Wednesday, October 1, 2014

THE LAST REFUGE by Craig Robertson

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Bloody Scotland festival held in Stirling, an historic town near Glasgow, just after the Scottish independence referendum vote. Along with catching up with some great crime writers I'd met in person in New Zealand over the years or at Harrogate in 2012 (Denise Mina, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Stuart MacBride, Martyn Waites, Mark Billingham etc), or interviewed over the phone or by email, I was also introduced to a bevy of fantastic scribes of mystery and mayhem who were 'new to me'...

I will be highlighting many of them over the coming weeks, both with 9mm interviews and reviews of their books, but for today I thought I'd mention the book I'm reading right now (the third since the festival that I picked up there, after Arild Stavrum's EXPOSED AT THE BACK and Luca Veste's DEAD GONE): Craig Robertson's THE LAST REFUGE.

Here's the blurb:
You can run from your past but you can never hide from yourself…

When John Callum arrives on the wild and desolate Faroe Islands, he vows to sever all ties with his previous life. He desperately wants to make a new start, and is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But still, the terrifying, debilitating nightmares just won't stop.


Then the solitude is shattered by an almost unheard of crime on the islands: murder. A specialist team of detectives arrives from Denmark to help the local police, who seem completely ill-equipped for an investigation of this scale. But as tensions rise, and the community closes rank to protect its own, John has to watch his back.


But far more disquieting than that, John's nightmares have taken an even more disturbing turn, and he can't be certain about the one thing he needs to know above all else. Whether he is the killer…

I'm about 100 pages in, and it's very good so far. 
You can run from your past but you can never hide from yourself…
When John Callum arrives on the wild and desolate Faroe Islands, he vows to sever all ties with his previous life. He desperately wants to make a new start, and is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But still, the terrifying, debilitating nightmares just won't stop.
Then the solitude is shattered by an almost unheard of crime on the islands: murder. A specialist team of detectives arrives from Denmark to help the local police, who seem completely ill-equipped for an investigation of this scale. But as tensions rise, and the community closes rank to protect its own, John has to watch his back.
But far more disquieting than that, John's nightmares have taken an even more disturbing turn, and he can't be certain about the one thing he needs to know above all else. Whether he is the killer… - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.co.uk/Last-Refuge/Craig-Robertson/9781471127731#sthash.900xRsYn.dpuf
ou can run from your past but you can never hide from yourself…
When John Callum arrives on the wild and desolate Faroe Islands, he vows to sever all ties with his previous life. He desperately wants to make a new start, and is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But still, the terrifying, debilitating nightmares just won't stop.
Then the solitude is shattered by an almost unheard of crime on the islands: murder. A specialist team of detectives arrives from Denmark to help the local police, who seem completely ill-equipped for an investigation of this scale. But as tensions rise, and the community closes rank to protect its own, John has to watch his back.
But far more disquieting than that, John's nightmares have taken an even more disturbing turn, and he can't be certain about the one thing he needs to know above all else. Whether he is the killer… - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.co.uk/Last-Refuge/Craig-Robertson/9781471127731#sthash.900xRsYn.dpuf
ou can run from your past but you can never hide from yourself…
When John Callum arrives on the wild and desolate Faroe Islands, he vows to sever all ties with his previous life. He desperately wants to make a new start, and is surprised by how quickly he is welcomed into the close-knit community. But still, the terrifying, debilitating nightmares just won't stop.
Then the solitude is shattered by an almost unheard of crime on the islands: murder. A specialist team of detectives arrives from Denmark to help the local police, who seem completely ill-equipped for an investigation of this scale. But as tensions rise, and the community closes rank to protect its own, John has to watch his back.
But far more disquieting than that, John's nightmares have taken an even more disturbing turn, and he can't be certain about the one thing he needs to know above all else. Whether he is the killer… - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.co.uk/Last-Refuge/Craig-Robertson/9781471127731#sthash.900xRsYn.dpuf

Review: MISERY BAY by Steve Hamilton

MISERY BAY by Steve Hamilton (2012)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

Following the acclaim for, and award-winning success of, his standalone thriller starring a mute safe-cracker, The Lock Artist, US crime writer Steve Hamilton brings back to the page his troubled hero, ex-cop Alex McKnight, for the first time in several years.

McKnight, a former city cop from Detroit still haunted by his own bloodstained past, finds himself investigating the hanging suicide of a young University student in the frozen wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – prodded by the most unlikely person to ask for his help; his old nemesis, the local police chief. What seems like a simple quest to find some answers for a grieving father turns into something far darker and more complicated when the body count begins to rise. Just how are a series of suicides and murders linked? Are the suicides what they seem, or is something more sinister at work?

Hamilton shows a nice touch for evoking a sense of the freezing expanses of the Upper Peninsula. Misery Bay starts with a slow burn, but then builds into a gripping tale that intrigues as much with its characters, especially McKnight, as the events and twists that power the storyline and keep you turning the page.

Other reviews of MISERY BAY:

Have you read any of the Alex McKnight books? Which others would you recommend for me to read?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9mm: An interview with Garry Disher

One of the things that stuck out like a sore thumb, when looking back over the 9mm series thusfar a couple of months ago (when it was at 72 instalments) was that I'd been a little light on Australian crime writers - one out of 72 (okay, "a little light" is an understatement). As I was living in Australia for a bit this year, and became more exposed to Australian crime writing, both at the Sydney Writers Festival and beyond, I'm looking to rectify that moving forwards.

Thank you to those who've suggested authors they'd love to see included in the 9mm series as it moves forward. Along with Giles Blunt, who was featured in August, another highly requested crime writer was Australian Garry Disher, an award-winning and prolific author who has written almost 50 books across the crime, literary, history, children's and young adult genres. He has also written short stories and writing handbooks. For keen crime readers, Disher is best known for his Wyatt novels, as well as his Challis and Destry series. His crime novels are published in several countries and languages, have won awards in Australia and Europe, and been listed as a "Best Book of the Year" by Kirkus Reviews. After 13 novels across his two series since 1991, last year he published the standalone BITTER WASH ROAD to rave reviews.

But for now, Garry Disher becomes the 86th author to stare down the barrel of 9mm.

9MM: An interview with Garry Disher

1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
I’ve long enjoyed and admired John Sandford’s Prey novels featuring Lucas Davenport—but more for the sneaky plotting than the character of Davenport.

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
I don’t remember my childhood books, but by the age of 10 I’d outgrown them, and there were no Young Adult novels in those days, so I went straight to adult novels, and enjoyed (without always understanding them) the James Bond thrillers, the war novel The Cruel Sea and some British ‘kitchen-sink’ realist novels like Room at the Top.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles? 
Before embarking on the Wyatt crime novels I’d published history textbooks, two novels, two story collections and dozens of short stories in literary magazines.

4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
I like to watch crap American crime shows on TV (although these days much TV crime drama is first rate), read, watch films and walk on the beach.

5. What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
Apparently there exists an informal tourist trail that tracks down the Mornington Peninsula locations I employ in my Challis and Destry novels – such that I get comments like, ‘You know that nature reserve in Snapshot, well, I can’t find it’ and I have to reply that I’m writing fiction. So maybe people could look for what is real and what is imagined when they visit the place.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
I’d be the generally overlooked but watchful guy at the edges of the main action, so maybe a character actor rather than a star.

7. Of your writings, published and unpublished, which is your favourite, and why?
My novel, THE SUNKEN ROAD, which sank without trace in Australia but was nominated for the Booker Prize by my English publisher.  It’s a ‘literary’ rather than genre novel, and takes risks with format and structure.

8. What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a online or physical bookseller’s shelf?
I probably celebrated with wine and a pizza with my girlfriend – I honestly don’t remember.  I always knew I’d be published, so it wasn’t overwhelming.

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
I once attended a festival with the children’s/Young Adult novelist Gary Crew. Someone (an adult) presented me with one of his books to sign, and I didn’t let on but scribbled in it, "...from the other Garry".


Thank you Garry. We appreciate you taking the time to chat to Crime Watch.

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You can read more about Garry Disher and his books here:


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Have you read Disher's Wyatt novels, or his other crime novels? Are you a fan of Australian crime writing?

Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 Shamus Award finalists

The Private Eye Writers of America announced the finalists for its 2014 Shamus Awards. Winners will be named during a banquet at Bouchercon in Long Beach, California, on Friday, 14 November 2014.

Best Hardcover PI Novel:
• Little Elvises, by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime)
• The Mojito Coast, by Richard Helms (Five Star)
• W Is for Wasted, by Sue Grafton (Marian Wood/Putnam)
• The Good Cop, by Brad Parks (Minotaur)
• Nemesis, by Bill Pronzini (Forge)

Best First PI Novel:
• A Good Death, by Christopher R. Cox (Minotaur)
• Montana, by Gwen Florio (Permanent Press)
• Blood Orange, by Karen Keskinen (Minotaur)
• Bear Is Broken, by Lachlan Smith (Mysterious Press)
• Loyalty, by Ingrid Thoft (Putnam)

Best Original Paperback PI Novel:
• Seduction of the Innocent, by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime)
• Into the Dark, by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins)
• Purgatory Key, by Darrell James (Midnight Ink)
• Heart of Ice, by P.J. Parrish (Pocket)
• The Honky Tonk Big Hoss Boogie, by Robert J. Randisi (Perfect Crime)

Best PI Short Story:
• “So Long, Chief,” by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane (The Strand Magazine, February-May 2013)
• “The Ace I,” by Jack Fredrickson (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], June 2013)
• “What We Do,” by Mick Herron (EQMM, September-October 2013)
• “Extra Fries,” by Michael Z. Lewin (EQMM, May 2013)
• “The Lethal Leeteg,” by Hayford Peirce (EQMM, August 2013)

Best Indie PI Novel:
• Murder Take Three, by April Kelly and Marsha Lyons (Flight Risk)
• A Small Sacrifice, by Dana King (Amazon Digital)
• No Pat Hands, by J.J. Lamb (Two Black Sheep)
• State vs. Lassiter, by Paul Levine (CreateSpace)
• Don’t Dare a Dame, by M. Ruth Myers (Tuesday House)

Hat tip to J Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet

Saturday, September 27, 2014

And the winner is...

A couple of months ago, we kickstarted a giveaway competition in relation to the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. Anyone who 'liked' the Award's Facebook page went into the draw to win a personally autographed copy of whichever of the books ended up winning this year's award.

Liam McIlvanney's WHERE THE DEAD MEN GO was named as the winner of the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award at the Christchurch Writers Festival on 30 August, and subsequently a random draw was made from everyone who had liked the Facebook page.

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the signed copy of the award-winning crime novel was Liz Andrews of Auckland, New Zealand. Liz was kind enough to send through a photo of the signed book, which she received from Liam McIlvanney earlier this month.

It's a terrific thriller Liz, and we all hope you enjoy the great read.

Keep an eye out for more giveaways in future, of great Kiwi crime novels and more. And if you haven't already 'liked' the Ngaio Marsh Award Facebook page, it'd be terrific if you did. Click here.