Part OnePart Two

Val McDermid --- Blue Genes --- HarperCollins (0 00 232584 5) --- £14.99 Out on 25th May See Review Book of the month
Kate Brannigan isn't just having a bad day. She's having a bad week. The worst week of her life, if you really want to know. Her boyfriend's death notice is in the newspaper, her plans to capture a team of heartless fraudsters are in disarray and a Celtic neo-punk band under siege want her to rescue them from the saboteurs who are trashing their posters and their gigs. As if that isn't enough, Kate's business partner wants her to buy him out so he can emigrate to Australia. Fine, except that private eyes with principles never have that kind of cash.
Kate can't even cry on her best friend's shoulder, for Alexis has worries of her own. Her girlfriend Chris is pregnant, and when the doctor responsible for the pioneering and illegal fertility treatment is murdered, Alexis needs Kate like she's never needed her before.
So what's a girl to do?
Delving into the alien world of medical experimentation and the underbelly of the rock music business, Kate confronts betrayal and cold-blooded greed as she fights to save not only her livelihood but her life as well...
Val McDermid is now established as one of Britain's most accomplished crime writers. Blue Genes, the fifth novel in her compulsive series featuring Kate Brannigan, will not only be welcomed by her legions of fans but should win her many more.
Tough, funny, intensely topical. McDermid stands out as one of the few contemporary writers actually nourished by the here and now. Philip Oakes, Literary Review
Val McDermid's Kate Brannigan should remain firmly at the top of the private investigator's league
Sunday Telegraph
Solid pleasure... so smooth you can almost kid yourself you haven't been sitting on the edge of your seat throughout. Mail on Sunday
Val McDermid grew up in a Scottish mining community then read English at Oxford. She was a journalist for sixteen years and is now a full-time writer living outside Manchester. Val won this year's Golden Dagger Award given by the British Crime Writers' Association for Best Crime Novel of the year for her book Mermaid's Singing. She has also written 4 crime novels featuring Lindsay Gordon and contributes weekly Crime Fiction Reviews to the Manchester Evening News and kindly supplies us with a copy.
Manuel Vazquez Montalban --- Murder in the Central Committee --- Serpent's Tail Mask Noir Pbk (1 85242 131 2) £7.99 Reissue
Translated by Patrick Camiller
See Review
The lights go out during a meeting of the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party. And Fernando Garrido, the general secretary, is murdered.
Pepe Carvalho, who has worked for both the party and the CIA, seems the ideal man to track down Garrido's murderer. Unfortunately, the job requires a trip to Madrid - an inhospitable city whose gastronomic and sexual agendas are inevitably thoroughly inferior too those of Barcelona.
Manuel Vazquez Montalban lives in Barcelona where he was born in 1939. He is a journalist, novelist and the creator of Pepe Carvalho, a fast living gourmet of a private detective. Montalban has won both the Spanish Planeta Prize and the French Grand Prix of Detective Fiction for his crime Fiction which has been translated into all major languages.
At last a thriller worthy of the name Julie Burchill.
Watch out for one of the most startling love scenes you'll ever come across The Scotsman
Manuel Vazquez Montalban --- Off Side --- Serpent's Tail Pbk (1 85242 208 4) £8.99 Translated by Ed Emery
Reviews (1) & (2)
Because you use your centre forward to make yourselves feel like gods who can manage victories and defeats, from the comfortable throne of minor Caesars: the centre forward will be killed at dusk. To Revive it's flagging fortunes, Barcelona FC has bought the services of Jack Mortimer, European Footballer of the year. But as soon as Mortimer takes possession of his company Porsche, the death threats start. Are they the work of a lone hoaxer, or are they connected with awesome real-estate speculation which is tearing Barcelona apart?
While Catalan pimps and racketeers are being hustled off the streets by Middle Eastern crime syndicates, Pepe Carvalho is thinking of retirement. But the need to save the soul of his beloved Barcelona forces him to accept a case that can only end in disaster....
Montalban writes with authority and compassion - a Le Carré-like sorrow. Publishers Weekly
Terry Pratchett --- Feet Of Clay --- Gollancz (0 575 05900 1) £15.99
A Discworld Howdunnit
Who's murdering harmless old men? Who's poisoning the Patrician? As autumn fogs hold Ankh-Morpork in their grip, the City Watch have to track down a murderer who can't be seen.
Maybe the golems know something - but the solemn men of clay, who work all day and night and are never any trouble to anyone, have started to commit suicide...
It's not as if the Watch hasn't got problems of its own. There's a werewolf suffering from Pre-Lunar Tension. Corporal Nobbs is hob-nobbing with the nobs, and there's something really strange about the new dwarf recruit, especially his earrings and eyeshadow.
Who can you trust when there are mobs on the streets and plotters in the dark and all the clues point the wrong way? In the gloom of the night, Watch Commander Sir Samuel Vimes finds that the truth might not be out there at all.
It may be in amongst the words in the head...
A chilling tale of poisoning and pottery.
Terry Pratchett is forty-seven and lives in the West Country, where he tries to write books in between answering mail. He lives in constant dread that someone
will discover how enjoyable he finds writing, and stop him doing it. The carnivorous plants in the greenhouse are doing well.
Praise for Terry Pratchett
Pratchett is as funny as Wodehouse and as witty as Waugh Independent
He is screamingly funny. He is wise. He has style! Daily Telegraph
...there is no fate that cannot be overcome by Pratchett converting it into a character and inviting it out for a swift half Guardian
A brilliant story-teller with a sense of humour that is as celebratory as it is caustic. He is a moralist, a philosopher, and a humanist whose infectious fun completely engulfs you...The Dickens of the twentieth century - Mail on Sunday
Betty Rowlands --- Smiling At Death --- Hodder & Stoughton £16.99 Out on 2nd May. See Review
Cosy Cotswold crime - Melissa Craig ( an engaging human heroine Financial Times) is on the case of a multiple murder with a sinister pattern.
Following the third murder within six months, the Cotswold village of Thanebury is living in fear. Despite her reputation for solving local mysteries, Melissa Craig shies away - until a forth victim turns up in her own village. And she is inevitably drawn into a sinister and complex case...
Betty Rowlands --- Deadly Legacy --- NEL Paperback £5.99 Out on 16th May. See Review
The women of the quiet Cotswold town of Stowbridge are living in fear of a sex strangler. At the same time, surrounding villages are suffering a spate of burglaries, one of which leads to the death of Gloucestershire's most prolific novelists, Leonora Jewell. Mellisa Craig, a successful writer herself, is persuaded to complete Jewell's unfinished novel and soon has reason to believe that the author's death was not accidental.
As the intrepid writer pieces together the clues, so the mystery of Stowbridge's crime wave deepens before taking a bizarre turn and coming to a most unexpected conclusion. Deadly Legacy sees Betty Rowlands' vigorous and enchanting heroine on another exciting, puzzling and dangerous case.
Betty Rowlands won the Sunday Express/Venve Cliquot Crime Short Story of the Year competition in 1988. Her success continued with the publication of five crime novels featuring the unforgettable Melissa Craig: A Little Gentle Sleuthing, Finishing Touch, Over The Edge, Exhaustive Enquiries and Malice Poetic. She lives in Gloucestershire and is an active member of the Crime Writer's Association.
Sandra Scoppettone --- My Sweet Untraceable You --- Virago (1 85381 889 5) £5.99
Lauren Laurano is one of the best detective characters in one of the best detective novels I've ever read
Val McDermid
When Boston Blackie hires Lauren to dig out the truth behind his mother's death forty years ago, a cold trail leads to dark family secrets. Puzzles of identity and paternity plague her - and then a new string of murders kick-start her into pulse-quickening action.
Sandra Scoppettone's novels Everything You Have Is Mine and I'll Be Leaving You Always are published by Virago. She lives in New York City. Why not visit Sandra
Scoppettone's Web Site at Book Binder.
William Seil --- Sherlock Holmes and the Titanic Tragedy --- Breese Books
This fast-paced adventure places Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in the thick of international intrigue on the eve of World War One.
The author, a lifelong devotee of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective spent may hours researching the Titanic to create a story that is rich with detail and respects the memories of those who went down with the liner more than 80 years ago.
In 1912, Holmes and Watson board the Titanic enroute to America, where Holmes is to carry out a top secret government mission. Disguised as a naval Commodore, Holmes is given the added task of looking after a Miss Norton - a young and attractive secret agent - as she transports highly important submarine plans to the US navy. Soon after departure, tragedy strikes and the plans are stolen and concealed somewhere on board the huge luxury liner. The list of suspects is narrowed down to a most curious collection of passengers, including a beautiful widow. Most notable of all is Colonel James Moriarty, brother of the legendary late Professor Moriarty.
As the investigation continues and the plot thickens, the Titanic Moves swiftly across the Atlantic towards New York. But out in the distance there is a place where the sky is dark and the water is bitterly cold. A gigantic iceberg waits, ready to take on and master mankind's latest challenge to the power of nature.
Gillian Slovo --- Close Call --- Virago (1 85381 816 X) £5.99
Gritty and headstrong with a nice line in self-deprecating wit and exposed emotions, Baeier is one of the most appealing feminist heroines around.
The Times
The fifth Kate Baeier novel keeps you guessing - and praying - all the way as our heroine tangles with police, drug dealers, supposed rape victimes - and her very powerful father.
Born in South Africa, Gillian Slovo is the author of seven novels.
Mark Timlin --- Paint it Black --- Vist pbk (0 575 60014 4) stlg4.99 Out 30th May. See Review
Nick Sharman is back. The booze, drugs and guns are all behind him now, and he is living a life of respectable, sort of, married bliss with Dawn, the ex-stripper.
Then he gets a call from his ex-wife Laura. Their fourteen year old daughter, Judith, the real love of Sharman's life, has gone missing. The police have no idea where to look . It's another case for Sharman's special talents. Laura's call catapults him into a world he should have left behind, and when he decides to right some wrongs in his own way, the domestic idyll becomes a thing of the past. Sharman, once again, finds he is playing for keeps.
Powerful and shocking, Paint it Black kept me gripped Val McDermid, Manchester evening News.
Timlin's books are more rock'n'roll than whodunnit......Reinvents the American hardboiled tradition in contemporary setting. Ikon
James Willis --- Blood in the Bank --- Arkst Publishing (0 9525243) £4.99
Blood in the Bank
is the sequel to Death at Noon, James Willis' first novel. Dr Will Jackson follows his ill-directed career sense into a reluctant return to the Middle East after being recruited by the nubile and persuasive Lavinia Vincent.
He is reunited with former colleague and old friend Dr Liam Flood but finds him a changed person. Will discovers that he is out of his depth; his new job is a suspiciously overpaid sinecure with distrubing undertones and there are too many unanswered questions which obscure the intent of his employers - an ambiguous Multinational. Aided by the Fat Man and his new friend Mounira he is guided through adventures, some of them dark and frightening, which lead him to learn more about himself, albeit painfully. The story is, however, not entirely dire - there are welcome moments of irony, with and acid comment. Over all the story is guaranteed to keep the reader guessing as to the outcome.
I insist that you read this book Jools Holland
James Willis
was born in Dublin and grew up in England. After seven years as a Consultant Psychiatrist at Guy's Hospital he became Head of the Division of Psychiatry at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. Now retired, he has written five non-fictional books including Lecture Notes in Psychiatry


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