Friday, April 09, 2004

Here's an end of March round-up of the latest crime-fiction in Britain, from Susanna Yager. It's nice to finally see some serious review-appreciation for Caroline Graham, whose first novel in five years was published last month, and was up to her usual high standard. Another good review for Jim Kelly's The Fire Baby (for those interested, his next Dryden novel will be called The Moon Tunnel, and I've heard that it'll be out next year; in Britain anyway), and Donna Leon quite justly receives more lush praise for Doctored Evidence , the latest novel in her divinely enjoyable Brunetti series.

Amazon.co.uk carries a synopsis of Ian Rankin's next Rebus novel, Fleshmarket Close (in the USA, this would translate to something like "Fleshmarket Avenue"): An illegal immigrant is found murdered in an Edinburgh housing scheme: a racist attack, or something else entirely? Rebus is drawn into the case, but has other problems: his old police station has closed for business, and his masters would rather he retire than stick around. But Rebus is that most stubborn of creatures. As Rebus investigates, he must visit an asylum seekers' detention centre, deal with the sleazy Edinburgh underworld, and maybe even fall in love...Siobhan meanwhile has problems of her own. A teenager has disappeared from home and Siobhan is drawn into helping the family, which will mean travelling closer than is healthy towards the web of a convicted rapist. Then there's the small matter of the two skeletons - a woman and an infant - found buried beneath a concrete cellar floor in Fleshmarket Close. The scene begins to look like an elaborate stunt - but whose, and for what purpose? And how can it tie to the murder on the unforgiving housing-scheme known as Knoxland? .

Val McDermid's website has recently put up an extract of her next novel, The Torment of Others. I myself don't see much point at all in extracts, but if you're interested then go sneak a peek...

Lastly, a recommendation from me: Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. Another book plucked from last year's wonderful Booker shortlist (I was incredibly impressed with last year's shortlist; I don't think there's ever been a year when I wanted to read every book on it.) It is is superb - obviously, it's by Margaret Atwood - and I recommend it to all. A dystopia where genetic tinkering has left the natural world in ruins. To quote from the blurb: " Pigs might not fly but they are strangely altered. So, for that matter, are wolves and racoons. A man, once named Jimmy, now calls himself Snowman and lives in a tree, wrapped in old bed sheets. The voice of Oryx, the woman he loved, teasingly haunts him. And the green-eyed Children of Crake are, for some reason, his responsibility." (If that isn't the most intriguing blurb ever, then I'm John Kerry.) Clever, sharp, wise, and a literate pageturner. It's also, strangely, a thriller, as the book moves forward we become ever more curious about what disastrous events really caused the wastelands that surround Snowman.

Plus, the policing organisation which patrols the scientific research compounds is called "CorpSeCorps". Now, I'm sorry, but that is lexical genius of the highest order.