Month: April 2012

Coming Out Soon: Black Skies by Arnaldur Indridason

Book Description: From high life to low life, bankers to blackmailers: the international phenomenon Arnaldur Indridason returns with a thrillingly contemporary new mystery.

A man is making a crude leather mask with an iron spike fixed in the middle of the forehead. It is a ‘death mask’, once used by Icelandic farmers to slaughter calves, and he has revenge in mind.
Meanwhile, a school reunion has left Sigurdur Óli unhappy with life in the police force. While Iceland is enjoying an economic boom, his relationship is on the rocks and soon even his position in the CID is compromised after he agrees to visit a couple of blackmailers as a favour to a friend, and walks in just as a woman is beaten unconscious. When she dies, Sigurdur Óli has a murder investigation on his hands.
Moving from the villas of Reykjavík’s banking elite to a sordid basement flat, Black Skies is a superb story of greed, pride and murder from one of Europe’s most successful crime writers. (Taken from Vintage Books).

This is the tenth book in his Detective Erlendur Mystery Series, the eighth translated into English.

Original title: Svörtuloft (2009) Translated by Victoria Cribb. Harvill Secker (21 Jun 2012). 352 pages. ISBN: 978-1846555817.

Review: Where the Devil Can’t Go by Anya Lipska

Kindle Edition. 720 KB. 366 pages. Tadeusz Books (21 Nov 2011). ASIN: B006BG6HHW.

The action takes place amongst the Polish community in London. In 2008, while the city is preparing to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, a nineteen-year-old Polish waitress has gone missing and Janus Kiszka is hired by Father Pietruzki to find the girl. His search will take Kiszka on a trip to Gdansk, in his homeland, the cradle of Solidarność.

Meanwhile the body of a naked girl is found washed up on the Thames, the only clue to her identity a heart-shaped tattoo encircling two foreign names: Pawel and Ela. DC Natalie Kershaw, a rookie, is in charge of the investigation. The toxicology shows that the victim ingested a counterfeit version of ecstasy, called PMA, but more dangerous. The only known cases to date have happened in Poland, Gdansk. And the two stories, although they will intersect occasionally, will be developed in parallel until they finally merge in the last chapters.

The title of the book is taken from a Polish proverb: Gdzie diabel nie moze, tam babe posle (Where the devil can’t go, he’ll send a woman) and the author herself provides an excellent plot summary in an interview at Crime Fiction Lover

This was a very satisfactory read for my taste. I found the plot compelling and the book very well written. The main characters are appealing and the background stories are quite meaningful to fully understand the events that take place in the present. And, last but not least, the ending is well resolved. Although Where the Devil Can’t Go will be published in Germany by Random House next year, it is a self-published e-book that certainly deserves a UK publisher.

My rating: 4/5.

For a short biography of Anya Lipska visit Amazon’s Anya Lipska Page

You can find more information at the book’s website Where the Devil Can’t Go. Anya writes an occasional blog on The Literary Platform and you can follow her on Twitter: @AnyaLipska

Where the Devil Can’t Go has been reviewed by Maxine at Petrona, Rhian at It’s a crime! Or a mystery…, John J. Gaynard’s Books, Gareth at Killing Time, Crime Fiction Lover, Rob at The View from the Blue House, and Amazon.co.uk: Customer Reviews: Where the Devil Can’t Go, among others.

You can download the Kindle edition at your Amazon page.

Film Review – Unit 7 (2012), directed by Alberto Rodriguez

Following my previous post HERE, Begoña and I went yesterday to see Unit 7 (aka Grupo 7), an interesting thriller within the current prospect of Spanish cinema. Unit 7 was directed by Alberto Rodríguez from a screenplay written by Alberto Rodríguez and Rafael Cobos, and starring Antonio de la Torre, Mario Casas, Joaquin Nunez, Jose Manuel Poga, Imma Cuesta, and Julián Villagrán. 

Comments by Alberto Rodriguez (taken from Movie|Line):
Seville 1987-1992 (Spain). Prior to the 1992 World Exhibition, Seville was a city with a certain air of abandonment. Defoliated areas, wetlands and poverty were common in the heart of the city. Yet, a colossal project was to change the city forever. The city was ready to make an enormous effort: impress the world. One of the many tasks was to rid downtown of drugs and prostitution and create an atmosphere where tourists could feel safe and comfortable. Special police units were organized and slowly, like a low tide, crime started to disappear from the center moving out into the outskirts.

…In the meantime, we all look the other way…and, suddenly, all those who disrupted the aesthetics of the city, disappear. No one wonders where they went or how it was done. And this gave way to the film’s premise: Everyone looks the other way when it’s “necessary”.

Unit 7 is a cop action thriller, the story of one of those special police units. A film that could be interpreted as the rise and fall of a band of gangsters, with the only difference being that our gangsters are on the “lawful” side of the line: they carry a badge.

The clip at Movie|Line reflects an important turning point in the film, when the members of Unit 7 decide to cross the line and become corrupt.

Unit 7 is a fast-paced thriller that recreates superbly well the atmosphere of a particular time and place. Moreover it is well shot. Almost everything in it seems truthful and credible. The extreme violence is not gratuitous, in my opinion. Most actors are quite good in their roles, particularly Antonio de la Torre (Rafael), José Manuel Poga (Miguel), Estefanía de los Santos (“La Caoba”), and Julián Villagrán (Joaquín). Only the lack of depth in the story prevents the film from being excellent, but it’s worth watching.

My rating: 7/10.

Tribeca 2012 Review: UNIT 7

30th April – International Jazz Day

In November 2011, during the UNESCO General Conference, the international community proclaimed 30 April as “International Jazz Day”. The Day is intended to raise awareness in the international community of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people. Many governments, civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens currently engaged in the promotion of jazz music will embrace the opportunity to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies. Read more at UNESCO website.

Iconic Spanish cafe under threat

March 19 – Staff at Spain’s historic Café Gijón in Madrid face uncertainty as Madrid City Hall has put the establishment’s money-making terrace up for bids. Sarah Mills reports. (Reuters)