Archive for October, 2010

Photo by Molly Boiling

British author John Harvey, the author of over a hundred a hundred books, is the creator of the celebrated series featuring Nottingham policeman Charlie Resnick. Mystery novelist Sue Grafton calls Resnick “one of the most fully realized characters in modern crime fiction; complex and capable, a man who not only loves justice, jazz and cats, but who can turn the construction of a sandwich into a work of art.” London’s Daily Mail noted of the author: “Harvey is a good as they come; a writer of consummate elegance and deft characterisation, never wasting a word in what amounts to a master class in crime writing.

In addition to the eleven books in the Resnick series, Harvey also writes the popular Frank Elder books, the first of which, Flesh & Blood, won the CWA Silver Dagger Award and the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel. Harvey is also a poet of note.

John, it’s wonderful having you on Scene of the Crime. I have long been a fan of the Resnick books, so if you don’t mind, maybe we can concentrate on those. (more…)

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They call it Tartan Noir, the Scots form of noir crime writing. And Glasgow crime writer Denise Mina is one of its major practitioners. Mina is the author of nine novels: the three installments of the “Garnethill” trilogy featuring Maureen O’Donnell as an unwilling sleuth; three novels (out of a planned five) in the “Paddy Meehan” series–Field of Blood, The Dead Hour, and The Last Breath (titled A Slip of the Knife for the U.S. edition)–featuring the eponymous journalist in 1980s and 1990s Glasgow; and two novels featuring Glasgow DI Alex Morrow, Still Midnight and The End of the Wasp Season (out in 2011). She has also written the stand-alone crime novel, Sanctum, the 2010 graphic novel, A Sickness in the Family, and has contributed to John Constantine, Hellblazer series. (more…)

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High-profile lawyer and legalist is the description that comes most rapidly to mind when hearing the name Alan M. Dershowitz. A professor at Harvard Law School and a noted appellate lawyer and columnist, he has represented such clients as Claus von Bülow, O. J. Simpson, Anatoly Shcharansky, Michael Milken, Mia Farrow, and Mike Tyson. But Dershowitz is also a bestselling author of numerous nonfiction and fiction titles.

He has published three novels featuring prominent defense attorney Abe Ringel. The first, Advocate’s Devil, from 1995, finds Abe defending a young basketball star accused of rape. The second, Just Revenge, has Abe defending a Holocaust survivor who takes revenge on the man who killed his pregnant wife, son, and extended family in Lithuania in 1942. Publishers Weekly praised the “dramatic and tragic events that frame the plot, and the intensity of [the author’s] moral argument” in that novel. In the just-published The Trials of Zion, Abe’s daughter Emma, a recent Yale grad in law, plans to help defend a young Palestinian accused of setting off an explosion that has killed several of the world’s leaders in Israel. Eventually Abe is drawn into the proceedings; he must win the Palestinian’s case or risk losing his daughter forever. Playwright David Mamet noted of this work that Dershowtiz writes “a real good rip-snorter” of a thriller. Booklist also commended this title, writing that Dershowitz “combines exciting action with courtroom drama and a lesson in the history and politics of the Middle East … [in] a thought-provoking page-turner.” (more…)

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George Vance is one of my oldest friends, but he is not appearing on Scene of the Crime because of nepotism. He is also a damn fine poet and world traveler. Those of you who follow my occasional forays into memoir might already know George as the guy who coined the phrase “Moose Lodge stage of development” in a post on Vienna then and now, and as the one whose mother, in “The Word,” busted a less than honest Ohio newspaper which had published one of my freelance pieces without payment. (more…)

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James R. Benn is the creator of the “Billy Boyle” series, featuring the exploits of Boyle during World War II in Europe. A detective on the Boston Police Department when the war begins, Boyle ends up on the staff of General Eisenhower and deals with murder and mayhem in a time when sanctioned homicide is happening on a grand scale.

The series started off with Billy Boyle, which finds the eponymous hero investigating the death of n official of the Norwegian government in exile. Lee Child, who knows a fair amount about creating suspense in a novel, noted of this debut, “This book has got it all – an instant classic.” Further books in the series include The First Wave, Blood Alone, Evil for Evil, and the recently published fifth title, Rag and Bone, a book Publishers Weekly declared “stellar,” and  about which the New York Times Book Review said that “scenes of London under siege are stark and poignant.” (more…)

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Will Thomas is the author of the popular historical fiction series featuring detective Cyrus Barker and his apprentice, Thomas Llewelyn, set in London and parts of the British Isles in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The series starts off with Some Danger Involved, and is continued with To Kingdom Come, The Limehouse Text, The Hellfire Conspiracy, and last year’s The Black Hand. The books deal with vital topics of the day, from anti-Semitism to anarchism.

The books have received critical praise. Of Kingdom Come, Booklist noted, “Thomas places his cast of likeable even heroic characters within a complex political minefield and the waits for the explosion. Intense and insightful.” The Denver Post declared the same novel a “thorough delight.” Library Journal noted of The Hellfire Conspiracy: “Thomas knows his Victorian London and his way around the makings of a great mystery. Fans of Victorian historicals will snap this up.” The New York Times Book Review said of the Barker and Llewelyn books, ‘Will Thomas explores wonderful uncharted territory…true believers who go along for the ride will hate to see it end.” (more…)

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