Recent Crime Reads

At Night All Wolves are GreyIt's time to update you on some of the crime novels I have read in recent times. Hard not to notice that Nordic writers are ever present, no apologies, I am still working my way through the expansive library of Nordic crime fiction. But nice too that some of those Nordic authors mentioned here were new to me, as was the South African Deon Meyer. Always interesting to find someone new. But mentioned here too is one of my perennial favourites, Colin Cotterill. 

First up is 'At Night All Wolves are Grey' (1986) 4 stars by Gunnar Staalesen.

CWA International Dagger Shortlist Announced

CWAThe shortlist for the 2012 CWA (Crime Writers' Association) International Dagger has just been announced. This is an annual competition for crime, thriller, suspense or spy fiction novels which have been translated into English. The six shortlisted titles are:

Eoin Colfer shortlisted for LA Times Literary Award

PluggedEoin Colfer shortlisted for LA Times Literary Award!! Why the exclamation marks you may ask? Well, Eoin, so well known as the author of the famous and best selling (and borrowed!) Artemis Fowl fantasy series of books for younger readers has been nominated in the adult mystery/thriller category!

Eoin's comedy crime caper 'Plugged', his first adult crime novel, was first published in May 2011 to positive reviews. It is the story of an Irish ex-army man Dan working as a bouncer in a seedy club in New Jersey, half in love with hostess Connie. When Connie is murdered on the premises, a vengeful Dan finds himself embroiled in an increasingly deadly sequence of events in which his doctor friend Zeb goes mysteriously missing and a cop-killing female cop becomes his only ally.

Norway Revisited

Bergen, NorwayBack in March 2011 I wrote a post on Jo Nesbo, probably the best known and most widely read of the Norwegian crop of crime writers. Jo had been to Dublin, and I had the pleasure of meeting him in Eason's bookshop where he was in conversation with leading Irish crime novelist John Connolly. Since then I have been meaning to revisit Norway (metaphorically speaking on this occasion, have been to Bergen, wonderful in the sun if you can get it!) and talk of some of the other, maybe less well known, Norwegian crime novelists. Then, on the 22 July, the horrendous attacks in Oslo and Utøya that left so many dead and injured, and which are said to have changed Norway forever. And it felt somehow wrong for a time after that to write at all about crime fiction and applaud the many wonderful writers and novels coming out of Europe in general, and Norway in particular. And the very incident itself I know, has impacted not alone on Norwegian society, but also on Norwegian crime writers, and it might be fair to say that their future writings will have the shadow of the Oslo/Utøya tragedy over them. In this regard you may want to read the article "How do you write crime fiction in the wake of a massacre?" that appeared in the Guardian in November 2011.

Christmas 5-Star Crime Reads!

Christmas Crime Reads - book covers

Having been asked to recommend a Jo Nesbo book for Christmas, I thought I might just do a random post listing a selection of stocking fillers - you couldn't give or receive a nicer present than a book that is not just a good read, but is indeed a GREAT read!

Finnish Crime Writer Passes, But Is Not Forgotten

Matti Yrjänä JoensuuYesterday I discovered, with regret, that Matti Yrjänä Joensuu, probably the best known of Finnish crime novelists, recently died (4th Dec). So I though it appropriate to mark his passing with a post on him, and while I am at it, other Finnish crime writers and authors whose novels have a Finnish setting and whose works I have read to date. Finnish crime writers, unlike other Nordic writers, can be difficult to get in translation, why, I do not not know, and more's the pity. 

Matti Yrjänä Joensuu (1948-2011) retired from the Helsinki police force in 2006, and as a police officer he was ideally placed to write crime fiction. He wrote twelve (Detective Sergeant) Harjunpää novels, most of which were published in Finland between 1976 and 1993; of these three have so far been translated into English, two of which I have read. 

Crime and the City: Crime and Drugs

Crime and the City PosterIn September of 2011 we held our first series of ‘Crime and the City’ where over the course of five weeks we had talks from five different authors of fiction, non-fiction and social research - all on the broad topics of crime and drugs.

The idea was to bring a cross section of people together to deliver a series of talks that would be relevant as well as entertaining. From the feedback and comments people passed on we seem to have achieved what we set out to and we hope to be able to do it all again in 2012. In the meantime if you want to be reminded of what went on, or if you missed out we have some of the talks and presentations below for your enjoyment.

Swedish Crime is on the Climb (Part Four)


This is the last of four in my series on Swedish crime writers (until I discover and read more!), I hope you get lots of enjoyment from some if not all, should you dare to be so ambitious as to read all! But why not, can you think of a better pastime? And should you have a different  view from me on any, do share by commenting on any of the posts, I will take no offence (or try not to!). Happy reading.

Kerstin Ekman (b.1933) is the author of Blackwater (1996) 2 stars, a novel set in remote northern Sweden. Teacher Annie Raft stumbles upon the bodies of two campers, apparently stabbed to death in their sleep. The crime remains unsolved until eighteen years later when she sees the man she suspected of being responsible for the murders in the arms of her daughter. I didn't really enjoy this book I'm afraid, I found it slow and uninvolving. I have just finished another of her books, Under the Snow (1997), which I am going to desist from giving a star rating for the simple reason that I am not sure if it were the book or me on this occasion, but, well, when the shortest book (164 pages) I have read in a long time takes me an inordinate amount of time to read, something is amiss.

The Danish Invasion

The KillingWhen the Vikings raiders first arrived in Ireland towards the end of the 8th century, they came from Norway rather than Denmark, the Danish Vikings preferring to plunder the English coastline. But in more recent times the Danes have made their mark here and elsewhere with a conquest of a different sort.

French crime writer extraordinaire

Fred VargasThink crime fiction, think France, and the name that ought to come to mind is that of Fred Vargas. In my estimation one of the best fiction crime writers around today. Vargas, born Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau in Paris in 1957, is an archaeologist, historian political agitator and crime writer, but best known for the latter. She, along with her twin sister, adopted the name Vargas having seen the film 'The Barefoot Contessa' starring Ava Gardner. She is BIG in France, but elsewhere too, and rightly so. Vargas's works can be bizarre, quirky, humourous, refreshing, are definitely imaginative, and certainly well written.  Her series starring Commissaire Adamsberg you will find a joy to read; I waited so impatiently for the latest instalment, An Uncertain Place (2011), which I read in June.