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Friday, 20 July 2018

Theakstons Old Peculier
Crime Novel of the Year 2018 announced

Stav Sherez has tonight (announced 19 July, 9pm) scooped the
Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for The Intrusions.
Now in its fourteenth year, the Award is considered one of the most coveted crime writing prizes in the country.
The Intrusions by Stav Sherez was a 2017 Guardian and Sunday Times book of the year, dubbed ‘A Silence of the Lambs for the internet age’ by Ian Rankin. The book was acclaimed by critics for its echoes of Emile Zola and influences from Graham Greene to Dostoyevsky.
Stav was presented the award by title sponsor Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson at the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. The annual Festival, hosted in Harrogate, is the world’s biggest celebration of the genre.
Stav said: “I’m so shocked. Thank you so much for everyone who reads books, everyone who buys books, and talks about them. The world is full of hardships, but we have so much great stuff in culture and it means so much that there’s something to hide in.”
Stav talked about the inspiration of social media offering a new vein of storytelling and criminality.
“The Intrusions are the stuff we have all around us – all the static and scatter of TV and phones – everything is impinging on our consciousness and you don’t have time to think. So many great crime writers have come before us that have used all the great plots – Christie, James Ellroy – it’s good to have new criminality to deal with. But it’s not only criminality, the internet is affecting politics, it’s affecting elections, it affects us and our kids.”
Sherez beat off stiff competition from the shortlist of six, whittled down from a longlist of 18 crime novels published by UK and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018.
The 2018 Award is run in partnership with T&R Theakston Ltd, WHSmith, and The Mail on Sunday.
Stav Sherez collected a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved oak beer cask made by Theakston Old Peculier.
The winner was decided by the panel of Judges, comprising literary and media figures chaired this year by Lee Child, alongside a public vote.
The Intrusions is structured around the lead character – Carrigan’s - visits to the hospital to visit his mother who suffered a stroke.
Stav said: “I didn’t know anyone who died from stoke, then a year into writing the book my dad had his first stroke, and was in and out of hospital rewriting scenes I’d already imagined. Philip Roth in his book at his father’s death was shocked at himself writing notes, in a way it’s remembering the dead, making sure their stories are never lost, which is in a way is what all literature is about.”
A special presentation was made to John Grisham - the winner of the ninth Theakston Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.
Grisham joins Lee Child, Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky,
Lynda La Plante, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill as recipients of the Award.
John Grisham said: “About twenty years ago I attended a Chelsea football match with my close friend and editor, Oliver Johnson.  Afterwards, we retired to a pub and I had my first pint of Theakston Old Peculier.  Others followed.  It’s my favourite beer in the world.” 
He added: “I want to thank you for your loyal readership over the years, because of you, the readers, people like myself and Lee Child are lucky enough to do what we do. Thank you very much.”
Title sponsor and executive director of T&R Theakston, Simon Theakston, said: “We’re particularly delighted to honour John Grisham. He is truly a giant of the genre, having sold 300 million books worldwide, with nine of his novels being adapted by Hollywood. His appearance at the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival marks the first time he’s visited Yorkshire, something that will be remembered in Harrogate history for many years to come. The fact that he is a devotee of Old Peculier only adds to our delight!”
The shortlist in full:
  • Mick Herron, Spook Street
  • Val McDermid, Insidious Intent
  • Denise Mina, The Long Drop
  • Abir Mukherjee, A Rising Man
  • Stav Sherez, The Intrusions
  • Susie Steiner, Persons Unknown

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

‘Zen and the Art of Murder’ by Oliver Bottini

Published by MacLehose Press,
11 January 2018.
ISBN 978 0 85705 735 8
Translated by Jamie Bulloch

Louise Boni is a Chief Inspector in the Black Forest crime squad.  But, as is the case with many female police characters in current crime fiction, she is struggling with personal problems:  the ghosts of past cases, a divorce, her parents, and alcohol to list a few.  The action starts on a snowy Saturday in Liebau when Johann Hollerer, one of Boni’s colleagues, looks out at the High Street and watches a Japanese monk walk towards the Church.  His presence is causing a mild sensation and Hollerer realises that he must do something for the monk’s own protection.  Louise gets called in and sets off to find the monk …. She catches up with him, but this is not the end of the trail, which crosses European borders and, ultimately, leads to death and discovery and, maybe, to help for Louise.  This is a sad and serious story, its measured and contemplative moments perhaps reflecting the Buddhist element.

Oliver Bottini is a well-known krimi (crime fiction) author in Germany and this is a translation from the original German.  The impression is that the translator, Jamie Bulloch, has grasped the essence of the novel, its nuances and pace.  Four of the author’s novels, including this one, have been awarded the Deutscher Krimipreis, Germany's most prestigious award for crime writing and this book is on the long list for the CWA International Dagger (which is for crime novels not originally written in English, but translated into English for publication).
Reviewer: Jo Hesslewood
Other books (English translations) by this author:  A Summer of Murder

Oliver Bottini was born in 1965. Four of his novels, including Zen and the Art of Murder and A Summer of Murder of the Black Forest Investigations have been awarded the Deutscher Krimipreis, Germany’s most prestigious award for crime writing. In addition, his novels have been awarded the Stuttgarter Krimipreis and the Berliner Krimipreis. He lives in Berlin.

Jo Hesslewood.  Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

‘The Sons’ by Anton Svenson

Published by Sphere,
31 May 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-3780-8

I came to this book at something of a disadvantage, not having read the first in this trilogy.   It's a brutal powerful story concerning a family of career criminals, three of whom are anxious not to return to prison, the fourth, Leo, just released, determined to engage in a major heist and at the same time, to take bitter revenge on detective John Broncks, the DSI whose relentless pursuit put him behind bars.  In a nice (or nasty) twist, Leo has befriended a fellow criminal while inside, who turns out to be the murderous brother of this same John Broncks.  His father and siblings are now attempting to lead law-abiding lives and keep out of gaol and are therefore reluctant to join him. 

One of the authors is in fact the brother of a real-life bank robber gang, which lends a gritty real-life authenticity to this extraordinarily violent story, so much so that at times it reads almost like a police report. 

The word 'gripping' is often used to describe novels such as this one, but believe me, in this case, the adjective is well-deserved.  Read as soon as you can get hold of a copy – but try and read The Father first.
Reviewer: Susan Moody

Anton Svensson' is a pseudonym for Stefan Thunberg and Anders Roslund. Stefan Thunberg is one of Scandinavia's most celebrated screenwriters. His body of work spans popular TV series such as Henning Mankell's Wallander and Håkan Nesser's Van Veeteren as well as two of Sweden's biggest box office successes in recent years: Hamilton and Jägarna 2. While Thunberg achieved fame as a screenwriter, the rest of his family became infamous in an entirely different way: his father and brothers were Sweden's most notorious bank robbers, dubbed Militärligan (The Military Gang) by the media.
Anders Roslund is an award-winning investigative journalist and one of the most successful and critically acclaimed Scandinavian crime writers of our time. Roslund is part of the New York Times bestselling author duo Roslund & Hellström, who are recipients of many prestigious awards, including the CWA International Dagger, the Glass Key and the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers' Award, and who boast sales exceeding five million copies. Films and TV series based on Roslund & Hellström's novels are in the works, both in Hollywood and Europe.
Susan Moody was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. Susan Moody began writing crime novels with Penny Black, the first of the seven Penny Wanawake crime novels.  She has a second series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan. In all, she has published 29 novels, most of them crime and suspense. Susan spent two years as a Creative Writing Tutor in Her Majesty's Prison, Bedford. She is a past Chairman of the Crime Writers' Association, serving in all as a CWA Committee member for seven years. She is a long-standing member of the prestigious Detection Club and served for three years as the President of the International Association of Crime Writers.  In 2016 Susan Moody began a new series featuring Alex Quick. Click the title to read a review of Quick and the Dead