Tag Archives: Mark Billingham

The Intel: Tom Callaghan

Tom Callaghan

Earlier in the week we walked the charming streets of Bishkek in Tom Callaghan’s excellent debut, A Killing Winter, which features the debut of Inspector Akyl Borubaev. Callaghan’s brutal post-Soviet noir is brutal and muscular and funny. In a corrupt state full of bad eggs, Borubaev is as hardboiled as they come.

We promised you Tom Callaghan would give you the intel on Borubaev, Kyrgyzstan and his writing, and here at Crime Thriller Fella, we deliver. Born in the North of England, Callaghan is quite the gadabout. An inveterate traveller, he divides his time between London, Prague, Dubai and Bishkek. Me, I get a nose-bleed crossing postcodes.

Tell us about Akyl Borubaev.

Inspector Akyl Borubaev of the Bishkek Murder Squad in Kyrgyzstan is tough, honest and dedicated. Having recently lost his wife to breast cancer, he is in mourning, unsure that he does any good, caught in a deep depression. But the murders continue, and he has to solve them.

Where did you get the inspiration for A Winter Killing?

I’ve always loved crime fiction, hard-boiled noir for preference, and so that was always going to be the kind of book I’d write. But who needs another crime book set in NYC, or LA, or Miami? Kyrgyzstan is an unknown place, with a lot of problems – what more could a crime writer ask for? As for the plot; (whispers) I made it up.

In the novel, Kyrgyzstan is a state engulfed by gangsters, corruption and sleaze – what do you think the good citizens of Bishkek would make of it?

After two revolutions in ten years, it’s clear that the Kyrgyz will put up with a lot as long as there is food on the table, but when corruption becomes too overt, they act.

A Killing WinterWhat’s your own relationship with the country?

I was married to a Kyrgyz woman, I have a Kyrgyz son, and a home in Bishkek. It’s a country I love, for its beauty, for its culture, for its people. It’s a unique place, in an increasingly homogenised world.

It’s a very timely novel, what with many of the post-Soviet satellite countries afraid that Russia is flexing its muscles again. What do you think the future holds for Kyrgyzstan?

Now that the US air base at Manas has closed, following troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, and with Kyrgyzstan signing trade agreements with Russia over import and export tariffs, people are worried about a decline in living standards. Only time will tell. But I don’t see Putin moving eastwards.

How did the spellchecker on your computer cope with some of the more challenging, consonant-heavy names?

I ignore it: I know how to spell, to parse a sentence and the rules of grammar. Orwell’s rules are ones I live by.

What’s the hardest lesson you ever had to learn about writing?

Laundry and doing dishes always seems more important when you stare at a blank screen.

How do you deal with feedback?

As a professional writer, I have no problems with other people reading what I’ve written. I like to think I’m reasonable and open-minded to fair comment. At the same time, I’ll defend my work if I think I’m right. If I can improve my work through someone else’s suggestions, I will.

Who are the authors you admire, and why?

The Classics: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson. Murder taken out of the drawing room and put down a dark alleyway, where it belongs.

The Hard-Boiled Americans: Lawrence Block, James Lee Burke, Robert Campbell, Michael Connolly, Robert Crais, James Ellroy, Carl Hiassen, Joe R. Lansdale, Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain, George Pelecanos, Peter Spiegelman, Andrew Vachss. Crisp dialogue, more twists and turns than an electric eel, great locations.

The Bold Brits: Mark Billingham, John Connolly (alright, Irish, but I had to list him somewhere), John Harvey, Mo Hayder, Simon Kernick, Val Mcdermid, Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson. Murder doesn’t just happen in the USA, you know.

Foreign Settings: John Burdett (Thailand), Sebastian Fitzek (Germany), Stieg Larrson and Henning Mankell (Sweden), Jo Nesbo (Norway), Mike Nichol (S Africa). Because murder happens to non-English speakers as well.

What’s next for you?

The sequel, A Spring Betrayal, is with my agent and publisher, both of whom are very encouraging, and I’m plotting the third book now. Both of them feature Akyl Borubaev. A Killing Winter is already out in German, UK paperback and US publication is in the autumn, and Spanish and Portuguese editions follow next year.

Give me some advice about writing…

Don’t talk about it  –  nothing diminishes the desire to write as quickly as having told everybody the story. Read a lot. I mean a LOT. Read every day. Write every day. Ask for criticism, not praise; that’s what mirrors are for.

Follow Kingsley Amis’ advice: apply the seat of your trousers to the seat of your chair. Learn to spell and use grammar correctly; if you can’t make yourself clearly understood, how is your reader going to cope? Love one genre, but explore others; everything is an ingredient, to use or not, as you see fit.

Try not to be afraid of the blank page/screen, but don’t be over-confident either.

TV Crime Log: Club, Leftovers, Legends & Strain

Crime Thriller ClubCrime Thriller Club very much covers the same territory we do here – crime fiction and TV – but it’s got Bradley Walsh going for it instead of The Fella.

*tumbleweed rolls past*

Anyhow. It’s returning for another six week series on ITV3, which is the channel your in-laws watch. Walsh is joined by some of the stars of the biggest crime thriller shows, goes behind the scenes of upcoming new crime dramas, and plays quizmaster as he sets out to find a ‘Criminal Mastermind’.

At some point in that last sentence we slipped into blurb speak, so we may as well print the rest of it:

Culminating in the glittering Crime Thriller Awards 2014 – the ‘Oscars’ of the crime thriller world – this series delivers exclusive access to the stars and sets of some of Britain’s best known crime thriller programmes – including much-loved shows like DCI Banks, Whitechapel and Silent Witness – as well as gripping new dramas like the BBC’s Interceptor.

Each week, Bradley interrogates a leading actor from a major crime thriller – including the likes of Robert Glenister and Stephen Tompkinson – and casts a forensic eye over the career of a literary Living Legend, profiling blockbuster authors including Robert Harris, Dean Koontz, Lynda La Plante, Michael Connelly, and Wire In The Blood creator Val McDermid.

Across the series, Bradley’s also aided and abetted by renowned authors including Adele Parks, Peter James, Mark Billingham and Kate Mosse, who join him to help review an outstanding new crime thriller book of the week – and we hear what inspired their creators, including Lucie Whitehouse, James Carol and Peter May.

So that’s Crime Thriller Club at 9pm on ITV3. Just keep pressing the down button on your remote and you’ll get there.

The LeftoversJust by hitting the return bar, we arrive at 9pm on Tuesday — or as you pedants like to call it: tomorrow —  and the beginning, on Sky Atlantic, of The Leftovers. Now this is not strictly a crime drama – but you know what? My blog, my rules.

Based on Tom Perrotta’s novel, it envisages a world three years after a certain proportion of the population are whisked off in the Rapture, and the population left behind feels very sorry for itself indeed.

The main guy in it, played by actor and scriptwriter Justin Theroux is the town sheriff – so there’s a crimey link if you really insist on one. The Leftovers has proved marmite in the US because of its insistence on focusing on the shattered personal lives of the people left wondering what happened to their disappeared loved ones rather than investigating its mysterious supernatural conceit.

The StrainWednesday night sees the first episode of The Strain on Watch at 10pm. It’s a television adaptation of the trilogy written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan – who wrote Prince of Thieves! It’s basically a modern-day retelling of Dracula, in which an airliner arrives at JFK, a la the Demeter, its lights off and doors sealed. An epidemiologist and his Disease Control unit is sent to investigate — and a vampire virus is unleashed on New York.

The first novel in The Strain trilogy was an interesting new take on ancient material. The second and third volumes, The Fall and The Night Eternal… not so much. Del Toro said he wanted to reinvent the vampire novel as a modern-day procedural.

So, in case you’re wondering whether to invest your precious hours in these serials, The Strain has been renewed for a second season — along with The Leftovers. The aim is to tell the entire trilogy over, er, four seasons. It stars the ever excellent Corey ‘Cards’ Stoll and David ‘Hartnell’ Bradley.

LegendsThere’s more adapted drama on Sky 1 at the same time, Wednesday at 10pm. Legends is based on Robert Littell’s book of the same name. Sean Bean stars as Martin Odum, a Deep Cover agent who changes identities in the same way other people change their underwear. Which is, hopefully, a lot. Trouble is, Odum begins to wonder whether his own identity is also a lie.

It’s a great concept, but the ratings in the US have been somewhat tepid, and there’s still no word on whether it’s going to get renewed.

Crime Book Log: Bones, Fortress, Darkness, Club

I’m in no mood to repeat myself today, so pay attention. There’ll be no opportunity to ask questions afterwards because I’ve got to shoot off.  All you need to know – and I suggest you write this down – is that there’s been a quality crop of crime novels released this week. To wit:

The Bones BeneathTom Thorne is back in Mark Billingham’s latest blockbuster, The Bones Beneath. The blurb does a nifty line in alliteration:

The Deal

Tom Thorne is back in charge – but there’s a terrifying price to pay. Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath he has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried twenty-five years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him.

The Danger

Unable to refuse, Thorne gathers a team and travels to a remote Welsh island, at the mercy of the weather and cut off from the mainland. Thorne is determined to get the job done and return home before Nicklin can outwit them.

The Deaths

But Nicklin knows this island well and has had time to plan ahead. Soon, new bodies are added to the old, and Thorne finds himself facing the toughest decision he has ever had to make…

By my count, this is the twelfth novel to feature Thorne. Remote Welsh island, bodies, a dangerous psychopath – I’m going to hazard a guess that shit is going to go down.

The Bones Beneath is out in hardback, paperback and on kindle.

FortressSo Andy McNab has got a new one out. Oh, I see, you say, tapping your nose, another Nick Stone adventure.

Well, no actually. McNab has been powering forward with his highly successful Nick Stone novels about a former special forces operative – about to become a rip-roaring cinema action franchise, if reports are to be believed – but he’s also embarked on another series about, um, former special forces operative Tom Buckingham. Fortress is the second in the Buckingham series.

The blurb can kill you with a teaspoon:

Camp Bastion: SAS trooper Tom Buckingham finds himself in deep trouble for taking down a renegade Afghan soldier. Instead of being proclaimed a hero, he’s made a scapegoat for the incident and drummed out of the regiment.

On his return to Britain, disillusioned and embittered, Tom’s unique services are quickly snapped up by charismatic entrepreneur, Vernon Rolt, a powerful billionaire with political ambitions, very few scruples and a questionable agenda.

With riot on the country’s streets, a government in disarray and a visit from the American president imminent, there has never been a better time to make a play for power.

But, as Tom will soon discover, in the affairs of state, hidden forces are always at work and he is quickly drawn back into the covert world of intelligence and special forces which he knows so well. He will have to decide where his loyalties lie and who his real friends are, if he is to intervene in a spiralling sequence of events which involve terrorism, insurgency and, ultimately, assassination…

Darkness, DarknessFans of John Harvey’s jazz loving, world weary protag Charlie Resnick – very much a trailblazing figure for the modern British fictional copper – will be in a bittersweet frame of mind about the release of Darkness, Darkness. It’s the latest Resnick novel – the twelfth – but it’s also, apparently, the last. The mean streets of Nottingham will be a bit meaner from now on.

The blurb knows how to whip up a sandwich:

Thirty years ago, the Miners’ Strike threatened to tear the country apart, turning neighbour against neighbour, husband against wife, father against son – enmities which smoulder still. 

Resnick, recently made up to inspector, and ambivalent at best about some of the police tactics, had run an information gathering unit at the heart of the dispute.

Now, the discovery of the body of a young woman who disappeared during the Strike brings Resnick out of virtual retirement and back into the front line to assist in the investigation into her murder – forcing him to confront his past in what will assuredly be his last case.

The first Resnick novel, Lonely Hearts, was published way back in 1989.

The Killing ClubPaul Finch’s protag has the best best name in crime-fiction, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, but that may all change when I finally unleash my own fictional copper on the world, DI Carl ‘Cor’ Blimey.

Finch’s new novel The Killing Club, the follow-up to his successful Heck novels Sacrifice and Stalkers, resides at the gutsy end of the crime spectrum. Finch himself is a prolific novelist and screenwriter whose output restlessly roams genres, from crime to horror, science-fiction and fantasy.

The blurb really shouldn’t be let near the cutlery drawer:

DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg is used to bloodbaths. But nothing can prepare him for this.

Heck’s most dangerous case to date is open again. Two years ago, countless victims were found dead – massacred at the hands of Britain’s most terrifying gang.

When brutal murders start happening across the country, it’s clear the gang is at work again. Their victims are killed in cold blood, in broad daylight, and by any means necessary. And Heck knows it won’t be long before they come for him.

Brace yourself as you turn the pages of a living nightmare. Welcome to The Killing Club.

The Killing Club is available as an ebook and in paperback.

Bring the car round, I’m out of here.

Crime Thriller Book Log: Mina, Mackay, Dunne & Slaughter

It may not surprise you to know that there were some books published this week. Some crime thriller books. I’m going to tell you about four of them and then you can go.

Unknown-2Red Road is the latest Alex Morrow novel from Denise Mina.

The blurb is very dramatic, as blurb tends to be:

31st August 1997: Rose Wilson is fourteen, but looks sixteen. Pimped out by her ‘boyfriend’ and let down by a person she thought she loved, she has seen more of the darkness in life than someone twice her age. On the night of Princess Diana’s death – a night everyone will remember – Rose snaps and commits two terrible crimes. Her life seems effectively over. But then a defence lawyer takes pity and sets out to do what he can to save her, regardless of the consequences.

Now: DI Alex Morrow is a witness in the case of Michael Brown – a vicious, nasty arms dealer, more brutal and damaged than most of the criminals she meets. During the trial, while he is held in custody, Brown’s fingerprints are found at the scene of a murder in the Red Road flats. It was impossible that he could have been there and it’s a mystery that Morrow just can’t let go.

Meanwhile, a privileged Scottish lawyer sits in a castle on Mull, waiting for an assassin to kill him. He has sold out his own father, something that will bring the wrath of the powerful down upon him.

A playwright and graphic novelist – she’s written for the acclaimed comic Hellblazer – Mina is on a roll. Her Morrow novel Gods And Beasts is on the shortlist for the 2013 Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year. She won the award only last year with The End Of The Wasp Season. Among the other books in the shortlist are Stav Sherez’s A Dark Redemption, and Peter May’s The Lewis Man.

*Warning: segue reversing… segue reversing…*

Malcolm Mackay lives on Lewis. He’s the author of How A Gunman Says Goodbye, the second in in his Glasgow trilogy.

Lock ’n ’load the blurb:

Unknown-3How does a gunman retire? Frank MacLeod was the best at what he does. Thoughtful. Efficient. Ruthless. But is he still the best? A new job. A target. But something is about to go horribly wrong. Someone is going to end up dead. Most gunmen say goodbye to the world with a bang. Frank’s still here. He’s lasted longer than he should have …

The final book The Sudden Arrival Of Violence follows next year. The first book was written, he says, as a ‘secret little project on his computer.’

There’s a really interesting article right here about how an author who lives in the placid environment of the Outer Hebrides, and has no intention of leaving, projects himself into the mind of a ruthless Glaswegian hitman.

Last time I looked, Derby was a long way south of Lewis and indeed of Glasgow. It’s the setting for another of Steven Dunne’s serial killer novels featuring DI Damen Brook. This one is called The Unquiet Grave.

Dust to dust, blurb to blurb:

The Cold Case crime department of Derby Constabulary feels like a morgue

imagesto DI Damen Brook. As a maverick cop, his bosses think it’s the best place for him.

But Brook isn’t going to go down without a fight. Applying his instincts and razor sharp intelligence, he sees a pattern in a series of murders that seem to begin in 1963. How could a killer go undetected for so long? And why are his superiors so keen to drive him down blind alleys?

Brook delves deep into the past of both suspects and colleagues unsure where the hunt will lead him. What he does know for sure is that a significant date is approaching fast and the killer is certain to strike again…

Dunne’s a bit of an inspiration. His first book The Reaper was turned down all over the shop, but he had faith in himself, and he self-published it. It sold well – and as a result was picked up by Harper Collins. More proof that writers who believe in themselves can get published.

UnknownAnd finally, if ever there was a terrific name for an crime author, it’s Karin Slaughter. She’s sold 17 million books. One of her continuing series features her dyslexic special agent Will Trent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Will has huge hands.

Put the gun down and step away from the blurb:

Special Agent Will Trent has something to hide. Something he doesn’t want Dr Sara Linton – the woman he loves – to find out. He’s gone undercover in Macon, Georgia and put his life at risk. And he knows Sara will never forgive him if she discovers the truth.

But when a young patrolman is shot and left for dead Sara is forced to confront the past and a woman she hoped never to see again. And without even knowing it, she becomes involved in the same case Will is working on. Soon both of their lives are in danger.

Like most successful authors, Slaughter is prolific. She finishes a book a year, but is always making notes for future novels.

Right, off you toddle. No, wait —

Before you go, here’s that 2013 Theakstons Crime Novel If The Year list in full –because you haven’t seen it on, like, a thousand other blogs already, this week.

Rush Of Blood – Mark Billingham (Little Brown)

Safe House –  Chris Ewan (Faber and Faber)

The Lewis Man – Peter May (Quercus)

Gods And Beasts – Denise Mina (Orion)

Stolen Souls – Stuart Neville (Vintage)

A Dark Redemption– Stav Sherez (Faber and Faber)

I know which one I’d like to see win — granted, I’ve only read four on the list. But what about you – what’s your pick?

Crime Thriller Book Log: Billingham, Deaver, Harper and Ryan

Last week publishers cleared the decks for fear of getting lost in the wake of the marketing juggernaut that was Dan Brown‘s Inferno, but there are some new titles out there this week, and they ain’t bad, either.


Following the stand-alone sweetness of Rush Of Blood, Mark Billingham has returned to the detective who made his name. His instincts are still there — as his cameo in Rush Of Blood suggests — but poor old Tom Thorne returns in reduced circumstances — busted back down to uniform.

Let the blurb take the strain:

A cluster of suicides among the elderly. Such things are not unknown to the police and the deaths are quickly dismissed by the police as routine. Only one man is convinced that something more sinister is taking place.

However, no one listens to Tom Thorne anymore. Having stepped out of line once too often, he’s back in uniform and he hates it. Patronised and abused by his new colleagues, Thorne’s suspicions about the suicides are dismissed by the Murder Squad he was once part of and he is forced to investigate alone.

Unable to trust anyone, Thorne must risk losing those closest to him.He must gamble with the lives of those targeted by a killer unlike any he has hunted before. A man with nothing to lose and a growing list of victims. A man with the power to make people take their own lives.

The Dying Hours is available in hardback and on Kindle from Thursday.

Unknown-2Another character who makes a cameo in someone else’s tale is Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme, who pops up in the Kathryn Dance novel XO, which comes out in paperback from Thursday.

Behold the blurb:

Kayleigh Towne is a beautiful and successful singer-songwriter, and Edwin Sharp is her biggest fan. When she replies to one of his fan letters with ‘XO’, Edwin is convinced she loves him, and that her latest hit song ‘Your Shadow’ was written for him. Nothing Kayleigh or her lawyers can say persuades him otherwise.

Then the singer gets an anonymous phone call; it’s the first verse of ‘Your Shadow’ playing. Soon after, one of the crew is horribly murdered. Kayleigh’s friend Kathryn Dance, a special agent with the California Bureau of Investigation, knows that stalking crimes are not one-off occurrences, and, sure enough, more verses of the song are played as warnings of death to follow. With a little help from forensic criminalist Lincolyn Rhyme, Dance must use her kinesic and investigative skills in an attempt to find the killer before more people die.

What’s particularly interesting about XO is that Deaver has actually written the lyrics to actual songs featured in the book, formed a band, released an album and performed the songs. Dan Brown was a singer-songwriter, right? Maybe his people should call Deaver’s people, and they could write a musical together. Just a thought.

Unknown-1William Ryan’s the Twelfth Department is the third in his series about Captain Korolev, a police investigator in Stalinist Russia. Say all you like about Totalitarian states, but they’re a fertile stomping-ground for terrifc crime novels.

Let the blurb transport you:

Moscow, 1937. Captain Korolev, a police investigator, is enjoying a long-overdue visit from his young son Yuri when an eminent scientist is shot dead within sight of the Kremlin and Korolev is ordered to find the killer. It soon emerges that the victim, a man who it appears would stop at nothing to fulfil his ambitions, was engaged in research of great interest to those at the very top ranks of Soviet power. When another scientist is brutally murdered, and evidence of the professors’ dark experiments is hastily removed, Korolev begins to realise that, along with having a difficult case to solve, he’s caught in a dangerous battle between two warring factions of the NKVD.

And then his son Yuri goes missing . . . A desperate race against time, set against a city gripped by Stalin’s Great Terror and teeming with spies, street children and Thieves, The Twelfth Department confirms William Ryan as one of the most compelling historical crime novelists at work today.

The Twelfth Department is out on Thursday, in hardback and on kindle.

Unknown-3The Orpheus Descent, by Tom Harper, is an adventure in the Dan Brown vein, in which musician Jonah Barnes searches for his missing archeologist wife, Lily. However, there’s a dual timeline, so  Jonah has to share the narrative with none other than Plato – yes, that Plato – who leaves ancient Greece to search for his friend Agathon in Italy.

Don’t take my word for it. Trust in the blurb:

I have never written down the answers to the deepest mysteries, nor will I ever… The philosopher Plato wrote these words more than two thousand years ago, following a perilous voyage to Italy — an experience about which he never spoke again, but from which he emerged the greatest thinker in all of human history.

Today, twelve golden tablets sit in museums around the world, each created by unknown hands and buried in ancient times, and each providing the dead with the route to the afterlife. Archaeologist Lily Barnes, working on a dig in southern Italy, has just found another. But this tablet names the location to the mouth of hell itself.

And then Lily vanishes. Has she walked out on her job, her marriage, and her life — or has something more sinister happened? Her husband, Jonah, is desperate to find her. But no one can help him: not the police and not the secretive foundation that sponsored her dig. All Jonah has is belief, and a determination to do whatever it takes to get Lily back.

But like Plato before him, Jonah will discover the journey ahead is mysterious and dark and fraught with danger. And not everyone who travels to the hidden place where Lily has gone can return.

I’m not sure about much in this life, but I’m almost certain that at some point, these two narratives, spaced approximately 2,500 years apart, will converge. It’s a intoxicating brew and a far cry, I’d imagine, from Mr. Harper’s former work in pension services.

What about you guys – what are you reading this week?

Crime Thriller Books Out This Week:

It never gets easier deciding what to read next, does it? Here are few of this week’s new releases to send you into a further spiral of indecision.

UnknownHarlan Coben‘s latest stand-alone thriller is called Six Years and is now available in hardback, paperback and as an e-book.

Coben has some interesting things to say about writing. He puts it down to three things – inspiration, perspiration and… desperation. ‘If I didn’t write?’ he asks. ‘What would I do with myself?’ He’s a prolific author because he says that if he didn’t write he’d hate himself, his life would be out of balance.

Which, of course, is why he’s so prolific. According to the official blurb, the story of Six Years unravels something like this:

Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.

But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for…but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for more than a decade, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life – a time he has never gotten over – is turned completely inside out.

As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart – and who lied to him – soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction.

Unknown-3Thanks to the success of Tell No One, Coben has managed to successfully balance writing stand-alones with his Myron Bolitar series of novels. Another author who has evolved from series to stand-alone novels is Mark Billingham – although you’ll be happy to hear Tom Thorne does make a cameo in the excellent Rush of Blood, which is now out in paperback.

And Thorne’s back in Billingham’s next book – The Dying Hours, which is out next month – and there are big changes afoot for him.

Billingham‘s a big inspiration for those of us who like home-grown police procedurals, and you can read some of his thoughts on writing in this fine Guardian interview right here.

Unknown-2South African writer Lauren Beukes is gaining a big reputation for her novels, which combine thrills and fantasy, and her latest, The Shining Girls, has a genius concept – it’s about a time-travelling serial killer.

Behold the blurb:

Chicago 1931. Harper Curtis, a violent drifter, stumbles on a house with a secret as shocking as his own twisted nature – it opens onto other times. He uses it to stalk his carefully chosen ‘shining girls’ through the decades – and cut the spark out of them.

He’s the perfect killer. Unstoppable. Untraceable. He thinks…

Chicago, 1992. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Tell that to Kirby Mazrachi, whose life was shattered after a brutal attempt to murder her. Still struggling to find her attacker, her only ally is Dan, an ex-homicide reporter who covered her case and now might be falling in love with her.

As Kirby investigates, she finds the other girls – the ones who didn’t make it. The evidence is … impossible. But for a girl who should be dead, impossible doesn’t mean it didn’t happen…

The Shining Girls is available in hardback, paperback, and e-book.

imagesLiz Marklund’s Lifetime, is about what happens following the murder of Sweden’s most famous policeman and the disappearance of his four-year-old son – suspicion falls on his wife. Lifetime is the eighth novel to feature Marklund’s news reporter protag Annika Bengtzon. Lifetime is available as an e-book and in paperback.

images-1And staying in Sweden, Two Soldiers by Roslund and Hellstrom once again features their cop Ewert Grens. It’s a tale of gang warfare, and of kids drifting into criminality. Their books often feature prisons and question the nature of criminality — Hellstrom is an ex-con, and very much involved in a Swedish rehabilitation organisation. Two Soldiers is now available in all the usual formats.

So the, more books to add to the must-read pile. *rolls eyes*