Marianne Delacourt's Blog

July 26, 2015

Reviewed by Corrie McDonald

 


The writer: Described by American writer James Ellroy as ‘the king of tartan noir’, Rankin is, for me, the most literary and lyrical of all contemporary crime writers. And a giant of the genre, as everybody knows.


The blurb: ‘The complete DI John Rebus short stories collected together for the very first time.’


The set-up: Offering 29 Rebus short stories written between 1990 and 2014, this collection is a short-hand biography of the taciturn detective, whose life is at times as grimy as Edinburgh’s seedier streets.


The sting:  The oldest story in the book is actually one of the newest, if you get my drift (narrative time and real time not being the same thing). And you get some windows into Rebus’s life that I don’t recall seeing in any of the novels.


The good: The writing, the character, the evocation of Edinburgh’s underbelly — all the elements that have made Rankin’s Rebus novels legendary. A chance to see Rebus grow over a series of stories, including some new ones written just for this collection. Plus an interesting essay from Rankin that reflects on his career and Rebus’s development as a character.


The less-so: Some of the stories written in earlier years show that even Rankin took a while to develop his trademark lean and subtle style. But it’s actually quite interesting to chart Rankin’s development along with that of DI Rebus.


The verdict:  A must for Rankin fans, Rebus fans, or anybody who wants a great collection of bedtime crime stories (just the right length to read one each night). And some individual gems among them.


 


The Beat Goes On — Ian Rankin


Orion Books (2014)


ISBN 978 1 4091 5156 2


 


???????????????????????????????Corrie Macdonald is a Brisbane writer and editor who makes a living in the corporate world and has also published reviews, essays, poetry and short stories. She likes (loves) noir of all kinds.


 




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Published on July 26, 2015 15:04

July 20, 2015

Louisa Bennet - Monty & Me v2 (small)Louisa Bennet is interviewed by Bec Stafford

 


Louisa, Monty and Me is a funny, endearing whodunit, told from a dog’s point of view. We must know: what inspired to write from a puppy’s perspective?! Is it difficult to do?


It won’t come as any surprise that I have a dog, a Golden Retriever named Pickles. Why Pickles? Because when we chose him from the litter he was the biggest and the naughtiest puppy and spent the whole time chasing the tails of the others. We knew then he’d get into all sorts of pickles! Pickles’ inquisitive nature, super-sniffer of a nose, his obsession with food and his love of fishing, have most certainly inspired the character of Monty The Dog Detective. The more time I spent with Pickles, the more I realised that dogs often know way more than we give them credit for and can be trained to do truly incredible things. Just think about Guide Dogs and bomb detector dogs. The Golden Retriever in Monty And Me is exceptional: he understands what we say, even if he does get muddled on the meaning, and he can read and use a computer. But Monty also relies on wee-mails for information on the dog-vine, as well as using his formidable nose to track down the killer.


I decided to write Monty And Me primarily from the view point of the dog, although Rose Sidebottom, the junior detective, is a very important secondary narrator and the other half of the crime busting duo. It was great fun both researching and imagining how a dog views and interprets the world. Much of the humour and pathos is based on Monty’s misunderstanding of conversations and human behaviour. He takes things literally so when he first hears Rose’s mum oink down the phone, he assumes her mother is a pig. He doesn’t realise it’s meant to be an insult. There are some things about big’uns (dog-speak for people) Monty doesn’t understand, such as human tears, but he does understand grief. Monty is very attuned to Rose’s emotions and tries to comfort her when she’s unhappy.


Getting the dog’s voice right was really important. It needed to be credible and to make sense to people who know dogs. I wanted Monty to be a very clever dog but quite humble and lacking in confidence in his abilities. Despite the brutal attack on him and his master at the start of the book, I wanted him to be a positive and enthusiastic dog with endearing habits, such as his weakness for cheese and his gentleness with other creatures. He is without doubt incredibly loyal and heroic and I hope readers love him as much as I have loved creating him.


Bennett_ MONTY AND MEYou write action thrillers under your L. A. Larkin moniker and tales for younger audiences as Louisa Bennet. Is it fun to have two writing identities, and do you feel any different when you switch authorial hats?


Monty And Me is written for adults, but I expect younger audiences will love it just as much. It’s a bit like the Inspector Rex TV series with Rex, the German Shepherd, which appeals to all ages.


I really enjoy moving between two such different genres. Monty And Me is a cozy mystery that’s fun and whimsical. It’s a gentle read that will make you smile. My thrillers are fast-action, high-stakes and written to get readers’ hearts racing. They couldn’t be more different. Ideally, I’d love to be able to focus on one and then the other, but with competing deadlines it doesn’t work out that way. Sometimes I feel a bit like Jekyll and Hyde. Monty brings the humour and pathos to Monty And Me, and he is my Dr Jekyl.


When I’m working on my new thriller series, starring investigative journalist, Olivia Wolfe, I’m creating some very dark characters, including a Russian SVR agent and a vicious cyber stalker. That’s when I tap into the dark side of my imagination: my Mr Hyde.


It keeps my writing fresh, and me excited, just as I suspect it does for Marianne when she writes as Marianne Delacourt and then switches to Marianne de Pierres.


We are very happy to see that Monty, Dog Detective has his own Twitter following now. Are his friends and fans mostly humans, or other 4-legged furry types? Does he find typing a challenge?


Monty is very capable of using a keyboard even though his big paws make him clumsy. He’s new to Twitter (MontyDogD) and Facebook (MontyDogDetective) but he’s getting the hang of it and loves ‘chatting’ with big’uns and dogs alike. You’d be surprised at how many dogs use social media. Of course, their owners don’t know they’re doing it. What better way to pass the time when your owner is out and you’ve eaten the last bone, than to get onto Twitter or Facebook and find out what your friends are doing.


Monty now has his very own website, MontyDogDetective.com. The only problem is that Monty gets very distracted by possums on the roof, or a neighbour’s dog barking, and if there’s food about, he can’t resist checking it out.


How did you first get into thriller writing and which author in that genre has been your greatest inspiration?


Can I change this question to, What inspired you to write a murder mystery?


I’ve always loved murder mysteries and detective stories. I enjoy who-dun-its with a sense of humour, like the Tara Sharp novels. I also enjoy what I call fantasy crime, such as Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair, about a Literary Detective searching for a character kidnapped from a book. In the USA, Spencer Quinn writes a very popular dog detective series called the Chet And Bernie Mysteries.


Your last thriller, Thirst, was set in Antarctica; and you travelled there for your research. When can we expect another L. A Larkin thriller, and where would you next like to travel for your writing?


My next thriller introduces investigative journalist Olivia Wolfe and is set in Afghanistan, Antarctica and the UK. It looks as if that will be published in early 2016.


Where would I like to travel for the second in the Olivia Wolfe thrillers? I have already been to seven African countries, travelling overland in a rickety truck, sleeping in tents, but the theme for the second Olivia Wolfe book may well lead me back to Africa. I’ll keep you posted!


You studied literature at the University of London. What are some of your favourite literary works and why? Are there any that you hated studying?


My favourite authors are Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, D.H. Lawrence and the Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Studying literary fiction and poetry has made me aware of how powerful and emotive words can be and how stories can explore the big issues of our time in a non-confrontational and engaging way. Dickens challenged Victorian England to think about the poor and vulnerable; Austin explored relationships between men and women and the taboos and pressures on women to be married; Lawrence dared to explore women’s sexuality in his books. Any author I hated? Thomas Hardy. What a miserable man he must have been!


 


Bio:

Mystery author, Louisa Bennet, studied Literature at the University of London and went on to learn Canine Linguistics from her golden retriever, Pickles, which is how she discovered what dogs really get up to when we’re not around. Truth be told, Pickles came up with the story for the Monty And Sidebottom Mysteries, and Louisa just transcribed it. She’s faster on the keyboard and less easily distracted by food and passing squirrels.


Louisa worked in magazine publishing and climate change consulting before focusing on novel writing. She divides her time between London and Sydney, Australia, and runs courses on crime fiction and creative writing. Pickles runs courses on wee-mailing, duck toppling and drool management.


To stay in touch with Monty, the sniffer super-sleuth, please go to www.MontyDogDetective.com


 


 


 




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Published on July 20, 2015 14:56 • 2 views

July 15, 2015

burley_forgettingReviewed by Krista McKeeth

A female psychiatrist at a state mental hospital finds herself at the center of a shadowy conspiracy in this dark and twisting tale of psychological suspense from the author of The Absence of Mercy


Paperback, 352 pages


Published February 10th 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks


It is clear from the beginning of the story that Lise’s life is very structured. She stops by the same coffee place on her way to work and usually eats at the same restaurant on her way home. When a new patient is brought in for her care, none of the usual rules are being followed and Lise’s world is sent into a whirlwind of trouble now that she is involved. The patient is brought to the hospital for safety, but only brings trouble. The FBI and a terrorist group are involved, playing a game of cat and mouse that disrupts her once comfortable…and predictable life.


Burley’s writing is very fluid and keeps a pretty intense pace of unexpected action and psychological turns. I was hoping for something different when it came to the actual storyline and how the whole plot unravelled, but I truly feel that there are a lot of readers who will really enjoy how the story develops. The main character is a feisty and strong character, but I had a hard time really liking her personality. As she is running for her life, I could see myself making the same decisions that she made and, understandably, she has a hard time trusting others.


When her life slowly begins to go off track, and she finds herself having to run for her life. she meets my favourite character in the story, Haden, the knight in shining cowboy boots who is a gentleman and wants to help and protect her. Haden was pretty much the best part of the story for me: a little humanity in a messed up world of chaos.


There has been a lot of praise for John Burley’s first novel The Absence of Mercy and the writing style of this book has intrigued me enough to pick it up. The Forgetting Place is a book that I recommend for those that enjoy a fun suspenseful thriller.




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Published on July 15, 2015 16:05 • 2 views

July 8, 2015

temple_truthReviewed by Joelene Pynnonen

The city of Melbourne is in the grip of a hot summer when Inspector Villani is called to a luxury apartment complex. A young woman has been brutally murdered, her body left in one of the many uninhabited, new apartments. Villani wants to push for the public to make an ID on the girl, but the apartment building is owned by politically powerful people who do not want their interests tainted by the death of someone who has little social worth.


Meanwhile three known criminals are tortured to death in Oakleigh. Knowing what he does about their past, Villani’s not about to mourn the loss, but it is his job to find out what happened to the men. And Villani always sinks his time into the job – though it is costing him his marriage and his children.


With one of his daughters going off the rails at home and a father who is determined to remain on his property amidst encroaching bush-fires, ignoring the problem suddenly got a whole lot tougher.


Despite winning the prestigious Miles Franklin literary award, Truth was an incredibly difficult book for me. It has the kind of scope that you’d expect from a great Australian novel. Family, politics, race, ethics and social class disparity all play a part in bringing this novel together. As such, Truth is the perfect title. There are layers on every facet of this novel. The truth here is an endless ball of string that unravels a little more with each bit of new information until it is too tangled to be of any use.


Villani emerges as an unreliable narrator as the novel unfolds. By the end of the novel, I don’t even know what to believe about him. He’s so good at rerouting his thoughts away from the truth that he may not know who he is any more than those around him do. Villani has more fear of people thinking of him as a coward and of failing in the eyes of society than he does of being harmed or killed. The decisions that he makes in handling bad situations result in him steeping himself in as much corruption as those around him – possibly more as his actions hit closer to home.


The writing style is sparse. Description abounds when discussing food, the nature of the city, the setting; but all but disappears when characters are introduced. A name may be given but it will take pages to realise that the name belongs to Villani’s daughter. Dialogue is equally scant: conversations occurring in half sentences without description tags to help readers out. This is the part that was the hardest for me. I’m not used to putting this much effort into reading something that’s fictional. When I have to make name lists to keep track of everyone, it’s a sign that I’m not getting enough information from the text.


I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed Truth, though I doubt that it was a book written to be enjoyed. It gives a compelling account of life, death, crime and lies in the police force. No one emerges looking particularly heroic. Instead, it’s a look at a corrupt system that perpetuates itself in a ceaseless loop.


 


Truth – Peter Temple


Text Publishing (November, 2009)


ISBN: 9781921656620




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Published on July 08, 2015 16:42 • 1 view

July 6, 2015

sussex_blockbusterReviewed by Stephan Dedman

Blockbuster! Fergus Hume and The Mystery of A Hansom Cab


By Lucy Sussex


Text Publishing, 298 pages


Lucy Sussex is the author of the novel The Scarlet Rider, the non-fiction work Women Writers and Detectives in Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction: The Mothers of the Mystery Genre, and a great many excellent short stories. Blockbuster!, her latest book, is a fascinating account of the publishing success of an Australian mystery novel that became a bestseller, overshadowing its contemporary A Study in Scarlet, the debut of Sherlock Holmes.


Fergus Hume’s father was a madhouse attendant – first in Glasgow, then in Powick where Fergus was born in 1859, before becoming the superintendent of the lunatic asylum in Dunedin, New Zealand. Fergus attended the Otago Boys’ High School next door, then clerked in a legal practice while studying law at the University of Otago. After some success as a playwright in New Zealand, he moved to Melbourne, then the theatrical capital of Australia. Unable to break into the closed shop of the Melbourne theatre scene, he worked as a journalist and a lawyer’s clerk before asking a bookseller “what style of book he sold most of”. Told that the detective stories of Gaboriau were popular, and noticing that the interior of a Hansom cab at night offered enough concealment to be a suitable site for a murder, he wrote The Mystery of a Hansom Cab and tried to find a publisher.


While Fergus Hume’s biography provides part of the book’s background, Blockbuster! is more a history of how a “shilling shocker” set in what was then known as “Marvellous Melbourne”, became a bestseller after more than twenty rejections – widely read not only in Australia, where it was released on Melbourne Cup Day to take advantage of the influx of visitors to the city, but in the UK and US. Like the novel, it’s a story involving colourful characters, considerable chicanery, some mystery, and at least one homicide. Lucy Sussex has done an outstanding job of research, revealing how much has and hasn’t changed in Australia’s arts and publishing scene since 1890, and the impact of  mining booms and housing bubbles. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of crime fiction or Australian literature, but is highly recommended even if you’re not: Sussex is a superb story-teller and leavens this fascinating account with dry wit. It deserves to be a blockbuster. 


 


dedmanStephen Dedman is a writer, book reviewer, and tutor. He’s previously been an actor, a manuscript assessor, an academic and legal WPO, an editorial assistant for Australian Physicist magazine, an experimental subject, and a used dinosaur parts salesman.




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Published on July 06, 2015 16:31

June 28, 2015

send-for-paul-temple-dvd_500Reviewed by Damian Magee

This is the first Paul Temple book, which was based on the first radio serial broadcast in 1938.  It was published within a few months of the broadcast date. It introduces Paul Temple, author of crime fiction and amateur private detective, and a young lady reporter, Louise Harvey. These two would marry later in the series.


A series of jewel robberies that have baffled Scotland Yard indicate that a well organised jewellery gang is at large, controlled by the Master Criminal Max Lorraine, Knave of Diamonds: real identity unknown. The Commissioner of Police sends for Paul Temple for fresh ideas on the case.  A night watchman is murdered and, with his last breath, calls out ‘The Green Finger’. Temple works out it is the name of an inn. 


During the course of the case Temple meets a woman reporter working as ‘Steve Trent’.  Steve helps out with the case along with her brother Superintendent Harvey and Inspector Dale of Scotland Yard.  As the clues start to make things clearer to Temple, he and Superintendent Harvey discover someone on the force has given information to Max Lorraine. Temple meets various suspects during the case: Dr.Milton, Diana Thornley, and Mrs Parchment, a retired schoolmistress who is interested in the history of English Inns.  Could one of them be the mysterious Max Lorraine, Knave of Diamonds?


I had been a fan of the radio serial and the TV series, but this was the first Paul Temple story I’d read in print, and I found the novel an easy read.  The characters come alive, the voices were clear and the descriptions were excellently fleshed out. The book can be read just like the radio serial, chapter by chapter building tension as all the clues come together into the solution of the case. There were plenty of twists and turns before the final reveal, which was not easily worked out. This is Britain’s crime-solving couple who compare with America’s Nick & Nora Charles of the Thin Man book (and several films) by Dashiell Hammett.  Although both were written in the 1930s, the language used by Durbridge is easy to understand. You can identify with the characters and could be using the same words today, unlike the language used by Hammett, which is the language of its time and location–very steeped in the gangster films of 1930s.


Both books were republished by Penguin books in 2013 as part of their crime section.


 


Damian MageeDamian Magee is a West Australian writer and reviewer and a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society. He’s a life long fan of crime, sci-fi, anime, literature, history, biography, TV & films who has been writing reviews, non-fiction, & presenting seminars on these genres for the past 30 years. 


 




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Published on June 28, 2015 16:10 • 2 views

June 25, 2015

Please consider supporting the crimeScene Pozible campaign. Their convention is amazing!! Just read below for this year’s line up!

 


CrimesceneFor the fiction side we are pleased to announce this year’s headliners will be Candice Fox, Malla Nunn and Angela Savage. Candice is author of Hades and Eden, with her third novel due out later on this year. Hades won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014.


Malla Nunn is the author of the Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper novels set at the beginning of the apartheid era in 1950s South Africa. A Beautiful Place to Die, Let the Dead Lie and Blessed Are the Dead. Blessed are the Dead was short listed for both an Anthony Award and a Ned Kelly award. Malla is also an award winning screenwriter.


Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. Her first novel Behind the Night Bazaar won the 2004 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. All three of her Jayne Keeney PI novels were shortlisted for Ned Kelly Awards, while The Dying Beach was also shortlisted for the 2014 Davitt Award.


Of course, our friend Tony Cavanaugh has decided he will also be coming back because he loves what we do so much. Tony will be doing a couple of panel presentations whilst here and will also be launching his latest novel “Kingdom of the Strong” which is due out for release in August/September.


Joining our headlines, we will also have local authors Felicity Young who will be talking about Writing the Nitty Gritty, and Paul Hardisty who’s debut novel “The Abrupt Physics of Dying” is already garnering a lot of attention. Felicity is currently working on a new novel which we are hoping she will  be close to finishing by the time crimeScene comes around!


Our authors will be joined by our amazing scientific team. So far this consists of:


Professor Simon Lewis: Simon will once again be running a science stream, with the focus this year to be on the chemical sciences. Simon will also be doing a cold case presentation on the Moorabbin Police Murders.


Hadyn Green, APM. Hadyn hasn’t indicated what he will be talking about this year, but if his last presentations have been anything to go by, it will be fascinating and riveting, and everyone will be giving up their lunch to hear the conclusion.


Malla-NunnProfessor James Speers has recently taken up a position at Murdoch University to develop the Graduate Certificate and Master’s degree programmes in Forensic Science (Professional Practice) and oversee the development and incorporation of the Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Investigation for the Western Australian Police Forensic Division. He is knowledgeable in the teaching of forensic services and crime scene investigation/management in the context of the professional development of forensic scientists and pathologists, and in creating forensic awareness and knowledge within police forces and criminal justice systems. Professor Speers will be looking at a blood spatter case analysis.


Associate Professor Bob Mead is a metabolic biochemist, toxicologist and Chair of Murdoch’s Forensic Biology and Toxicology program. Lecturing alongside Professor Speers. Associate Professor Mead lectures in forensic toxicology, crime scene investigation and biochemistry. Professor Mead will be looking at a particularly interesting study regarding miscarriages of justice.


For the first time, we have managed to secure someone from the Coroner’s Office to present to us. Gary Cooper holds the position of Principal Registrar and will be talking to us about coronial processes and coronial investigations.


We also have presenting Jane Tudor-Owen, a lecturer from Edith Cowan University. Jane is involved in Perth’s Innocence Program and will be providing a brief overview of what the Innocence project is, as part of her false witness presentation.


crime_scene_0202CrimeScene have also been fortunate enough to be able to secure the principal investigators from Document Examination Solutions. John McGinn is one of Australia’s most recognised Forensic Document Examiners.  He is a Senior Forensic Document Examiner with Document Examination Solutions, a Perth based forensic consultancy firm providing services to both the government and private sectors. His experience in the document examination discipline of forensic science commenced with the Western Australia Police and continued with the Australian Immigration Department.


Specialising in handwriting and signature comparison, the identification of altered and manipulated documents and the recognition of fraudulent and counterfeit identity documents, John has diverse knowledge which is utilised in the presentation of expert reports and evidence, as well as the development of seminars and workshops delivered locally, nationally and internationally. 


Whilst we understand this is not a comprehensive list of what we hope to present to you this year, we hope it will give you an idea of who’s going to be there. Please share, and spread the word as much as possible and encourage everyone to come along.


We look forward to seeing you there!


The crimeScene Team!


 




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Published on June 25, 2015 19:43 • 1 view

June 22, 2015

sherez_eleven daysReviewed by Joelene Pynnonen

It is eleven days until Christmas when a fire breaks out, engulfing a suburban convent. Ten nuns perish but, in the shell of the gutted building, an eleventh body is found. Worse than this, the more DI Carrigan’s team finds, the more suspicious the fire looks.


Why would ten women sit calmly at a table as their home burns? They had been having dinner on the day of the feast of St John of the Cross, and the nuns should have been alone, so why is there another body in the building? And what caused the blunt force trauma to the eleventh victim’s skull?


Most of Carrigan’s team are going to miss out on Christmas this year if the mystery is to be solved. Though, with the case being connected to a human-trafficking racket run by a vicious gang, and with Carrigan and his team working against the higher powers of the Catholic Church, Christmas might be the least of their worries.


While Eleven Days has a contemporary London setting, the scope of it reaches much further. Exploring not only religion – but religious division and fractures in the Catholic Church – on a historic and global level.


The second book in the DI Carrigan and DS Miller series, Eleven Days is a gritty and dark look at crime and politics. Police procedural at its best, it captures a lot of the issues that law enforcement face. Due to internal politics, Carrigan is being pushed to make an arrest almost before the fire has been established as a crime. The daily grind is emphasised by the fact that crime doesn’t stop for the holidays; and therefore, neither do the police. The murky confusion of police work is also made apparent with the number of motives there might be for the nuns’ deaths.


Eleven Days is well-written and brilliantly researched with more cultural depth than the average crime novel. Though I enjoyed the journey, the ending wasn’t so satisfying. I hate to say it, because I was surprised by the way the events unfolded. The issue here is that the red herring story-lines are so much more compelling than the actual ending. And after we find out how much these nuns have endured – and how willing they were to endure more – it makes no sense that they didn’t fight like crazy to survive. So I guess, for me, Eleven Days ended with a fizzle when it could have done so with a bang.


Eleven Days is dark and a lacks quite a lot in the hope department, but it’s a compelling read. The personalities of the victims come through strongly, making the crime something that you want to see solved for reasons that are more personal than idle curiosity.


Eleven Days – Stav Sherez


Faber and Faber (April 25, 2013)


ISBN: 9780571290529




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Published on June 22, 2015 16:05 • 1 view

June 16, 2015

Book Review-The Stolen OnesReviewed by Stephen Dedman

Irina and Catalina Milosovici have come from Romania to the US in a cargo container, believing the promises of American and Romanian people smugglers that Irina will become a model. When the truck hauling their container is stopped and searched by a deputy sheriff, Irina escapes, but is captured by the local police and accused of murdering the deputy. Kirk Stevens and Carla Windermere are called in to assist with the investigation and track the truck to its next planned stop, a strip club and brothel where smuggled women are offered for sale. Catalina, however, has been kept by the smugglers as leverage against her older sister.


The people smuggling operation is being run by Andrei Volovoi, a small-time crook who is in debt to the Dragon, a ruthless gunrunner who protects Volovoi at a price. Despite the debt, Volovoi balks at providing the Dragon with under-age girls for wealthy paedophiles – but as one of his foot soldiers has shot the deputy and the FBI has been called in, he needs the Dragon’s help more than ever. After all, it’s not as though the US government is just going to pay the people smugglers $30,000 to go somewhere else.


The pace becomes increasingly frantic as the forces – Irina, the investigators, Volovoi and the Dragon – converge, and there’s a certain amount of head-hopping and confusion in the final chapters. I was rather disappointed in the ending, which seemed rather too neat and evaded the larger legal and ethical questions around people smuggling.


One of the problems with being a book reviewer is that you’re often given books that are recent additions to an ongoing series, and this Laukkanen’s fourth Stevens and Windermere novel. This may explain why the characterisation of Stevens, Windermere, and Windermere’s lover, FBI agent Derek Mathers, is less interesting than the portrayal of the villains. Volovoi isn’t exactly likeable, but he does have some ethics, cares about his young nieces, and is so badly out of his depth that it’s difficult not to sympathise with him to some degree. His hirelings are little better than thugs, though some are more civilized than others, while the cocaine-snorting Dragon is as monstrous as his name suggests. The most despicable character, however, is the prospective buyer, a Manhattan millionaire with a taste for young blondes.


Overall, The Stolen Ones works fairly well as a stand-alone – but if this sounds interesting, you might do better to start with Laukkanen’s first novel, The Professionals, and take it from there.


 


The Stolen Ones


By Owen Laukkanen


Corvus, 358 pp.


 


 


dedmanStephen Dedman is a writer, book reviewer, and tutor. He’s previously been an actor, a manuscript assessor, an academic and legal WPO, an editorial assistant for Australian Physicist magazine, an experimental subject, and a used dinosaur parts salesman.




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Published on June 16, 2015 14:54

June 14, 2015

scarlet stilettoAnnouncing Sisters in Crime’s 22nd Annual Scarlet Stiletto Awards – Women’s Crime & Mystery Short Story Competition – closes 31 August 2015

Total of $9,350 in prize money; new HarperCollins Publishers Award for Romantic Suspense $500. See media release: http://www.sistersincrime.org.au/content/record-9350-offer-22nd-scarlet-stiletto-awards-crime-short-story-competition


Note: for the first time Sisters in Crime is using Eventbrite to register all entries. Before posting your story, please go to Eventbrite at scarletstiletto2015competitionentry.eventbrite.com to register and pay the appropriate fee. You will be given an order number which must be included on the registration form.


 


Details follow:


Every Cloud Productions Award First Prize: $1500 plus trophy


Echo Publishing Award Second Prize: $1000


Sun Bookshop Third Prize: $500


Allen & Unwin Award for Best Young Writer (for writers 18 or under): $500


Josephine Pennicott Award for Best Indigenous Writer: $500


Athenaeum Library ‘Body in the Library Award for Best ‘Body in the library’ Story: $1000; runner up $500


Kerry Greenwood Award for Best Malice Domestic  Story: $750


HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Romantic Suspense Story: $500


Scarlet Stiletto Award for Best Environmental Crime Story: $500


Scarlet Stiletto Award for Best Financial Crime Story: $500


Arena Magazine Award for Well-loaded Political Story: $500


Clan Destine Press for Best Cross-Genre Story: $400


Liz Navratil Award for Best Story with a Disabled Protagonist Story: $400 (up $150)


Benn’s Books Award for Best Investigative Story: $200


ScriptWorks Award for a Great Film Idea: $200


Judges: National Convenors, Sisters in Crime plus two-time  trophy winners


Please download the attached Submission Form to enter the Scarlet Stiletto Awards.


 


CONDITIONS OF ENTRY


1 All entries are to be original and unpublished works of the author.


2 The competition is open to women residents of Australia.


3 The competition closes on 31 August 2015 (envelopes must be post-marked this date).


4 Stories must contain an active woman protagonist and a crime/mystery theme.


5 There is a maximum of two entries per author.


6 Stories can have a maximum of 5000 words. No minimum applies.


7 The Allen & Unwin Award for Best Young Writer is open only to women under 18 years. Proof of age should accompany the entry.


8 Stories entered for the ‘Body in the Library’ Award must include the words ‘body in the library’.


9 Environmental crime stories must be centred around an environmental issue, not simply be located outdoors.


10 Financial crimes are defined as crimes against property for personal gain such as theft, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, tax evasion, insider trading, identity theft or forgery.


11 Malice domestic stories feature an amateur detective, characters who know each other, and no excessive gore, gratuitous violence or explicit sex.


12 Authors must present two copies of each story. Entries will not be returned.


13 Text should have 1.5 spacing, be printed on one side of A4 paper and stapled.


14 Name, address, telephone number(s) and email address should be supplied on a separate cover page, which will be detached upon receipt (all stories are read ‘blind’). Make sure that every page has the story title and page number on it. Put your name on the cover page only.


15 Tick the award(s) in which your story is to be entered. Stories are automatically included in the General category and can be entered in additional categories at no extra cost (e.g. General and Malice Domestic and Great Film Idea).


16 Sisters in Crime Australia reserves the right to retain copies of shortlisted stories for purposes of reproduction. Copyright remains with the author.


17 Judges for the Scarlet Stiletto Awards are the National Co-convenors of Sisters in Crime Australia and previous two-time winners of the Scarlet Stiletto trophy.


18 Sisters in Crime National Co-convenors and judges are ineligible to enter.


19 The judges’ decision is final. They reserve the right not to award a prize in any category.


Winners will be announced at the Scarlet Stiletto Awards ceremony – tentatively Saturday 28 November at 8 pm, with dinner prior, at Thornbury Theatre.


Click http://www.sistersincrime.org.au/node/88 for the downloadable entry form and FAQs.


For further information, contact:   Lindy Cameron 03 5983 9429


 




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Published on June 14, 2015 18:33 • 1 view