Another Lily Bard mystery from the prolific crime writer Charlaine Harris. In the southern town of Shakespeare, local good-time girl Deedra Dean is found murdered in her car, naked and desecrated.
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Friday 11 December 2009
It's a crying shame that one of the best crime books of the year is also the last from its author. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (translated by Reg Keeland; MacLehose, £18.99) is the final instalment of Stieg Larsson's captivating trilogy, starring the amoral but appealing Lisbeth Salander. Larsson's untimely death has left crime fiction fans without one of the genre's great new voices.
Sunday 06 December 2009
This season delivers a bumper crop of excellent thrillers. In William Boyd's Ordinary Thunderstorms (Whole Story Audio, £24.46), Adam Kindred, wanted for a gruesome murder of which he is innocent, goes to ground in London. He lives rough, creating a new identity for himself and gradually unravels a huge pharmaceutical fraud. Boyd visits and forensically examines virtually every level of contemporary society, from prostitutes and hellfire evangelists to scientists, corrupt City types and an ex-soldier turned hired gun. Compellingly read by Martyn Ellis, it is a serious, thoughtful and provocative novel. And it speeds along faster than a cheetah.
Saturday 28 November 2009
Sunday 01 November 2009
The brilliant young maverick investigator Lisbeth Salander spends half of this book immobile in a hospital bed. Shot three times, once in the head, and buried in a shallow grave, she has somehow emerged and found enough strength to bash in her wicked father's head with an axe. He, the old Russian defector Zalachenko, has also survived and lies, similarly bandaged, in the next room. One seems certain to kill the other.
Friday 02 October 2009
Thursday 01 October 2009
Sunday 06 September 2009
The second in Stieg Larsson's posthumous Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a thriller with liberal tendencies, in which all the baddies are a) male and b) sexist, and all the goodies are socially conscious crusaders.
Tuesday 04 August 2009
When Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, Joan Holloway was so devastated that she had to go and lie down in a darkened room for an entire afternoon. "This world destroyed her," she wept to her uncomprehending boss. Joan is fictional – the sad but sassy secretary whose sexuality dominates the offices of Sterling Cooper in the TV drama Mad Men – but her reaction to the star's demise is entirely realistic.
Friday 31 July 2009
Friday 31 July 2009
What explains the sky-rocketing success of the late author's Millennium thrillers – even in translation-wary Britain? For all their serpentine plot-twists, spanking pace and contagious anger about the dirty dealings of the top-drawer Swedish sleazebags who debauch a one-proud welfare state, Larsson's mysteries would never have hit the sales stratosphere without Lisbeth Salander.
Friday 24 July 2009
This year sees the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, in which a club full of gay men fought back against the New York police sent to raid them. Thereby they founded the gay rights movement which evolved into the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement - or LGBT to its friends. The "L" comes first because, even in those early days of liberation and pride, it was obvious that the women were second-class citizens. If you're working to free an oppressed minority, it's not clever to create a sub-minority at the start.
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- 5 Nelson Mandela: From 'terrorist' to tea with the Queen