Tuesday 28 February 2012

"You gotta beat it with a stick"

Your weekly Cramps with Garbageman.

Rob Kitchin reviews Philip Kerr's PRAGUE FATALE over at The View From The Blue House, Karen at Eurocrime says that Alexander McCall Smith's PRECIOUS AND THE MONKEYS is a delightful book and Maxine at Petrona calls Peter May's THE LEWIS MAN "a readable mystery with a tragic core".

Val McDermid celebrates her 25th book. Congratulations Val.

Lucy Liu to play Sherlock Holmes' sidekick John...errrrrr...Joan Watson.

Iain Banks at the Hexham Book Festival.

Lots of upcoming events for Alex Gray as she launches her new book A POUND OF FLESH. And both Alex and Caro Ramsay will be at the Lit Up Festival in Renfrewshire at the end of March.

Ian Rankin and Doug Johnstone's Twitter chat is quoted in the Independent.

Why I Really Like This Book features Josephine Tey's MISS PYM DISPOSES.

An excellent and funny article by Anthony Horowitz on whether authors still need publishers.

And, finally, 9 foreign words the English language really needs (hat tip to the lovely Steve Mosby). I must admit, I rather like Pilkkunnussja. I would add a 10th word - one that I was told when I was in Alaska - Slaqtaaq.

Friday 24 February 2012

"Baby baby baby, you've got good taste"

Pre-weekend Cramps.

Books4Spain talks to Quintin Jardine.

BCF reviews Stuart MacBride's BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD, Random Writings reviews Philip Kerr's FIELD GRAY, Fresh Meat looks at M C Beaton's DEATH OF A KINGFISHER, Crime Pieces reviews Peter May's THE BLACK HOUSE, and Page Turners reviews Alexander McCall Smith's THE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB.

Talking of Alexander McCall Smith, his 44 SCOTLAND STREET will be on BBC4 Radio 4 from Monday 30th April.

More on the Margins Book and Music Festival.

Len Wanner at The Crime of It All interviews Paul Johnston. And an interview with Bill Kirton.

Win a copy of Val McDermid's THE RETRIBUTION courtesy of the lovely people at Crimespree Magazine.

Finally, the museum on which I based the one in OLD DOGS had a bronze head stolen. How do you sneak out of a museum with a bronze head that's approximately a foot square and weighing 13kilos? I know the price of scrap metal is on the increase, but I work that out to be roughly £40.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

"I'm the maddest road rattler that you ever done met"

Title courtesy of The Cramps, as usual.

This weekend's cinematic viewing was Martha Marcy May Marlene which was a very creepy and unsettling film about a girl who escapes from a cult. Her experience is shown in an understated way through flashbacks. John Hawkes is fantastic as the charismatic and chilling Manson-like cult-leader Patrick (he also played the scary Uncle Teardrop in Winter's Bone) who renames all his female acolytes in a very simple but effective way of showing who's in control.

Paul Johnston is interviewed over at The Crime of It All.

Russel McLean teams up with ShortbreadStories to help the Million For a Morgue campaign.

Crime Pieces reviews Peter May's THE BLACK HOUSE, The World According To Who reviews Ian Rankin's DOORS OPEN, Eurocrime reviews Val McDermid's THE RETRIBUTION and Music And More reviews Ray Banks' WOLF TICKETS.

Ian Rankin says that authors need publishers.

A Val McDermid short story takes to the stage. And Val herself will be appearing at the Scarborough Literature Festival in April.

Another Festival - this one in July in King's Lynn and featuring Philip Kerr. And Stuart MacBride will be talking about BIRTHDAYS FOR THE DEAD in Perth on March 13th.

Declan Burke talks to Allan Guthrie, amongst others, on ebook pricing.

Thursday 16 February 2012

"Wiggle your ears to get into the groove"

Have a wee Zombie Dance with The Cramps.

Panels for Crimefest are now up.

Alexander McCall Smith at the Oundle Literary Festival at the beginning of March, and in Buffalo, NY in April. Closer to home, Iain Banks is appearing in Edinburgh at the beginning of April. And Helen Fitzgerald is all over the place, the lucky minx. Sadly, I shall miss her Glasgow event by two days, and her Berlin event by two months. Luckily, I get to quiz her at Crimefest, along with Douglas Lindsay, Michael Malone and Damien Seaman. And Christopher Brookmyre, Stuart MacBride and Craig Robertson will be revealing their secrets in Aberdeen at the end of May. And Irvine Welsh will be appearing at Apple's Glasgow Buchanan Street store on Sunday to talk about ECSTACY. And here's the man himself as an extra in FILTH, which is currently filming in Edinburgh.

Lots of reviews today. Eurocrime reviews Craig Russell's THE DEEP DARK SLEEP, The Big Issue reviews Peter May's THE LEWIS MAN, Bestsellersworld on DEATH OF A KINGFISHER by M C Beaton, Norm at Crimescraps on Charles Cumming's THE TRINITY SIX, WildmooBooks reviews Val McDermid's REPORT FOR MURDER, Rikki's Teleidoscope reviews Alexander McCall Smith's THE COMFORTS OF A MUDDY SATURDAY.

The Indie Pedant looks forward to Irvine Welsh's SKAGBOYS.

Lovely Scottish publisher Blasted Heath buys a black comedy called THE VANITY GAME by H J Hampson. Excellent! I love black comedy and I love football. Result.

Popmatters reports that US crime overtakes British romance in British libraries. Luckily, Ian Rankin is holding up the side for the Brits.

Edinburgh's New Town to celebrate its literary history. And The Scotsman reports that Scottish arts would benefit from Scottish independence.

Jonny Lee Miller is to play Sherlock Holmes in a US TV version set in contemporary New York.

Denise Mina talks to Forbidden Planet about comics.

Finally, the Herald are looking for your help to come up with the rest of the list of the Top 100 Scottish novels. They already have 30 and there are plenty of familiar names in there.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Her Love Rubbed Off

An apt Cramps title for the blog post today. And, to celebrate Valentine's Day, those lovely people at Pulp Press and For Books' Sake have reduced the price of the Short Stack anthology in the UK, or US for the day. What could be more romantic for Valentine's Day than giving your lover ten tales of brutal, ferocious crime fiction written by ten brutal, ferocious women? And if that's not cheap enough for you, you can win a copy here.

This weekend's cinematic viewing was the directorial debut of Paddy Considine, starring the brilliant Peter Mullan as Joseph - a man who is violent and brutal and shown as totally unlikeable right from the start (really, you have been warned), and the equally brilliant Olivia Colman as Christian charity shop volunteer Hannah - a woman with a secret. Harrowing, bleak and really, really sad. I was crying from the opening scene and was never far from a hanky for the rest of the film.

A review of Val McDermid's THE RETRIBUTION, two for M C Beaton with DEATH OF A PERFECT WIFE and AGATHA RAISIN AND THE QUICHE OF DEATH, and Groovy Daz with a groovy review of Ray Banks' DEAD MONEY.

Aly Monroe with one of her usual thoughtful and interesting posts - this one on character behaviour and reader reactions.

Huge congratulations to Helen Fitzgerald whose excellent THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE goes into film production later this year.

Alex Gray on why crime fiction is the most borrowed genre in Britain's libraries. And The Scotsman considers the same topic and the legacy of William McIlvanney's Laidlaw.

Tony Black's
THE STORM WITHOUT is to be published by a new independent publisher from Newcastle - McNidder and Grace.

And just in case you're looking for the perfect gift this Valentine's Day...

Friday 10 February 2012

"Tomorrow will be gloomy with a chance of morning frogs"

Your Friday morning Cramps.

Panel assignments for Crimefest have been issued. I'm moderating a panel called Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, with Helen Fitzgerald, Douglas Lindsay, Michael Malone and Damien Seaman. I'll leave you to decide which of them are mad. I am currently thinking about the fiendish homework I am planning to set...

A review of Ian Rankin's THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD, reviewingtheevidence on Aly Monroe's ICELIGHT and Lin Anderson's PICTURE HER DEAD, The Game's Afoot reviews Val McDermid's A PLACE OF EXECUTION and a review of Stuart MacBride's SHATTER THE BONES.

Several Denise Mina events at the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

Alexander McCall Smith in St Louis, Missouri on April 16th.

Douglas Lindsay on naming THE UNBURIED DEAD.

North East Life talks to Val McDermid.

Tony Black's GUTTED becomes GELYNCHT in German (which, if my German is up to it, translated as LYNCHED). Gratuliere, Tony! There's also a wee video auf deutsch to go with it.

Norfolk is a big fan of crime fiction - some nice events in March and it's the most borrowed genre in local libraries.

Edinburgh Book Festival Director says that the book festival should be about books, not celebrities. Well done, that man.

Kate Atkinson on her MBE.

Finally, a rather sneery article about genre fiction.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Don't Mess With Me - I'm Savage and Brutal

First of all, I'm very excited to announce that my short story DEPRAVITY LANE appears in SHORT STACK - a new anthology of pulp fiction written by women (the US kindle version is here). The print version will follow. This is the result of a competition held by the wonderful people at For Books' Sake and Pulp Press last year.

I'm very, very glad I have the flu because I've spent the day in bed reading all the other stories and I'm so pleased to be included in such a wonderful line-up. The characters include punk rock journalists, zombies and xenobiologists, and there are stories of freaks and fairytales, sadness and madness, disease and destruction, revenge, weirdness and just good, old-fashioned nastiness. Apparently, we are "a savage and brutal bunch". Excellent. Dad, this one is not for you. Don't even mention it to Mum. My own story is a wee homage to one of my favourite books and films - Nightmare Alley (which gives me the opportunity to steal this brilliantly doctored poster courtesy of the marvellous Smudge MacRae at Blasted Heath).

The other stories are by Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg, Bernadette Russell, Jane Osis, Zoe Lambert, Icy Sedgwick, Evangeline Jennings, Gill Shutt, Claire Rowland and Mihaela Nicolescu. A tasty treat for fans of wicked women.

Ian Rankin calls the BBC a bunch of fannies and numpties (and Val McDermid isn't very happy either). And Ian also complains about his scantily clad Twitter followers.

Alexander McCall Smith talks about medical ethics and teapots (yes, it's the Daily Mail).

Austcrime reviews Gordon Ferris' TRUTH DARE KILL, a review of Val McDermid's THE RETRIBUTION and A DARKER DOMAIN and Eurocrime reviews Lin Anderson's PICTURE HER DEAD.

An interview with Christopher Brookmyre.

Douglas Lindsay is his usual hilarious self.

Ray Banks on the state of crime fiction. Some great points in the comments - especially Steve Mosby's.

Friday 3 February 2012

Frantic Friday

A short post today as I have a conference this weekend. Thanks again to those who donated prizes for our raffle. It's lovely of you and I'm going to hug you all when I see you. The organisation is staffed by volunteers (250 volunteers to each member of staff!) and we rely a lot on donations.

Anyway, Scottish crime fiction news:

Lots of good stuff at the Margins Book Festival, and The List also has an interesting debate between Helen Fitzgerald, Alan Bissett and Allan Wilson, on the current literary landscape.

Crime fiction is the most borrowed genre in Britain's libraries.

Maxine at Petrona with one of her extremely thoughtful reviews of Peter May's THE BLACKHOUSE.

Is there no end to Ian Rankin's talents? Hear him in the panel game The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Mark Billingham and Paul Johnston in conversation at Crime Culture.

Crimefest panels are done, and moderators are being contacted about their panels. Woohoo! I'm moderating one called Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know and the initials of my panelists are HF, DL, DS and MM ;o)