African Adventures!

// Nordic authors and settings seem to dominate my crime reads, the list is not exclusively Northern European I am glad to say. I have even endeavoured to go beyond wider Europe, taking in the US of A, the Middle East, south-east Asia, and even Africa. And it is to Africa that I travel in this post, with two authors to mention, South Africa's Deon Meyer (see below) and Southern Rhodesia's (aka Zimbabwe's) Alexander McCall Smith. McCall Smith a Rhodesian, you might ask? Well, while living in Scotland, he is correctly speaking a Rhodesian-born Scotsman who has also spent some considerable time in Botswana. A prodigious writer, he is probably best known as the author of the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. The agency is located in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. So far the series extends to thirteen titles, of which I have to date read two.

Cornwell in the hometown of Stoker!

The Bone BedBest selling American crime writer Patricia Cornwell is in Dublin today, here to take part in one of the opening events of the Bram Stoker Festival, happening this weekend. The event, The Anatomy of Fear - From Stoker to Scarpetta with Patricia Cornwell, takes place in Trinity College, and the author will be introduced by the state pathologist, Dr. Marie Cassidy! Very appropriate given the subject matter and the significant role forensic science plays in her Dr. Kay Scarpetta series.

Patricia Cornwell in Trinity CollegeCornwell has sold over 100 million copies of her books worldwide, and wouldn't you know it, you can borrow her books in our branch libraries and read away to your heart's content (check below).

Right: Patricia Cornwell in Trinity College, 26th October 2012 (click thumbnail to enlarge)

The 20th novel in the Scarpetta series (The Bone Bed) has just been published (25th October in fact), so while not yet on our bookshelves is on order and soon to arrive. In this latest, Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta returns to solve the mysterious disappearance of a palaeontologist.

Irish Author wins Crime Novel of the Year Award!

The RageIrish novelist and newspaper columnist Gene Kerrigan was last night announced as the winner of the Crime Writers' Association's (CWA) Gold Dagger for crime novel of the year in the UK for his fourth novel, 'The Rage'. 'The Rage' is set in the backstreets of Dublin, and intertwines the stories of professional thief Vincent Naylor, just out of jail and planning a new robbery, and detective Bob Tidey, investigating the murder of a banker.

According to a report in the Guardian newspaper, judges described 'The Rage' as 'a complex noir thriller that's multi-layered and solidly written, with great style and pace'.

From Italy to Iceland to Sweden to Denmark!

Beastly Things It's been too long since my last post here on crime reads, so time to catch up. In this post I am going to take you through my most recent reads, covering four nations, and not all Nordic! Starting with Italy we will then visit Iceland, Sweden and finally Denmark.

From Italy:

Number 21 in the Commissario Brunetti series, 'Beastly Things' 4 stars convinces me that Donna Leon has not after all grown tired of the Venetian detective. Thank heavens, this is a definite return to form. Four stars (out of five) from me. A well developed plot (yet another body retrieved from a canal) with Brunetti as ever a joy to accompany as he meanders through Venice and its surrounds while unravelling the mystery. The abattoir visit is quite descriptive! In contrast to a reviewer for the Independent newspaper, I long for even more of wife Paolo and the culinary delights. A likeable read, a perfect holiday read if looking for one.

(More) Recent Crime Reads

Continuing with my series on recent crime reads (see first in series), I include here the new to me (Kallentoft), the relatively new to me (Meyer) and some old stalwarts (Nesbo, Nesser et al).

Midwinter Sacrifice'Midwinter Sacrifice' 4 stars was my first encounter with Swedish writer Mons Kallentoft, and I give it a definite thumbs up. This I understand is his first crime novel, though not his first book. He tells a good story and I like his style. Set in Linköping, Sweden, it is a murder investigation that, though slow moving, kept my interest throughout. I liked the insight into the various characters, but would have welcomed more of it in fact, if only because the author does it well, and his characters do stir your interest. None more so than the members of the suspect and rather unpleasant family. Principal investigator is Malin Fors, in her early thirties, divorced and with a 12-year old daughter. I have seen reviews compare her character with Sarah Lund of 'The Killing' fame! The voice of the murdered man being heard at various junctures worked for me in the end even if at first I was unsure. Eager to read his next up, 'Summertime Death'.

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!