Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Books to look forward to from Orion

July 2017

Renee Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor. But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job no matter what the department throws at her. The Late Show is by Michael Connelly.

Miri Goldstein was a call girl with connections to powerful men. Now that she's dead, some can   You Don’t Know Me is by Brooke Magnanti.
breathe more easily. But the grave is not always good at keeping secrets. As the media dig into Miri's past, her old friend Denise worries that her own will rise to the surface. Meanwhile in Scotland, controversial forensic pathologist Harriet Hitchin is put in a bind when the body turns up on her patch. Police think they have their killer but Harriet is certain they made a mistake. If she's wrong, it will end her career. If she's right it could cost her life.The case will play games with all who come near and force them to ask - how many of us are living a lie?

August 2017

Bad Move is by Linwood Barclay.  Zack Walker is a writer with an overactive imagination and two teenage children. After a murder on their street, he uproots his family from the city - insisting it's for their own good - and heads for the security of the suburbs. However, his peaceful new life is soon shattered when he finds a body while out walking by the creek. Zack recognizes the dead man - and knows who his killer might be. Things go from bad to worse as Zack follows a trail of deceit that leads right to his front door. To protect his family - and so he doesn't get framed for a crime he didn't commit - he's going to have to track down the killer himself. Suddenly the suburbs are not looking nearly so safe.

September 2017

Much to his family's relief, stay-at-home writer Zack Walker finally gets a job outside of the house. Surely, becoming a journalist will keep his overactive imagination in check . . . Now in full-time employment, Zack's protective instincts must work over-time to keep his kids safe from dangers real and imagined.  But while writing his feature article, Zack stumbles into the centre of a web of murder and deceit. What seems like a tragic accidental hit-and-run may actually be a far darker crime. And Zack will find himself in the dark about who the good guys are, what the bad guys want, and what he's started to uncover . . .  Bad Guys is by Linwood Barclay.

The Furthest Station is by Ben Aaronovitch.  There's something going bump on the Metropolitan line and Sergeant Jaget Kumar knows exactly who to call. It's PC Peter Grant's speciality . . . Only it's more than going 'bump'. Traumatised travellers have been reporting strange encounters on their morning commute, with strangely dressed people trying to deliver an urgent message. Stranger still, despite calling the police themselves, within a few minutes the commuters have already forgotten the encounter - making the follow up interviews rather difficult. So with a little help from Abigail and Toby the ghost hunting dog, Peter and Jaget are heading out on a ghost hunting expedition.  Because finding the ghost and deciphering their urgent message might just be a matter of life and death.

October 2017

Eliza Altairsky-Lointaine is the toast of Moscow society, a beautiful actress in an infamous theatre troupe. Her love life is a colourful as the parts she plays. She is the estranged wife of a descendant of Genghis Khan. And her ex-husband has threatened to kill anyone who courts her. He appears to be making good on his promise. Fandorin is contacted by concerned friend - the widowed wife of Chekhov - who asks him to investigate an alarming incident involving Eliza. But when he watches Eliza on stage for the first time, he falls desperately in love . . . Can he solve the case - and win over Eliza - without attracting the attentions of the murderer he is trying to find?  All the World’s a Stage is by Boris Akunin.  He TV rights for the Fandorin series have been optioned by the BBC.

Journalist, family man, and paranoid writer Zack Walker visits his father's lakeside fishing camp. But the fresh air, childhood memories and peaceful contemplation are ruined when a body is found.  Locals say the mutilated corpse must have been the victim of a random bear attack. But Zack Walker, as always, fears the worst. When another body is discovered, it seems there is a more deadly predator on the prowl. A Lone Wolf killer who is hell-bent on laying siege to the idyllic town. The fuse is lit and time is running out. Zack must face down a madman - or find out first-hand what the grand finale is . . .  Bad Luck is by Linwood Barclay.

Harry Bosch works cold cases as a volunteer for the San Fernando police department when he's called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town's three-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of prescription drug abuse. Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch's LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him and that there's new evidence which proves it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren't keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.  The two unrelated cases wind across each other like strands of barbed wire, and Bosch learns that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.  Two Kinds of Truth is by Michael Connelly.

The Shadow Man is the debut novel by Margaret Kirk.  Two brutal killings rock Inverness, and bring ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler the biggest challenge of his career...The body of the queen of daytime TV, Morven Murray is discovered by her sister, Anna, on the morning of her wedding day. But does Anna know more about the murder than she's letting on?Police informant Kevin Ramsay's murder looks like a gangland-style execution. But what could he have stumbled into that was dangerous enough to get him violently killed? Mahler has only a couple of weeks to solve both cases while dealing with his mother's fragile mental health. But caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, is ex-Met DI Lukas Mahler hunting one killer, or two?

November 2017

Bad News is by Linwood Barclay.  Journalist Zack Walker has a dangerous habit of finding deadly stories. But this is one his good friend Trixie Snelling doesn't want told. It turns out Trixie has her fair share of skeletons in her closet and, as Zack discovers, a dead body in her basement.  With other journalists circling the story - and no sign of Trixie, who has gone missing - Zack could find himself implicated in a murder, unless he finds out the truth fast. The bad news is: it will cost him his job, and teach him that everything he knows about his friend, his town, and even his marriage, is a lie. The good news? It hasn't cost him his life . . . yet.

My Little Eye is by Stephanie Marland.  A young woman is found dead in her bedroom
surrounded by rose petals - the latest victim of 'The Lover'. Struggling under the weight of an internal investigation, DI Dominic Bell is no closer to discovering the identity of the killer and time is running out. AND MAKE THEM DIE... As the murders escalate, Clementine Starke joins an online true crime group determined to take justice in their own hands - to catch the killer before the police. Hiding a dark secret, she takes greater risks to find new evidence and infiltrate the group. As Starke and Bell get closer to cracking the case neither of them realise they're being watched. The killer is closer to them than they think, and he has his next victim - Clementine - firmly in his sights.

Portrait of a Murder: The Mill is by M B Shaw.  Meet portrait painter and amateur sleuth Iris Grey, who sees the truths of others while struggling to find her own way. Iris Grey arrives at The Mill in Hampshire, commissioned to paint a portrait of Dominic Wetherby, a celebrated author. She quickly finds herself drawn into a world of village gossip, romantic intrigue, buried secrets and a murder.

Jennifer Dorey thinks she is safe. Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper. After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years. Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to 'Fritz', the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected. But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights. And home is the last place she should be.  The Devil’s Claw is by Lara Dearman.

December 2017 

The Boy is by Tami Hoag.  Mother, liar, murderer? In the sleepy Lousiana town of Bayou
Breaux, a mother runs to her neighbour - bloody and hysterical. The police arrive to find Genevieve Gauthier cradling her seven-year-old son in her arms as he bleeds to death. Detective Nick Fourcade finds no evidence of a break-in. His partner Detective Annie Broussard is troubled by parts of Genevieve's story that don't make sense. Twenty four hours later teenager Nora Florette is reported missing. Local parents fear a maniac is preying on their children, and demand answers from the police. Fourcade and Broussard discover something shocking about Genevieve's past. She is both victim and the accused; a grieving mother and a woman with a deadly secret. Could she have something to do with the disappearance of teenager Nora Florette?

January 2018

Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own experience, that allows her to succeed when others have failed. Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they'd gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure. But Naomi knows that Madison isn't dead. As she relentlessly pursues the truth behind Madison's disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce defences that have protected her for so long. If she finds this child, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?  The Child Finder is by Rene Denfeld.

Fear is by Dirk Kurbjuweit. You'd die for your family. But would you kill for them? Family is everything.  So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour - a man who doesn't listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help - the police, your lawyer - can't help you.  You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there's nothing more you can do to protect them.  Is there?'

'Do you ever think there's maybe something that's gone wrong with the world?' A man is found dead in one of the city's luxury homes. Homicide detective Ross Carver arrives at the scene when six FBI agents burst in and forcibly remove him from the premises. Two days later...Carver wakes in his bed to find Mia a neighbour he's hardly ever spoken to, reading aloud to him. He has no recollection of the crime scene, no memory of how he got home, and no idea that two days have passed. Carver knows nothing about this woman but as he struggles to piece together what happened to him, he soon realises he's involved himself in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And Mia just might know more than she's letting on...  The Night Market is by Jonathan Moore.

The Guilty Wife is by Elle Croft.  WIFE. MISTRESS. MURDERER. If you were being framed for murder, how far would you go to clear your name? I'm not guilty of murder. Bethany Reston is happily married. But she's also having an affair with a famous client.  And no one can ever know. But that doesn't make me innocent.  When Bethany's lover is brutally murdered, she has to hide her grief from everyone. But someone knows her secret. And then one day the threats begin. With an ever-growing pile of evidence pointing to her as the murderer, the only way she can protect her secrets is to prove her innocence. And that means tracking down a killer.

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Theakstons Crime Fiction Quiz 2017

The Shots Editors raise their glasses of Gin to the Winners of this year’s hotly contested competition.

 Here’s their victory march

Mike and I would like to thank our team mates, and the organisers for a most enjoyable evening where we lost out by one point, and a litre of Gin.

Till Next Year - as Mark Lawson and I came 2nd last year also against Jane Gregory and Jake Kerridge's team,. 

Fateful Mornings by Tom Bouman Extract

As the sun gained the eastern sky, I drove my truck through a meadow and toward Maid-en’s Grove Lake. On the hills, aspen trees leafed out like pale green clouds, and scattered in the grass below, violets stood up to the wet, cold spring. Everywhere you looked, summer was promised.

Who named the lake Maiden’s Grove I do not know, prob­ably the same person who named our township Wild Thyme, back two hundred years ago when northern Pennsylvania was still frontier. They arrived and there it was, a deep glacial rut fed by springs and spilling into January Creek, hooking into the Susquehanna at some point south, and then running hun­dreds of miles out to the Chesapeake Bay.

I came to a right turn and took the road to where a dozen cottages sat on the shore. They’d been built in the thirties, when the family that owned most of the surrounding land had sold off a few parcels to raise cash. The family, name of Swales, had evidently grown rich again down in Luzerne County. Until recently, they’d left the other three-quarters of the lake wild. The south shore cottagers were a house-proud and wealthy few who prized quiet and solitude. They stocked the lake with trout and forbade motorboats. At Cottage Seven, I pulled in next to a navy Mercedes wagon and walked to the side yard. The midmorning sun scattered white light across the lake’s blue surface. You could smell the light. Rhonda Prosser a slender middle-aged woman with the wiry limbs of a distance runner, crouched in front of a broken basement window. On my arrival she stood. She wore gray dreadlocks with silver rings and charms woven in. Her face was severe and beautiful, the face of a white woman, to be clear, dreadlocks notwithstanding. I’d seen her and her husband at monthly township meetings in the summer months. They’d made it a project to beleaguer the township supervisor—my boss, Steve Milgraham—over fracking. In particular, where was the EPA looking after us, and where was the Act 13 money going? For this they had become notable in Holebrook County despite being themselves resi­dents of New York State, north of the border.

Rhonda peered at me over half-glasses clamped onto the very tip of her nose.

“Henry Farrell, Wild Thyme,” I said.

“Yeah, I know. I was expecting state police,” she said.
“Well,” I said.

“So you’re going to handle this? Because I called before. I left messages on your machine. People raising hell at Andy Swales’s place, and you won’t lift a finger.”

It was true. Andy Swales was prince of the family and had, that past year, built a stone castle on a hill overlooking the northern shore, along with a small boathouse and a dock. From the Prossers’ cottage, you could see a turret.

Swales leased some of his land and a trailer up there to a young couple named Kevin O’Keeffe and Penny Pellings, in exchange for their caretaking the house and grounds. Yet them two were not known for care. Child Protective Services had removed their newborn girl, Eolande, about a year ago, in a case that saw a bit of publicity. In addition to the occasional check-in relating to their efforts to get Eolande back, I’d been on a domestic call to the trailer that winter, nothing too bad, just hippies in a squabble that went too far.

Point being, with Kevin and Penny living up there, a cer­tain local element had new access to the lake, and the cottage owners didn’t like it. Starting that spring, any chance they got, they called about some scandal up to Maiden’s Grove, somebody playing music too loud too late or bait-fishing their trout. I told them once you stock a public lake, the fish are the commonwealth’s. But I’d called Andy Swales about the noise. He’d told me his tenants could do what they pleased, as long as they didn’t get carried away, his words. Me, I also figured it was a free country and people were allowed to get drunk at the wrong lake if they wanted.

Worst of all to the cottagers on the southern shore, worse than their new neighbors to the north, Swales had signed a gas lease. At some point in the future, they all might look out across the lake to see a derrick punching poison into the earth with nothing but a thin concrete well protecting their water supply.

“Well,” I said, “the state called the county, and the county called the township, and the township is me, so.”


“The nearest state barracks is an hour away,” I said. “I may work with the county on suspects and that. Show me around?”

We went inside. The interior of the cottage was white and spare. The spaces beneath tables and chairs were empty, the countertops clean, the shelves filled with art books. Life pre­servers and baseball mitts hung on hooks in a shale-floored mudroom with a bench and a view to the lake. Unlike most of the homes I visited on the job, there was not a thing in this one you could call junk. In fact, the cottage was so little dis­arranged that I had a hard time believing it had been burgled until I came to the wall fixture that had once held a flat-screen TV, and saw the outlines where a stereo had once sat on a chest painted in blue milk wash. According to Rhonda, two vintage stringed instruments had been taken, but not the priceless barn harp, which was crumbling into something more like folk art. She showed it to me and strummed it; it did not play well. In an upstairs bedroom, the burglars had forced open a locked drawer in a nightstand and taken an HK 9mm automatic handgun. Rhonda said it was her ex-husband’s, for coyotes, described it as black, hadn’t touched it since the divorce. There was a touch of weariness in her voice when her ex-husband came into the story. It was the first I’d heard of the split, so I guessed it was recent. She didn’t know if the gun was loaded; it may well have been. There was a nearly empty box of 124-grain full metal jacket ammunition still in the drawer. All the liquor was gone. Downstairs in the basement, any tools not bolted down had been taken. We headed back up to the ground floor.

Fateful Mornings by Tom Bouman is published in July by Faber & Faber.

Buy it from SHOTS A Store.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Dead Good Reader Awards 2017

The winners of the Dead Good Reader Awards 2017 were announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate,

At a ceremony presided by Mark Lawson with a guest appearance from Kathy Reichs, six authors were honoured with being best in class as voted for by crime readers. 

The winners were as follows -

The Kathy Reichs Award for Fearless Female Character
Helen Grace, M J Arlidge

The Case Closed Award for Best Police Procedural:
The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

The Hidden Depths Award for Most Unreliable Narrator:
The Escape by C L Taylor

The Page to Screen Award for Best Adapted Book:
Never Go Back by Lee Child

The Cat Amongst The Pigeons Award for Most Exceptional Debut:
Baby Doll by Hollie Overton