TODAY’S DELIVERY brought two books which in different ways could not offer more of a contrast. One is by a writer who has achieved near-legendary status in his own lifetime, is believed to be Bill Clinton’s favourite author, and who has created a handful of truly memorable characters. The other is by an author making his crime fiction debut, but who is no stranger to the world of books and people who write them, as he is a former journalist who now runs a literary agency in London.
Humfrey Hunter certainly knows his way around the London literary scene, and his novel Storykiller is set in the English capital. We meet Jack Winter, a former hot-shot reporter who now puts his knowledge of how to make the headlines to a very different use – that of making them disappear if the client is rich enough. After unwisely accepting a new client, he finds himself in danger of becoming one of the headlines himself – as a corpse. Humfrey is known for being the only publisher in the UK willing to put out books critical of the church of Scientology, which include Going Clear by Lawrence Wright, The Church of Fear by John Sweeney and Ruthless by Ron Miscavige, the father of the church’s leader, earlier this year. A few days before its release date, the church of Scientology threatened to sue Humfrey if he went ahead with the publication of Ruthless, in a move which made headlines around the world. The book was published as planned and the church did not sue. The Storykiller will be out in September, but can be pre-ordered from Amazon.
Most critics have run out of superlatives to describe the work of Walter Mosley. British crime author Harry Bingham tells us, on the cover of Mosley’s latest book, “Easy Rawlins is my new god”. Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins is, of course, Mosley’s most celebrated creation, who first came into being in 1990 in Devil In A Blue Dress. Rawlins is a world-weary but basically honourable PI who, having seen service in World War 11, tries to earn an almost honest living in the Los Angeles of the 1950s and 60s. Readers who are familiar with Rawlins and his world will be aware of his loyal – but lethal – acquaintance, Raymond ‘Mouse’ Alexander. Alexander’s nickname may refer to his relatively unimposing stature but, make no mistake, he is the most feared hitman in town, and when he comes to ask a favour of Rawlins, the PI knows he has little choice but to agree. The favour? To investigate the case of Charcoal Joe, and underworld fixer who is languishing in jail – for a crime he didn’t commit. Charcoal Joe is available in all formats from the usual sources.