Mystery and crime books from Australia. News, views, reviews, releases and author appearances - crime fiction in Australia. Crime novels, mystery novels, detective stories, police procedural books, thrillers and soft-boiled mysteries

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And Hope To Die : J.M. Calder

The first Australian crime novel to be published in the new year will be And Hope To Die by J.M. Calder published by Penguin under the Viking imprint. It has a release date of 8 January.

The author is actually the pseudonymous collaboration under which John Clanchy and Mark Henshaw write.

This looks as though it's a harrowing psychological thriller dealing with child abductions. My copy arrived a day or two ago and I'm anxious to give it a go.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Reading: A Knife Edge by David A. Rollins

I've moved on to David A. Rollins' latest book, A Knife Edge, the second to feature Vin Cooper who is now an investigator with the US Department of Defense.

One of the more enjoyable aspects of reading Rollins is his confrontational style when undertaking some of the more descriptive opportunities in the book. A prime example is taken from early on when he could have simply said that it was a cold day. he chose to go with:

I stepped out of the vehicle and felt my scrotum contract, testicles beating a strategic withdrawal into the warmth of my guts. I reached back for the jacket.

A great word...scrotum, underused in my opinion and should get more play, particularly in detective novels. Whether it's used to describe temperature, as it is here (I'm sure it would be just as effective in warm climes), or perhaps fear - as in a tightening in that region, or even pain - as in, a good swift kick in the...

Yep, I reckon Rollins in on to a good thing here. Get out there and use your scrotum, guys.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Aussie Noir

I got ahold of Peter Doyle's second crime novel Amaze Your Friends and am enjoying it now. This is the second Billy Glasheen novel following on from the Ned Kelly Award winning Get Rich Quick. While both are rough and tough stories filled with grifters and scammers policed by a bunch of bent cops, Amaze Your Friends has a much more noir quality about it with Glasheen's life taking on a real sense of hopelessness.

This is Aussie noir at it's dirtiest in my opinion. It's set in the 1950s and not only is it filled with Australian slang, it's the kind of slang that reminds me of my grandfather and his mates shooting the shit at the local RSL as they suck down their roll-your-own smokes lubricated by a schooner or 15 of Reschs.

For a taste of life in Sydney's gutters trying desperately to stay a step ahead of the standover merchants, this can't be beat.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Should the gassy fly?

I can see it now as we pass through passport control, the metal detector and finally...the stinkrometer before boarding our flights.

"Sorry ma'am, farts and flying is a potent cocktail, you'll have to go by train."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Marshall Browne's Inspector Anders

Back in 2000, Marshall Browne took out a Ned Kelly Award with The Wooden Leg of Inspector Anders in the category of Best First Crime Novel. Inspector Anders and the Ship of Fools followed in 2002 and then, quietly, Inspector Anders went into hibernation.

The 3rd book in the series has just been released. Titled Inspector Anders and the Blood Vendetta and published by Random House, the one-legged Italian police inspector makes a welcome return.

To catch up if you've never heard of him, Marshall Browne provides a wonderful insight into how Inspector Anders was born and developed.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Outpost - Issue 1

When I initially started The Outpost, the intention was to try to raise the profile of the Australian crime writing talent that is out there. The response was good and the first issue was put out there.

Well, the first issue has been up and running for 2 months now with the first crop of 6 Australian short stories generating some good interest. With only a month to go before the second issue comes out I've already received another full book of top quality Aussie stories that are ready to go, it's time to give the current crop another little gentle nudge so...have at it.

Issue 1 looks like this

Tyler by Franklin Neil Karmatz
Artistic Licence by Breanda Cross
Wrigley PI and the Circus of Death by Ken Cotterill
Facets of Life by Lyle Barwick
First Off the Blocks by Thomas Mitchell
Operation Bluewater by Inga Simpson

It's an eclectic mix that covers a wide range of sub-genres from detective to thriller and a good ole fashioned mystery or two.

...and I'll gladly accept more, more, more.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Few Text Re-releases

Text Publishing are about to re-release a couple of Australian crime titles.

For those who can't get enough of Peter Temple in any form, the first 2 Jack Irish novels are bundled together in The Jack Irish Quinella (that's Bad Debts & Black Tide). The real question is: will there be a new Jack Irish next year?

Then there's the debut novel Dead Set by Kel Robertson up for re-release. Part of the write-up tells us that the second Inspector Chen novel will be published later in 2007. Yet another police procedural liberally dosed with humour, this will be another one to look out for next year.

Reading: Shark Bait by Susan Geason

Well, I've just finished Shark Bait by Susan Geason - a quickie at only 171 pages.

This is the 3rd book in her Syd Fish detective series a very enjoyable, largely humorous series with a likable protagonist and a consistently solid plot. It's a shame the series only ran to 3 books (Shaved Fish, Dogfish and Shark Bait) with the first consisting of short stories, because it felt to me as though it had really hit its stride.

A feature of the entire series is Geason's description of Kings Cross and the surrounding suburbs, bringing the area to vivid life. She also has a gift for driving straight to the heart of the Australian ideology through Fish's weathered eye.

Here's a short 'n' sweet series to recommend to all detective fiction lovers.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Death Trust

Just closed the final page of The Death Trust by David A. Rollins and must say, he is really going from strength to strength with his 3rd book even more enthralling than the first 2. In Vin Cooper he has created a protagonist with just enough rogue in him to give him wide appeal, although I sense a darker side of him that is yet to be fully explored.

I received A Knife Edge from the publisher the other day and will be getting started onthat one in the very near future.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Reading: The Death Trust by David A. Rollins

In my bid to catch up on a couple of series that I have sadly neglected to read I have just started The Death Trust by David A. Rollins.

Rollins writes thrillers with a strong military background against enemies who threaten the safety of entire countries. The level of research he puts into each novel appears to be enormous and this pays great dividends with the result being high-powered thrillers that are completely engrossing.

The Death Trust is the 3rd book by David A. Rollins but the first to feature Special Agent Vin Cooper of the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Cooper comes off as a slightly cynical guy, burnt by a few setbacks in his life (just gone through a divorce, punched out a Colonel – things like that) but is more than willing to push things (such as punching out a Colonel, I guess). His military record is handily summarised at the start of the book telling us that he’s a more than capable soldier and will more than likely provide us some entertainment in the pages to come.

Plenty of humorous quips in the first 20 or so pages that had me smiling:

I’m not good with flying. Not any more. Not since Afghanistan. But they’re into it with a passion in the USAF, as you might expect.

And this one too:

I hoped Germany was more welcoming. I’d never been there but my grandfather had. I remembered him saying that it was not a very friendly place, and that people had shot at him and his tank often. But that was a long time ago.

I get the impression that The Death Trust is aimed at the US market, more so than Rogue Element and The Sword of Allah which both had strong ties to Australia. This puts Rollins in slightly uncommon group of authors who set their series in a country other than their own.

Others off the top of my head are:
Lee Child, an Englishman who sets his books in the US,
Elizabeth George, an American who sets her books in England,
Michael Robotham, an Australian who sets his books in England and
Marshall Browne, an Australian who has a series set in Italy plus a book set in Japan.

Anyway, so far so good, The Death Trust shows a lot of promise and actually reminds me a little of Nelson de Mille's John Corey books.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Appearance by P.D. Martin

P.D. Martin is on the appearance trail here in Australia with the recent release of her second book, The Murderer's Club. Like the first book, it features her Australian FBI profiler Sophie Anderson.

Martin will be at another launch night (the first official launch was back in early November) on December 8 at Leo's Spaghetti Bar in St Kilda where she will be signing books answering questions and generally charming all.

I've recently received a review copy of the new book and am feverishly reading the backlog to get to it.

The Dingo Dilemma - the 4th Kylie Kendall

Claire McNab is a transplanted Australian living in LA and, while she is little known here in Australia, her books are very popular in the US.

She has 3 series on the go, the first featuring Carol Ashton, the second a thriller series featuring Denise Cleever and the third a detective mystery series featuring Aussie-in-LA Kylie Kendall. It's the Kylie Kendall series that will expand by one book (The Dingo Dilemma) in December 2006.

Kylie Kendall has inherited a private detective agency in Los Angeles, a pretty daunting proposition given she was born and bred in Outback Australia.

From what I hear it's a humorous mystery series but, alas, I am yet to read any of McNab's books. If someone can chime in with a little info of their own it would be much appreciated. Until then, it's another author that is on the "to do" list.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Release of Peter Corris' 30th Cliff Hardy novel

Allen and Unwin will be launching the 30th Cliff Hardy novel on Tuesday 5th December. The Undertow continues the most enduring private detective series in Australia and reconfirms Peter Corris' unofficial title as the father of Australian crime fiction (as if he needed it).

The 4th Hal Challis novel

The word is out that the 4th book in Gary Disher's Hal Challis & Ellen Destry series will be released by Text Publishing in March 2007. The title is Chain of Evidence and will follow on from The Dragon Man, Kittyhawk Down and Snapshot - definitely something to look forward to in the new year.

Could there be a new Wyatt book in the offing too? We'll just have to wait in hope.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

July Release - The Shifting Fog

The debut novel of Kate Morton is due for release in July. Published by Allen & Unwin The Shifting Fog has been given great early accolades prior to its release. In fact, the book has been sold to 11 countries already. According to Morton this is a book that will appeal to lovers of mystery fiction, historical fiction, romance fiction and general fiction. Sounds as though just about everything's covered.

For Sydney-siders, Kate will be appearing at Angus & Robertson to launch the book and will be signing copies on Friday 30 June from 6:30pm.