Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review: The Mine by Antti Tuomainen tr. David Hackston

The Mine by Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston, October 2016, 300 pages, Orenda Books, ISBN: 1910633534

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

His senses weren’t working the way they usually did. He was too near to the people he had always loved. Up close we cannot see clearly, he remembered someone saying.

A man dies in Helsinki, electrocuted in his bath. Elsewhere in the city a journalist working for Helsinki Today, Janne Vuori, receives an email tipping him off to shady, hazardous practices at a nickel mine in Suomalahti in Northern Finland. With their staff photographer, Janne takes the long trip up north but unsurprisingly the Head of Security at the mine sends them on their way. They don’t even get through the gate.

Back in the city another man is reliving his past by dining in a once favourite restaurant. His thoughts stray to the dead man in the bathtub. And then to another death, that of a man shot-gunned in dazzling southern sunlight.

Suomalahti is a small town with a bank, a supermarket, petrol station, church, optician, hotel, school, cafe. It is not surprising that everyone Janne Vuori asks tells him that “the mine is a good thing”. A site depleted of ore, its current owners Finn Mining Ltd bought it for 2 euros. They announced they would use a new technique – bioleaching, a kind of chemical washing, “proven safe” – which would enable them to salvage the highly commercial nickel. Janne decides to have another nose around but gives the photographer a lift back to the airport. During a frigid phone call with his wife, Janne is reminded that he has forgotten to pay their daughter’s nursery fees. Distance and accusations are filling their marriage with mutual contempt. He is surprised to find the Suomalahti hotel full and sets out for the Casino Hotel seven kilometres further on. In the bar of the Casino Hotel, also filled with mining staff, a drunken man calls out to him: shouldn’t you be on duty tonight? “That shit won’t disappear by itself.” Realising he has mistaken Janne for a work colleague, the drunk apologises but Janne is already heading to his car, snow crunching beneath his feet.

In Helsinki the man reliving past memories contemplates that people’s homes aren’t as inviolate as they think. He considers the people he has followed and how he has slipped into their homes and killed them.

Janne drives along the complex perimeter looking for a way to slip in. He reaches a vast clearing in the forest divided into square sections and notices movement over at the forest edge, arc lights and diggers. He realises that the squares are huge industrial slurry pits smoothed by the snow. The men are digging some kind of canal. He tries to take a photo but his phone has frozen. He heads back to the hotel where, from his room, he spots the shadow of a man in the car park, watching his window; the security chief.

On his return to the city Janne starts researching Finn Mining. The only board member available for interview is the Environmental Officer. Janne is surprised. At their meeting she explains that she is no longer a board member; she has been “promoted” to some vaguely titled post. By the way, did he know that one of the board members died recently? Some kind of domestic accident.

The “hit-man”, for what else can he be, suffers nightmares now. But at least he has found his son …

THE MINE is written through the eyes of two men, a journalist and a killer. There are more deaths, the trail of corruption and environmental threat to investigate and twists of tension as the identity of the hit-man emerges; all embedded in the complicated lives of the lead characters. I read a review on a popular book site which deplored THE MINE because the reviewer didn’t like the lead character. But I tend to congratulate a crime novelist whose characters are human, warts and all – and still you follow them to the book’s end, not just because you are gripping the pages with sweaty, tense palms but because you want to know the end of the story and what happens to its characters.

This is only the second of Tuomainen’s crime novels that I have read. (the first being his glimpse into a dystopic future of climate change and rising waters, THE HEALER) but I intend to read more. An award winning writer, Antti Tuomainen gives each book a fresh take, complex characters, a blend of empathy and objectivity – and above all he is a good story-teller. THE MINE may not be hot off the press but I recommend catching up with it.

Lynn Harvey, April 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018

Awards News: CrimeFest Awards 2018 - Shortlists Announced

The shortlists for the CrimeFest Awards have been announced.

From the press release:

LEE CHILD, DAVID LAGERCRANTZ, FIONA BARTON, DENNIS LEHANE AND MORE FIGHT IT OUT IN THIS YEAR’S CRIMEFEST AWARDS

2018 awards shortlist announced for CrimeFest’s 10th anniversary

CrimeFest, the UK’s biggest crime fiction convention, is thrilled to announce the shortlists for their 10th annual CrimeFest Awards. The shortlist includes a mix of established names in crime fiction as well as a host of new talent.

International bestsellers Lee Child and Anthony Horowitz will be fighting it out in the listener-voted Audible Sounds of Crime Award, with other competition including David Lagercrantz’s The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye and Fiona Barton’s hit psychological thriller The Child.

Dennis Lehane, the author behind some of cinema’s greatest modern thrillers such as Shutter Island has been shortlisted for the eDunnit Award for Since We Fell, alongside Tartan Noir author Christopher Brookmyre for Want You Gone, and Ken Bruen’s The Ghosts of Galway.

Following the 125th year since Sherlock Holmes, one of Britain’s greatest literary creations, was first published in print, the H.R.F. Keating Award for best non-fiction book explores the social and cultural history of the world’s most celebrated fictional detective in shortlisted books by Christopher Sandford, Michael Sims, Benjamin Poore and Sam Naidu. Also nominated are Mike Ripley and past winners Martin Edwards and Barry Forshaw.

The winners will be announced at the CrimeFest Gala Awards Dinner hosted by Toastmaster Robert Thorogood, creator of Death in Paradise, on Saturday, 19 May. For full shortlist details, please see below.

Representing his fellow organisers, CrimeFest co-director Adrian Muller said:

“CrimeFest is thrilled to announce such an eclectic and exciting shortlist for our tenth CrimeFest Awards. Over the past decade the awards have highlighted breakthrough debut novelists as well as a number of established crime fiction authors delving into children’s fiction and nonfiction. We are also pleased to continue showcasing audiobooks which have undergone a meteoric rise since we began presenting our awards. We are all extremely proud and excited to present the 10th annual CrimeFest awards, and find out who wins on 19th May.”

The 10th anniversary of CrimeFest this year will host crime fiction royalty Martina Cole, Lee Child and Peter James as some of the top names set to speak at this year’s convention. Close to 500 attendees, including more than 150 authors, agents, publishers and crime fans from across the globe, will descend on the city for a jam-packed four days of over 60 speaking events and panel discussions.


For the full line-up of authors visit www.crimefest.com/authors-delegates

THE 2018 CRIMEFEST AWARDS SHORTLISTS

The winners will be announced at the CRIMEFEST Gala Awards Dinner on Saturday, 19 May.

SHORTLIST DETAILS:

AUDIBLE SOUNDS OF CRIME AWARD

The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook first published in the UK in 2017 in both printed and audio formats, and available for download from audible.co.uk, Britain’s largest provider of downloadable audiobooks. Courtesy of sponsor Audible UK, the winning author and audiobook reader(s) share the £1,000 prize equally and each receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Nominees for Best Unabridged Crime Audiobook:

- Fiona Barton, The Child (Audible Studios), read by Clare Corbett, Adjoa Andoh, Finty Williams, Fenella Woolgar & Steven Pacey

- Lee Child, The Midnight Line (Transworld), read by Jeff Harding

- J.P. Delaney, The Girl Before, (Quercus), read by Emilia Fox, Finty Williams & Lise Aagaard Knudsen

- Sarah A. Denzil, Silent Child (Audible Studios), read by Joanne Froggatt

- Alice Feeney, Sometimes I Lie (HQ – Harper Collins), read by Stephanie Racine

- Michelle Frances, The Girlfriend (Pan Macmillan Audio), read by Antonia Beamish

- Anthony Horowitz, The Word is Murder (Penguin Random House Audio), read by Rory Kinnear

- David Lagercrantz, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye (Quercus), read by Saul Reichlin

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and Audible UK listeners established the shortlist and the winning title.

eDUNNIT AWARD

The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the British Isles in 2017. The winner receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Nominees for the eDunnit Award:

- Chris Brookmyre, Want You Gone (Little, Brown Book Group)

- Ken Bruen, The Ghosts of Galway (Head of Zeus)

- Michael Connelly, The Late Show (Orion)

- Joe Ide, IQ (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

- Dennis Lehane, Since We Fell (Little, Brown Book Group)

- Steve Mosby, You Can Run (Orion)

- Gunnar Staalesen, Wolves in the Dark (Orenda Books)

- Sarah Stovell, Exquisite (Orenda Books)

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

LAST LAUGH AWARD

The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2017. The winner receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Nominees for the Last Laugh Award:

- Simon Brett, Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen (Little, Brown Book Group)

- Christopher Fowler, Bryant & May - Wild Chamber (Doubleday)

- Mick Herron, Spook Street (John Murray)

- Vaseem Khan, The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star (Mullholland Books)

- Khurrum Rahman, East of Hounslow (HQ – HarperCollns)

- C.J. Skuse, Sweetpea (HQ – HarperCollins)

- Antti Tuomainen, The Man Who Died (Orenda Books)

- L.C. Tyler, Herring in the Smoke (Allison & Busby Ltd)

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

H.R.F. KEATING AWARD

The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction first published in the British Isles in 2017. The award is named after H.R.F. ‘Harry’ Keating, one of Britain’s most esteemed crime novelists, crime reviewers and writer of books about crime fiction. The winning author receives a commemorative Bristol Blue Glass award.

Nominees for the H.R.F. Keating Award:

- Martin Edwards, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (British Library)

- Barry Forshaw, American Noir (No Exit Press)

- Sam Naidu, Sherlock Holmes in Context (Palgrave Macmillan)

- Benjamin Poore, Sherlock Holmes from Screen to Stage (Palgrave Macmillan)

- Mike Ripley, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (HarperCollins)

- Christopher Sandford, The Man Who Would Be Sherlock (The History Press)

- Michael Sims, Arthur & Sherlock (Bloomsbury)

- Nick Triplow, Getting Carter (No Exit Press)

Publishing Deal - Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Great news for one of my favourite writers. Three books by Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir have been bought by Hodder & Stoughton.

From The Bookseller:
Hodder & Stoughton has acquired three new novels by international bestseller Yrsa Sigurdardottir in a six-figure deal.

Sigurdardottir, whose work has sold nearly 2m copies across 30 territories according to the publisher, released The Legacy with Hodder in 2017. The book is part of a series featuring child psychologist Freyja and detective Huldar and shot to number one in Iceland, where it won the Blood Drop Prize for best crime novel of the year. It also scooped the Danish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award in Denmark.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Publishing Deal - Jesper Stein

Danish author Jesper Stein is to be published in English with the first of five books purchased by Mirror Books being published in July; Unrest is being translated by David Young.

From The Bookseller:
Mirror Books has acquired a five-book series by "Scandi noir sensation", Jesper Stein.

The third bestselling author in Denmark, with over 250,000 copies sold, Stein has already won "huge critical and commercial success" across Denmark, but this is the first time his work is being translated into English, said the publisher.

The first title in the series, Unrest, is due for publication in the UK on 19th July 2018.
Drawing on his experience of working as a crime reporter on a Danish newspaper, Stein introduces his "rough-hewn and complex" homicide detective, Axel Steen.

When the bound, hooded corpse of an unidentified man is found propped up against a gravestone in the central cemetery, Steen is assigned the case. Rogue camera footage soon suggests police involvement and links to the demolition of a nearby youth house, teeming with militant left-wing radicals.  But Axel soon discovers that many people, both inside and out of the force, have an unusual interest in the case – and in preventing its resolution.

With a rapidly worsening heart condition, an estranged ex-wife and beloved five-year-old daughter to contend with, Axel will not stop until the killer is caught, whatever the consequences. But the consequences turn out to be greater than expected – especially for Axel himself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review: Lock 13 by Peter Helton

Lock 13 by Peter Helton, December 2017, 224 pages, Severn House Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 0727887661

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

(Read more of Geoff's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Bath based Artist/Private Investigator Chris Honeysett is financially embarrassed yet again. At least his partner Annis has found a lucrative assignment at a wealthy man's house, painting a mural. Their friend Tim has found love with Rebecca. When Chris is asked by an insurance company to investigate the suspicious death of a man they believe is still alive it seems his problems are over.

Before he can get too involved in this investigation, he is concerned that Verity, his life model, has vanished and some unsavoury characters are keen to find her. The police seem uninterested in trying to locate her and a visit to a Travellers site proves dangerous to Chris. He borrows a narrow-boat and leaves Bath behind. He hasn't reckoned on so many locks and being followed. He meets many characters including a naked rambler...

Can he find Verity? Can he earn money from the insurance company? Can he rely on Annis and Tim to help?

This is the seventh book in this excellent series. The author also writes a police procedural, but on balance I prefer this one. Chris stays just on the right side of the law (well nearly) and the description of Bath and the surrounding area add to the enjoyment. Highly recommended.

Geoff Jones, April 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Awards News: Theakston Crime Novel of the Year 2018 - Longlist

The Theakston Crime Novel of the Year longlist has been announced. Details below as appeared in The Bookseller:
The prize was created to celebrate "the very best in crime fiction" and is open to UK and Irish crime authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1st May 2017 to 30th April 2018.

The winner is announced at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, hosted in Harrogate each July.

The shortlist of six titles will be announced on 27th May, followed by a six-week promotion in libraries and in W H Smith stores nationwide. The overall winner will be decided by the panel of judges, alongside a public vote, and announced at an award ceremony hosted by broadcaster Mark Lawson on 19th July, the opening night of the 16th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winners will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier.

The awards night will also feature the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award, with past recipients including P D James, Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill and Colin Dexter.

The longlist in full:

Want You Gone by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
The Midnight Line by Lee Child (Bantam)
The Seagull by Ann Cleeves (Macmillan)
Little Deaths by Emma Flint (Picador)
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
The Dry by Jane Harper (Abacus)
Spook Street by Mick Herron (John Murray)
A Death at Fountains Abbey by Antonia Hodgson (Hodder)
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly (Hodder)
Sirens by Joseph Knox (Transworld)
The Accident on the A35 by Graeme Macrae Burnet (Saraband)
You Don't Know Me by Imran Mahmood (Penguin)
Insidious Intent by Val McDermid (Little, Brown)
The Long Drop by Denise Mina (Vintage)
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
Rather Be the Devil by Ian Rankin (Orion)
The Intrusions by Stav Sherez (Faber)
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner (The Borough Press)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Review: Friends and Traitors by John Lawton

Friends and Traitors by John Lawton, April 2018, 352 pages, Grove Press, ISBN: 1611856221

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

It is 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev's visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a Continental trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod was too vain to celebrate being fifty so instead takes his entire family on 'the Grand Tour' for his fifty-first birthday: Paris, Sienna, Florence, Vienna, Amsterdam. Restaurants, galleries and concert halls. But Frederick Troy never gets to Amsterdam.

After a concert in Vienna he is approached by an old friend whom he has not seen for years - Guy Burgess, a spy for the Soviets, who says something extraordinary: 'I want to come home.' Troy dumps the problem on MI5 who send an agent to de-brief Burgess - but the man is gunned down only yards from the embassy, and after that, the whole plan unravels with alarming speed and Troy finds himself a suspect.
As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy finds that Burgess is not the only ghost who returns to haunt him.


This book is a very clever merger of fact and fiction, spread over a long period of time, when we first meet Frederick Troy he is contemplating going into the 'Police' and by the end of the book he is a Chief Superintendent at Scotland Yard. It chiefly details the contact that Troy has over the years with Guy Burgess and his fellow espionage contacts.

I have read almost all of the historical mystery books by John Lawton and my only complaint is that he is just not prolific enough! I appreciate that he writes a lot for TV but to write only eight Inspector Troy books and three others, that is just not good enough. So please John I do hope you write a lot more. Strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, April 2018.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

New Releases - April 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in April 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). April and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Anthology - Ten Year Stretch (ed. Martin Edwards)
• Arlen, Tessa - Death of an Unsung Hero #4 Lady Montfort, Edwardian Era
• Bannalec, Jean-Luc - The Fleur de Sel Murders #3 Commissioner Dupin
• Black, Tony - Her Cold Eyes #4 DI Bob Valentine
• Bolton, Sharon - The Craftsman
• Bussi, Michel - Time is a Killer
• Candlish, Louise - Our House
• Connolly, John - The Woman in the Woods #16 Charlie Parker, PI, Maine
• Conway, Aidan - A Known Evil #1 Detective Michael Rossi, Rome
• Cross, Mason Presumed Dead #5 Carter Blake, USA
• Dahl, Kjell Ola - The Ice Swimmer #8 Gunnarstranda and Frolich, Oslo Police
• Davis, Lindsey - Pandora's Boy #6 Flavia Albia, the adopted daughter of Marcus Didius Falco
• Dazieri, Sandrone - Kill the Angel #2 Colomba Caselli and Dante Torre
• Dugdall, Ruth - The Things You Didn't See
• Duncan, Elizabeth J - The Marmalade Murders #9 Penny Brannigan, Nail salon owner, North Wales
• Fairfax, John - Blind Defence #2 William Benson and Tess de Vere, Lawyers
• Fraser, Anthea - Sins of the Fathers
• Grimes, Martha - The Knowledge #24 Richard Jury
• Gustawsson, Johana - Keeper #2 Roy & Castells
• Hampton, Nell - Lord of the Pies #2 Kensington Palace Chef
• Harvey, John - Body & Soul #4 Retired Detective Inspector Elder, Cornwall
• James, Ed - In for the Kill #4 DI Fenchurch, London
• Jardine, Quintin - A Brush with Death #29 Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Skinner, Edinburgh
• Jones, Philip Gwynne - Vengeance in Venice #2 Nathan Sutherland
• Kelly, Lesley - Songs by Dead Girls #2 The Health of Strangers series
• Kerr, Philip - Greeks Bearing Gifts #13 Private Detective Bernhard Gunther, 1930s Berlin
• Kiernan, Olivia - - Too Close to Breathe #1 DCS Frankie Sheehan
• Kline, Penny - The Sister's Secret
• Leon, Donna - The Temptation of Forgiveness #27 Commissario Guido Brunetti, Venice
• Lucius, Walter - Angel in the Shadows #2 Heartland Trilogy
• Malliet, G M - In Prior's Wood #7 Max Tudor, Vicar
• Manning, Max - Now You See (apa Don't Look Now) #1 DCI Fenton
• Marland, Stephanie - My Little Eye #1 DI Dominic Bell and Clementine Starke
• McGowan, Claire - The Killing House #6 Paula Maguire, Forensic psychologist, Northern Ireland
• McPherson, Catriona - Scot Free #1 Last Ditch Mysteries
• Miller, Derek B - American by Day
• Nesbo, Jo - Macbeth
• Newham, Vicki - Turn a Blind Eye #1 DI Maya Rahman
• Nugent, Liz - Skin Deep
• O'Sullivan, Darren - Our Little Secret
• Perry, Anne - Dark Tide Rising #24 Inspector Monk
• Raven, Jaime - The Rebel
• Richardson, Matthew - The Insider
• Riches, Marnie - The Girl Who Got Revenge #5 George McKenzie, Amsterdam
• Robson, Amanda - Guilt
• Scragg, Robert - What Falls Between the Cracks #1 Porter & Styles, Police Officers
• Smith, Anna - Blood Feud #1 Kerry Casey, Glasgow
• Taylor, Andrew - The Fire Court #2 Ashes of London series
• Thomson, E S - The Blood #3 Jem Flockhart, Apothecary, 1850s
• Thomson, Lesley - The Death Chamber #6 Stella Darnell
• Thorne, D B - Perfect Match
• Thorpe, Annabelle - What Lies Within
• Tope, Rebecca - The Staveley Suspect #7 Persimmon Brown, Florist, Lake District
• Vichi, Marco - Ghosts of the Past #6 Inspector Bordelli, Florence, 1960s
• Westerson, Jeri - The Deepest Grave #10 Crispin Guest, ex Knight, Medieval times
• Wolff, James - Beside the Syrian Sea (March release)