Editor’s Pick – Dead Man Walking

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May’s pick comes from Kate, who has chosen the SF/mystery title DEAD MAN WALKING by Simon R Green:

“From the wonderfully inventive and original pen of bestselling SF/fantasy writer Simon R. Green comes DEAD MAN WALKING: a glorious mash-up of traditional country house murder mystery, le Carre-esque spy thriller, the classic locked-room puzzle and bone-chilling horror, not to mention one of the most unusual detectives in the crime fiction canon.  An alien who has been trapped on earth in human form since 1963, Ishmael Jones has several distinguishing features which ably assist in his detection work, notably his acute senses of hearing and smell, as well as his superhuman strength – which comes in very handy on occasion! At the same time, with his wickedly droll, very human sense of humour and dryly witty asides, Ishmael brings to mind classic detective heroes in the traditional Philip Marlowe mould.  

Dispatched to Ringstone Lodge in deepest Yorkshire to interview Frank Parker, a rogue agent who has come in from the cold and wants to spill his secrets, Ishmael arrives to find an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. As his fellow residents are picked off one by one, Ishmael sets out to prove that it’s human trickery rather than any supernatural being behind the seemingly ghostly goings-on. But matters are about to take a decidedly unexpected turn …

I’m not sure how Simon Green manages to be hilarious yet grotesquely gruesome at the same time, yet he pulls it off magnificently!  The fast-moving, twisting plot kept me gripped throughout – and I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys an intriguing mystery enlivened by a dash of the supernatural, a hint of the macabre and a liberal sprinkling of humour.”

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Stormy with a Chance of Murder

Summer may be on its way, but these crime and mystery thrillers will chill your blood.

Welcome to the dark side. Cozy it ain’t.

9780727885999Karen E Olson – Shadowed

In the follow up to 2015’s HIDDEN, computer hacker ‘Nicole Jones’ finds herself on the run from an unknown enemy.

Nicole Jones is now living as Susan McQueen on a remote island in Quebec, Canada. She has tried to settle into a quiet life, working as an artist – but cannot give up her computer. While browsing in a chatroom, she sees a shadow – someone is inside her laptop, watching her every move, and somehow knows exactly who she is.

Terrified of being tracked down, Susan is on the run again – but from whom? Making her way across the border and back to the USA, some unsettling discoveries make Susan realize that she won’t be able to escape her past a second time.

“The second in this electrifying series is an addictive page-turner with a stunner of a finale” – Kirkus Reviews

“Anyone who enjoys the staccato rhythms emanating from a skilled hacker’s keyboard will be tapping their toes to this one” – Booklist

 

Michael Wiley – Black Hammock

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Homicide detective Daniel Turner revisits an 18-year-old unsolved case in this intriguing and atmospheric crime noir series.

Homicide detective Daniel Turner was never able to forget the unsolved case, the disappearance of Amon Jakobsen all those years ago. Convinced the man was murdered, he was never able to prove it. Now he has returned to the isolated house on Black Hammock Island following reports of a disturbance. Is this his chance to find out what really happened to Amon eighteen years before? And will he be in time to prevent history repeating itself?

“Harrowing in its own peculiar way” – Kirkus Reviews

“No one will stop reading, so hypnotic is Wiley’s writing” – Booklist

Caro Ramsay – Rat Run

9780727886194A macabre discovery throws disturbing new light on a 20-year-old murder case in the latest tense Anderson and Costello mystery.

In August 1992, a young mother and her two small sons were brutally murdered in the woods behind their home. Her neighbour Andrew Gyle was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment. Now, twenty-three years later, a macabre discovery throws new light on the case. Could there have been a shocking miscarriage of justice?

Having only just returned to work following an enforced leave of absence, DCI Colin Anderson knows he must make a success of his comeback case. But, as he and his partner, DI Costello, uncover serious discrepancies in the original investigation, it becomes clear that not everyone is telling them the truth.

“Don’t bother looking for the master criminal; the story is awash in malefactors but strong enough to bear their combined weight, which is heavy indeed.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

9780727886200Sally Spencer – Death in Disguise

DCI Monika Paniatowski investigates the killing of an American guest – and uncovers a link to a 50-year-old murder.

When the body of an American woman is found in the Prince Alfred suite at the Royal Victoria Hotel, DCI Monika Paniatowski is faced with one of the most baffling cases of her career. The woman who called herself Mary Edwards had been a guest at the hotel for the past two weeks, having paid cash in advance. But who was she really – and what was she doing in a small town like Whitebridge? If Monika could discover why the dead woman had come to Lancashire, she would be one step closer to catching her killer.

The investigation takes an intriguing twist when Monika learns of a possible link to a fifty-year-old murder – but the only person who could tell her why it’s relevant is lying in a coma.

“Even a routine procedural isn’t quite so routine in Spencer’s deft hands” – Kirkus Reviews

 

9780727886149Gerald Elias – Playing with Fire

In the latest Daniel Jacobus mystery from internationally acclaimed violinist, composer, conductor, and author Gerald Elias, Daniel delves into the multimillion-dollar sleight-of-hand of violin dealing.

When an anxious phone call from obscure violinmaker Amadeo Borlotti disturbs Daniel Jacobus’s Christmas Eve festivities, he and his dear friends Nathaniel and Yumi make light of it. A seemingly humble practitioner of his craft, Borlotti preferred the quiet life in the country away from the limelight.

But his larceny, which began as a typographical error in a bill for a violin repair, grew incessantly. In the end he became a helpless captive of his past indiscretions and was consumed by it, and it is up to Jacobus and his team to find out how, and why.

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9780727886248Karen Keskinen – Dragon Fruit

P.I. Jaymie Zarlin searches for a lost cargo more precious than drugs, diamonds, or gold.

A panga boat lands on a Santa Barbara beach in the night. Drugs are quickly offloaded, but drugs are not all this boat carried. When Chucha Robledo arrives to collect her baby girl, she finds the boat is empty—save for a tiny silver medallion. Desperate and fearing the worst, she goes to the only person in town she can trust to find her little girl.

P.I. Jaymie Zarlin’s brother died while in police custody, and she knows all too well the pain that comes from the unexplained loss of a loved one. She promises to help Chucha—only to find herself plunged into an underworld of deceit, misery, and perversion. In this riveting mystery about loss and love, Jaymie will be forced to choose: what can be jettisoned and what precious cargo must—at all costs—be saved?

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Crimefest 2016 – thanks for the memories

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All too soon, Crimefest 2016 has come and gone. While our authors didn’t come away with any prizes this year, that doesn’t mean they didn’t have fun. After working so hard on their panels, we thought our dedicated authors deserved a reward – and so we whisked them away for a special dinner at the Glasshouse restaurant in Bristol city centre, and took the opportunity to snap a few pictures:

Thank you to all our authors for a wonderful evening and a fantastic Crimefest.

So long 2016, and thanks for the memories. Bring on 2017!

Did You Know – Vestal Virgins

It’s #FactFriday, so we’ve been dug through the archives and found a great nugget of info from historical fiction author Rosemary Rowe. Have you ever wondered about the origins of the phrase, “life begins at 40”? Read on, and all will be revealed:

“In Ancient Rome, females were rarely educated, except in household skills, they w9780727880291ere excluded from public office, and a woman (of any age) was deemed a child in law. There was, however, one notable exception to this rule. The Vestal Virgins were a class apart, and this forms the basis for the story in this book. Chosen exclusively from patrician families and subject to the most stringent requirements for entry, prospective Vestals were taken from their homes very young (from six to ten years old) and were bound to the temple for a span of thirty years: ten years in training, ten years of active duty at the hearth and the final ten years training the new novitiates and – it appears – sometimes dealing with suppliants. During the thirty years of service at the shrine she must remain a virgin on pain of dreadful death, but on retirement she might marry while still enjoying a pension which – uniquely – was provided by the state. (The old saying that ‘life begins at forty’ is said to have its origins in the Vestal life.)” 

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