Four recent e-book reads: Kevin Wignall, Margot Kinberg, Christina Philippou & Alan M A Friedmann

I’ve recently bought a Kindle Paperwhite to replace the first generation kindle that has lain unused in my desk drawer for years. To be honest, the new version isn’t much different to the old except for the touch screen and the light that I can use to read in bed. It has, however, prompted me to read some authors whose books were either easier to find on kindle or had been sitting on my e-reader for a while.

27810589First up was Kevin Wignall whose A Death in Sweden I’d heard great things about. It has a cracking opening chapter: a bus crash where one of the victims, Jaques Fillon, is proved never to have existed despite living in plain sight a small rural community in northern Sweden. A former CIA hitman, Dan Henricks, is asked to uncover Fillon’s real identity. However, former colleagues are being assassinated and Henricks is both hunter and hunted. I have a penchant for well-written spy thrillers and this one definitely fits the bill.  Wignall doesn’t fall into the Brits in Scandinavia trap. Descriptions of the landscape serve to push along the narrative not hinder it with needless prose and I enjoyed the taut narrative.

pasttensekinbergMargot Kinberg is one of the most popular US crime fiction bloggers and her website, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, is the best around. I reviewed one of earlier books, Publish or Perish, a few years ago and I was delighted to see that she had a new novel out. Past Tense once more takes place at Tilton University where former detective turned professor, Joel Williams, investigates the discovery of bones on a construction site. Kinberg’s books are examples of how American mysteries don’t have to fit in the ‘noir’ or ‘cosy’ category. Past Tense is an excellent tale with a disturbing crime at its core and a perfect winter read.

29502191Christina Philippou is a debut author whose book,  Lost in Static, has an interesting premise. There are four different versions of one story. Who is telling the truth?  Philppou has an strong writing style. To differentiate the characters she switches from first person to third and from present tense to past. The subject matter is hard-hitting and like Doug Johnstone’s recent novel, I enjoyed the protagonists being younger than you normally read. Phlippou is a talented writer who has a promising career ahead.

32710813‘Cosy’ is a term that comes with a variety of connotations but they can be great fun to read. Alan MA Friedman (the nom de plume of a writing duo) describe their debut novel, The Sorrowful Woman, as ‘Tartan Blanc’. Julia Flowers is an Oriental antique specialist who investigates the death of a former diplomat. The tone of the book is light-hearted and humorous and there’s good balance between the professional detective, Inspector Bland and Julia, the enthusiastic amateur. There’s a strong Scottish sense of place to the setting and The Sorrowful Woman is an enjoyable start to what I’m sure will be a great new series.

Can you recommend any e-books for my next kindle reads?


Music to Write Books By – Christina Philippou

I’ve had a manic week attending various events to promote A Deadly ThawIt’s been great meeting readers out and about but it does mean that I haven’t managed to write a post with my latest reviews. That will be coming Monday but, in the meantime, as it’s Friday I’ve another interesting post on music that authors write to.

thumbnail_cphilippou-2Today on Crimepieces, I have Christina Philippou whose first novel,  Lost in Static, has just been published. Christina’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Christina is also the founder of the contemporary fiction author initiative, Britfic.

Hi Christina – thanks for joining in with this. Do you have particular pieces of music you write to?

Depends on what I’m writing. If I’m writing something sad, I normally have No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom playing in the background.

If I’m writing something lively, I hit 90s pop (a little bit of Bobby Brown’s Two Can Play That Game or some classic Madonna, for example).

And if I’m writing action, I listen to Greenday’s Dookie and or Offspring’s Smash. So, in answer to your question, sort of?

Has a particular piece of music ever inspired you to write something?

Matchbox Twenty’s 3am inspired a rather sad short story which will never see the light of day, while The All-American Rejects’ Dirty Little Secret inspired a scene in my novel, Lost in Static.

Could you recommend any particular pieces of music for a specific mood? – I love Holst’s ‘Mars the Bringer of War’ for example to get me in the mood to write angry passages.

Haha you’re far more cultured than I am! If I want angry, I put on music that reminds me of people and places that I’d rather not remember – seems to do the trick!

Are there any longer pieces you can recommend? If you need to write for an hour, for example, is there a particular composer/artist you’d chose?

The beauty of Spotify is that you can pick an artist to suit the mood and you can get similar music to listen to. But I normally find myself rehashing old playlists. I find listening to new music distracting when writing. I need it in the background, like the test cricket.

What are you working on at the moment?

Editing book 2 (which is as yet untitled) – which, unfortunately, requires silence, so not so exciting on the music front. Although I did have fun searching through old European hits for the earlier half of the story.

Thanks, Christina for taking part. You can connect with Christina on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+. Don’t forget the complete playlist for this series of posts can be found here.