The House of Crime & Mystery and La Maison Anglaise Bookstore are proud to present the second edition of the QuébeCrime Writers Festival, which will be held next week (October 25-27) in beautiful Québec City, and we are enthusiastically presenting to you our world-class line-up:  Wayne Arthurson, Linwood Barclay, Mark BillinghamPeggy Blair, Giles Blunt, Chelsea Cain, John Connolly, Brian Freeman, Chris F. HolmPeter Kirby, Mons Kallentoft, Owen LaukkanenLaura Lippman, Archer Mayor, John McFetridge, Robert Pobi, Michael Robotham, Brad Smith, and also David Swinson.
This year, the evening events will each have 6 writers instead of the 5 we had during our first festival, in 2011.
We'll also be holding two events in French, with Québec writers Geneviève Lefebvre (just added), Martin Michaud, Patrick Senécal, Johanne Seymour. Unfortunately, Patrick DeFriberg had to cancel because of other work-related obligations.

Here is the official schedule for the main events: (all the events will be followed by a short period of questions from the public, and book signings).

Thursday, October 25:
7.30 pm - 9.30 pm: Reading/talk with Linwood Barclay, Mark Billingham, Giles Blunt, Laura Lippman, Archer Mayor, Michael Robotham

Friday, October 26:
6.00 pm - 8.00 pm: Panel "The Drama of Everyday Life: Small Lives, Bigger Fears?" with Linwood Barclay, Mark Billingham, Giles Blunt, Archer Mayor, John McFetridge

8.30 pm - 10.30 pm: Reading/talk with John Connolly, Brian Freeman, Chris F. HolmPeter Kirby, Robert Pobi, David Swinson

Saturday, October 27:
10.30 am - 12.30 pm: Panel "Books to Die For: What Do Writers Read" with Chelsea Cain, John Connolly, Brian Freeman, Chris F. Holm, Mons Kallentoft, Owen Laukkanen

1.00 pm - 3.00 pm: (in French) Panel "Le polar Québécois : un monde à part?" avec Geneviève Lefebvre, Martin Michaud, Patrick Senécal, et Johanne Seymour.

3.30 pm - 5.30 pm: Panel "Living the Double-Life: To Work and To Write" with Wayne Arthurson, Peggy Blair, Peter Kirby, Robert Pobi, Brad Smith, David Swinson.

6.30 pm - 8.30 pm: Discussion et lecture avec Geneviève Lefebvre, Martin Michaud, Patrick Senécal, et Johanne Seymour.

9.00 pm - 11.00 pm: Reading/talk with Wayne Arthurson, Peggy Blair, Chelsea Cain, Mons Kallentoft, Owen Laukkanen, John McFetridge.

For full details on other events (like CSI activities) and to purchase tickets, go to our official website

Here's hoping we'll see you in Québec City next week!
The Morrin Center in Old-Quebec City

June 2012
(2nd update October 18th, 2012)

BLOODMAN by Robert Pobi

(This post is part of the Wunderkind PR blog tour to promote Robert Pobi's BLOODMAN.)

Canto XII of Dante’s Inferno takes place in the First Ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell where sinners who used violence against others suffer for all eternity in a boiling river of blood.

Bloodman is Montreal writer Robert Pobi’s first novel. FBI special agent Jake Cole has Dante’s twelfth Canto tattoed all over his body. Cole, who specialises in hunting down killers, is back in his childhood neighbourhood of Montauk, Long Island, to care for his mentally ill father. They have been estranged from each other for nearly 30 years but they still have something in common. While his father is a talented and famous painter, Jake hunts down killers for whom murder is an art. He possesses the uncanny ability to decipher the modus operandi of a killer, to figure out their artist-specific language and the personal symbolism and subtext in their work.

While Jake tries to put his dad’s house in order, he's called to put his talent to use by helping the local sheriff solve the gruesome murders of a mother and her child. As if that wasn’t enough, one of the strongest hurricanes ever is nearing the island. While residents start evacuating, other murders are committed and it becomes clear that the killer is getting closer to Jake, threatening his own wife and young son. It gets even more personal when Jake finds clues left by his father who seems to have known about a possible threat, and might even know who the killer is. But with his father now lying in a hospital bed, heavily sedated following a serious injury, Jake will need to resolve things without him.

Characters like Sheriff Hauser, Jake’s uncle Frank, and Spencer, an old friend who is now a cop, all bring a touch of normality and humanity to a twisted and disturbing world where victims are skinned alive and bleed to death. Although they try to assist Jake, there’s not much this trio can do as he’s the only one who can really make sense of this madness. Everyone else becomes a witness to his descent to a hellish place as he tries to stop the flow of blood, while avoiding ending up in its river.

The pace of the story is incredibly intense and the resolution of the plot becomes even more urgent as we learn about events from Jake’s childhood. Add to that an ominous atmosphere not unlike the one in Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island, plus a serial killer both as twisted and intelligent as any created by Thomas Harris. Even if the approaching storm is not a very original method of heightening the sense of urgency, Pobi never lets its presence overtake his plot. In fact, the hurricane works well here as a metaphor for the powerful maelstrom sucking up Jake’s life in its vortex.

Pobi writes like a seasoned author, very much in control of language and rhythm. One aspect that might bother some readers is that he consciously leaves some questions unanswered. But for those like me who enjoy a few open threads that make you think about a book for a while longer, it is a very satisfying read. Bloodman is a literary thriller written with a great sense of timing and with visual qualities that make the whole story an unnerving film in the mind's eye. It will surely make a lasting impression, and a few scenes might even haunt me as long as the wheelchair scene in Red Dragon has since the 1980s. I can’t reveal them here because that would ruin the surprise. You’ll just have to take my word for it and read the book.

You can visit Robert Pobi's website. Tell him I sent you.

July 2012
(updated from April)

A LA TRACE par Deon MEYER (in French)

Titre original : Spoor
Traduit de l'Afrikaan par : Martin DORST
In English: Trackers

Idéal pour partir en vacances que ce pavé de 722 pages. Ne vous laissez surtout pas décourager car c’est un plaisir de retrouver Deon Meyer au sommet de son art.

Une histoire à trois volets où l’on retrouve quelques personnages connus tel Lemmer (Lemmer l’invisible) reconverti en garde du corps d’un convoi inusité de rhinocéros rares. jusqu’à une réserve privée d’Afrique du Sud. Convoi qui doit se rendre jusqu’à une réserve privée d’Afrique du Sud mais qui sera attaqué par un groupe fort bien informé de trafiquants qui recherche tout autre chose que des cornes de rhino. Ils laisseront Lemmer et ses comparses salement amochés.

Matt Joubert (Jusqu’au dernier) ancien policier du Cap, devenu privé, qui doit enquêter sur la disparition d’un homme à première vue sans histoire, mais qui menait une double vie.  Un Joubert qui accepte mal de devoir facturer ses services pour la moindre intervention et d’être empêché de poursuivre son enquête par manque de liquidité du client.

Et une nouvelle venue, Milla, femme au foyer de milieu favorisé, complètement dévalorisée par son mari et son fils qui la prennent pour acquise, mais qui décide de tout plaquer et de recommencer sa vie en coupant les ponts. Elle trouve d’ailleurs assez vite un travail de journaliste pour l’Agence présidentielle de renseignements, sans avoir de qualifications particulières, ce qui constitue un atout pour ses employeurs qui n’hésiteront pas à utiliser son inexpérience à leur profit et à ses dépens.


Today, July 1st, is Canada Day. In some European countries, when it is your birthday, you're supposed to foot the bill when you go out drinking with your buddies. I can't really buy you drinks (besides, it's not my b'day, so my country should be paying drinks) so how about instead I give out a few books to one lucky US citizen?
Let's say it'll help celebrate the 4th of July. I have a bundle of 3 (three) advance reader's copies of some of the best July releases. They are:
*Jeff Abbott's THE LAST MINUTE (Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group), his follow-up to the thrilling ADRENALINE, the book that introduced Sam Capra, of whom Harlan Coben said "I think Sam Capra is the heir apparent to Jason Bourne...The most gripping spy story I've read in years".