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.