Archive for April, 2014

April 27, 2014

My Criminal World: Henry Sutton

by Andre

Henry Sutton MY CRIMINAL WORLDTake pity on the struggling, middle-aged crime writer. In the case of David Slavitt, his sales are nothing to shout about, younger rivals are coming up with ever more grisly plots, and his career-focused, academic wife doesn’t really think that working from home is a full-time job. And she might be having an affair. As a confessional account of the life of a crime writer, this novel is indispensable. But our fictional, rather ineffectual author doesn’t seem quite ready to kill off his wife’s academic colleagues who sneer at the detective novel; the story’s crime element is rather more subtle and depends on the blurring of fiction and reality as Slavitt gets further into his latest book.

As the police procedural he’s writing takes shape – My Criminal World’s chapters alternate between Slavitt’s humdrum life and his grisly book – he keeps spying a shadowy figure on the street and begins to believe the life he’s created with his wife and young children in suburban Norfolk is under threat. Perhaps he has a love rival ready to oust him, or maybe the danger is something that his subconscious has invented as some kind of psychological response to the travails of the mid-list author.

There are plenty of neat in-jokes in My Criminal World, including the unaccountable popularity of Slavitt in Latvia, where Sutton has also enjoyed success. He’s sharp, too, when it comes to lonely, obsessive fans, unglamorous award ceremonies and bullying agents. It’s a clever, captivating novel that will make you feel a little more sympathy towards the nation’s neglected crime writers.

April 9, 2014

Spring Tide: Cilla & Rolf Borjlind

by Andre

Cilla and Rolf Borjlind SPRING TIDEThis startling Scandi-crime debut launches a new series from a couple who scripted Swedish TV hits including Arne Dahl and Wallander. Spring Tide – also heading to television in 2015 – opens with a grisly beach scene on the Swedish island of Nordkoster, then shifts to Stockholm 24 years later where the homeless are subject to random, violent attacks. A trainee cop, Olivia Rönning, is drawn to the 1980s cold case for a class project, which leads her to Tom Stilton, an ex-police detective with issues. But she fears for her safety as the investigation reveals a web of corruption involving big business, call girls and a Costa Rican connection.

Spring Tide is a novel that artfully combines sharp humour, suspense and social issues – shades of Henning Mankell and Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö – within concise scenes that keep you reading. Buy the book before it hits the small screen.