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staff picks

A Scare at Halloween!

The BansheeToday is Hallowe'en, and for many that means a time to scare and be scared! So below we have some scary reads to suggest to you that hopefully will not mean sleepless nights!

Hallowe'en is sometimes thought of an American feast, with its trick-or-treating, pumpkins, fancy dress parties and scary movies, but long before this – indeed, as far back as Celtic times - our ancestors celebrated Samhain, the beginning of the dark time of the year. In that regard, our Ghost Town Image Gallery showcases the Irish, and specifically Dublin, traditions of past times, with more than a nod to the celebrated Gothic writers and the haunted places of the city. It introduces viewers to such supernatural characters as the evil Dolocher and the murderess Darkey Kelly and also to gentler spirits such as that of Archbishop Marsh. Read more »

Irish Crime Fiction in a Healthy State

Broken HarbourI've been meaning for so long to do a post or three on Irish crime fiction, and the weight of guilt for not so doing before now has finally proved enough of a catalyst to get me across that line, thankfully.

But where to start?  In light of the fact that the shortlist for the Irish Book Awards (IBA) "Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award" is to be announced on the 31st October, I thought I would start with a mention of what books published over the past year might find themselves in the running. I have to say in that regard that Declan Burke's 'Crime Always Pays' blog has been an invaluable jump-off point and is well worth a visit if you want to keep informed about the Irish crime fiction scene. Last year's IBA winner by the way ('Broken Harbour' by Tana French) was selected from a shortlist of six, and I will revisit last year's winner and shortlist on another occasion (and soon!).
(Update: 'Irregulars' by McCarthy added, 30 Oct.) Read more »

Jonathan Stroud - The Bartimaeus Triology. A Must Read for Every Fantasy Fan

Post by Fabienne Sauberlich.

The Amulet of Smarkand"The temperature of the room dropped fast. Ice formed on the curtains and crusted thickly around the lights in the ceiling. Then two yellow staring eyes materialized in the smoke. "Hey, it was his first time. I wanted to scare him"."

This is the beginning of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Triology, a fantasy series that is all at once fantastic, thrilling and funny, with two main characters that will immediately capture your heart.

So what's it about? The story is set in a world where wizards are the most powerful people, and humans without magical powers are lower class people. Wizards conjure up demons to work for them, but they treat them like dangerous slaves knowing that a demon will take every chance he gets to kill his master. Read more »

What is Read in Germany?

Post by Fabienne Sauberlich.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryYes, of course there are some German authors whose works only appear in German, so unfortunately most of you won't be able to read them. But there are too a lot of international authors we Germans also like to read. And sometimes looking at what is read in other countries can give you ideas as to what books you shouldn’t miss out on.

If you want to know what books are read most in Germany you should have a look at the so called "Spiegel Bestsellerliste".  This list comes out weekly so you may also want to look at earlier ones. Below is the list for this week, and if you find something interesting watch out for it, you might even get it in your local Library. Read more »

Suspense and Thrills with a Psychological Component

Sebastian FitzekPost by Fabienne Sauberlich.

In Germany his books regularly occupy the top positions on the bestseller lists when they first come out, in fact his first book 'Therapy' kicked the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown right off the number one position in 2006. Some of his books have been translated into english and have made their way over to us. Have you already guessed who this post is about? It is of course about Sebastian Fitzek, an author I have enjoyed very much and as you see I am not alone. Read more »

Blood, Bandits and Dark Nights: Most Recent Crime Reads

In my last post (8 August) I discussed four titles from yes, Nordic climes, two being Swedish, one Finnish and one Icelandic. While Nordic writers tend to dominate my reading, they are by no means the only crime writers on my list, case in point being my posts on French crime fiction, Italian crime fiction, and my post on writers from as far afield as Australia, the US, Laos and Africa.

While this my latest update does include two Nordic titles, it also includes an Italian and a South African, and it is the latter that I will start with, as it is the book that excited me the most and which I am only dying to share with you.

City of BloodThe book is 'City of Blood' 5 stars, and it is the debut novel of M.D. Villiers (Martie de Villiers), a South African living in London. Set on the dangerous streets of Johannesburg, it is the tale of Siphwe, a 19-year old orphan who, after rushing to the aid of a woman stabbed on the street, unwittingly gets caught up in the turf war between two rival and dangerous crime lords, one South African, the other Nigerian. With the danger to him and those close to him ever growing, he has to have his wits about him and forge alliances with criminals and police alike in order to survive. The story is told mainly through Siphwe's eyes. Read more »

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