Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Scottish Publisher Focus - Two Ravens Press

Two Ravens Press is an independent publisher of contemporary British and international literature based in the north-west Highlands of Scotland.They have an excellent blog about what it's like being a small publisher in the middle of nowhere, and which is a great mix of book related and personal posts. They focus on literary fiction and poetry, but here are some books which sound as though they have a crime fiction flavour at least. All quotes from the website.

SENSELESS - Stona Fitch (August 2008) -
This one looks like an excellent psychological thriller and, having read one of his short stories (brilliant stuff), this one's definitely on my 'To Buy' list. "American economist Eliott Gast is a man who treasures the finest things that life can offer – fine food, a good bottle of wine, beautiful music. Until the day that he is abducted in Europe by a shadowy and extremist anti-globalisation group. Eliott is held hostage for forty days, and each moment of his incarceration is broadcast on the internet. His captors inform him that his eventual release depends on the votes – and donations made to their cause – of the millions of people who are watching this most disturbing of reality shows. As Eliott battles to understand why he has been chosen, he unearths sins both small and large. Over the course of his captivity Eliott is deprived of each of his senses, one by one – deprived of everything except the choice of whether or not to survive." "An existential thriller told with brutal clarity and dealing with cruelty, voyeurism, consumerism and globalisation. Brilliantly written with pace, style, confidence and insight, this unbearably tense and truly unforgettable novel will leave a lasting impression." The List.

NIGHTINGALE - Peter Dorward (September 2007) - "On the second of August 1980, at 1pm, a bomb placed under a chair in the second class waiting room of the international railway station in Bologna exploded, resulting in the deaths of eighty-five people. Despite indictments and arrests, no convictions were ever secured. Exactly a year before the bombing, a young British couple disembarked at the station and walked into town. He - pale-blue eyes, white collarless shirt, baggy green army surplus trousers – and twenty yards behind him, the woman whom, in a couple of years he will marry, then eventually abandon. He is Don, she is Julia. Within twenty-four hours she’ll leave for home, and he will wander into a bar called 'the Nightingale' – and a labyrinthine world of extreme politics and terrorism. More than twenty years later their daughter Rosie, as na├»ve as her father was before her, will return to the city, and both Don – and his past – will follow..."
"A gripping read ... moving, chilling and all-too-plausible... The writing is vivid, economical, varied. It is alive to nuance and suggestion, dealing in emotional, cultural and psychological credibility." The Scotsman

THE MOST GLORIFIED STRIP OF BUNTING - John McGill (October 2007) - "The United States North Polar expedition of 1871-73 was a disaster-strewn adventure that counts amongst the most bizarre and exciting in the annals of Arctic exploration. Commanded by Charles Francis Hall, a romantic idealist with an obsessive interest in the frozen north, the converted river tug Polaris carries a multinational crew of scientists and sailors, assisted by two Inuit families, along the so-called American Way to the North Pole - the icy channels between Greenland and Ellesmere Island. For Hall, the planting of the Stars and Stripes on the top of the world is a sacred and patriotic duty, but his enthusiasm is shared by few of his companions, and the expedition, under the strain of conditions in the high Arctic, quickly disintegrates into warring factions. With their ship embedded in the ice, the explorers plunge into a maelstrom of anarchy and paranoia fuelled by the clash of two civilisations – Inuit and European – and the mutual misunderstanding and hostility that arise from it. John McGill’s novel chronicles the events leading up to the strange and suspicious death of the commander, and in a parallel narrative, tells the astonishing tale of the nineteen crew members separated in a storm and cast adrift on an ice floe. Their story is one of the truly great Arctic adventures, a six-month drama of narrow escapes coloured by the ever-present threats of rape, murder and cannibalism, and acted out on a shrinking platform of ice exposed to all the horrors of the most inhospitable climate on earth." "A murder mystery and a moral fable, the book is superbly structured in a ping pong of chapters that exploit chronology and revel in the present tense. A page turner with the obligatory saucy bits. McGill’s book may also be read as a critiique of US foreign policy, then and now - but will be more properly admired as a darn good yarn." The Herald


  1. Hi Donna and thanks very much for including Two Ravens Press here! Stona Fitch's second book with us, 'Printer's Devil', is actually an unusual blend of dystopian fiction combined with a bit of a crime story thrown in! Here's the link: All best, Sharon

  2. Sounds good - thanks Sharon!

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