Hello, everybody. You may not be overly surprised to know that some new books came out this week.
First up, there’s a new Stephen King, out today. Joyland is a noir novel with an added bit of ghostly business — well, what did you expect from King? — set at a fairground.
Climb on board the blurb:
Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.
Doesn’t give away much, does it? Most of the publicity for Joyland has centred on King’s unwillingness to release it as an e-book. He’s reported as saying: ‘I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being.’
Joyland is intended as a homage to the golden age of pulp paperbacks, much in the same way as his other noir novel The Colorado Kid, so his stance kind of makes sense.
And anyway, King has famously experimented with different ways of publishing in the past. The Green Mile was originally serialized, and he was one of the first novelists to clock the potential of e-publishing when Riding The Bullet was released exclusively on digital way back in 2000.
Of course, the King novel everyone is licking their lips in anticipation of is Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, which follows the grown-up exploits of Danny Torrance. That comes out in hardback and Kindle in September.
The rest of our new releases feature the return of long-established detectives of various degrees of toughness.
Chief Constable Bob Skinner makes his 23rd appearance in Pray For The Dying by Quintin Jardine. He’s very tough – indeed, was once described as ‘Britain’s toughest cop.’
Pay heed to the blurb:
‘After what happened, none of us can be sure we’re going to see tomorrow’
The killing was an expert hit. Three shots through the head, as the lights dimmed at a celebrity concert in Glasgow. A most public crime, and Edinburgh Chief Constable Bob Skinner is right in the centre of the storm, as it breaks over the Strathclyde force.
The shooters are dead too, killed at the scene. But who sent them?
The crisis finds Skinner, his private life shattered by the shocking end of his marriage, taking a step that he had sworn he never would. Tasked by Scotland’s First Minister with the investigation of the outrage, he finds himself quickly uncovering some very murky deeds…The trail leads to London, where national issues compromise the hunt.
Skinner has to rattle the bars of the most formidable cage in the country, and go head to head with its leading power brokers . . . a confrontation that seems too much, even for him. Can the Chief solve the most challenging mystery of his career . . . or will failure end it?
Quintin Jardine’s is a typical writer’s story. He was reading a book on holiday which he thought was terrible, and declared he could do better himself. Many years later, Jardine and Skinner are still going strong. Sometimes it really is as easy as that.
Heh, talking of Easy, Little Green is the twelth Easy Rawlins book written by Walter Mosley. The first, Devil In A Blue Dress, was published back in 1990. In this latest installment, Mosley’s black detective awakens from his coma to experience the 60s counterculture in Los Angeles.
Drop a tab of blurb:
We thought we’d seen the last of Easy Rawlins at the end of BLONDE FAITH. But it takes more than an oncoming car to stop LA’s finest PI.
‘Can you find him, Mr. Rawlins?’
‘I can sure look.’
As Easy wakes from his coma, the last thing he needs is an investigation. But a friend’s son is in trouble and old habits die hard. So Easy wades into the squats, clubs and LSD dens of Sunset Boulevard, trying to find the missing boy, Evander. What he discovers will take him on a journey into the dark underbelly of 1960s culture, where Evander’s disappearance is only one piece of a far larger puzzle…
Walter Mosley was another late starter where writing is concerned. He began to write when he was 34. Since picking up a pen, he’s written every single day since. He’s also written a book called This Year You Write Your Novel. I’m kind of addicted to writing books and will probably end up buying it.
If all that toughness sends you a bit weak at the knees and you prefer something at the cosy end of the spectrum, Bricks and Mortality is Ann Granger’s third Campbell and Carter Mystery.
The blurb will surely enlighten you:
The third Cotswold village mystery featuring Inspector Jess Campbell and Superintendent Ian Carter reveals a ruthless killer and a case of mistaken identity.
In the cold light of dawn, a dead body is found entombed in the smouldering remains of a burnt-out Cotswold manor. Key House has stood empty for years, but its owner, Gervaise Crown, is rumoured to have been seen in Weston St Ambrose prior to the blaze.
Could he be responsible for the fire and the tragic death that followed, or was he in fact the intended target? As Inspector Jess Campbell and Superintendent Ian Carter begin their investigation it becomes clear that Gervase wasn’t the most popular and his return reawakens old memories, not all of which are good.
Granger’s been writing since the 1970s – her first books were historical novels – and has a healthy number of continuing characters to her name.
Meanwhile, back on the mean streets, Dead Man’s Time is the ninth book in the Roy Grace series by Peter Grace. James has written 25 books, but his most successful feature the Brighton-based detective – look, the pier!
Here’s the blurb:
Some will wait a lifetime to take their revenge… A vicious robbery at a secluded Brighton mansion leaves its elderly occupant dying. And millions of pounds’ worth of valuables have been taken.
But, as Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, heading the enquiry, rapidly learns, there is one priceless item of sentimental value that the old woman’s powerful family cherish above all else. And they are fully prepared to take the law into their own hands, and will do anything, absolutely anything, to get it back.
Within days, Grace is racing against the clock, following a murderous trail that leads him from the shady antiques world of Brighton, across Europe, and all the way back to the New York waterfront gang struggles of 1922, chasing a killer driven by the force of one man’s greed and another man’s fury.
If Stephen King was in at the beginning of the digital book revolution, then James can claim to have preceded even him. In 1994 his novel Host was described as the World’s First Electronic Novel because you could buy it on two floppy discs. As a result, James was accused of attempting to destroy the novel by someone on BBC Radio 4, surely not the first or the last time someone has been accused of such a thing by Radio 4.
These days you can read Dead Man’s Time, available from today, as a less unwieldy e-book or, if you prefer, a good old-fashioned hardback.