NEW BOOKS FORSPRING 1997
Joyce Holms --- Payment Deferred ---
Headline --- March 97 --- £5.99 See Review
A Fizz & Buchanan Mystery. When solicitor Tam Buchanan first encounters Fizz, his heart sinks. The young woman with the guileless expression sitting outside his Legal Advice office in Edinburgh looks far too young to stand the pace as his assistant. But Fizzs innocent appearance belies the reality. Soon to be a mature student of Law, shes very bright, utterly single-minded - and has a rare talent for making people talk. People like Murray Kingston, who Tam to his horror finds ensconced in Fizzs office late one morning. Widely regarded as the lowest of the low, Murray Kingston has served three years for molesting has daughter Debbie after his wifes death. Now he says he was framed, and he wants Debbie back. His only hope is that Tam can find a way to make the Procurator Fiscal re-open the case. Is that so much to ask of an old friend?
Cleverly plotted... The characters are well-drawn and the story moves along at an enjoyably brisk pace Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph
Engaging and entertaining, it builds to a spectacular climax.... Deft, daft and definitely delicious Val McDermid
Mrs X --- Calling Time
On The Krays (Edited and with an Afterword by James Morton) ---
Warner pbk --- March 97 --- £6.99
On 9 March 1966, Ronnie Kray and Ian Barrie walked into the Blind Beggar public house in East London and murdered George Cornell. Of the people in the pub on the night of the killing, one witness's evidence was crucial - the barmaid's.
Calling Time On The Krays is the extraordinary true story of the woman who braved the might of Londons most notorious criminal organisation when she agreed to give the evidence that secured the conviction of Ronnie Kray. After thirty years as a gangland! target, Mrs X now vividly relives the hopes and fears of her life in hiding, when she was forced to protect her true identity and move from safe house to safe house in a desperate attempt to preserve herself and her three children from being silenced for good.
A compelling insight into a life shaped by one terrifying experience, Calling Time On The Krays not only documents a dramatic criminal legacy, but also poses the question: why are Ronnie and Reggie regarded as heroes in our society?
'Captures the fear aroused in those who crossed them' Scotland on Sunday
Caroline Graham --- Faithful Unto
Death --- Headline --- March 97 --- £5.99 See Review
When Simone Hollingsworth fails to turn up at bell-ringing practice, her fellow campanologists are unsurprised. Pleasant but dull is the verdict of the Fawcett Green villagers on Simone who has made countless forays into village activities but stuck at none. Bell-ringing, it seems, is the latest hobby to have fallen by the wayside.
Only her neighbours, the ever-vigilant Brockleys, suspect the worst, for Simone's husband Alan has been behaving very oddly. But even the Brockleys have little inkling of the real reason behind Simone's disappearance. And they certainly have no sense of how her fate is linked to that of their adored only daughter, Brenda. When the discovery of a body draws Chief Inspector Barnaby to the village, it soon becomes apparent that unravelling the painful, tragic connections will stretch the perspicacious inspector's powers of persuasion to the full.
`The best-written crime novel I've read in ages' Susan Hill, Good Housekeeping
`An exemplary crime novel' Literary Review
`The narrative drive never falters. It is altogether a most impressive performance' Birmingham Post
`An uncommonly appealing mystery .. a real winner' Publishers Weekly
`One of those rare books you truly don't want to end...satisfies on every level' San Francisco Chronicle
Caroline Graham --- The
Killings At Badger's Drift --- Headline --- March 97 --- £5.99
Badger's Drift - a tranquil English village, home to Miss Emily Simpson, a well-liked spinster. But a gentle stroll in the nearby woods brings an abrupt end to her peaceful existence. To the village doctor, Miss Simpson's death looks natural enough but her old friend Lucy Bellringer is unconvinced and eventually drags the unwilling Chief Inspector Barnaby into the case. His investigations reveal an unexpected side to Badger's Drift - old rivalries, old loves and new scandals. And then a second, horrifying killing shocks Barnaby into running the murderer to ground...
'Characterisation first-rate, plotting likewise... Written with enormous relish. A very superior whodunnit' Literary Review
'Uncommonly appealing... witty and tragic... a real winner' Publishers Weekly
'Guaranteed to keep you guessing until the very end' Woman
'Probably the most underrated British crime writer. Her talent is rare, combining wit, pathos and an entertaining narrative' Yorkshire Post
A Bentley Production for I.T.V. Starriing John Nettles as Inspector Barnaby. Cover photograph by Chris Ridley copyright Bentely Productions.
McCoy --- Kiss
Tomorrow Goodbye --- Serpent 's Tail Midnight Classics --- April 97 --- £6.99
`One of the nastiest novels ever published.' Time
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is a kind of success story. A Phi Beta Kappa scholar succeeds in turning himself into a vicious and completely immoral criminal - a man whose contempt for law, order and human life drives him relentlessly into a career of unrelieved evil. he escapes from a chain-gang to join a pack of gangsters and a millionaire's daughter falls in love with him. But eventually - inevitably - his past catches up with him. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is McCoy's most ambitious work, and formed the basis for one of the great gangster movies which starred James Cagney.
Horace McCoy was the author of several American noir classics. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and I Should Have Stayed Home are also available from Serpent's Tail.
McDermid --- Blue Genes --- HarperCollins pbk--- 3rd March 97 --- £5.99
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.
'Kate Brannigan has turned into the most interesting sleuthess around... This is crime writing of the very highest order' Marcel Berlins, The Times
"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.
Anne Worboys --- You Can't
Sing Without Me --- Piatkus pbk --- March 97 --- £5.99
When Charlotte's twin sister Claire is tragically drowned, no one, not even her loving family, can understand the extent of her loneliness. Fear that being half a twin will overwhelm her - but Charlotte knows they would never believe the truth.
Now Charlotte is grown-up, beautiful and in love with her sister's childhood sweetheart. Finally, she has something she cannot, will not, share with Claire - her loving, malicious, dead twin...
Anne Worboys was born in New Zealand and is a well established British author who has written over thirty novels, many of which have been serialised. She has also written short stories for womens magazines and reviewed for The Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Her many interests include theatre and travel and spending hours in her garden.
Robert Polito --- Savage Art A biography of Jim Thompson --- Serpent 's
Tail --- March 97 --- £15.00
'Robert Polito brilliantly riffs off Jim Thompson's life and gives us the world he lived in. This is a terrific - and terrifically entertaining book.' James Ellroy
Shortly before his death on April 7th 1977, Jim Thompson instructed his wife Alberta to safeguard his novels, manuscripts, papers and copyrights. 'Just you wait,' he promised her, 'I'll become famous after I'm dead about ten years.'
In this highly-acclaimed biography, combining exhaustive research with novelistic style, Robert Polito explores the elements of Thompson's history and life that combined to make him an art savage, and his such a savage art.
Savage Art was awarded the US National Book Critics Circle Award.
Praise for Savage Art
'Detailed, readable, and fascinating, this book is about more than the writer of brilliant crime novels. Yet even as it "places" Jim Thompson in American history, he also escapes into it- and his escape is a major part of Robert Polito's cunning account.' Thom Gunn
'The art of Jim Thompson was always a tightrope act, those first- person sadist heroes settling a lot of the writer's psychic debts. Drunk, he would babble on in an agony of guilt about his sheriff father's demise in an old people's home, inventing a death by swallowing mattress stuffing. Not a head you'd want, though you might envy the prose. A great biography.' Brian Case, Time Out
'A brilliantly conceived biography of a writer whose dark vision of humanity left an indelible mark on the crime fiction of this century... Savage Art offers a road map of human struggle with all its failures and small, hard-won victories.' Washington Post
Hightower--- Eyeshot --- NEL Pbk £5.99 See Reviews 1 & 2
Cincinnati homicide detective Sonora Blair, who first appeared in the bestseller Flashpoint, returns to investigate the brutal murder of a woman who eight years before witnessed the local DA's drowning of his pregnant wife.
Young mother of two Julia Winchell witnessed a murder before she died. Eight years before she died. A murder that is unsolved but not forgotten. A murder where the body disappeared, and no one believed her story.
When Julia returns to Cincinnati she recognises the killer on the front page of the local paper. He's a prominent and popular District Attorney.
Then Julia disappears. Shortly afterwards her severed leg is found along the interstate highway in Kentucky. A mother of two herself, Detective Sonora Blair is determined to find out what happened to Julia Winchell - and to bring her killer to justice.
'The unconfident but courageous Sonora is a lively and sympathetic addition to the ranks of fictional female coppery' Marcel Berlins, The Times
Nicholas Blincoe--- Jello Salad --- Serpent 's Tail Mask Noir --- March 97
--- £8.99 See Review + Review 2
'The new face of British crime and not for the faint-hearted.' Time Out
There's a new restaurant opening in Soho tonight. It's owned by Susan Ball. She's funding the joint with the money she ripped off from her husband, Frank 'Ballistic' Ball - the gangster. The food's cooked by Hogie. He's from Manchester and his long blond locks have made him a natural TV chef. Trouble is he's also a screaming pervert. The Maitre D - Chef - is just back from Goa. He might not say his brains were completely drug fried, but everyone else would. Oh, and if I were you, I wouldn't trust him with your credit card.
Whats on the menu? Jello Salad of course. And whats that? A delicious combination of Tarantinoesque violence, whipped together with camp a la Almodovar, by the coolest new name in British crime fiction.
Praise for Acid Casuals
`Best debut crime novel of the year... Bleakly comic and highly inventive. Will do nothing for Manchester's new image.' Daily Telegraph
'Written with a confidence and power rare in a first novel... the dialogue is sharp and mega-hip; and Blincoe manages to make his main cast not only believable but ultimately sad and sympathetic.' The Times
'Sharp, perversely funny debut... A top buzz, as they used to say' i-D
Lauren Henderson --- Too
Many Blondes --- Sceptre pbk £6.99 6th March See Reviews 1 & 2
Sexy, sarcastic and stroppy as ever, Sam Jones is earning some much-needed cash as a part-time instructor at a rather dilapidated gym near Camden Market.
Trouble is brewing. Muscle bound weights instructor Derek Brewster is six foot tall, gorgeous and Black. He is also unashamedly promiscuous. When his girlfriend is found dead in the women's toilets Derek finds himself the number one suspect. Concerned that he may be arrested for a murder she doesn't think he committed, and with a healthy distrust for police methods, Sam embarks on her own investigation. Her questions begin to reveal seething hatred and strange loylties, motives for murder abound. Too Many Blondes is the second book to feature Sam Jones who made her debut in Dead White Female
'A mystery writer is born' Time Out
'It's difficult to remain immune to Sam Jones' anarchic charm. She's a divine dropout who never dropped in, an alley cat with razor wit, the appetites of a scavenger and an extraordinary tolerance for booze' Mail On Sunday
Paula Gosling --- The Dead of Winter --- Warner Pbk --- February
6th 97 --- £5.99
When a fish-nibbled corpse floats up into a fishermans ice hole in the frozen wastes of Blackwater Bay one morning, the shock is enough to shake Jess Gibbons out of an idle reverie on the gloomy state of her life. And a soon as Sheriff Matt Gabriels team confirm the floater to be a mob-connected New York-excon who could have been in the area to carry out a hit, Blackwaters quiet streets threaten to be submerged by a ravenous media circus.
Then a second puzzle emerges: a girl from the local high school, and one of Jesss pupils, inexplicably goes missing. And the community prepares for its annual Ice Festival, speculation abounds as Matt and Jess seek to solve the burning questions of the hour. Are the two cases connected? Was the girls recent caution for drug use a factor? And will Jess sort her life out in time for the wife-sliding competition?
Praise for Paula Gosling:
Ingenious plotting... procedural detail to rival Ed McBain and a slam-bang solution Literary Review
As if Garrison Keillor was meeting Miss Marple for the first time Evening Standard
Martin Edwards --- The
Eve of Destruction --- Piatkus Pbk --- February 97 --- £5.99 See Review
A trespasser makes a shocking discovery in a converted church. Murder has been done - but by whom and why? And there is another question to be answered: who has been killed?
When Liverpool solicitor and amateur detective Harry Devlin takes on a client with matrimonial troubles, he becomes entangled in an intrigue which will have deadly consequences. And soon he finds himself trapped in a maze where nothing is quite what it seems. Even when he discovers a conspiracy to commit murder, he cannot be sure who is the culprit and who the true victim...
"Eve of Destruction is Martin Edwards at his considerable best... the serpent of old Mersey has us in his toils from the word go" Robert Barnard
"The story is told with wit. This is good entertainment with no unnecessary frills" Sunday Telegraph
"A mixture of uninhibited lust and terrifying domestic violence... A fine example of the no-holds-barred school" Michael Gilbert
Of All The Lonely People
"Pungent Mersey whiff - - - A nice starter" The Times
"Promise-filled debut . . . Encore." The Guardian
"More than adequate plotting and tremendous atmospherics . . . all in all, a grand debut" Frances Fyfield, New Law Journal
Wilkie Collins --- The Moonstone --- Penguin --- Jan 97 --- £3.99
The moonstone is a yellow diamond of unearthly beauty, originally stolen from a shrine in India and eventually given to Rachel Verrinder as an eighteenth birthday present. However, the fabled diamond is said to carry a curse and when it is stolen again, a web of intrigue and deception is woven. To tie-in with the first film adaptation directed by Bob Bierman and starring Patricia Hodge and Peter Vaughan.
Barbara Vine --- The Brimstone
Wedding --- Penguin --- Jan 30th 97 --- £5.99 See Review
"The clothes of the dead won't wear long. They fret for the person who owned them"
Unlike the other residents of Middleton Hall, Stella is smart and elegant and in control. She keeps her secrets to herself, revealing nothing of her past. Only Jenny, her young care assistant, seems aware that her heart harbours a dark, painful mystery. And only she can prevent Stella from carrying it to the grave.
As the women talk, Jenny slowly pieces together the answers to many questions that arise. Why does Stella seem so afraid of driving? Why has she kept possession of a house that not even her children know about? What happened there that holds the key to a distant tragedy?
As Jenny uses the house to meet her lover, she discovers untouched items - a painting, a burnt dress, a decaying car. But only when Stella leaves Jenny her tape recorder, into which she has recounted the true events of the past, can the truth be finally - and shockingly - revealed.
In this gripping mystery, in which past and present are skilfully interwoven, Barbara Vine demonstrates once again her masterly control of both character and narrative.
Barbara Vine is Ruth Rendell. Viking have published her seven previous novels: A Dark Adapted Eye, A Fatal Inversion, which won the Crime Writer's Association Gold Dagger Award, The House of Stairs, Gallowglass, King Solomon's Carpet, Asta's Book and No Night is Too Long.
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