Monthly Archives: June 2012

A New Crime in Translation imprint coming from Little Brown soon !!!!

TRAPDOOR

The New Crime in Translation Imprint

This transatlantic venture formed jointly between Little, Brown Book Group and Grand Central in the US sources crime stories from all over the world, bringing them to English-speaking readers for the very first time.

Trapdoor will publish up to six commercial crime, suspense and thriller titles a year, all in translation, and will be launched with the publication of Sebastian Bergman by Hjorth and Rosenfeldt in paperback on July 5th. Spring 2013 will see the publication of the second title on the Trapdoor imprint, The Devil’s Sanctuary, a heart-stopping psychological thriller by Swedish bestseller Marie Hermanson.

Sebastian Bergman accompanies the BBC4 TV series of the same name, which was also co-written by Hjorth and Rosenfeldt, the team behind the Wallander TV series. Rosenfeldt was also the creator of the recent hit BBC4 TV series The Bridge.

Recently described as ‘The Swedish Cracker’ by the Guardian, Sebastian Bergman is a widower, psychologist, top criminal profiler and one of Sweden’s foremost experts on serial killers. He is the star of our upcoming thriller and of the TV series, which was initially broadcast on the 26th May and stars the original Wallander, Rolf Lassgård.

With over 200,000 copies sold in Sweden alone, and rights sold in 18 territories, this novel is the first in a series featuring Bergman, whose investigation into the murder of a 16-year-old boy exposes a town’s secrets. Gripping, dark and tautly plotted, this novel is ideal for fans of BBC4’s The Killing and The Bridge.

Sebastian Bergman will be published by Trapdoor as a paperback original on Thursday 5th July, £7.99
It is also available as an eBook, £7.99
The DVD of the series will be released on the 25th June

On Twitter: #SebastianBergman #SwedishCracker
You can even join Sebastian Bergman on Facebook here.

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Interview: MAX ALLAN COLLINS

Following on from my review of the rather excellent ‘Lady, Go Die!’, prolific author and all round good guy Max Allan Collins kindly gave up some of his time to answer a few questions I had about his writing and what we can expect next from his furious and unstoppable crime output:

Can you tell us any more about the other two lost Mickey Spillane books you’ve been working on ? (Complex 90 and King of the Weeds) and are there any other treasures to follow on from those, or has the lost treasure vault of Mr Spillane now about run dry ?

COMPLEX 90 is a Cold War thriller circa ’64 and is, on one level, a sequel to THE GIRL HUNTERS.

KING OF THE WEEDS was conceived as the final Hammer novel, with Mickey working on it in the ’90s, but put aside after 9/11 inspired him to start THE GOLIATH BONE. There are the makings for three more Hammer novels after that, all dating to the 1950s and prime stuff, but shorter unfinished manuscripts than the substantial, 100-pages ones that I felt were the priority. There are shorter fragments that I am developing into short stories with an eventual collection the goal. In addition, there are numerous starts to non-Hammer novels that could be converted should readers demand.

I’m sure you must be impressed by the book jacket and whole look and feel of Lady, Go Die – how do you feel about the jacket and of the great covers you seem to always get – with this and with the Hard Case Crime books? And do you have any involvement in the look of the books?

I’ve had plenty of mediocre and even lousy covers in my time, so I am thrilled to have something as striking as the LADY, GO DIE! cover, and of course I am wild about the retro covers at Hard Case Crime. I have been given input in both instances. I also was able to guide the covers of the Nathan Heller reprints that Amazon is doing. I was unhappy with the hardcover of the Marilyn Monroe-oriented Nate Heller novel, BYE BYE, BABY, from Forge, but they have much improved it on the current paperback.

Any plans/projects for further graphic novels?

Terry Beatty and I will be doing a new Ms. Tree novel, probably next year. I was supposed to start it this year, but my schedule got overloaded. I may eventually do another PERDITION graphic novel, a prequel, although that might wind up as a prose work.

Will we see you in the UK anytime soon for a crime festival appearance ?

I love the UK. My wife and I consider London our favorite city in the world. I will absolutely go if somebody invites me and pays my way, but I may come anyway, sometime in the next year or two.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?

At the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, Richard Yates once said to me, “Just because you write, ‘He came at me like a thug in a B movie’ doesn’t make it any less like a B movie.” From that I extrapolated that in the hardboiled melodrama I write, the surface needs a reality, because the larger picture is fantasy. I do this a little less with Mike Hammer, because he is so inherently a pulp figure, but even there I try to keep him human and the moment to moment stuff grounded in reality. A related stratgegy is to make you draw from your life and not just from other books or movies and TV you’ve seen. Until I began incorporating my experiences into the work, I didn’t sell.

If you could recommend one author who crime readers may not have heard of but should seek out, who would that be?

Probably Ennis Willie, whose very Spillane-like series about a character called Sand prefigured both Richard Stark’s Parker and my Nolan and Quarry series. They were published in the early ’60s by a Chicago soft-core porn house, though the books weren’t that at all. Willie was a cult figure who nobody knew anything about until he noticed the fuss on the net a few years back, and presented himself — a southern gent with a very successful printing firm, who hasn’t written since that first wave of pulp. But his Sand novels are being reprinted by a small press, Ramble House, in omnibus fashion.

You’ve been lucky to have worked on some great Spillane books, but is there one book in crime fiction that you wish you had written?

I have no desire to have written any one else’s book. But the novels that are at the top of my list are THE MALTESE FALCON, FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, ONE LONELY NIGHT and THE BAD SEED.

Many thanks to Max for his time, and for his great great books.

Keith

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NOT DEAD YET by Peter James

To read my review of this latest in the Roy Grace series, check out ‘We Love This Book’.

Keith

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The 15-Minute Read and 36 Stories – Letting Imaginations Travel

The internationally renowned Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate and Transdev in Harrogate, part of one of the largest public transport operators in Europe, have joined creative forces this summer to bring two exclusive opportunities to readers and writers in North and West Yorkshire.

Passengers of Transdev in Harrogate’s distinctive 36 bus services will have the opportunity to let their imagination travel courtesy of an exclusive 15 Minute Read, which features a collaboration of stories from some of the UK’s most celebrated crime writers. The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – part of Harrogate International Festivals, one of the north of England’s leading arts organisations – challenged ten of the UK’s finest crime writers to come up with a round robin crime story as dark and mysterious as the beer of its title sponsor. The first three chapters of the resulting humorous crime story, Specific Gravity, written by authors Stuart MacBride, Zoe Sharp and Laura Wilson, will be available as a take-one 15 Minute Read mini-book on 36 buses throughout July with the rest of the madcap saga unfolding online at 36stories.co.uk.

The story will carry on with chapters from an array of bestselling crime writers including N J Cooper, Martyn Waites, Martin Edwards, Ann Cleeves, Dreda Say Mitchell, Allan Guthrie, Charlie Williams and more from Stuart MacBride.

Nigel Eggleton, Director of Sales and Marketing at Transdev in Harrogate, said “As two Yorkshire based organisations who pride ourselves on high quality delivery, the 15-Minute Reads has been created in partnership with the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate to provide the perfect way for people to enjoy their bus journey. With just 15 minutes between 36 bus services between Leeds-Harrogate-Ripon during the day, this mini-read is designed for making the most of the minutes before another bus comes along. For those who love to read, travelling by bus allows you to make the most of your journey, and with the 15 Minute Read, your imagination can travel to another world!”

As well as offering something brand new for readers across the district, the partnership will also see the launch of an exclusive competition for budding writers. In the run up to the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which this year will take place 19-22 July at the magnificent Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, the Festival and Transdev in Harrogate are running a short story competition with the aptly titled theme ’36 Stories’. The Festival is asking aspiring crime writers to get creative and submit a short story that involves one of more locations on the 36 bus route. A hand-picked selection of the top short stories will feature in the Harrogate Advertiser throughout June and July, and the Festival will also post their pick of the best of the entries online at www.36stories.co.uk

In the same way that the 15-Minute Read booklet promises to intrigue travellers, selected competition entries will be available to read online and with free Wi-Fi available on the majority of Transdev in Harrogate’s 36 bus fleet, travelling by bus has never been so entertaining, especially for passengers with smartphones and iPads.

For further information on the 15-Minute Read or 36 Stories please contact

Gemma Rowland, Festivals Co-ordinator, on 01423 562 303
or email gemma@harrogate-festival.org.uk

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The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Published by Simon & Schuster

‘It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophies are always different – unimagined, unprepared for, unknown… ‘
What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day becomes night and night becomes day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on an eleven-year-old girl, grappling with emotional changes in her own life..?

One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.

A very timely release to be published on 21st June 2012 – The Longest Day.

With the world slowing down all around her in California, eleven year old Julia is still dealing with all the experiences of a young girl: first love (with skateboarder Seth Moreno), the suspicion of marital problems between her parents, school and a general fear of the unknown – in each and every way possible.

In the dying world the book presents, with birds falling from the sky, trees falling and whales beaching themselves, society splits into those that choose to accept the new timing of days and those who refuse to allow the change to effect their time and strive to keep to a twenty four hour day through the use of black out shades and hiding away from the sun.  Colonies are set up in the distance, people leaving and drifting away from their neighbourhoods, teachers and pupils becoming absent from school as people move away, striving to find other places, other areas where ‘the slowing’ might not have taken a grip.

With astronauts trapped in space and an uncertainty as to whether they dare try to return to the earth’s atmosphere, this is at once a small tale of a small girl and a global story of a world which has suddenly changed its rules on mankind. When technology starts to fail and break down, townsfolk rely on notes and pictures posted on boards and in store windows to find loved ones who have moved away – a section that cannot fail to recall the images of the lost after the 9/11 attacks.

‘The Age of Miracles’ is a sometimes melancholy tale, thought provoking throughout but an altogether wonderful book.  It’s a book that instills what’s important, what can be stripped away from humankind and yet keep us human.

And you can get your copy here to read through the long days ahead.

Keith

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DEITY by Steven Dunne

Published by Headline

Ritual . . .

A man’s body is found in the River Derwent in Derbyshire, presumed drowned until the autopsy reveals he has no lungs.

Another corpse is dredged up in Shardlow Gravel Pit, the victim’s internal organs removed, except for his heart.

Suicide . . .

Four Derby College students are reported missing, but then a film is discovered on the internet that suggests they have ritually killed themselves.

Death . . .

For Detective Inspector Damen Brook of Derby CID the question is, are they connected? Why did the students want to die when they had such bright futures ahead of them? Is the film a fake?

As the body count rises, Brook must piece together a sequence of events that gets ever darker and more terrifying. And when his own daughter’s life is threatened, Brook must employ everything he has ever known to uncover the truth before time runs out . . .

It is to my shame that copies of Steven Dunne’s previous DI Damen Brook novels ‘The Reaper’ and ‘The Disciple’ sit on the shelf behind me, as yet unopened despite having been in the house for a long long time.  When DEITY hit the doormat, however, coupled a fine review by Stephen Booth to accompany the book’s release, I could not wait to get straight into this new title  – something that has ensured that I’ll be checking Mr Dunne’s back catalogue as soon as I can now.

Haunted by The Reaper case and now living in Derbyshire, after relocating from London, DI Damen Brook is an old school cop in many ways – even his mobile is a basic model for which only his closest colleague DS Noble has the number and which he can barely use to take photos and make calls. Thrust into the two cases of apparent murder of vagrants and disappearance of students, Brook struggles to keep up with the technology which the victims and the possible perpetrators of the crimes are using to tell their stories online, caught in a world in which celebrity, fame and notoriety  are monitored and updated at the click of a button. The use of a website ‘DEITY’ to provide updates on the missing students via film footage is no more than a terrifying further step in the wrong direction from ‘happy slapping’ and the author handles it superbly, frighteningly, well.

Deity is a sprawling tale which takes in many themes and aspects of our modern culture, serving as a lesson that it really does pay to be careful what you wish for, particularly if what you wish for is to be as famous as the ‘live fast die young’ icons who adorn many a teenager’s bedroom wall.

The concern that whoever is dumping mutilated bodies of the homeless may only be working on getting something right, experimenting with a plan, made me think of Mark Billingham’s excellent ‘Sleepyhead’ in which a killer was dumping the ones he got wrong, and in DI Brook, Steven Dunne has a character that deserves every much as much success as Billingham’s Tom Thorne.

The group of students within the tale are a great group of characters, each with their own baggage and reasons for wanting to disappear, and this book is pretty mammoth in stature as a result to fully round out their characters and backgrounds – but I never felt it was overstaying its welcome.

‘They left their pain behind them for everyone else to bear’

The references to movies, particularly to ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ and the ‘Time to die’ quote from ‘Blade Runner’ as well as mention of the found footage style of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ when referencing the film found of the students here is all very well played and serve as great points to hang the narrative on, and make the story even bigger by their inclusion.

The literary reference which is used by Adele Watson (one of the students) ‘A dream within a dream’ from Edgar Allen Poe, which is also a line from the intro of ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, serves the book best as reading it feels just like that, a darkening dream where you are just not sure where reality is playing out and are caught along with DI Brook into questioning every event, every step of the way.

Deity has a real sense of escalating tension, of impending doom, like scaling a creaking staircase in a haunted house or descending into a darkened basement – You know it’s going to be bad, but on you walk.

And, as an exclusive for Books and Writers, Steven has kindly sent me the following copy of a letter from one of the missing students:

KYLE’S LETTER

Hello Mum (and Len)

By now you’ll know that my life as your son is over. It gives me no pleasure to think of the pain that statement causes you. I wish it caused me the same pain but I have to confess that it doesn’t. The lifetime of disappointment, that awaits everyone, came early for me and I’ve decided not to put up with it.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how unhappy I’ve been since I told you I was gay. I also know it caused Dad even more pain and that’s why he left us. He was ashamed and embarrassed to have me for a son (don’t bother to deny it).

Let me stress, mum.  I am NOT ashamed of who I am and this is NOT an apology for my (God-given?) sexuality. But since the thunderbolt struck, I have felt that my life in a boring town like Derby could never be happy because it’s a place where there’s no room for somebody different. I’ve seen the way people look at me and whisper to their companions when I walk by. When they realise I’m gay they treat me like I’m insane and, worse, diseased. To them I’m some kind of criminal, a pervert – as if I chose to be what I am and, if I tried harder, I could avoid being attracted to boys by an act of will.

I know this is very sudden, mum, and what must hurt the most is not saying goodbye. I wanted to but knew I couldn’t because you’d try and stop me which would solve nothing.  It’s sudden for me too but my mind was made up when a person I truly cared about, and thought cared about me, rejected me. Since that moment, I knew I had no future in this place and I decided to make the journey to a better one. You’ll know now that others have made the same journey with me, not misfits, as I’m sure the TV and papers are saying, but friends who think like me. It’s the world that doesn’t fit, mum, so I’ve taken this chance to show other unhappy souls there is a way out, a way to take hold of their destiny.

I love you mum. Goodbye Len. Look after mum.

Your loving son

Kyle

P.S. Watch Picnic at Hanging Rock. It will explain everything.

Read DEITY and, like me, you will want to rush out and track down a copy of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Read DEITY and, like me, you will also want to grab Steven Dunne’s other books.

Some final words of warning – it’s not often that a book causes me to rise from my bed at midnight and make my way downstairs to read for another hour after already deciding to wait until morning.

It’s also not often that I read the first 100 pages of a novel and then stop to wonder if I have even paused to blink – I don’t think I did.

A firm highlight of my 2012 reading to date.

Keith

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Harlan Ellison’s WEB OF THE CITY coming to HARD CASE CRIME !

Harlan Ellison’s First Novel —

Returning to Bookstores After 30 Years!

HARD CASE CRIME to publish definitive edition of WEB OF THE CITY  – Acclaimed author Harlan Ellison has authorized the publication of a new edition of his first novel, Web of the City, by Hard Case Crime, the award-winning line of mystery novels from editor Charles Ardai and publisher Titan Books. The new edition, which will feature not just the definitive text of the book but also three thematically related short stories Ellison wrote for the pulp crime magazines of the 1950s, will mark the book’s first appearance in stores in three decades. Harlan Ellison is one of the most renowned authors of the past 60 years.

Although best known for his fantasy and science fiction and his always controversial essays, Ellison has also won the Edgar Allan Poe Award twice for his crime fiction. Other honors he has received include a record 10 Hugo Awards, 5 Nebulas (including the lifetime Grand Master Award), 6 Bram Stoker Awards (including their lifetime Grand Master Award), 4 Writers Guild of America Awards, and 2 World Fantasy Awards, as well as multiple other lifetime achievement awards. He has also been a finalist for the Emmy and twice for the Grammy.

The film made of his life, Dreams with Sharp Teeth, starring Ellison, took 21 years to make, and is one of the most award-winning documentaries of the past five years.

Written in 1957 while Ellison was enduring Army Ranger basic training in Georgia, Web of the City tells the story of a teenager who sets out to leave the New York City street gang he runs with, putting his family in grave danger. Ellison wrote the book after going undercover for ten weeks as a member of an actual Brooklyn street gang, the Barons, an experience that also inspired him to write the famous “Memo From Purgatory” episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour starring James Caan (The Godfather) and Walter Koenig (Star Trek).

Hard Case Crime will bring the book out in April 2013, in paperback and e-book editions, with a new cover painting in the classic pulp style by Glen Orbik. About Hard Case Crime Called “the best new American publisher to appear in the last decade” by Neal Pollack in The Stranger, Hard Case Crime has been nominated for or won numerous honors since its inception including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Anthony, the Barry, and the Spinetingler Award. The series’ books have been adapted for television and film, with two features currently in development at Universal Pictures and the TV series “Haven” going into its third season this fall on SyFy.

Upcoming titles include new novels by Stephen King and James M. Cain. Hard Case Crime is published through a collaboration between Winterfall LLC and Titan Publishing Group. About Titan Publishing Group Titan Publishing Group is an independently owned publishing company, established in 1981, comprising three divisions: Titan Books, Titan Magazines/Comics and Titan Merchandise. Titan Books, recently nominated as Independent Publisher of the Year 2011, has a rapidly growing fiction list encompassing original fiction and reissues, primarily in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk and crime. Recent crime and thriller acquisitions include Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins’ all-new Mike Hammer novels, the Matt Helm series by Donald Hamilton and the entire backlist of the Queen of Spy Writers, Helen MacInnes. Titan Books also has an extensive line of media and pop culture-related non-fiction, graphic novels, art and music books. The company is based at offices in London, but operates worldwide, with sales and distribution in the US and Canada being handled by Random House. http://www.titanbooks.com

Keith

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