We’re already seeing these summer-reading lists popping up everywhere and I like checking them out to know what everyone else is recommending and reading. You can find a great exhaustive list here at The Rap Sheet. I usually write some of these down, especially when they mention authors I’ve never read. Here is the list of books that I hope to get through; other titles always squeeze in so I will update that list once in a while. I certainly won't have time to read all of them but one can hope for a perfect summer, right? The books are listed in no particular order. (Title of the post inspired by the French movie Par un beau matin d'été).

Books that are already waiting on my shelves (pub dates are US/CAN unless otherwise noted):
  • The Ridge by Michael Koryta (available now)  
  • The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman (pub date August)
  • Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason (pub date July)  
  • Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (available now) 
  • The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (pub date August)
  • The Darkness Drops by Peter Clement (available in ebook format now)  
  • The Wreckage by Michael Robotham (available now except in Canada--March 2012)
  • Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski (available now)
  • Bad Signs by R.J. Ellory  (available UK/CAN now)
  • The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler  (available now)
  • Triple Crossing by Sebastian Rotella  (pub date July)
  • Lasting Damage by Sophie Hannah (pub date August)
  • The Killer is Dying by James Sallis (pub date August)
  • Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger (pub date August)
  • Black Lens by Ken Bruen and Russell Ackerman; serialization on Mulholland Books’s website; this started in January at one excerpt per week and you can read it all from the beginning; not to be missed!
  • Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran (available now)
  • A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (pub date August 30th). Check out our new giveaway for a free advance reader's copy!
  • Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith (UK pub date is July/ US pub date January 2012; just received the ARC and I think it’ll be very good)
  • The Accident by Linwood Barclay (US/CAN pub date August)
  • The Adjustment by Scott Phillips (pub date August; reading now)
  • The Burning Soul by John Connolly (pub date September 6th in US/CAN, Sept. 1st UK/Ireland/Australia)
  • I have every title by Jo Nesbø but so far I've only read his first one, in French, L'homme chauve-souris (The Bat Man--not yet available in English). I wrote a review on this page. Reading the second one now Les cafards (The Cockroaches--not yet available in English). 
  • And also books by Camilla Lackberg; on recommendations from friends, I've just bought her first two titles: The Ice Princess and The Preacher)
A few non-fiction titles of interest:
  • The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (author of The Devil in the White City) --very good; available now
  • Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich (author of The Accidental Billionaires -which became the movie The Social Network; and of Bringing Down the House -became the movie 21) --pub date July
  • The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen (cousin of Sacha Baron-Cohen -Borat- Simon is a highly respected psychologist and professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, UK). He is highly respected and known around the world for his research on autism. (available now)
  • Who Killed Janet Smith? by Edward Starkins. The story of one of the oldest unsolved murders in Canadian history. (pub date August in CAN/US) Reads like a good crime novel.
Some that I’ve already read and recommend are:
  • The Cut by George Pelecanos (I've just finished reading it for the second time and it's just as good as the first time; I’ll post a review very soon along with an interview; available now)
  • Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens (available now; see my review on this page and an interview here)
  • The End of Everything by Megan Abbott (Great writer, great book! Check out my review and my interview with her. Available now)
  • Long Gone by Alafair Burke  (her best book yet! Available now)
  • Fallen by Karin Slaughter (intense, great characters. Available now)
  • Bloodline by Mark Billingham (see my review on this page-- US pub date July)
  • Lake Charles by Ed Lynskey (available now; you can read my review on this page)
  • The Guardians by Andrew Pyper (review here in late August before the US pub date of September)
  • Ashes of the Earth by Eliot Pattison (available now)
  • The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly (you can read my review on this page; and my interview with him here)
  • The Cypress House by Michael Koryta (in paperback now, easy to bring at the beach). My review also on this page plus an interview here.
  • The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman (my first review for this blog, it was a very short one and doesn't really do justice to the book; just read it! The book, not the review.)
  • Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane (on trade paperback), review very soon and interview here   
Quelques titres de qualité disponibles en francais /A few good titles available in French:
  • Kolyma de Tom Rob Smith (titre original The Secret Speech)
  • Les neufs dragons de Michael Connelly (titre original Nine Dragons)
  • L'armée furieuse de Fred Vargas (not yet available in English)
  • Moonlight Mile de Dennis Lehane (du meme titre/same title)
  • La mort entre autres de Philip Kerr (titre original The One From the Other)
  • Le léopard de Jo Nesbø (titre original Panserjherte)
  • Tout est sous controle de Hugh Laurie (titre original The Gun Seller)
  • La cinquieme femme de Henning Mankell (titre original Den femte kvinnan)
  • Le royaume des voleurs de William Ryan (titre original The Holy Thief)
Format demi-poche (Le Points 2) / Semi-paperback format from Le Points 2:
Concept qui nous vient des Pays-Bas. Nouveau format demi-poche qui veut concurrencer les lecteurs numériques par sa taille.  Tient bien dans la poche.  On l'ouvre et on tourne de façon à avoir la pliure à l'horizontale. Textes imprimés sur papier bible.  Pour l'instant des reprises de bons titres déjà parus.  Reste à voir le programme de nouveautés.  Personnellement, je n'aime pas trop le format.  Trop petit à mon goût et cher.  Gadget. 
This is a concept that comes from the Netherlands. New semi-paperback format to try to compete with ebooks. Fits well in a pocket. You open it with the spine on the horizontal. Texts are printed on bible paper. For now, only previously published titles are offered. We'll wait and see what the new releases will be. Personally, I'm not a big fan. Too small and a bit expensive. Just a gadget really.  (texte/text Grenouille Noire)

Quelques titres disponibles / Some of the available titles: Le poète (Michael Connelly), Les visages (Jesse Kellerman), La cinquième femme (Henning Mankell), Tout est sous controle (Hugh Laurie).

Here are some titles that have been waiting for me since their publication in early spring (or even from last fall in some cases). I will definitely read them soon:
  • The Priest by Gerard O’Donovan
  • Dark Side by Belinda Bauer
  • One True Sentence by Craig McDonald
  • The Night Season by Chelsea Cain
  • The Bone House by Brian Freeman
  • Gone by Mo Hayder
  • Bad Boy by Peter Robinson
  • Devoured by D.E. Meredith (already read; review on this page)
Here are more titles that I hope to have on my reading list in late summer and all through fall but for which I don't have a copy yet:
  • The Drop by Michael Connelly (pub date November 29th)
  • El Gavilan by Craig McDonald (pub date September)
  • Good as Dead by Mark Billingham (UK pub date August 2011/ US probably 2012)
  • The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg (UK pub date August)
  • Dublin Dead by Gerard O'Donovan (UK July/ US-CAN probably 2012)
  • The Pack by Jason Starr  (available now)
  • The Devil's Ribbon by D.E. Meredith (pub date October)
  • Killer Move by Michael Marshall (available now)
  • The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner (pub date July)
  • Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder (available in the UK/probably early 2012 in US/CAN
Okay, I know that's a hell of a lot! But if I can read half of them I'll be happy. A third of them, should be good too. 
You're welcome to leave comments, to recommend titles and to tell me what you intend to read.
We hope you'll come back to The House of Crime and Mystery for many more reviews and interviews in the days and weeks ahead. We have new interviews with Daniel Polansky, Megan Abbott, Dennis Lehane and Chevy Stevens, reviews of Daniel Polansky's Low Town, Megan Abbott's The End of Everything, Eliot Pattison's Ashes of the Earth, Ed Lynskey's Lake Charles and D.E. Meredith's Devoured; soon of Alafair Burke's Long Gone, Karin Slaughter's Fallen and Scott Phillips's The Adjustment, plus a few more.

Have a great summer! Or winter, depending on where you are on the planet.
JF  June 2011
(updated September 4th)

Chevy Stevens' Never Knowing

Never Knowing is the second book by Canadian author Chevy Stevens. It follows in the footsteps of her international bestseller Still Missing in which a young woman realtor is abducted at the end of an open-house visit. She is then brought to a remote cabin on a mountain, where she is regularly raped, physically beaten and psychologically abused through the course of a full winter.

There are some similarities between the two books: both are fast-paced; they’re told in first person narrative --in each, the main character tells the story to her psychiatrist (the same woman in both books); the Serious Crime Unit is involved in the investigations, although without recurring characters/detectives --in real life, this Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) unit is called the Major Crime Unit everywhere in the country except in British Columbia where it is officially known as the Serious Crime Section (according to the Canadian Government website).

The events in Never Knowing have implications on a larger scale and the repercussions affect more people than in Still Missing where the story centers on a woman alone in her fight for survival; Never Knowing concentrates on a woman fighting to protect everyone around her.

If "very intense" and "thought-provoking" were terms used often to describe Still Missing, in reviews everywhere, they'll certainly be used again for Never Knowing. The main character, Sara, is the mother of a six-year old girl named Ally. When Sara, who was adopted as a baby, decides to look for her birth mother and biological father, her life becomes a whirlwind that quickly grows stronger and out of control, putting other persons' lives in danger –everyone close to her, as well as complete strangers, are sucked into the destructive vortex of a serial killer. 

Sara sometimes suffers from breathlessness caused by panic attacks; an old proverb describes accurately her situation: "Life is in the breath. He/She who half breathes, half lives." As long as the threat is still out there, Sara, caught in the ferocious winds and turbulence of events, won't be able to breathe and live a normal life. As for others, it might already be too late if they got in the way of John, the serial killer who is very interested in Sara.

With the help of two detectives from the Serious Crime Unit and of her fiancé, Sara tries to gain back control of her quiet life and, at the same time, her normal breathing. But while others decide on certain course of actions, while also trying to protect her, Sara realizes that nothing will be solved unless she decides what to do and that she acts upon it; she also knows that “…sometimes even when you have a choice, the things you’re choosing between are so horrible it doesn’t feel like much of a choice at all.”

In Never Knowing, Chevy Stevens proves without a doubt that she is not a one-hit wonder and that Still Missing was just a glimpse of what she can deliver. She writes with the self-confidence of more experienced writers like Chelsea Cain and Tess Gerritsen, while already developing her own style.
Highly recommended if you like suspense novels, especially if you don't mind reading them in only one or two sittings. Take a deep breath and dive in; you might find yourself coming up for air only after turning the last page. 

You can also visit Chevy at
I’ll be adding an interview with Chevy Stevens in a day or two.

Thanks for visiting and for reading. 
June 2011

A Bit of Dis and a Bit of Dat (June Edition)

Kate Atkinson talks about the BBC adaptation of her successful book Case Histories

A video ad for Lars Kepler's The Hypnotist

Tess Gerritsen talks about her new book The Silent Girl

Criterion Collection is releasing, on June 21st, the DVD Blu-Ray adaptation of Mickey Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly, directed by Robert Aldrich, and starring Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer:

Also from the Criterion Collection, rebel chef (and part-time crime writer) Anthony Bourdain (the Jim Morrison of the culinary world) dresses up his own list of top ten Criterion movies. Some excellent crime films in there.

Lee Child's One Shot to be filmed; Jack Reacher to be played by Tom Cruise? See the article on GalleyCat.

Also on GalleyCat, Samuel L. Jackson reads the immensely popular Go the Fuck to Sleep. Free audio for a limited time on Hilarious. I was imagining Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction) reading it to his kid!

Dat's it for now!

Jo Nesbø's The Bat Man

Jo Nesbø’s L’homme chauve-souris
(original title:Flaggermusmannen)
Harry Hole #1
(published 1997 in Norway; 2002 in France)

I had not read Jo Nesbø’s books yet, although not from lack of interest. I had been buying them and even receiving a free copy or two from a friend at Random House of Canada. So I decided I’d better start at the beginning and went with L’homme chauve-souris. This book is not yet available in English but it will probably be soon (the literal translation would be The Bat Man)*. The second Harry Hole book hasn’t been translated yet either (it would be The Cockroaches). Book three was the first one to be translated in English, under the title The Redbreast.

It is interesting to see where it all started for Norwegian author Jo Nesbø and his Oslo investigator Harry Hole (pr. Holy). As a first novel, it gives the reader an impressive plot that has Harry travel to Australia to investigate the death of Inger Holter, a Norwegian woman. Far from his jurisdiction and his comfort zone, Hole will obviously have to work with the Australian police. Nesbø must have been very confident about his own abilities (that or he already knew Australia very well) to decide to set his first novel in such a faraway land. Hole is partnered with detective Andrew Kensington. Andrew, a former boxer known as ‘Tuka’, is aboriginal and as the story develops, his shady past is revealed. Not only that, he’s also good friends with a boxer named Robin “The Murri” Toowomba and a performing artist (a clown in a circus) named Otto Rechtnagel, who also happens to be a transvestite. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it plays a role in the schemes of things.

During the course of the investigation, Hole falls for a beautiful Swedish waitress, Birgitta, who works at the Albury, the club where the victim used to work. During his relationship with her, Hole opens up and we discover some of his troubled past; an accident during a high speed car chase, in Oslo, resulted in the death of Hole’s police partner (who was riding shotgun) and a young man driving another car is now paraplegic. Hole was under the influence of alcohol while driving but the police covered it all up by saying the partner was driving; he was ejected out of the car on impact and Hole was found on the backseat, so no blood testing was done on Hole. We also learn that Hole’s first love, Kristin, killed herself a few years after their relationship had ended. Hole still carries these two events inside him like the weight of the world. He hasn’t had a drink since the accident but he’s not fully recovered yet.

The novel is kept together by the many interesting characters and by their interactions; they often discuss the history of Australia, of its aboriginal people (who were there long before the British), of local food and other subjects. It is certainly one of Nesbø’s gifts to be able to go off tangent here and there without losing the interest of the reader. 

Harry Hole is one of the most interesting main characters of today’s crime literature and, although it’s not a necessity, it’s probably because he was so well developed right from the start. He’s complex, with a few obligatory flaws that make him real, but he’s also an average guy who makes mistakes and knows that he can’t solve every problem, even though he’d like to think he could. He’s a realist who hasn’t entirely given up hope on the world in general and on love in particular, but it doesn’t come without angst; Hole realizes that he’s lucky to be a free man and he tries to give back by investing himself wholly in his quest, while never forgetting that his dark shadow follows him everywhere, waiting for a moment of weakness.  We could debate also on Harry’s surname, taken as it is written “Hole” and as it is pronounced “Holy”. I won’t start here though.

Although the story is gripping and the suspense keeps mounting, I had some problems reading it, but the fault lies entirely on the translation. The French slang just didn’t suit the story of a Norwegian detective working in Australia; call me picky, but if I want a French polar I won’t read a Norwegian author, and vice versa. (I know there are exceptions). The story is excellent but I wish I could have read it in its original version. The slang, combined with some weird turn of phrases and sentences that read too much like literal translation, took me out of the story many times. The translation was by two persons and that might be the main reason. Every following book in the series was translated by the same person; one of the two translators from the original duo. I’m guessing it’s much better now.

The originality of plot and the many likeable characters of L’homme chauve-souris kept me reading until the end and I wasn’t disappointed that I did.
I’m already reading more of Nesbø and will tell you all about that soon. I also had lots of fun reading one of his YA novels, Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder, but that's for another public and for another post. 

You can visit Jo Nesbø at (US) or (UK) or (in Swedish) or in Italian.

JF  June 2011
*update fall 2012: the book is now available in English Under the title The Bat.

Section Franco/French Section: ZE ROOM NOIRE


Avec Mes Deux Collabos/With My Two Great Collaborators:

Sweden's Lars Kepler (Suède), Quebec's Martin Michaud (Québec), USA's George Pelecanos (E-U), Norway's Jo Nesbø(Norvège), South Africa's Roger Smith (Afrique du Sud) and more/et bien plus.