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Tag Archive: Crimefest

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Review of Vicious Circle by C.J. Box

June 20, 2017

Evocative, creepy and tense – a masterful modern-day, dark, cowboy thriller.
Vicious Circle is a true wilderness thriller and the evocative setting in the chilly mountains of Wyoming really drew me in. This is the seventeenth book in the Joe Pickett series, and the first one I have read, and it didn’t matter at all to my enjoyment of the book. Pickett is an unusual and therefore fascinating thriller hero – a game warden, so not a police officer or detective. He’s also a quiet hero and a family man and it is the dynamic with his family, whom he will protect at any cost, which is so touching. His old enemy is back and out for revenge and Pickett must protect his family against a charming and dangerous adversary.

I found the location mesmerizing as I am a wilderness fan but I think it is the cast of characters that had me so hooked, especially the goons, Brutus and the Weasel, and Farkus at the bar before he meets an untimely end. They add a touch of humour in an otherwise sinister and scary plot.

I was lucky enough to meet the author, C.J. Box at the UK’s CrimeFest in May 2017 and really enjoyed hearing about his ranch in Wyoming and his family. He’s a great ambassador for his State and a wonderful author. I can’t recommend this book enough.

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CrimeFest 2017

May 30, 2017

Here are my highlights for CrimeFest 2017, the international crime fiction festival in Bristol, UK. Not only is it great fun but this year there was an even bigger contingent of international authors, including those from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany and the USA. I was lucky enough to be on a panel with two great Scandi Noir authors, Antti Tuomainen, whose thriller, The Mine, is one of the best eco-thrillers I have read in a long time, and Stefan Ahnhen, whose latest book The Ninth Grave is out now. The lovely Barry Forshaw of CrimeTime fame and thriller reviewer for The Guardian in London, moderated a number of hilarious panel discussions, including an American Noir panel, with the truly lovely American thriller author, C.J.Box, who I was lucky enough to join for a fun (crazy!) dinner one night. His current novel, Vicious Circle, has me on the edge of my seat. Not to forget the many other wonderful authors I met there, including C.J. Carver and Will Sutton, as well as the irascible Ali Karim and Mike Stotter from SHOTS. My second panel, sponsored by the ITW on realism in thrillers, was moderated by the very entertaining Simon Toyne, and with Chris Ewan, Quentin Bates and J.F. Penn. I feel very proud to have been in such great company.

Roll on CrimeFest 2018 and hope to see you there!

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Review of Triple Crown by Felix Francis

May 15, 2017

I will be moderating a panel at CrimeFest on Thursday 18 May called The Hunter Hunted, and joining me will be author Felix Francis, author of Triple Crown. Here is my short review of his book:

Great characters and fascinating insight into horse racing
I am not a horse racing fan but I found the author’s insight into the disturbingly corrupt world of international horse racing fascinating, and I really enjoyed the book’s very British central character, Jeff Hinkley, forced out of his comfort zone in the USA. The tension really mounts when Jeff goes undercover as a groom and faces numerous potentially hazardous situations. A really great read.

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Review of The Ninth Grave by Stefan Ahnhem

May 10, 2017

I will be sharing a panel discussion with Swedish author Stefan Ahnhem at CrimeFest 2017 on 18 May and I have really enjoyed his latest novel The Ninth Grave. Here is a quick review:

Clever, complex and unexpected.

At first this is almost like two crime fiction stories in one volume- one set in Sweden with detective Fabian Risk and the other set in Denmark with detective Dunja Hougaard. The two plot strands come together later in the book and this is certainly a novel that requires the reader’s full attention, but it is well worth it. Risk is without doubt the lead character and he is an unusual one: clever and persistent, but hesitant and sometimes fearful, he does not behave as you expect a hero to behave at the climax (I won’t say any more as I don’t want to reveal too much). The killer is also unexpected, both barbaric and sympathetic, and I love the way the author introduces the killer’s motivation with a letter that travels half way around the world

 

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Review of The Mine by Antti Tuomainen (in translation)

April 30, 2017

Finnish author Antti Tuomainen joins me in May in the UK at CrimeFest 2017 to discuss the topic of The Hunter Hunted. Here is a brief review of The Mine.

This is a fantastic thriller and I really enjoyed its eco-thriller angle. Filled with a sense of menace and brilliantly drawn characters, it is beautifully written (and translated). Characters are not what they seem or hold dark secrets. The central character, Janne Vuori, a journalist for Helsinki Today, is beset by personal and work issues, at the same time moving into increasing danger as he gets closer to the truth about The Mine. Emil is woven skilfully into the story and his transformation and rebirth is very poignant. This book has stayed with me long after I finished it.

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