their own dark logic ...

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Crime fiction News

The CWA has announced that the 2012 winner of its prestigious Diamond Dagger award with the honour awarded to thriller writer Frederick Forsyth.

Chair of the CWA Peter James said, “Frederick Forsyth is a hugely deserving recipient and The Day of the Jackal remains one of the greatest thrillers of our times. He has set a new standard of research-based authenticity with his writing, which has had a major influence both on my work and on many of my contemporaries in the crime and thriller field. We are very thrilled that he has accepted this award.”

The Diamond Dagger recipient is chosen each year by the CWA committee, from a shortlist nominated by the membership. Shortlisted authors must meet two essential criteria: first, their careers must be marked by sustained excellence, and second, they must have made a significant contribution to crime fiction published in the English language, whether originally or in translation. The award is made purely on merit without reference to age, gender or nationality. The Diamond Dagger will be presented to Frederick Forsyth at an award ceremony later this year.  Frederick Forsyth is the author of a number of thrillers including The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol and The Dogs of War. The Day of the Jackal was published in 1971 and became an international bestseller and won an Edgar Award for Best Novel.

The CWA has also announced the launch of its exciting new initiative The Crime Readers’ Association.

Crime and thriller fiction is booming worldwide with British and Irish writers shining alongside their American and Scandinavian counterparts. The newly formed CRA is a place for fans of these genres to keep up with their favourite CWA authors.

Crime fans are invited to visit a new website at and sign up to receive a free e-newsletter filled with features, news and articles about crime writing and CWA authors. If you sign up before the end of March, then you will go into a draw to win two free passes to Bristol’s CrimeFest in May this year. The first e-newsletter will feature an exclusive extract from Michael Ridpath’s new novel, a reading by current CWA Chair Peter James and exclusive crime features, together with news and updates from CWA members. This content will not be available elsewhere, so crime and thriller fans need to sign up now to receive it free.

The Crime Writers’ Association Chair Peter James said: “We’re very excited about launching this new initiative. The idea behind the CRA is to bring readers and writers closer together, in order to further promote the crime writing genre. Authors could not survive without their loyal readers and the CRA celebrates the role of the reader in the burgeoning success of the genre. We have showcased members’ events and books on our website for several years now and we see the CRA as an extension of this. Hopefully, it will help our members to grow their careers more.”

Want to know what some interesting information about best-selling author James Patterson then read Rosanna Greenstreet’s  interview with him in the Guardian.

Congratulations go to Jennifer Muller who has joined DHH Literacy Agency as a literary agent. Jennifer has been involved in the publishing industry since 2001. Simultaneously working in the United States' largest mystery bookshop, The Poisoned Pen, and its independent publishing partner, Poisoned Pen Press, she had many roles including assistant editor and associate publisher. In 2005, she helped to create a UK branch of Poisoned Pen Press.

The 13th Love is Murder Conference took place between 3rd and 5th February in Chicago. The Lovey Awards from Love is Murder are as follows –

Best First Novel - Basic Black by Scott Doornbosch
Best Traditional Novel – The Fine Art of Murder by Donald Bain
Best PI/Police Procedural – The Towman’s Daughters by David J Walker
Best Thriller – Northwest Angle by William Kent Krueger
Best Historical – Terror at the Fair by Robert Goldsborough
Best Suspense – Toxicity by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Best Paranormal/Sci Fi/Horror – Homefront: The Voice of Freedom by Raymond Benson
Best Series – The White House Chef Series by Julie Hyzy
Best Romantic Suspense – A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Best Short Story – Diamonds Aren’t Forever by Mary Welk

 Agatha Awards –
The Agatha Award Nominees have been announced! The awards will be presented at Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD on April 28, 2012.

Best Novel:
The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews
The Diva Haunts the House by Krista Davis
Wicked Autumn, by G.M. Malliet
Three Day Town, by Margaret Maron
A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny

Best First Novel:
Dire Threads (A Threadville Mystery), by Janet Bolin
Choke, by Kaye George
Learning to Swim: A Novel, by Sara J. Henry
Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind for Murder Mystery), by Rochelle Staab
Tempest in the Tea Leaves (A Fortune Teller Mystery), by Kari Lee Townsend

Best Non-Fiction
Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure, by Leslie Budewitz
Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks, by John Curran
On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling, by Michael Dirda
Wilkie Collins, Vera Caspary and the Evolution of the Casebook Novel, by A. B. Emrys
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, by Charlaine Harris

Best Short Story
Disarming”, by Dana Cameron (in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Dead Eye Gravy”, by Krista Davis (in Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology)
Palace by the Lake”, by Daryl Wood Gerber (in Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology)
Truth and Consequences”, by Barb Goffman (in Mystery Times Ten)
The Itinerary”, by Roberta Isleib (in MWA Presents the Rich and the Dead)

Best Children's/Young Adult:
Shelter by Harlan Coben
The Black Heart Crypt by Chris Grabenstein
Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey
The Code Busters Club, Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key by Penny Warner

Best Historical Novel:
Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
Murder Your Darlings by J.J. Murphy
Mercury's Rise by Ann Parker
Troubled Bones by Jeri Westerson
A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear

Congratulations to all the nominees.

The UK movie trailer for the film adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s 2008 crime caper Headhunters has been released and can be seen below. Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a successful, high-powered headhunter living way beyond his means, lavishing gifts on his stunning blonde trophy wife. He supplements his income by stealing rare artworks from his clients. Handsome Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his original Rubens seem like an irresistible target but Clas lives the life of a Bond villain and the two men are soon embroiled in a deadly feud.

The film was released under its Norwegian title Hodejegerne last August and will be released in the UK on 6th April 2012.

The BBC has cast Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) in The Fall as a Metropolitan detective superintendent sent to Belfast to conduct a review of a high profile murder case. The Fall is a gripping psychological thriller that forensically examines the lives of two hunters. One is a serial killer who stalks his victims at random in and around Belfast and the other is a talented female Detective Superintendent on secondment from the MET who is brought in to catch him. The crime drama will follow a police investigation that uncovers the intricate story of lives entangled by a series of murders. Produced by Artists Studio and written by Allan Cubitt (The Runaway, Murphy’s Law, Prime Suspect), the five episodes will follow the police investigation uncovering the intricate story of the lives entangled by a series of murders – both the killer's and the victims’ families.  Gillian Anderson stars as DSI Gibson, who arrives to conduct a 28 day review at a Belfast station where the police are getting nowhere on a high profile murder case. Further casting will be announced soon, with filming starting in Belfast next month.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Anna Smith talks about To Tell The Truth

Today’s guest blog post is from Anna Smith who has been a journalist for other twenty years and who is a former chief reporter for the Daily Record in Glasgow. She has covered wars across the world as well as major investigations and news stories from Dunblane to Kosovo to 9/11. She writes a regular newspaper column in the News of The World with a readership of more than a million in Scotland alone. To Tell The Truth is her second novel. Her first crime novel to feature Rosie Gilmour The Dead Won’t Sleep was published last year.

If you embark on a novel where the main thrust of the plot is the kidnapping of a little girl while on holiday in Spain with her parents, you’d better be braced for the obvious questions. Of course, in my novel To Tell The Truth, there will be comparisons made to the kidnapping of Madeleine McCann – it was, and still is one of the biggest stories on the agenda for most of the media. But as a frontline former daily newspaper journalist who has never shied away from any challenge, I’m a firm believer that an author should be free to write about any subject they wish.
Real life events have triggered fiction form the beginning of time.

But in fact I had a very clear picture in my mind who my main characters were – and they bear no resemblance to anyone in real life. I wanted to create a set of circumstances that would enable a child to be kidnapped and also to look at the aspect of guilt. But that isn’t the only reason why I pursued the storyline of child kidnapping.

I did it because I wanted to write a novel where searing guilt was at the heart of the story, and where I could illustrate how a moment of recklessness can wreck so many people’s lives. And I also did it, because I wanted to put a spotlight on the most sickening scourge in the world we live in today - child porn and people trafficking, where the most vulnerable people are at the mercy of ruthless gangsters and perverts. My new novel is the second in the series featuring Glasgow journalist Rosie Gilmour, following on from the debut thriller last year, The Dead Won’t Sleep.

The new book sees Rosie sent on the massive kidnapping story while she is on holiday in Spain. To Tell The Truth is, by the very nature of the title, a story of people who cannot afford to tell the truth of what happened and what they were doing when a three-year-old girl gets kidnapped from a beach in broad daylight while on holiday with her parents. The mother cannot tell the truth because of what she was doing, and the only people who witnessed the crime cannot tell the truth because of who they are.

Of course, I considered the sensitivity of the subject matter, as I’ve always been, and still am, a huge supporter of the McCanns. Indeed, when I was a columnist with the Sunday Mirror and News Of the World, I strongly criticised the shabby way they were treated by the Portuguese authorities investigating the case. But the sensitivity didn’t hold me back from my story.
In fact, as much thought went into the creating of the character who kidnapped the child, as it did when crafting the other characters. I wanted to give the kidnapper a backstory. I didn’t want him to be someone who steps from the shadows and randomly steals a child. I wanted him to have a story and to develop - and the biggest task of all was to see if I could create any kind of empathy at all with a character like that. And I wanted to create a reason why this particular child was kidnapped.

My publishers Quercus held the launch for me in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street branch Watersones last week, and it went down a storm. Having spent a lifetime in journalism I’m fortunate and also grateful to have the continued friendship and respect of others in the industry who always turn out to support me on my book launches. They did it last year and we all shared a glass of wine and an attempt to catch up on each other’s lives before I signed copies for the queue that snaked from the basement almost to the first floor! When I made my little speech at the beginning, I talked of the huge support of friends and family, and without wanting to gush like someone on a reality show – I cannot emphasise how central that support is to my life.

I grew up in a former mining village in Lanarkshire where despite all the social problems in the present climate, there is still a strong sense of community and family. People I’ve known all my life, and some I barely know, all turn up to buy my book and wait in the queue to get it signed. I continue to be genuinely touched and moved by that level of generosity, and I would never take it for granted. Book launches for me are great fun – once the official bit is over and we can all have a few drinks.

Next up, is the rather sumptuous Stena Line ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast and then a long drive to the West of Ireland. The people in the remote villages where my house stands just a stroll to the wildness of the Atlantic, have made me so welcome and give me a great sense of family, even when I’m away from my own back in Scotland.

We had a great launch there last year for The Dead Won’t Sleep, first in the Dingle Bookshop and then back at TP’s pub – my local in Ballydavid, and renowned throughout the west as one of the best places in Ireland for the craic. This year, the launch will be March 16 - the night before St Patrick’s Day, so we’re hoping for a good crowd and that it turns into a bit of a night back at TP’s.

Then it’s onto Spain, where I did a small launch of the mass market paperback in November and to my astonishment the pub there was packed out with ex-pats from the Costa del Sol who love a good crime story! We’re hoping for a big crowd this time in the Mijas Playa restaurant in the little gem of a village called La Cala de Mijas, where again people have made me really welcome.
Actually it was while in La Cala, walking on the beach that I first got the inspiration to write To Tell The Truth, and even as I walk there I can still see the story unfolding in front of my eyes.

Now, I’m on book three in the Rosie Gilmour series. It’s called Refuge and is a story of refugees in Glasgow in the late 1990s, set in the city and also in Bosnia and Kosovo. I have almost finished it – hoping that I can take Rosie once again out of Glasgow and use my journalistic experience covering wars and conflicts across the world, to help give her stories an international appeal.

Kirstie Long’s review of To Tell The Truth can be read on the Shots Ezine website.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Crime Fiction news! 2012 Barry Award nominations

The Barry Award nominations have been released -

Best Novel
The Keeper of Lost Causes (In the UK, Mercy) by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Dutton)
The Accident by Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
The Hurt Machine by
Reed Farrel Coleman (Tyrus)
Iron House by
John Hart (Minotaur)
Hell is Empty by
Craig Johnson (Viking)
The Troub
led Man by Henning Mankell (Knopf)

Best First Novel
Learning to Swim by
Sara Henry (Crown)
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (Minotaur)
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis (Soho Crime)
Turn of Mind by
Alice LaPlante (Atlantic Monthly)
The Infor
mationist by Taylor Stevens (Crown)
Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (Harper)

Best British (Published in the UK in 2011)
You See Me by S.J. Bolton (Bantam Press)
Hell’s Bells (in U.K., The Infernals),
John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton)
Bad Signs by
R. J. Ellory (Orion)
The House
at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason (Harvill Secker)
Dead Man’s Grip by
Peter James (Macmillan)

Best Paperback Original
The Silenced by Brett Battles (Dell)
The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch (Mariner Books)

A Double Death on the Black Isle by A. D. Scott (Atria)
Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley (Harper Perennial)
Fun and Games by
Duane Swierczynski (Mulholland)
Two for Sorrow, Nicola Upson (Harper Perennial)

Best Thriller
er by Tom Cain (Bantam Press)
Coup D'Etat by
Ben Coes (St. Martin's)
Spycatcher (Spartan) by Matthew Dunn (William Morrow)
Ballistic by Mark Greaney (Berkley Trade)
House Divided by Mike Lawson (Atlantic Monthly)
The Informant by Thomas Perry (Houghton Mifflin)

Best Short Story

"Thicker Than Blood" by Doug Allyn (AHMM September)
"The Gun Also Rises" by Jeffrey Cohen (AHMM January-February)
"Whiz Bang" by Mike Cooper (EQMM September-October)
"Facts Exhibiting Wantonness" by Trina Corey (EQMM November)
"Last Laugh in Floogle Park" by James Powell (EQMM July)
"Purge" by Eric Rutter (AHMM December)

The Barry Awards will be presented October 4, 2012 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Bouchercon in Cleveland, Ohio. Congratulations to all the nominees!