Archive for March 24, 2015

The shortlist for the 2015 Petrona Award, for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel published in English in 2014, will be announced on P1010564Thursday 26 March. This award is made in memory of my good friend Maxine Clarke, who tragically died in 2012 and was a tireless promoter of good Scandinavian crime fiction, and who provided both inspiration and encouragement  to so many bloggers.

I haven’t been reading as much Nordic crime fiction lately, but I did read several excellent novels last year that are eligible for the award. I would be very surprised if at least one of the following didn’t make that shortlist:

The Hunting Dogs: Jorn Lier Horst translator Anne Bruce

The G File Hakan Nesser translator Laurie Thompson

Borderline: Liza Marklund translator Neil Smith

Falling Freely As If In A Dream: Leif G.W.Persson translator Paul Norlen

The Second Deadly Sin: Asa Larsson translator Laurie Thompson

[photo of Maxine at Crime Fest with one of her favourite translators Don Bartlett]

Galveston: Nic Pizzolatto

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

galvestonI finished reading Arms And The Women by Reginald Hill, and Viper by Maurizio De Giovanni earlier this month. More on Viper next week, and then moved on to read Galveston by Nic Pizzolato [creator of the hit TV series True Detective]. I haven’t watched True Detective, because it is only on Sky Atlantic, not one of the 230 odd stations I have on my cable!

The novel was really very good despite the fact that the tough guy on the run tagging along with a much younger woman, and child/children is a repetitive theme in several American novels.

Galveston won the Prix du Premier Roman so I was expecting something better than average, and was not disappointed.

“Why’d you take the silencer off? I asked.

Rocky shrugged and followed something out the window. “I thought it looked meaner without it.”

I said, “You ever been to Galveston?” She shook her head.  

Roy Cady, who admits to being  a bad man, has had a past fling with the lover of his criminal boss. He hears from a doctor than he has terminal lung cancer, and then he and another of her ex-boyfriends is sent on a job, being specifically told not to take a gun he rightly suspects a trap. Emerging from a blood bath he teams up with attractive young blonde Raquel, known as Rocky, and goes on a road trip from New Orleans to Texas, having killed the three bad boys who were about to kill him. On the way they pick up Rocky’s “little sister” Tiffany. The first person narrative by Roy, sometimes jumps forward twenty years from 1987 to 2008, and the reader learns what happened in those intervening years. The reader’s mood, like Roy’s, will change from despair and pity to hope for the future as the story draws to a surprisingly pleasant conclusion for a noir novel.

I do have a weakness for Country Music, years ago there seemed to be little else on the radio when driving across the vast spaces of the American South West, so I chose some appropriate  accompanying music for reading this book. Galveston by Glen Campbell and one of my favourites Amarillo By Morning by George Strait. 

Amarillo was gas stations and storage units, low end strip clubs between motels, pounding winds. You could drive and drive but there would still be only the plains and the water towers and the small derricks bobbing up and down like seesaws.

[It does make a bit of a change from my usual Puccini and Verdi, which melodiously plays when I am reading Andrea Camilleri, or Maurizio De Giovanni.] 

” Look, though. It works both ways. Tomorrow you could get rich and fall in love.” I’d never believed that, but I tried to sound convincing.