The shortlist for the 2012 CWA (Crime Writers' Association) International Dagger has just been announced. This is an annual competition for crime, thriller, suspense or spy fiction novels which have been translated into English. The six shortlisted titles are:
- The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri
- I will have Vengeance by Maurizio de Giovanni
- Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Åsa Larsson
- Trackers by Deon Meyer
- Phantom by Jo Nesbø
- The Dark Valley by Valerio Varesi
'The Potter's Field' is from one of my favourite authors, Andrea Camilleri. This is the number thirteen in the Inspector Salvo Montalbano series, and it is up there with his best. It has a clever, well-worked plot, wonderful characters, wit in abundance, the wonderful Sicilian landscape, interesting insights into the Sicilian character and society, and of course the local cuisine as ever is so important. My one gripe is that this particular book has so little of Salvo's slightly weird relationship with his girlfriend Livia. Highly recommended nonetheless.
'Trackers' might be the most recent of a series of thrillers by Deon Meyer, but it was my introduction (thanks to a well travelled friend!) to this South African writer, and a rather promising one at that. It has a well worked if intricate plot; be prepared for the multi-threaded story line, maybe one too many for my liking. Indeed at times it felt like a series of separate short stories. Lots of characters to get used to as well, maybe again too many, but all told an entertaining enough read. Plus it is an interesting insight into modern South Africa. I felt though that the book went astray somewhat towards the end. The book features a housewife running from years of domestic abuse, a bodyguard hired to escort a smuggled rhinoceros, a group of Islamic terrorists based in a quiet residential street and a secret government agency threatened with amalgamation within a bigger department.
'Until Thy Wrath Be Past' by Asa Larsson was one of a number of books I have read by this Swedish author, and to mind mind is her best to date. The star of the story is lawyer Rebecka Martinsson, and the story itself is set in northern Sweden and involves a disappeared plane from WW2 and a story of nazi collaboration best left buried, or at least some so feel. You can read what I had to say of her earlier books on earlier blog post.
I have not yet read the de Giovanni and Varesi titles, and unfortunately we have neither in stock as of yet, so I'm afraid I cannot comment. And now I have just realised that my copy of 'Phantom' by Jo Nesbo has not yet arrived! My list of "to reads" is so long I have overlooked its late arrival. Must rectify that. If his previous books are anything to go by, it will be well worth the wait, I have loved al of his books, and would place Nesbo up there with those other Nordic greats Larsson and Mankell. You can read more about his series of Harry Hole books on a previous blog post of mine.
Winner to be announced, I believe, on the 5th July. Will keep you posted.