World Gone By: the end of an era

  WW2 was tough on the American mob. The ample criminal opportunities provided by shortages and stressed policing were balanced by the gangs’ own issues – lack of decent manpower, the rise of fierce competition, the gradual erosion of the values which had made the Italian mafia all but invincible. The Feds are putting the…

Emboozlement: sneak preview!

‘Let me paint you a theatrical picture, McCall,’ Logan said, ‘so your half-baked, off-off-off-off-Broadway brain can somehow wrap itself around these particular, fucked-up fences that you yourself have no doubt constructed.’ Buckle up boys and girls, for the full-on non-stop wild ride that is Emboozlement – the new wise-cracking crime caper which is just perfect…

Crime Time: new books and recommended reads

  The autumn reading season delivers Nordic noir, cosy crime, sci-fi thrillers, feisty female detectives, murder in the Outback and sleaze in Sicily: detectives, vendettas, hardboiled heroes and even some gore-splattered horror. Oh, and the George Smiley spy story which everyone’s been patiently waiting for… A LEGACY OF SPIES by John Le Carre A throwback…

The Accordionist: off-key?

French novelist Fred Vargas writes two separate crime series which have been translated into English. The Commissaire Adamsberg investigations are more conventional, although even they exist on the outer fringes of idiosyncrasy. The Accordionist belongs to her other ‘Three Evangelists’ series, and it veers from quaintly quirky into absolute obscurity without following a straight line…

The Force: American epic

Undoubtedly, this is the great American crime novel of the decade and it’ll be the book which in future everyone will associate with Don Winslow. They’ll probably use it as a required text in literary degree courses – an epic of both grand and human proportions which thoroughly exposes the conflicts in the human condition…

Varg Veum: a wolf comes a-calling

In an extended moment of muppetry, I avoided reading Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum series for decades. Every time a new episode featuring the Norwegian private detective arrived, my vision was averted. I looked the other way, put off by back-cover blurbs which compared the books to Henning Mankell, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. That old…