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?


Crime Fiction News

There’s been a bit of a buzz amongst bloggers in relation to bits of crime fiction news and, although late to the party (as usual), I wanted to help promote some of the events, launches and information.


Firstly, the wonderful Margot Kinberg over at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist has edited an anthology of crime fiction short stories entitled In a Word: Murder.  All proceeds will be donated to the Princess Alice Hospice, in memory of Maxine Clarke who blogged at the Petrona website. Maxine was a friend to many of us reviewers and writers and her incisive and objective reviews are much missed by us all. Even now I often find myself wondering what Maxine would have thought of a particular book. The collection includes a short story by me which I hope she’d have enjoyed.

If you are able to download and read the book, and promote the anthology  in any way possible it would be much appreciated . The hospice movement here in the UK is one of our hidden gems and provides a fantastic service to the sick and their families.

CWA60To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Crime Writers Association, the organisation commissioned a poll amongst its members to to determine the ‘Best Ever’ author, novel and series as voted for by members of the CWA. The results were are follows:

Best Ever Novel: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
Best Ever Series: Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
Best Ever Author: Agatha Christie

Some bloggers have pointed out the fairly predictable nature of the result: Rich at Past Offences, in particular, posted a thoughtful critique of the findings. The result more or less reflects my vote, except I chose Agatha Christie’s Crooked House as my favourite book. I have read many more wonderful writers over the thirty odd years I’ve devoured crime fiction but it was Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle who introduced me to the genre and I could reread all the stories today with much pleasure.

Finally, a supporter of this blog, Moira over at Clothes in Books has a regular slot over at the Guardian Books Blog. Although not just focusing on crime fiction, her posts are always interesting and her latest one, on food in fiction can be found here. I’d recommend you take a look.