Daily Archives: October 1, 2011

History in the Court – Goldsboro Books

Another top evening courtesy of the wonderful Goldsboro Books on Thursday and another chance to meet some of the finest writers around, mingle, chat, buy great books and get them signed too!

Following on from the highly successful ‘Crime in the Court’ event held earlier in the year, the subject this time round was all things historical, Fictional and Non-Fictional, and of course there was a bit of crime in there too.  Once again a full house in both rooms of the bookshop and a very packed Cecil Court outside where most of us made the most of the fantastically balmy September evening.  Managing Director David Headley took to his customary stepladder to thank everyone for their support and announced that, next year, Goldsboro will be honouring a debut Historical author with a special award ‘The Goldsboro Crown’ – a rather nice glass etched award, plus £2000 in cash.

The party was still in full swing when I left, and by then we’d already had to part the crowd to make way for a long Hari Krishna procession and had spent the evening marvelling at the stealth tactics used by the more determined book collectors as they tracked and hunted down their prey for signatures on their books.  Highlights of my evening were purchasing and having signed a copy of Judith Flanders’ great book on Victorian Crime, and having a nice chat about book festivals with James Forrester (pic courtesy of Mike Stotter of Shots).

The evening was a sell-out, as was Crime in the Court, so make sure you keep up to speed with everything that happens at this great independent in readiness for next year’s events if you missed out this time round.  In the meantime, they have a fantastic selection of beautiful first edition hardbacks for you to go and buy.



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All titles are published by Titan Books.

Having loved the Hard Case Crime books for a while now, I was really pleased to discover whilst at Harrogate that Titan Books were about to relaunch the titles plus some new ones in the UK as of the end of September.

So, it was with a roaring three loud bangs that these first three explosive little babies arrived on my doormat, with their glorious newly commissioned but very much ‘classic’ noir jackets.  They are all fast paced little gems of books, with tales to be told in fast talking PI style, without room for clutter, they just get on and get the job done, often in under 250 pages.

First up for me to read was ‘Quarry’s Ex’ by bestselling and incredibly prolific author Max Allan Collins (of ‘Road to Perdition’ fame).  Returning to his hitman, Quarry (who has featured in three previous novels), Collins spins a classic noir tale full of the usual components, femme fatales, a movie shoot scenario and smart talking wise-guys but all with a very ‘matter of fact’ style, even when describing driving a car slowly over someone’s head.

Quarry is a loner, but in this book he finds his estranged wife again by accident when he chooses to steal a potential target, film Director Arthur Stockwell, away from two other hitmen by telling the Director he’ll protect him for a fee – a two-for-one deal for $25K for taking out both hitmen.

The last time Quarry saw Joni, she was in bed with their mechanic, this time round he finds that she is known as J.J. and is married to Stockwell.  Then there’s just the question of how deep local mobster Louis Licata is involved in the production of the movie and the planned hit on its Director.

Quarry himself just feels like a tool for the use of others, distancing himself from the things he does with a simple philosophy.

‘My role was impersonal – clients opened a drawer, stuck in their hand, and I was the weapon they pulled out.’

A great fast paced read and a great introduction to Quarry and to the other Hard Case Crime titles coming up.


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Into the Darkest Corner – by Elizabeth Haynes

Published by Myriad Editions

Earlier this year I was blown away by a book that dealt with the mysteries created by the mind with the excellent debut ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ by SJ Watson, I am so pleased to have discovered another worthy read that treads similar territory but stands on its own merit.

In a recent ‘Writing Magazine’ interview, Julia Crouch (author of the great psychological novel ‘Cuckoo’, published by Headline) described her use of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) as a great way to get first drafts written and she cited Elizabeth Haynes as another author who had used that route, praising her debut.

That was me sold, so a click on the kindle and I settled to read ‘Into the Darkest Corner’, but when I say settled maybe that should be ‘unsettled’ as it’s a disturbing trip into the mind of Cathy, who is clearly going through a personal hell.  A sufferer of OCD and with strong indications that she has been in an abusive relationship, the story is told from her viewpoint in 2003 and in 2007 in alternate chapters – a style which works great for this book as we think something bad has happened in 2003 and we think something worse might be about to happen in 2007.

The man of her dreams, and then of her nightmares is Lee  (a name I’m sure came up as the least trusted male name in a recent poll – I remember nodding when I heard it as it was my old boss’s name), and he arrives in Cathy’s 2003 world as everything she ever wanted in a man – ‘just too good to be true’.

In her 2007 world she has a new man, with a medical background (again in ways similar to the SJ Watson book) but she feels that someone (either her new beau, or possibly Lee returned to trouble her) is messing with her mind and the darkness starts to descend once again on her life.

Long-listed for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2011 this is a gripping debut from Elizabeth Haynes, a Police Intelligence Analyst.

With the Faber Academy producing novels like ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ by Sj Watson and NaNoWriMo producing first drafts of ‘Cuckoo’ by Julia Crouch and now ‘Into the Darkest Corner’ by Elizabeth Haynes – clearly these are good places to start.

Highly recommended and if you want to check more on Elizabeth’s work, you can go to www.elizabeth-haynes.com


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DOVE SEASON ‘A Jimmy Veeder Fiasco’ by Johnny Shaw

Published by Amazon Encore.

This was my first experience of a title from Amazon Encore, a publisher working with authors to introduce or re-introduce their books to readers, and a great experience it was too.

The perfect escapism read for this weekend, reading about the adventures of the central character Jimmy Veeder on the Calexico/Mexicali border at a time when here in the UK we are experiencing hotter than Mexico temperatures.

Told in the first person, this is a mystery, an adventure and a heartfelt tale of a man pulled back to his hometown after ten years away when he is told that his father is dying of cancer.  After some wonderful banter between father and son, we know that the end is sadly in sight, but no one is ready for Big Jack Veeder’s dying request; he asks his son to cross the border and bring him back a specific prostitute, Yolanda, to his bedside.

And so, the sadness of the hospital bedside scenes are swiftly replaced with a sun-filled haze of humourous adventure as Jimmy, assisted by his old buddy Bobby Maves, dodge violence and threats along the way to seek out Yolanda and bring her back.  Their adventures provided me with the most fun I’ve had with a crime book for some time (probably the best laugh out loud moments since Eoin Colfer’s ‘Plugged’) with the wise cracks coming thick and fast in the midst of some quite deadly encounters.

We’re only at the midpoint of the book, however, before Jimmy suffers a heartbreaking loss, swiftly followed by the discovery of a corpse, leaving him reeling and desperate to seek out the truth and to clear up what appear to be growing rumours about his father’s past history.

Great great fun, with a real sense of place – the sweat will run down your back as you read, your mouth salivating for a shot of tequila with each chapter.

If this is a typical ‘Jimmy Veeder Fiasco’, then I can’t wait for another, and soon.

You can check out more about Johnny and his work at www.johnnyshawauthor.com


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