Saturday, October 3, 2009

Good Reading: crime-related contents

As I said last month, one of the magazines I write reviews and books-related features for is Good Reading, the Australian-based "magazine for book lovers". Each month the magazine has more than 60 new or recent books reviewed, news from around the literary world, and several features articles (including author interviews, literature-related travel articles, overviews of different sub-genres, and much more). It's a cool magazine, and I am proud to write for them.

The great thing is, if you aren't able to get your hands on a hard copy in Australia or New Zealand, you can instead become an online subscriber (for a surprisingly low price), allowing you access to not only the current issue, but a massive database of archived feature articles (including more than 200 great author interviews), thousands of books reviews, and more. You can find more information HERE.

As you can imagine, I concentrate mainly on crime/thriller fiction when it comes to my contributions to Good Reading. Each month I'll give you a heads-up on ALL the crime or thriller-related content in the upcoming issue (ie not just my articles/reviews). For the October issue which is now on the shelves, that includes:

"Bloody-Minded" (by Craig Sisterson) - a 2-page interview with award-winning Scottish crime writer Stuart MacBride (COLD GRANITE, FLESH HOUSE, BLIND EYE etc), who has just released his first non-DS McRae novel, a standalone 'futuristic thriller' called HALFHEAD.

You can read a little more about my interview with Stuart MacBride HERE, and online subscribers ot Good Reading can link through to the feature article itself HERE.

Anyone can view Good Reading's books database online, which includes information about the book, a note of which issue it was featured in, and a snippet from the review (subscribers can see the full reviews). The crime/thriller books reviewed in the October issue are outlined below - the reviewers this month are myself (CS), Brooke Walker (BW), Linda George (LG), Pamela Freeman (PF), and Daniel Herborn (DH).

by Don Winslow (4-stars - BW)
When The Sundowner, an icon symbolic of the San Diego surf scene, is the location for a dispute between a twentyish surfer from Oahu's North Shore and a member of the Rockpile Crew – the harsh reality comes to light and the laid-back streets of Pacific Beach are no longer safe at night. So, when lawyer Petra Hall, who has a thing with Boone Daniels, a surfer and laidback private investigator, asks him to take on the murder case and help the defence, he reluctantly agrees bringing with it an outrage from the rest of the Dawn Patrol.

by Julie Corbin (3 1/2 stars - LG)Grace has lived in the same village on the east coast of Scotland for almost her entire life. Safe and secure, it is the perfect place for her and her husband Paul to bring up their twin girls. And so, despite having to contend with the trials and tribulations of her adolescent daughters and the increasing onset of Alzheimer's in her beloved father-in-law, Grace feels that, finally, life is good. Until, that is, a phone call from her old best friend, a woman she hasn't seen in years - and for good reason - threatens to take away everything she holds dear. Grace is about to discover that some secrets can't remain buried forever . . .

by Alafair Burke (3 1/2 stars - CS)
Chelsea Hart, a fresh-faced Indiana college student, spends the final night of her spring break in the VIP room of an elite New York City nightclub with her girlfriends and a fake ID. The next morning, joggers find her in East River Park, her celebrated blonde hair hacked off. NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher catches the case and quickly homes in on a group of privileged men who were last seen partying with Chelsea. When a tight case is built against a young hedge fund manager, the department and the district attorney's office are elated. But Ellie has her doubts. Chelsea's murder is eerily similar to three other deaths that occurred a decade ago

IN THE BLOOD by J.A. Kerley (4 stars - CS)
The heat-soaked madness of Alabama's steamy nights are the lifeblood of homicide detective Carson Ryder. His grim past carries a murderous burden that only his laid-back partner Harry Nautilus understands. They are all that stands between the citizens of the city of Mobile and the deranged killers who breed in the swampy heartlands of the Deep South. Now Carson's secret is out - literally. His murderous blood brother Jeremy is at large. And there's a bizarre new case involving an abandoned infant, a murdered S&M-loving televangelist, Neo-Nazis and satantic rituals.
by Colin Cotterill (3 stars - PF)
Following a rash but perhaps not unexpected moment of insolence, Dr Siri is forced to go on a road trip with Judge Haeng and the Justice Department. On a deserted jungle trail they are ambushed and Siri is kidnapped by Hmong insurgents. His only route to freedom is to exorcise the village of its demon - a task he has no idea how to accomplish. Newly pregnant Nurse Dtui and Dr Siri's fianc , Madame Daeng, are left alone to track down an assassin intent on wiping out the mortuary staff. If only their troubles ended there. Before the case is solved they'll face exploding corpses, undead muggers and geriatric gunslinger.

by Thomas Pynchon (3 stars - DH)
Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon – private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog.It's been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that 'love' is another of those words going around at the moment, like 'trip' or 'groovy', except that this one usually leads to trouble.

LENNOX by Craig Russell (4 1/2 stars - CS)
Shady investigator Lennox stands somewhere between legal and illegal, honour and greed, crims and cops. The McGahern twins are on the way up in Glasgow's grimy underworld. Then Tam, the brains of the two, is killed in a vicious contract killing. Frankie, Tam's identical twin, wants Lennox to find out who killed Tam. Lennox refuses. Later that night, Frankie turns up dead, and Lennox finds himself in the frame for the murder. The only way for him to prove his innocence is to solve the crime - but he'll have to evade dodgy cops and men more deadly than Glasgow's notorious crime bosses before he gets any answers.


And just a note, in case you think I'm in the habit of giving out the higher grades amongst the crime fiction reviewers - I actually sent in another couple of lower-rated reviews (2 1/2 stars), but the Editor chose not to use them this month. So I don't always give high star ratings - but I did particularly enjoy LENNOX.

So have you read Good Reading? What do you think of the magazine? What crime/thriller authors would you like to see interviewed and featured in future? Suggestions and comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. These all sound really interesting! My attention was immediately caught by The Gentleman's Hour , because at the moment, I live about an hour away from Pacific Beach. I know I'll find the setting familiar! And I did enjoy your review of Lennox, too. Thanks for sharing all of these novels.