Harpenden Books and No Exit Press present:
Christmas Crime Evening
Thursday 24th November 2016
An evening of Murder, Mystery and Mince Pies......
Robert Quinlan is a seventy-year-old historian, teaching at Florida State University, where his wife Darla is also tenured. Their marriage, forged in the fervor of anti-Vietnam-war protests, now bears the fractures of time, both personal and historical, with the couple trapped in an existence of morning coffee and solitary jogging and separate offices. For Robert and Darla, the cracks remain under the surface, whereas the divisions in Robert’s own family are more apparent: he has almost no relationship with his brother Jimmy, who became estranged from the family as the Vietnam War intensified. Robert and Jimmy’s father, a veteran of WWII, is coming to the end of his life, and aftershocks of war ripple across their lives once again, when Jimmy refuses to appear at his father’s bedside. And an unstable homeless man whom Robert at first takes to be a fellow Vietnam veteran turns out to have a deep impact not just on Robert, but on his entire family.
The very topic of the Vietnam War and the dysfunctional relationships within the protagonist's family mean that it is not without intensity, emotion or gravitas but Butler's writing is very readable and very engaging. It is a relativity short book at around 250 pages so the story is actually very contained and focussed. Although there are quite a range of issues and relationships explored in the story, it was not overwhelming or overly complicated. I became immersed in Robert's world very quickly, I felt very much part of his journey and I found the alternate sections where the narrative switched to one of the few other main characters did not interrupt the flow of the story or the connection between the reader and Robert.
This is an eloquent and mesmerising tale. The issues raised are profound and moving but the prose feels understated, simple and subtle. It is a book exploring the apathy of a long term marriage, mortality, ageing, family, love, estrangement and war. It is about damage, physically and emotionally. There are many lines which linger with you and many moments where it feels as if you need some time to absorb what Butler might be implying, suggesting or alluding to. It is intellectual and broaches many quite philosophical questions but overall, I found it did this effortlessly and was highly readable. (full review: http://bibliomaniacuk.blogspot.com/2016/11/perfume-river-by-robert-olen-butler.html)
Hearing footsteps pounding along the street behind him he glanced back, fleetingly worried, then laughed because the street was deserted. All the same, he felt uneasy. Everything looked different in the dark. Then he heard more footsteps approaching, and a hoarse voice called out. Turning his head, he made out a figure hovering in the shadows and as it raised one arm, the barrel of a gun glinted in the moonlight… The dead body of unassuming David Lester is discovered in a dark side-street, and DI Geraldine Steel is plunged into another murder investigation. The clues mount up along with the suspects, but with the death of another man in inexplicable circumstances, the case becomes increasingly complex. As Geraldine investigates the seemingly unrelated crimes, she makes a shocking discovery about her birth mother.
My Review: This has all the key aspects of a great detective novel. It has multiple characters who are all authentic and convincing. There is good dialogue, plenty of action, a great pace and the plot is well structured. There are complications and revelations which ensure the reader is kept guessing. It is very readable and written in a very fluent style.
For the full review click here: http://bibliomaniacuk.blogspot.com/2016/05/murder-ring-leigh-russell.html
David Blake is back in Newcastle, running three cities. Life is sweet until his bent accountant is arrested for murder. The money man is nailed on for a life sentence until he puts five million pounds out of Blake's reach. Now Blake faces an agonising choice; fix the acquittal of a child killer or run out of the cash he needs to bankroll his empire. Meanwhile, Serbian gangsters are taking over his territory and a crazed Russian oligarch wants to use Blake's drug supply line for his own ends. Back at home, the Police are closing in and his girlfriend is asking awkward questions.
1 July 1969. The Investiture of the new Prince of Wales. When Arianwen Hughes is arrested driving with a homemade bomb near Caernarfon Castle, her case seems hopeless. Her brother Caradog, her husband Trevor, and their friend Dafydd are implicated in the plot, the evidence against them damning. Ben Schroeder's reputation as a barrister is riding high after the cases of Billy Cottage (A Matter for the Jury) and Sir James Digby (And is There Honey Still for Tea?). But defending Arianwen will be his greatest challenge yet. Trevor may hold the only key to her defense, but he is nowhere to be found.
Informative, interesting, accessible and enjoyable' - Times on Euro Noir Barry Forshaw is acknowledged as a leading expert on European crime fiction, but his principal area of expertise is in the crime arena of the British Isles. Continuing the earlier success of the series with Nordic Noir and Euro Noir, he now returns home to produce the definitive reader's guide to modern British crime fiction. Every major living writer of the British Isles is considered, often through a concentration on one or two key books, and exciting new talents are highlighted for the reader. And as the genre is as much about films and TV as it is about books, Brit Noir celebrates crime on the screen as well as on the page. Barry Forshaw’s personal acquaintance with writers, editors and publishers is unparalleled, and the book contains a host of new first-hand insights into the genre and its practitioners.
Tickets are free but reserve your space either by calling in to Harpenden Books or on 01582 471375