CAPITAL CRIME LAUNCHES THE:
CAPITAL CRIME BOOK CLUB
Capital Crime presents the Capital Crime Book Club, an affordable monthly
subscription service and year-round home for crime and thriller fans.
Capital Crime is pleased to announce the launch of the Capital Crime Book Club. The Capital Crime Book Club is an affordable monthly subscription service that will be a year-round, inclusive, home for readers, and a regular link between authors and fans.
Each month, subscribers will receive two carefully curated paperbacks along with exclusive
access to great author content and community activities. The Capital Crime Book Club offers a way for authors and publishers to connect with readers, maintaining the ethos at the heart of the Capital Crime festival.
The Capital Crime Book Club will provide readers with great value for money, and a greater
sense of community. Capital Crime co-founder Adam Hamdy, says “Capital Crime is an inclusive festival with a strong sense of community. It is in this spirit that we’re launching the Capital Crime Book Club, a home for all fans of crime fiction. With a monthly subscription fee in the region of £10 for two paperbacks and access to exclusive community content, we’re intent on offering a great value
service that’s accessible to everyone.”
Capital Crime co-founder and Goldsboro Books Managing Director, David Headley, says
“Capital Crime has always been about connecting fans of crime fiction with their favourite
writers. We see this as another string to our bow complementing our physical festival and
capitalcrime.digital platform. We’re supporting authors and publishers and helping them
connect with readers in celebration of this much-loved genre.”
The Capital Crime Book Club will officially launch on September 1st 2020. Register now to be among the first to experience The Capital Crime Book Club:
Trouble is What I do by Walter Mosley
‘That phone number got me a night of bliss, a broken wrist, and, in the end, it cost a man his life. But that’s another story.’
And so it is, a throw away that just gives the reader an idea of Mosley’s ease with a wittily intriguing turn of phrase. Mosley has created two of the most robust and entertaining detectives in modern crime fiction; Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlins and Leonid McGill. The Easy novels chronicle a large slice of post WWII American history from the perspective of a black detective on the west coast. Leonid speaks to the modern experience of a black New York gumshoe, sadly illustrating that not enough has changed in the world, as recent events point up all too well. In that, these are very political and very relevant novels. Trouble is What I Do takes a sideswipe at what’s behind the Trumpian demagoguery and the, (still!), deeply racist nature of old American money and privilege.
Politics aside; for all their flaws, Easy and Leonid are likable characters and Mosley is a born storyteller and a veritable ideas factory. He has a way of setting a story running inside the main story that works to illuminate the important theme and later entwines with the heart of the action. It’s a pleasure reading about Leonid McGill, his complicated life and messy family affairs as well as his deadly cases. That said this is the least complex of his tales, a slight story, more a novella than a novel. There aren’t so many strands to pull together and I miss that, even though this is still a pulpy pleasure I would not want to forgo.
It all starts when Mardi Bitterman informs Leonid McGill they have visitors:
‘She’s the detective agency’s secretary-receptionist and also the human barometer that helps maintain my moral bearings in a world where sin is reflex and kindness a quick death.’
A tall young man with a battered guitar case, Lamont Richards and his ninety-two year-old grandfather, Philip Worry, known as Catfish, an old blues man, stand in Leonid’s office with a strange request. Catfish wants Leonid to deliver a letter to a white socialite, daughter of a private bank owner, descended from a family that dates back to the Mayflower. Justine is about to get married, the letter from her grandmother, Lucinda Pitts Sternman, was entrusted to Catfish a long time ago with instructions on when to deliver. It contains secrets about the family history that her father, said banker, would be prepared to kill to avoid her finding out. The case brings Leonid back in touch with his own past, the time he had to face down a deadly assassin and lived to tell the tale, (fortunately this time they might be on the same side). Leonid soon has to put Catfish and the grandson into hiding as they become targets, the links between the respectable city gent, with political connections, and the city’s most feared gangster become apparent.
Never was delivering a letter so complicated but it’s a lot of fun seeing Leonid try to make it happen. Leonid is best in a tight spot and he’s a very smart man when the fists won’t get it done he can figure something out. Mosley’s hardboiled detective stories are stylish and wholly in the best of traditions but with that richly flavoured, often bitter and brutal, black experience. I would like more meat on the bones but this is an exciting and entertaining story and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
W&N, hardback, ISBN 9781474616522, February, 2020.
If Looks Could Kill by Olivia Kiernan
The third DCS Frankie Sheehan novel
An exciting new Irish crime series was launched when DCS Frankie Sheehan debuted in Too Close to Breathe in 2018. A police procedural/serial killer/psycho drama that put poor Frankie through the wringer – an emotionally wrought and totally gripping story. It had a real feel for its terrain and gave us an intriguing, enigmatic protagonist. Then there was The Killer in Me (2019), featuring a double murder in a Clontarf cemetery and a cold case that placed the original investigation and the Dublin Garda under close scrutiny. This was a more restrained and measured story. Now we have If Looks Could Kill, this for me is a watershed moment, does Frankie Sheehan have longevity? I think she does. Kiernan’s writing has developed, Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan is now a fully rounded character. When it comes to the story, less is more, enough complexity to make the case intriguing but delivered in a more settled style, while retaining the earlier passion. Frankie still has an enigmatic edge, but now readers can really identify with her, get where she’s coming from. Whereas, she was difficult to know in the first book because she placed a wall around herself to avoid being mollycoddled or pitied by colleagues after an ‘incident’ in the past from which she was recovering, (although readers had more insight than colleagues she wasn’t an open book). Frankie is still living with the effects of her first traumatic case and she’s in a contemplative mood as this novel opens. Frankie does not suffer fools gladly or put up with the macho Garda crap, and when it comes to a case she is truly fierce.
Dublin, a public garden, children playing. Rory McGrane stands outside the park gates, it’s hot, he’s troubled, distracted. A woman sees the gun in his hand, she’s frozen to the spot, he places the gun to his temple and pulls the trigger. Meanwhile, Frankie is thinking about the past, about her dead father, the warm feeling of security she felt before she knew him better; righteous, a Guard, a hero, a good man. Of course, there were two sides to the man, there always is; the real man and the image he presented to the world. He was one of the good ones at hiding the truth. Frankie has her own secrets, she’s good at hiding the physical and mental scars of the past from the people around her but not so good at letting people in.
Baz Harwood, her partner at the Bureau for Serious Crimes, gives her a lift to the Gardai annual awards, she’s presenting a prize, a much needed boost for the force after recent bad publicity. They run into a traffic jam, an incident of some sort, Frankie steps out to investigate the problem. A man in his mid-twenties is lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood, pleading with another ‘eejit’ who is standing over him, knife in hand. They’ve been squabbling over drugs, Frankie manages to talk the knife wielder down. It’s just Dublin. Next morning a new case comes in from the sticks.
Debbie Nugent, fifty-five, has gone missing from her cottage outside Ballyallan, Wicklow; last seen by her daughter, Margot, three days ago. Why has this come to the Bureau? There’s enough blood to assume it might be murder. Margot lives with her mother but didn’t spot anything, didn’t even query Debbie’s absence. Frankie liaises with the local cops who show willing but are not really up to the rigours of a murder case. Last seen Debbie was believed to be heading to Dublin on the bus, she moved to Wicklow from the city in 1993, she had no mobile and no one knows who she might have been going to see. Frankie launches a full investigation. Margot is the obvious suspect, living in the crime scene for three days and claiming no knowledge of anything that might have happened. The search is on for the body, but in the rural mountains that’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, there’s little hope of finding Debbie Nugent alive. As the investigation unfolds, a family past comes to light that suggests there’s more going on here than Frankie thought and the case may leads back to Dublin.
DCS Frankie Sheehan is a great character, feisty, brittle, brave, determined, and her inner voice is fascinating, one of the things that really drive the story. Kiernan has an eye for details that make If Looks Could Kill feel authentic and gives it a solid grounding. The prose is tight, pared down, and clean. The case far more complex than it first appears which is very satisfying. Irish crime fiction is in plentiful supply, make room for Frankie Sheehan on your shelves.
Riverrun Books, hardback, 23/7/20, ISBN 9781529401059
Out 23 July from Europa Editions
Riccardino Andrea Camilleri
The final Inspector Montalbano novel was published in Italy yesterday, so the curtain has come down on the great detective’s illustrious career. Did he go quietly into retirement or meet a grizzly end? No spoilers, I promise, I haven’t read the book, and like a lot of British readers I know there are still two more adventures to enjoy before we get to Riccardino. Mantle will be publishing The Sicilian Method in October this year and after that there’s il cuoco dell’Alcyon.
Camilleri, who only began writing Montalbano in his late fifties, wrote Riccardino, the final case for the inspector, way back in 2005 but the novel was then hidden away by the publisher and more books in the series were written and published. Riccardino emerging into the light once more in 2018 for revision before returning to the secret vault. Until now – almost a year on from the author’s death on July 18th last year the story finally gets its airing.
In a typically playful moment for long term fans Camilleri gives himself a cameo in the book berating Montalbano over the phone for not investigating the murder of Riccardino rigourously enough (titbit courtesy of the Guardian). As for any other details, I’m sure we’d all rather wait and look forward to The Sicilian Method in October and then… The Chef at the Alcyon… And then… Riccardino.
Audible Sounds of Crime Award
for Best Unabridged Crime Audiobook
– Lee Child for Blue Moon, read by Jeff Harding (Penguin Random House Audio) With thanks to award sponsor Audible UK. Courtesy of the sponsor, the winners share £1,000.
eDunnit Awardfor Best Crime eBook
– Holly Watt for To The Lions (Raven Books)
H.R.F. Keating Award
for Best Biography or Non-Fiction Book related to Crime Fiction– John Curran for The Hooded Gunman (HarperCollins Crime Club)
Last Laugh Award
for Best Humorous Crime Novel– Helen FitzGerald for Worst Case Scenario (Orenda Books)
CrimeFest Award for Best Crime Novel for Children (ages 8-12)
– Thomas Taylor for Malamander (Walker Books)
CrimeFest Award for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (ages 12-16)
– Kathryn Evans for Beauty Sleep (Usborne Publishing)
All the winners received a Bristol Blue Glass Award and will be offered complimentary attendance and panel appearances at CRIMEFEST 2021.