Thursday, May 28, 2015

Welcome Back Pussy!: the return of James Bond in TRIGGER MORTIS (Breaking News)

Anthony Horowitz reveals today (28 May), on what would have been James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s 107th birthday, that his forthcoming official 007 adventure is to be titled Trigger Mortis. In a move that will whet the appetite of fans worldwide and is unprecedented among recent Bond novels – the contents have always been shrouded in mystery until publication – Horowitz divulges that the secret agent’s new adventure begins in 1957, two weeks after the events of Fleming’s Goldfinger.

Horowitz places Bond in the middle of the Soviet-American Space Race as the United States prepares for a critical rocket launch, and brings back the most famous Bond Girl of all: Pussy Galore!

Horowitz is the latest contemporary novelist to tackle literature’s greatest action hero, and the first to place his work directly within Fleming’s original canon. As well as Pussy Galore, the book features: brand new Bond Girl Jeopardy Lane; Jai Seung Sin, a sadistic, scheming Korean adversary hell-bent on vengeance; and breathless, globe-trotting adventure. Uniquely among latter-day Bond authors, Horowitz has included original Ian Fleming material: a treatment for Murder on Wheels, an episode of a television series that was never made. Fleming’s text sees Bond in the high-octane world of motor racing and it is his never-used plot that kicks off the action of Trigger Mortis.

Anthony Horowitz said: “It was always my intention to go back to the true Bond, which is to say, the Bond that Fleming created and it was a fantastic bonus having some original, unseen material from the master to launch my story. I was so glad that I was allowed to set the book two weeks after my favourite Bond novel, Goldfinger, and I'm delighted that Pussy Galore is back! It was great fun revisiting the most famous Bond Girl of all - although she is by no means the only dangerous lady in Trigger Mortis. I hope fans enjoy it. My aim was to make this the most authentic James Bond novel anyone could have written.”

Like previous new James Bond adventures, Trigger Mortis was commissioned and authorised by Ian Fleming Publications and the Ian Fleming Estate.

Lucy Fleming, the niece of Ian Fleming, said: “What a brilliant birthday present for Ian - Anthony has written a James Bond book with a nail-biting adventure that could have come from Ian’s own typewriter. Anthony has cleverly incorporated Ian’s original ideas in to his own plot to produce a Bond book to remember.”

Jon Wood, Orion Publisher, said: “Anthony has delivered a stunning novel: non-stop action, a deadly, deranged opponent, and not one but two fantastic Bond women. His genius is to brilliantly capture the essence of a Fleming original and give it a 21st century edge. James Bond fans, and Anthony Horowitz fans, will absolutely love Trigger Mortis.”

One of the country’s most successful writers, the prolific Anthony Horowitz has over 40 books to his name. He has written two official Sherlock Holmes novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty, to both critical acclaim and commercial success, and his bestselling teen spy series, Alex Rider, has sold over 19 million copies. As a TV screenwriter he created both Midsomer Murders and the BAFTA-winning Foyles War. His play, "Dinner with Saddam", opens at the Menier Chocolate Factory in September.

James Bond Books 

  • Over 100 million James Bond books have been sold worldwide.
  • Ian Fleming wrote 14 James Bond books: Casino Royale (1953); Live and Let Die (1954); Moonraker (1955); Diamonds Are Forever (1956); From Russia with Love (1957); Dr. No (1958); Goldfinger (1959); For Your Eyes Only (1960); Thunderball (1961); The Spy Who Loved Me (1962); On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963); You Only Live Twice (1964); The Man With The Golden Gun (1965); and Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966).
  • Fleming’s other works include the children’s favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1964), which was made into a film and stage musical; The Diamond Smugglers (1957); and a collection of travel writings called Thrilling Cities (1963).
  • Vintage Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House, currently holds the license to publish Ian Fleming’s entire James Bond backlist in print and ebook format, along with Fleming’s two non-fiction titles in the English language worldwide excluding USA/Canada.
  • Other previous authors of official James Bond novels include: Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffery Deaver and William Boyd.
  •  Steve Cole is the author of the new series of ‘Young Bond’ books, the first of which, Shoot to Kill, was published by Doubleday in 2014.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Emperor Hirohito, Alan Turing, and horror films: a 9mm interview with Sarah Hilary

Last year Sarah Hilary burst onto the scene with SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN, which introduced police detective Marnie Rome. Hilary's debut was heaped with critical praise (The Guardian called it "superbly disturbing" and "seriously scary") and was highlighted by the Richard and July Book Club. Just this month it was longlisted for the prestigious Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Hilary's second crime novel, NO OTHER DARKNESS, was released earlier this year and continues Rome's adventures. Not a bad start to a crime writing career for the former bookseller from Bath, who had previously penned award-winning short stories and "quirky copy for a well-loved travel publisher".

I met Hilary recently at Crimefest in Bristol (such a terrific event - I highly recommend you go if you get the chance in future years), and I'm delighted to share our subsequent interview here with you all today.

So without further ado, here's a true rising star of British crime fiction, staring down the barrel of 9mm.


1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg (in the Fred Vargas books) because he breaks all the rules about what a great detective should be and do. A close second would be Milo Sturgis (Jonathan Kellerman).

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
THESE OLD SHADES by Georgette Heyer, an historical novel about cross-dressing with the most amazing characters and dialogue. I still love it. The first crime novel I loved was A Study in Scarlet; I was writing Sherlock Holmes fan fiction when I was ten, much to the delight of my English teacher.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
Several attempted crime novels, and some successful short stories, one of which won the Cheshire Prize for Literature. A shedload of flash fiction, including a 250 word story about Lizzie Borden that won the Fish Criminally Short Histories Prize. A non-fiction piece about the wartime experiences of my grandparents and mother, which was reworked for The Guardian last year, "My Mother was Emperor Hirohito’s Poster Child".

4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
Read, gorge on boxed-set DVDs, and go to the cinema (I’ve been watching horror films with my brother since I was 15 and we’re still at it; if that’s not optimism, I’d like to know what is).

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?
My original hometown is Wilmslow in Cheshire (in the north of England). It’s the place where Alan Turing (Enigma code-cracker) was born and died. So I’d suggest hunting for clues in that quarter.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
I’d love to see Maxine Peake tackle that, although they’d have to spice up the middle years to get the most of her enormous talent.

7. Of your books, which is your favourite, and why?
Always the one I’m going to write next. I’ve just finished the first draft of TASTES LIKE FEAR (Marnie Rome book 3) and I’m about to start the rewriters, so that’s currently my favourite. But of course I’m very fond of SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN which was my first published book and is doing very well for itself.

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 bookseller’s shelf?
I was at work when my agent called to say she’d had a first offer on SOMEONE ELSE'S SKIN, and that she expected more (it eventually went to an auction). I had to go into a meeting with crazy butterflies fizzing inside me; I don’t think I heard a word of what was being said. When I got home, I called my best friend and we screamed like schoolgirls down the phone to one another.

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
There was an event I did with another crime writer in Plymouth last year when only six people turned up. As the event was introduced, two of them realised they’d come into the wrong room, so they stood up and walked out. A further three looked awfully familiar and we realised that they were part of the organising crew, who’d come into the (enormous, embarrassingly empty) lecture theatre to swell the numbers. Still, we had a great chat and it was good fun. It takes more than an empty room to put crime writers off our stride.

Thank you Sarah. We appreciate you chatting with Crime Watch. 


You can read more about Sarah Hilary and her novels here: 


Have you read any of Hilary's Marnie Rome novels? Comments welcome. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: DEAD LIKE YOU by Peter James

DEAD LIKE YOU by Peter James (MacMillan, 2010)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

The sixth instalment in the popular Roy Grace series (now up to 11 novels with the release of YOU ARE DEAD this month) sees the dogged Detective Superintendent trying to catch a brutal serial rapist whose crimes bring the past crashing terrifyingly back into the present for several people. 

A New Year's Eve partygoer is savagely attacked as she returns to her room in a fancy hotel in Brighton. A week later another woman is assaulted. Both victims’ shoes are taken by the offender.

Grace soon realises the attacks echo the unsolved series of ‘Shoe Man’ crimes that struck Brighton back in 1997, where five women were raped and their designer shoes stolen, and a sixth disappeared, never to be seen again. As the pattern begins to repeat, Grace and his team find themselves in a desperate hunt to find a dangerous man. But perhaps the answer lies in the past, from a time before Grace’s own wife Sandy disappeared without a trace?

Peter James is a master of realistic police procedure (even delving into issues of administration, teamwork and delegation) as well as evoking a good sense of his books' Brighton setting, bringing authenticity and depth to both while spinning an intriguing tale that will keep readers guessing. In something of a departure from standard crime fiction fare, DEAD LIKE YOU focuses not so much on murder but on rape, a horrific crime that has a massive, ongoing impact on the victim and has been called 'soul murder' by some.

DEAD LIKE YOU switches between time periods, with a young Grace and the contemporary one both investigating a sexual predator living out his obsessions. Intriguingly for readers who've followed the whole series, the flashbacks include Grace's life with Sandy, whose disappearance has been a central mystery. While present-day Grace is looking forward to a life with Cleo, a mortician, Sandy's spectre still hangs over his happiness. Getting to witness their life together puts an interesting spin on things.

The novel also switches between the police, several suspect rapists, and victims, giving readers a broad, if unsettling, insight into these crimes. A very enjoyable read in an excellent series. 


Read more: "A Tale of Two Peters" - my feature in the Canvas magazine of the Weekend Herald on Peter James and Peter Robinson

This is an expanded version of a review originally written in 2010 for Good Reading magazine

Monday, May 25, 2015

Great reviews for Kiwi author's mash-up of Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes

New Zealand author and English teacher Debbie Cowens, who previously published a literary mash-up of legendary short story writer Katherine Mansfield with the horror genre, has now turned her hand to combining a classic romance with crime fiction. In MURDER & MATCHMAKING, Cowens blends aspects of Jane Austen's PRIDE & PREJUDICE with Sherlock Holmesian Victorian-era detective fiction.

Early reviews have been very positive, with yesterday's Herald on Sunday saying:
"Cowens does a fantastic job of melding the writing styles of Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, crafting a story that is equal parts intriguing and hilarious. Is it mash-up, parody, horror, satire, homage or just good writing? I say, all of them."
The Booksellers NZ blog calls the book "delightful" and that "the prose is just so utterly engaging that you cannot help but be compelled along with it". Le Petite Mania says the book is "funny, macabre, dry and clever", and this week's New Zealand Listener has headlined its coverage with "Murder Most Fun", before saying that Cowens' writing "hits the tone spot on, and her clever twists on the source material should elicit knowing chuckles".

Cowens signing at her book launch last month
I'm stoked that readers and reviewers are enjoying Cowens' book. I first came across MURDER & MATCHMAKING several months ago, when there was a PledgeMe campaign running to see the book more widely available in New Zealand bookstores. It was to be published by Paper Road Press in ebook and print-on-demand, but those involved decided to fundraise to get print copies more widely available. That seems to have paid off, with a successful book launch late last month, reports of the book selling out in the likes of Unity Books, and getting good reviews from readers and in major magazines and newspapers.

It's great to see authors and publishers thinking creatively and getting proactive in terms of getting their books into the hands of potential readers. There can often be a lot of doom and gloom in the reporting of the state of the books world, so I'm pleased to see Cowens and Paper Road Press having some success.

Here's the blurb for MURDER & MATCHMAKING:
The young ladies of Hertfordshire are dropping like flies. 
Miss Elizabeth Bennet could not be more pleased when the famous London detective Mr Sherlock Darcy makes it his business to solve the mystery of three young ladies’ deaths – not least because he shares her suspicion that there must be more behind the deaths than mere accident. But even she never could have guessed, as they embark upon the investigation, how close to home the solution lies. 
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a mother in possession of unmarried daughters must be in want of eligible bachelors. Less well known are the lengths to which she might go to attract them… 
Bursting with subterfuge, flirtation, and murder most foul, Murder & Matchmaking will lure you into a world of romantic intrigue, family drama, and amateur detectiving. Jane Austen’s witty prose meets the perplexing mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a book that finally answers the question: if Mrs Bennet is so concerned about her daughters finding suitable matches, why doesn’t she really do something about their chances?

Cowens is a Kapiti-based writer and English teacher. She co-authored the award-winning Mansfield with Monsters with her husband and her stories have been published in both New Zealand and international publications and anthologies. Murder & Matchmaking is her first novel and she says it weaves together many of her favourite things: Jane Austen heroines, a Sherlock Holmes-inspired detective, mischievous canines and intrigues. You can read more at her website here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dinah Holman's A HISTORY OF CRIME named a National Indie Excellence Award finalist

Dinah Holman with fellow Ngaio Marsh
Award longlistee Ben Atkins at the recent
Murder in the Library event in Takapuna 
Ngaio Marsh Award longlistee Dinah Holman has received another accolade for her debut novel as she has been named a finalist for the US-based National Indie Excellence Awards.

"I am delighted to be a finalist in the NIE Awards," says Holman, whose book A HISTORY OF CRIME: THE SOUTHERN DOUBLE CROSS is one of six finalists in the thriller category. Holman's first novel (the heritage planner and biographer has written non-fiction books) interweaves real and fictional crimes in 1880s New Zealand, exploring the seamy side of Victorian society, with echoes that resonate into the present day in this novel of misunderstanding and betrayal.

Radio New Zealand called A HISTORY OF CRIME: THE SOUTHERN DOUBLE-CROSS an “ingenious first novel” that “resounds with the ring of truth” as it examines colonial greed.

The Ngaio Marsh Award judges have said: “full of interesting historical aspects” ... “a fascinating read” that “combines history and mystery” and “does Kiwi readers a service by illuminating a period of colonial history and reminding us that crime and corruption are nothing new”.

The National Indie Excellence® Awards (NIEA) were created to help establish self-publishing as a proud, legitimate, and strong facet of the publishing industry. NIEA is proud to be a champion of self-publishers and small & independent presses that go the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect. More information about the awards can be found here. Congratulations to Dinah Holman!