BookNoir February Newsletter

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.

Forthcoming Reviews

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.


New Releases

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


Paul Burke
February 2018




If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch


Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

You may also like