Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman

Hello my bookaholic friends. I know it has been a little while since I brought you a good book but this book is worth the wait. Today I bring you a quirky and yet engaging mystery which is translated from the Spanish.

At first glance it would seem that this book is a Spanish crime novel but you soon find out it is so much more than this. you know the book is going to be good when the Inspector in charge of a missing persons case has changed his name to Manchego rather than the more humdrum (in Spanish quarters) Jandalillo. The inspector is an engaging chap who seems to play fast and loose with giving out privileged information to whomever he likes. Although the storyline had the possibility of being somewhat disjointed, the author holds it all together so well that it flows together and works. The storyline itself is good but the characters are where this book really comes into its own, they are larger than life and appear to be charicatures, but ones which work. The English characters are quinissentially upper class English with myriad eccentricities. The Spanish are flamboyant and the numerous gypsies, dark but lovable and over the top. I loved every one of them. The mystery is good, it rattles a long at a fair clip but at the same time is laugh out loud funny. It is a long time since a book has engaged me this much. I would definitely recommend it to all lovers of a madcap mystery. I shall certainly be looking out for more books by this author.

Please note I was given an advance copy of this book from the publishers in return for a fair and honest review. My review is based upon my reading of, and enjoyment of, the book. The book will not be available until January but you can preorder from the links below

Amazon UK

Amazon US

There we have it for another day my bookaholic friends. It will soon be Christmas and my hope for you is that Santa brings you lots of books.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A Winter Murderland by Juliet B. Madison

Today I’m pleased to welcome fellow crime author Juliet B Madison back to my blog to talk about A Winter Murderland, her recently released DI Frank Lyle novellas collection.

Can you briefly sum up A Winter Murderland for those who haven’t read it?

Juliet:  It’s winter and DI Frank Lyle, along with his team, are hoping for a crime-free season.
DS Thomas Fox feels threatened after a chance encounter with someone from his past. Can he and his boyfriend, James Lyle, deal with the emotional consequences of both the encounter and a revelation it forces Thomas to make?
John Cassidy is found dead. As DI Lyle and his team investigate they uncover sinister secrets and darker motives as they are drawn into the unfamiliar world of pharmaceutical malpractise and the minefield of murder by prescription.
A Winter Murderland also includes two DI Frank Lyle short stories: Wishing on a Star and The Dare.

I haven’t read the book as yet, but I believe it includes your NaNoWriMo piece?
Juliet:  Yes, that’s right Wendy. I’m really very proud of Prescription for Murder. I had to do more research than normal as I had to find out about pharmaceutical practise and prescription drugs, including ones which contraindicate one another. Cathy Goddard, the palliative care pharmacist where my mum works, was incredibly helpful and her husband, Tim, features in a cameo role as a paramedic (his real life profession)

Do you think DI Frank Lyle learns anything new as a result of this investigation?

Juliet: I don’t think he learns anything new police procedure-wise as he’s already an experienced detective, but he learns about prescription drugs and gets an insight into more of the darker facets of the human psyche.
Why did you include short stories in this collection?
Juliet: Originally the first novella, A Murder-Free Christmas, was to be published separately, but I decided to put two novellas together. Wishing on a Star is a story set in 1977 when James, DI Lyle’s son, is only six. The other story, The Dare was published in the Shadows & Light charity anthology to promote the work of Women’s Aid and to raise awareness of the more subtle aspects of domestic violence. James is sixteen and it’s a kind of emotional maturity coming of age tale (although not legally coming of age as no one turns eighteen).

I understand that DI Lyle is a big fan of Joan Baez and his colleague, DI Redfern, is into Bruce Springsteen. Do your characters’ musical tastes reflect your own in any way?
Juliet: When it comes to a character’s preferences in matters like music, reading matter, gastronomic tastes and even sexual tastes I think a lot of the author’s personal preferences do tend to creep in. Yes, I do admire Joan Baez and have seen her live twice. The fact that she is still doing live performances at the age of 73 shows incredible resilience. How many X factor winners will we remember even a year from now? I suspect that there is probably quite a bit of you in DI Shona McKenzie as well.

I know from previous interviews you’ve done that you enjoy reading crime fiction, but what’s the last book you read that wasn’t in the crime genre?

Juliet: I’m currently reading “My Life”, (David Jason’s autobiography), which I’m really enjoying.  I’m a huge David Jason fan and I think that DI Frost was the best part he played. I learnt a lot from watching that series and paid homage to the airing of the first ever episode in my last novel Best Served Cold. David is one actor I would love to meet.

Do you think DI Lyle & DI Frost would get on?
Juliet: On a personal level maybe, But DI Lyle would definitely be a straight man to Frost’s constant flouting of procedure and rule-breaking. I think he would really disapprove of Frost’s methods. They both get results in different ways.

Do you think that the crimes DI Lyle investigates will change as you move the series closer to the present day?

Juliet: There will ALWAYS be murderers, but yes, I suspect he will start to investigate things like Internet crime and identity theft as time moves on.

What’s next for DI Lyle & his team?

Juliet:  Another investigation involving people and drug trafficking, murder and corruption. I haven’t gotten very far with Dead on Arrival yet though.
Would you be prepared to share a short excerpt from A Winter Murderland with us?

JULIET:  Here’s a little bit from Prescription for Murder

Jean crossed the street and pressed the intercom button for Cassidy’s flat. The receiver crackled but there was no response. She swallowed hard.
“Mr Cassidy, are you alright?” she called. Ashbeck City Council paid Cassidy’s housing benefit direct to his bank account on a fortnightly basis and she came to collect. He had once been a lecturer at Ashbeck University, but about a year ago he had had surgery for a heart problem and not worked since. It seemed wrong to Jean, he was only in his early forties after all, but, she reminded, herself, when had life ever been fair?
There was still no response. Jean gave a glance at the leaden skies, before another tenant came out and held the door open for her.
“Thank you Mr Sakura,” she said, “Have you seen Mr Cassidy lately?”
“Not for a couple days, Miss Leyton,” he bowed respectfully as was Japanese custom.
“Alright, thank you.” she watched the Japanese walk across the road and down the street before ascending a flight of stairs to Cassidy’s apartment.
She knocked on the door, but there was no response.
She hated to invade a tenant’s privacy, but she had a need.
She unlocked the door and went in, calling his name. As she approached the door to the lounge she smelt an overpowering stench of decay. Almost afraid she pushed open the door and went in. She had not gotten more than two steps inside when the reason for Cassidy’s lack of response was made shockingly clear. Cassidy was slumped in the armchair, a bottle clutched in his hand. His dead eyes stared past her at nothing.

Where can my readers get their own copy of A Winter Murderland?

JULIET:  You can buy A Winter Murderland here

Thank you Juliet. It was a pleasure to have you on the blog today and to find out more about your latest book. I wish you and all the readers of Bookaholic a very Merry Christmas