Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense Blog
Sunday, 03 November 2013 11:25
The United States and Canada don’t have a lock on mystery fiction conferences. One of the most famous is located in Harrogate, England.
New to the mystery fiction conference scene is Iceland Noir, which launches its first gathering Nov. 21-24 at The Nordic House in downtown Reykjavik.
While Iceland has a rich history of literature, mystery fiction is fairly new to this country. Now Iceland has a handful of highly respected mystery authors who are showcasing their country through gripping crime fiction.
Arnaldur (phonetically ARE-nald-UR Ind-RID-a-son) has been credited with the starting a new wave of Icelandic crime fiction, beginning with his 1997 Sons of Earth (Synir duftsins). Arnaldur—it’s the custom to call the Icelandic by their first name—didn’t originate crime fiction in his country, but he did find a way to tap its potential.
It’s this conflict between old vs. new that Arnaldur explores in his novels. Using the police procedural as a foundation, he weaves the country’s history and legends into stories that explore how contemporary issues affect Icelandic society. Jar City dealt with the Iceland’s database of genetic research. Silence of the Grave includes subplots of American soldiers stationed in Iceland during World War II, domestic violence and urban sprawl. (end of Mystery Scene excerpt)
Since that interview, Iceland has undergone even more changes in its economy and landscape.
And the list of Icelandic authors continues to grow. One of the newest ones will be Snorri Kristjansson whose epic Viking saga debut Swords of Good Men comes out in January from Jo Fletcher Books/Quercus.
I wish Iceland was on my travel plans this year, but it is not. Iceland Noir sounds like a promising conference. As an aside, my next-door neighbors are from Iceland.
Iceland sounds like a perfect place to launch a new mystery fiction conference. The entire nation has just over 300,000 residents and its literacy level hovers around 96%. My neighbors told me that one of the Christmas traditions is to give books; so I load them up with books when they go to see their daughter in Atlanta during the holidays.
BBC News also quoted novelist Solvi Bjorn Siggurdsson: “We are a nation of storytellers. When it was dark and cold we had nothing else to do. Thanks to the poetic eddas and medieval sagas, we have always been surrounded by stories. After independence from Denmark in 1944, literature helped define our identity.”
No wonder JRR Tolkien and Seamus Heaney were entranced and Unesco designates Reykjavik a City of Literature.”It’s not too late to book your air flight and hotel.
Photos: Top: Arnaldur Indridason, The Nordic House, the Blue Lagoon, Northern Lights. Stock photos
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 12:28
But Halloween does bring with it myriad compelling mysteries that will scare you but won’t allow you to stop reading.
Here are some authors and mysteries that are a real treat. And you don’t have to wear a costume while reading.
Charlaine Harris and her Sookie Stackhouse series are always in style. Just in time for Halloween is After Dead!, an illustrated book with an alphabetical listing of all the characters in the Sookie Stackhouse novels, relating what happened to them after the end of the last book. It was originally intended as a thank-you to readers, but it warranted a general distribution. It has been called “mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, laugh-out-loud revelations.” After Dead! offers the ultimate conclusion to the Sookie Stackhouse saga, featuring highlights (and lowlights) from the futures of almost 150 characters. Harris has called After Dead! “my coda to the books that have dominated my professional life for over a decade.”
And if you want to have something spooky playing in the background, there is always the HBO series True Blood based on Harris’ Sookie series.
John Searles’ Help for the Haunted: One of the best-reviewed novels of the past month, Help for the Haunted is a ghost story and a coming-of-age tale. Sylvie Mason tries to uncover the secrets behind her ghost-chasing parents’ deaths one cold winter night, and finds truths and mysteries that run much deeper.
Penguin Classics has released six titles in its new Penguin Horror series, edited and introduced by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson; The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft; The Raven: Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe; Haunted Castles: The Complete Gothic Stories by Ray Russell; American Supernatural Tales, edited by S.T. Joshi, and, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Saturday, 26 October 2013 09:21
Q: Did the discovery of Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry rescued years after they disappeared influence you?
Q: How did you come up with the rituals and routines that Reeve has devised as part of her recovery?
A: People have been generous about sharing information. I’m encountering more resistance in researching the sequel than I did in researching The Edge of Normal, but I can’t go into that.
And this field isn’t really new. It goes all the way back to the ancient myth of Persephone, who was abducted by Hades and taken to the Underworld.
Q: What myths do you hope The Edge of Normal might dispel about prolonged captivity?
Q: You've written about this subject before in your nonfiction Perfect Victim: The True Story of the Girl in the Box. Are the myths about prolonged captivity being dispelled?
Q: Where did we get the term “Stockholm syndrome?”
Q: What is the biggest obstacle in the recovery of these victims?
Q: You vividly show how the victims’ ordeals never seem to end but are rehashed by lawyers, the media and pop psychologists; why did you want to portray this kind of intrusion?
Q: Is Reeve’s psychiatrist, the compassionate Ezra Lerner, based on anyone?
Q: Why was Perfect Victim put on the reading list for the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit?
Q: In your research about prolonged captivity, what was the most horrifying thing you learned?
Q: Are you still in touch with Colleen Stan, the woman who endured the events recounted in Perfect Victim?
Q: Why is the book titled Perfect Victim. What made her perfect?
A: Yes, in some ways, because I needed to convey what Reeve had endured, without sensationalizing it or making it too graphic. You want to suggest the months and years of being locked up, the terrible abuse, without making the reader suffer for years in a basement.
Q: Who do you read?
Q: Is there one book, fiction or nonfiction, that inspired you?
But there are other novels that deserve kudos, too.
Q: Which other novels?
Q: You worked as a journalist for years; how did journalism affect your career as an author?
And that’s true in both fiction and nonfiction. You don’t want to weigh down the story with a lot of exposition.
Q: What are some of the things you researched that didn’t fit into this book?
Q: What’s the biggest difference in writing crime fiction vs. writing true crime?
Q: How does this inspire your fiction?
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 19:59
Magna cum Murder XIX will be Oct. 25-27 in downtown Indianapolis at the historic Columbia Circle on Monument Circle.
More than 30 published authors will be on hand for panels, discussions and even some dining events.
Other authors present include Dorothy Cannell, Jerry Healy, Sandra Balzo, Jeanne Dams, Maureen Jennings,Terence Faherty, Sara Hoskinson Frommer, John Gilstrap, Parnell Hall, Ellen Hart, William Kent Krueger, among others.
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