Article published on February 1, 2018.
February already! Are your New Year’s resolutions holding? Don’t forget the mind needs exercise as much as the body and what better way to do so than reading a good book? Have you set a reading target for the year? I don’t know if this helps but a lot of people swear by it. Anyway, if you are looking for a book and crime’s your bag, look no further. Here’s a little preview of the things we have for you this month.
In January we introduced a few new features. In the Golden Oldies feature, which takes a more in-depth look at crime novels and their origins, among others we will be looking at The Black Lizard by Edogawa Rampo this month. The Left Field feature introduces novels that break the boundaries of genre, this month we have Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco (author of The Name of the Rose). We have a couple of top interviews lined up, and will feature David Young (Stasi Child series) among our subjects this month. Top tens continue to be popular, so this month we’ll include a top 10 Post-Cold War Spy Writers. There’ll also be a host of new reviews.
The year always starts slowly, so we hope to ramp things up a bit in February. We will be introducing a graphic novel review feature, which Paul Allard will compile for us in the future, giving readers something else to think about. This month’s piece will feature Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics new venture into graphic novels based on novels you may know (including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Babylon Berlin). Our feature on World Crime begins in Mexico. I just happened to read a piece in the paper and these staggering statistics hit me! Mexico has a population of 127 million (2016), roughly twice that of England and Wales (about 61 million). There were 571 murders in England and Wales in the year to March 2016 (sorry, stats for Scotland are compiled separately), so how many murders a year in Mexico in 2017? Roughly 27,000. That’s our starting point for a look at crime novels from “South of the border, down Mexico way”. There’s a lot of seriously good crime writing from Mexico published in Britain. Finally, our Crime Round-Up will feature new European crime this month.
TV thrillers from books: McMafia is well into its run on BBC1 and the reviews are not great but they are universally good, so for thriller lovers it might be worth catching up on the iPlayer if you aren’t into it already. Netflix also have a couple of new thriller series: The Flight of the Stork, from the novel by Jean Christophe Grangé, and The Frozen Dead from the novel by Bernard Minier (the former mainly in English).
Fortunately, in real-life killers/criminals are often not as smart as they are in fiction. The American spying for China who carried incriminating notebooks in his luggage. The Polish murderer who got away with it until he decided to write a fictional account detailing events, including stuff only the killer would know. Of course, people who give themselves away on social media wouldn’t make for very good fiction would they?
Sadly, we lost a couple of crime writers after Christmas. Clifford Irving died recently; he was famous for faking the biography of Howard Hughes. He almost pulled it off but Hughes rose from his death bed to denounce the hoax. When he got out of jail, Irving wrote a book about his experience; Hoax was a bestseller. I mention him here because Irving wrote several passable crime novels and a very good historical thriller set during WWII in a concentration camp. It’s a novel worth checking out if you get a chance: The Angel of Zin. Sadly, American crime writer Sue Grafton died at the end of December 2017. The author of the incredibly popular A-Z series (Y is for Yesterday was the last edition) will be sorely missed by her fans. The titles belie the depth and intelligence of her novels. Also sadly missed, Peter Preston, editor of the Guardian and author of thriller The 51st State, died in early January 2018. RIP.
David Young, Gerald Seymour, Nicolas Verdan, Nadia Dalbuono, David Mark, Andrea Camilleri, and D.B. John’s much anticipated thriller set in North Korea, Star of the North.
Things are starting to heat up at the presses as the Christmas lull is now behind us. These are some of the exciting releases due over the next few weeks. One of your favourite authors must be here.
Title Author Publisher/Format
Love Like Blood Mark Billingham Sphere pb
Down the River in to the Sea Walter Mosley W&N hb
Devil’s Wolf Paul Doherty Headline pb
Let Me Lie Clare Mackintosh Sphere pb
The Furthest Station Ben Aaronovitch Gollancz Pb
The Kremlin Candidate Jason Matthews Michael Joseph hb
The Force Don Winslow Harper Collins hb
Night of the Lightbringer Peter Tremayne Headline pb
The Smiling Man Joseph Knox Doubleday hb
Templars’ Last Secret Martin Walker Quercus pb
That Old Black Magic Cathi Unsworth Serpent’s Tail pb
The Friend Dorothy Koomson Arrow pb
Money in the Morgue Stella Duffy/Ngaio Marsh Collins pb
The Lying Game Ruth Ware Vintage pb
The Perfect Nanny Leila Slimani Faber & Faber hb
Hellbent Gregg Hurwitz Michael Joseph hb
NYPD Red 5 James Patterson Century hb
The Escape Artist Brad Meltzer Grand Central hb
The Bishop’s Pawn Steve Berry Minotaur hb
Lightening Men Thomas Mullen Abacus pb
While You Sleep Stephanie Merritt Harper Collins hb
Wrath of the Furies Steven Saylor Constable hb
The Dead Mark Oldfield Head of Zeus pb
Stasi Wolf David Young Zaffre pb
Fear Dirk Kurbjuweit Orion hb
Need to Know Karen Cleveland Bantam hb
The Feed Nick Clarke Windo Headline hb
The Woman in the Window A.J. Finn HarperCollins hb
A Darker State David Young Zaffre pb
Holy Ceremony Harri Nykänen Bitter Lemon Press pb
The Greek Wall Nicolas Verdan Bitter Lemon Press pb
Normandy Gold Megan Abbott Hardcase Crime pb
The Assignment Walter Hill Hardcase Crime pb
Seduction of the Innocent Max Allan Collins Hardcase Crime pb
The Devil’s Song Lauren Stahl Akashic pb
Sunburn Laura Lippman Faber & Faber pb
Dark in Death J.D. Robb Piatkus hb
The Great Darkness Jim Kelly Allison & Busby hb
Gallic Noir Vol. 1 Pascal Garnier Gallic Books pb
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