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Showing posts from October, 2012

Crime Fiction on the Radio

Radio’s a great medium for crime fiction.  All those settings crime fiction readers love so much – exotic, historical, gritty, pastoral – come to life in an instant as the writer’s words meld with the listener’s imagination. There’s no shock when the hero doesn’t look as you’ve imagined, there are no flaky sets or miscast characters. It’s all there, just right. So, where do you find it? Radio crime fiction has a great champion in Mark Lawson who presents Front Row on Radio4 – there’s often a crime fiction slot on his show and this autumn he is presenting A History of Modern Europe Through Literary Detectives  (see Romancrimeblogger’s article on this plus relevant links). Aside from the marvellous Mark, Radio4 will often feature a full length crime drama in one of its weekend slots. Radio4extra, the digital partner of Radio4, devotes an entire hour every morning to serialised crime fiction, sometimes a straight reading of a novel, sometimes a dramatization. There’s invariably a longer…

Book Review – Perfect People by Peter James

This is a bit of a departure for Peter James, who has been concentrating on Roy Grace and his “Dead” books for some years.  However, he did write a series of other one off books before he started the “Dead” books, which are also worth trying.

This story is pretty straightforward – a couple whose son died tragically young from a genetic disorder go to a doctor who, for a hefty fee, can alter the genetic makeup of their unborn child to make sure it is free from genetic diseases. Pretty much a no brainer eh?
As you would expect things start to happen from the beginning with the parents facing difficult choices around what of their child’s genetic makeup they should change being just the first.  Without giving too much away, things don’t turn out as they should and as the parents try to deal with plans that have just gone plain wrong, there is a sub plot of underlying menace and tension from the inevitable loony/stalker type [what would crime writers do without them?].
As always, James’ meti…

Interview with Graham Smith - Reader, Reviewer & Writer

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I met Graham Smith a couple of months ago at "Bloody Scotland" and recognised him as one of the guys from Harrogate who gets to wear a press badge!  We got talking over coffee and I was delighted when he agreed to be one of my first victims at The Crime Warp!

Afterwards, I considered the folly of this.  Here was me, a total greenhorn, taking on a pro for my first foray into interviewing!   Graham is not only a regular reviewer for Crimesquad, but he is also a veteran interviewer of crime authors, with names like David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, current CWA Chair Peter James and Mark Billingham notched on his interview's belt! 

I needn't have worried. Graham was absolutely charming and put me at my ease with some gentle words of encouragement.  Many thanks!

So here it is - a question and answer session with Graham Smith:-


On reading
Jackie - Graham, I understand that like me, you’ve been a crime fiction fan since you were old enou…
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Pumpkin Quiz
 Work out the Crime Novel Title and match to the author 1/ The PUMPKINCracked from Side to Side 2/ Cage of  PUMPKIN s 3/ The Wire in the PUMPKIN    4/Cold PUMPKIN    5/The Thirty-Nine PUMPKIN s  6/P is for PUMPKIN   7/Flesh PUMPKIN SOUP
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Halloween Tricks or treats Criminal  Ideas for reading, writing, browsing watching and playing this HALLOWEEN 

1.Trick Or Treat by Jeffrey Deaver (Short Story) (Read)
2.Halloween Party by Agatha Christie (Read)
3.Stuart MacBride’s’ blog contents page – yellow eyed cat- (Browse)
4.Luther (series two) Scary Scream mask (Watch)
5.Days Of Atonementby Faye Kellerman (Read)
6.A Touch Of Death by Charlaine Harris (Read)
7.Stuart MacBrides blog extra’s page (tangle of rodents) (Browse)
8.The Detectives Halloween SpecialUTube(Browse)
9.Halloween writing (see Bloggers Blag) (Write)
10. Halloween Lies (a Murder Mystery game) Google (Browse) (Play)
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Look out for these!

This will be a regular column on the blog highlighting some of the books that I’ve got on my reading list that I think are worth looking out for.  It’s not a complete or comprehensive list of what’s being published, just my take on some stuff which I’d recommend watching out for
Roman crime blogger
Already published The Prisoner of Brenda (Colin Bateman) –latest in the hilarious series featuring the unbelievably bonkers detective – the Man With No Name.  Often under suspicion for his involvement in the crime in question, this time the Man With No Name is accused of being a double murderer.  The book promises of twists, turns and utter mayhem that will make you laugh out loud.
I Remember You (Yrsa Sigurdardottir) – A nice piece of offbeat Icelandic crime, which started with the slightly gruesome Last Rituals and now reached a fifth book.  Sigurdardottir paints an evocative picture of Icelandic life, often drawing on beliefs in elves, predictions through dreams, dead spirits and other super…

Book Review – Watching the dark by Peter Robinson

I’ll be up front about my views – I was disappointed by the last two Inspector Banks books, which felt to me that Robinson had just run out of steam and was struggling to come up with something new.  I’d kind of decided that I wasn’t going to bother with Banks any more, but having read and enjoyed Before the Poison, I decided to give this one a go.

Banks starts out investigating the murder of a police officer and soon finds a link to the murdered officer’s old case of a girl that went missing in Tallinn years before.  Annie Cabbot is back after her recuperation and the cast is joined by the Icy Blonde Inspector Joanna Passero and a couple of new but dopey detectives Lombard and Hague.  Banks and Passero decamp to Tallinn to chase down information from the old case, while Cabbot draws the short straw, staying in Eastvale to sort out the English end of the case.  Banks of course tracks down the vital clue that solves the missing person case in Tallin, even though it’s not the case he’s b…

Book review – The Nameless Dead by Brian McGilloway

This is the fifth Inspector Devlin book.  I read the first two but stopped following the series as the books were OK, but didn’t seem to have enough pull for me.  If that’s because it takes writers time to get in their stride, McGilloway has unquestionably pushed his way to the front of the race.

You could say the book is about cover ups, injustice and how the lives of ordinary, honest people have been overshadowed by the past.  
Devlin is involved with a painful part of Northern Ireland’s reconciliation process. Tasked with finding the bodies of “The Disappeared” (those who got on the wrong side of the IRA and were tortured, murdered, then buried so their bodies would never be found), Devlin discovers the skeleton of a baby in an unmarked grave.  Because of the rules governing the discovery of the disappeared, Devlin isn’t allowed to investigate the baby’s’ death further – a restriction that Devlin simply can’t accept.
If that isn’t all enough, Devlin also has to deal with his daughter …

Book Review – The cold, cold ground by Adrian McKinty

I got this book on Kindle, drawn in by a mix of low price and interesting review.  It’s the first of his books that I’ve read and it’s really great!  The setting is Belfast in 1981, against the background of the hunger strikes, riots and a new case for detective sergeant Sean Duffy.

Duffy is an oddity – a catholic “peeler” in a police force that’s seen as an instrument of the protestant establishment.  He follows up leads diligently and although he doesn’t always get it right, Duffy’s dogged and determined, often putting himself in real danger from criminals, terrorists and even the sheet welder husband of a police colleague he slept with. 
The book starts with an investigation into what appear to be two gruesome homophobic murders.  As the plot develops we see the horrors of life in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, through daily bombings, shootings, riots and murders.  I was totally caught up in the menace and threat that people must have felt with power wielded by thugs and terrorists; …

Foreign bodies – Radio programme

This is just a very quick post about a series of programmes hosted by Mark Lawson, where he traces the history of modern Europe through detective fiction.

I’m drawn to this series because it ties the detectives into the wider cultural, political and historic perspective. I think this will help me as a reader by improving my understanding of the country and culture these detectives live in and so set their stories in context.

Reading the blurb in the Radio Times you can see that whilst a number of the ‘tecs are the usual suspects [no pun intended] there are some really interesting looking new ones such as Jakob Arjouni’s private detective Kemal Kayankaya, the child of Turkish immigrants and an outsider, who sees crimes and signs the German police ignore. As the programme looks like it will showcase a number of new authors that I’d never come across before, for me that’s a real bonus.

The iPlayer site for this programme also has links to a number of interviews with contemporary crime aut…