Cut Short by Leigh Russell is the author's first novel. Earlier this year she joined the Curzon Group, a group of authors promoting the Great British thriller and, having read Richard Jay Parker's first offering, Stop Me, I decided to investigate more from the group. The book arrived, along with four others and it was heading for the TBR pile, but one night, when sleep eluded me, I thought I'd just take a peek at the first chapter from this debut author. By the morning, I was a third in and the rest was read over two sittings.
Cut Short introduces DI Geraldine Steel, recently promoted and newly arrived in the town of Woolsmarsh with baggage she would prefer to work through in private. She's straight into a case and it soon becomes obvious that the first strangled victim will not be the last, so it's a race against time. Scenes of investigation are cut through with chapters from the killer's point of view and it is possible to guess early on what the problem is. And, sadly, the novel draws on a contemporary issue that has become something of a theme in today's society when it comes to mental health problems.
The press release for this event on Friday 2 October flew into my email inbox earlier today. Full text follows below:
Newport's Riverfront is holding The Big Read Day on Wednesday, October 28th. (More information in the pdf brochure download here, go to page 12.) It says it will be fun for all the family.
Note: Bernard Knight, author of the Crowner John series and many other books, will be participating.
We all know the shortlists for the other daggers, to be awarded on the evening of 21 October, but the shortlist for the historical dagger is yet to come. (Likely to be announced around the end of September, I hear.) The rules include the following:
"This award is for the best historical crime novel (set in any period up to 35 years prior to the year in which the award will be made) by an author of any nationality, first published in the UK in English between 16th September, 2008 and 15th September, 2009. All entries should be finished copies, but in the final weeks bound proofs are acceptable. After 31st March, 2009 any title submitted more than 30 days after its original publication date may be excluded."
Who would you like to see on the shortlist?
Two favourites of mine from this year's reading are Mrs D'Silva's Detective Instincts and the Shaitan of Calcutta by Glen Peters (Parthian) and The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan (Canongate). I wonder if their publishers submitted them...
Update 26/10: the shortlist was announced yesterday (but I couldn't access the blog to update before now). Here it is:
Rennie Airth THE DEAD OF WINTER, Macmillan
Philip Kerr IF THE DEAD RISE NOT, Quercus
Shona MacLean THE REDEMPTION OF ALEXANDER SEATON, Quercus
Mark Mills THE INFORMATION OFFICER, HarperCollins
Andrew Williams THE INTERROGATOR, John Murray
Laura Wilson AN EMPTY DEATH, Orion
In Monday's Guardian Robert McCrum wrote an article expressing the thought that nervous publishers ought to ditch book subtitles. One example cited was John Carey's recent work on William Golding, subtitled The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies - just in case a prospective buyer didn't know who Golding was before shelling out up to £25 for said tome, surmised McCrum.
Do we like or hate subtitles, readers? And why?
Following on from attending this author's event at the Oxford Literary Festival back in the spring, and in the current climate of the first year anniversary of the demise of Lehman Brothers covered with news items, documentaries and docudramas on our UK TV channels, I finally read How I Caused the Credit Crunch. Why did I want to read this? To gain a better understanding of what happened and what went wrong. Why this book? I said in my earlier post that it was either a brave or a foolish man who would write a fictionalised account of his own experiences as banker during the period concerned and I wanted to read that first hand account. Having listened to and briefly spoken to the author at Oxford, I fell off the fence on the side of 'brave' at the time. Having read the book, I remain there.
Just think about your own twenties. Fresh out of university, recruited into an organisation for your first job, you want to both fit in and succeed. You may question certain activities, but you are still young enough and inexperienced enough to be naive at the core, and motivation to fit in matters more. You are well rewarded for your devotion to the workplace and promised more if you perform. But even before that, an olive branch is not simply extended but thrust in your face with an induction training course that shows you just how opulent your life as a banker could become. Those innocent pieces of meat go into the grinder and come out as uniform and conforming, highly-motivated minced bankers. Simple.