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Matador

THE POSTMAN DELIVERS . . . Krender & Tudor

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Both of this week’s books are published by Matador, and they are both of the “what if?” variety. Ian James Krender’s book is actually set in the past – England in the 1980s – but an England that has been ruled by Nazi Germany since the end of WW2. Andrew Tudor’s premise is equally sinister, but we are in a a Britain of the future, and facing a rogue virus which threatens to engulf civilisation.

REGION 6 by Ian James Krender

KrenderThe author admits to being influenced by Robert Harris, Len Deighton, Philip K Dick, Frederick Forsyth and Stephen King. Region 6 is the bureaucratic name for conquered Britain, and the story begins on 21st June 1983 in the East End of London or, as the Germans call it, Ost Bereich 15. Fifteen year-old Tom and his parents are rounded up by the police and sent to a concentration camp where Tom witnesses his mother being shot in cold blood by a Nazi guard. When he finally returns to Stepney, he vows to join the resistance movement.

Region 6Another young man, Stephen, has nothing but praise for the government. They have treated his family well, he has graduated from Cambridge, and now has a job with the Gestapo. He says:

“It was during the 1980s that we enjoyed some of the greatest leaps in living standards thanks to the economic miracle engineered by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Hunger and poverty had been abolished. I remember feeling an innate optimism as a child.”

Fate sets these two young men on a political collision course, but their lives also become intertwined in a way which neither could have envisaged. Region 6 is out now.

THE ZENO EFFECT by Andrew Tudor

Andrew Tudor is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York. He was film critic for New Society from 1975 to 1982 and has been chairman of York Film Theatre for more than ten years. In his chilling vision of a future world where population growth has spiraled beyond control, and dystopia threatens, Alison MacGregor, a Scientific Liaison Officer for the Scottish government, discovers evidence that a scientist, angry and disillusioned at the failure of world rulers to get a grip of the situation, has released a genetically engineered virus capable of wiping out whole societies. Together with a senior scientist, a security expert and a young journalist, McGregor battles aginst overwhelming odds to prevent a catastrophe. The Zeno Effect is available now.

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THE POSTMAN DELIVERS … Jayson, Gilbertson & Bartram

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We have two new books from Matador this week, plus the very welcome return of the genial crime reporter, Colin Crampton.

TLSThe Last Squadron is a military thriller from debut author Dan Jayson, and it is set fifteen years from now, and the most pessimistic soothsayers have been proved right. The ethnic and religious schisms which had been festering for decades have bloomed into an apocalyptic hell of different wars across the globe. Nowhere is safe, and unlikely political alliances have been forged. A squadron of mountain troops has been serving on the inhospitable Northern Front, but as they fly home for much needed rest, their aircraft is shot down – and they realise that their nightmare is only just beginning. Dan Jayson’s bio tells us that he is the co-founder of an underwater search and salvage company. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineers and served in the British Territorial Army. He is based in south-west London.The Last Squadron is published by Matador, and is available now  from Amazon, or from the Matador/Troubador website.

GilbertsonDavid Gilbertson (right) is a writer whose knowledge of policing and counter-terrorism is second to none. He had a long and varied career as a police officer. He served in uniform and CID in the UK and abroad, (attached to the New York City Police Department in 1988 and seconded to South Africa in 1994 as the Director of Peace Monitors for the first post-Apartheid elections). His latest novel, The Path of Deception,  is set in a Britain devastated by a terrorist atrocity of hitherto unimagined scale. The police and security services are faced with the very real possibility that their attempts to prevent the outrage have been sabotaged from within. Suddenly, the task of making safe the imminent coronation of King Charles III is thrown into a very different focus. You can read more on the Troubador/Matador website, or visit Amazon.

Crampyon051Crime reporter Colin Crampton (as imagined by Frank Duffy, left) is a delightful invention by journalist and author Peter Bartram. Only he could verify the extent to which Colin is autobiographical, but suffice it to say that Bartram has spent in his working life in journalism, and knows Brighton in and out, top to bottom, and backwards and forwards. In Front Page Murder, Crampton once again becomes involved in a very literal matter of life and death. Set in the 1960s before the abolition of the death penalty, Crampton is persuaded to establish the innocence of Archie Flowerdew – awaiting the hangman’s noose for the murder of a rival artist. Peter Bartram wrote an excellent piece for Fully Booked on the peculiarly English attraction known as What The Butler Saw machines, and you can read the entertaining feature here. The previous Colin Crampton tale involved these risqué seaside attractions, and you can click on Stop Press Murder to read the full review.

Front Page Murder is published by Roundfire Books, and will be available at the end of November.

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ON MY SHELF … 18th November 2016

 

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james-letoileAt What Cost by James L’Etoile
No-one can accuse the author of a lack of experience of the darker paths taken by men and women when they cross the line which separates citizenship from criminality. L’Etoile has worked as prison warden, parole director, hostage negotiator and probation officer. Whatever is foul and dreadful in this world, he has probably seen it at first hand.

Now he has turned to fiction, and his debut novel tells the grim tale of a Sacramento detective – John Penley – who is working on the impossible balancing act between a demanding police career, and being father to a very sick young boy who urgently needs a new kidney. When his latest case involves a killer who eviscerates his victims, that is bad enough. But when the psychopath offers to provide Penley’s son with a new kidney – at a price – the cop is faced with a terrible dilemma. Crooked Lane Books – 13th December

Dead End by Daniel Pascoe
dead-endPascoe is a retired oncologist, and he attracted good reviews of his first novel, The London Sniper, which came out in 2015. He is back in print with the saga of Matthew Crawford, and his traumatic attempt to find a daughter he never knew. Crawford fathered the child when he was still a teenager, but has gone on to lead a relatively normal family life. We pick up his story when he is about to make the traditional father’s speech at the wedding of his other daughter, Annabel. He speaks of his loves and loss, the personal tragedy of the death of his wife, Rachel, and some other family stories of joy, interspersed with the usual jokes

The long-absent Sophie is never far from his mind, however, and as he runs through the expected clichés, he decides to search for his missing child. That decision brings not only danger and disruption to him, but drags his long-lost child into a deadly war between drug dealers and corrupt politicians.
Book Guild Publishing – out now

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Purged by Peter Laws
Laws is a member of a very exclusive club – that of Baptist ministers writing crime fiction with a touch of the supernatural. If he has fellow members who are reading this, please get in touch! We meet Matt Hunter, a cleric who has abandoned the certainties of religious doctrine for the far fluffier world of sociology.

Hardened CriFi buffs will know that there are few places on God’s Earth (other deities are available) more sinister and receptive to the powers of evil than an apparently tranquil English village. So it is that Hunter and his family take what turns to be an ill-advised holiday in the Oxfordshire village of Hobbs Hill. Hidden within the warm Cotswold stone, the thatch and the dreamy, drowsy torpor of rural England, there are several distinctly malevolent entities at work. A local girl disappears without trace, followed by another. Hunter is certain that something much darker than common criminality is at work and, despite police scepticism, he becomes involved in an investigation that will come to threaten his own sanity and the safety of his family. If you are a fan of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker, or Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins, this may well be your first ‘must-have’ of 2017. Allison & Busby – 16th February 2017

rwdRendezvous With Death by Gil Hogg
Gil Hogg, although living in the West London district of Fulham, is a New Zealander. His novel Rendezvous With Death is far from a debut, as Hogg’s first novel A Smell of Fraud was published as long ago as 1976. He returns with a story which begins in the explosive atmosphere of present day Pakistan.

Nick Dyson has abandoned his career as a barrister in London to act as personal assistant to a British diplomat – Robert Laidlow –  in Islamabad. What seemed like a smart career move goes dramatically wrong when the diplomat is kidnapped. While the authorities are busy blaming the usual suspects – Islamic extremists – it dawns on Dyson that the criminals may in fact be working for a powerful European businessman with an implacable grudge against Laidlow and his family, and that his own head may be the next to roll.

Rendezvous With Death came out at in Kindle at the end of September and you can take a closer look plus a glimpse of Gil Hogg’s earlier books by visiting his author page. If you fancy a print version, then you can order one from the Troubador home page. Matador/Troubador – out now

Tokyo Nights by Jim Douglas
We are in present day Tokyo, and submerged in the frenetic noise, neon and night-time Nirvana of a city that rarely sleeps. The contrast between the brash and gaudy streets of the Japanese capital and the other-worldly, two-dimensional serenity of the country’s traditional image is probably lost on maverick ex-pat Charlie Davis. He takes a long term view of life – he lives for tomorrow rather than the next two hours, but when he becomes involved with Colin McCann, a reluctant PI hired to look into the death of a wealthy businessman’s daughter, his live-and-let-live philosophy comes under extreme pressure.

Jim Douglas is the pen name of a writing partnership between Jim Hickey and Douglas Forrester. Jim and Doug wrote together in their adopted city of Tokyo where Jim still lives. Doug returned home to Glasgow early in 2016 for medical treatment and to be with his family. He died in September 2016 shortly before the publication of this, his first novel, Hence the poignant dedication at the beginning of the book. Fledgling Press – just out now.

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