Geschrieben am 31. Dezember 2017 von für Crimemag, Highlights 2017, News

CulturMag Highlights 2017, Teil 2 (Bassoff – Burke)


Jon Bassoff
Harry Bingham
Peter Blauner
Lawrence Block

Katja Bohnet
William Boyle
Ken Bruen
Declan Burke
James Lee Burke

Jon BassoffJon Bassoff

Things are dark in America with our pseudo-fascist, anti-intellectual government securely in place, so the only thing that can make me feel better is the arts. Perhaps I will soon lock myself inside an abandoned bowling alley with only my booze, books, music, and literature to keep me company. Yeah, that sounds good. I really like to bowl, too! Here’s my short list of what I was reading, watching, and listening to this year:

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. At nearly 600 pages and filled with illustrations, photographs, and missing persons reports, this one is ambitious as hell. And while undoubtedly sprawling, there is enough twists and emotional impact that I found myself in awe of what Pessl accomplished. I highly recommend this one. 

 The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford. There’s an undeniable disquiet that rises through the pages of this strange little novel. Combine the coming-of-age of King’s The Body (Stand by Me)  with the best of David Lynch, and you get some idea of the tone of this one. 

bassoff 6788076842014c83cedadbe6b0ba0314_500x735Films:
Get Out
, directed by Jordan Peele. It’s hard to believe that this film was directed by Peele, who rose to fame with the ridiculously funny sketches in Kay and Peele. As a horror film, it’s fantastic, with obvious homages to films of the past, but it’s got enough originality in narrative and visuals to stand on its own. And as a piece of satire, it is wicked fun, filled with racial tension and uncomfortable truths about our peculiar relationship with the “other.” 

Badlands, directed by Terrence Malick. Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve seen this movie several times, but it had been years since I’d last watched it, and I came away feeling like this is the near perfect movie. From Martin Sheen’s version of a psychotic James Dean, to Sissy Spacek’s creepy detachment, to Malick’s beautiful cinematography, Badlands transcends any single genre and effectively shows what happens when a couple of outcasts lose all connection with the bigger world.  

Mick Flannery, Red to Black. Why didn’t any of my Irish friends tell me about this chap? I feel like he’s the closest thing to Leonard Cohen going. He combines hauntingly beautiful melodies with achingly dark lyrics, and I dig the holy hell out of him. Check out any of his albums, but Red to Black is my favorite. 

White Buffalo: I don’t know why this dude Jake Smith calls himself The White Buffalo (it seems a little hokey to me), but his music is some of the best I’ve heard this year. Listen to “Oh, Darling, What Have I Done?” “The Whistler” and “House of the Rising Sun” (yeah, The Animals cover). Some haunting shit. 

 “You Are My Sunshine” by Jamey Johnson, Twigger Ramirez, and Shooter Jennings.  Just listen to this song. You’ll thank me for it. If you don’t hang yourself first. 

Jon Bassoff: Zerrüttung (Corrosion, 2013). Deutsch von Sven Koch. Polar Verlag, Hamburg 2016, 252 Seiten, 14,90 Euro. Siehe auch Thomas Wörtches CrimeMag-Besprechung von „Zerrüttung“ (Corrosion): We want it darker sowie das Interview von Alf Mayer in der Polar-Gazette: „Erlösung ist wirklich nicht mein Ding„.

harry-binghamHarry Bingham

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a little murder – so here’s a seasonal joke from your favourite fictional detective.

Thanks so much for being part of Team Fiona this year. It’s been a brilliant 2017 for me, and for Fiona. Sorry that I’ve been terrible at answering emails. I’ve been drowning in work and family stuff this year, and I figured you’d prefer me to spend any spare time writing Fiona novels, not dealing with correspondance. New year’s resolution for 2018: don’t leave the inbox groaning!

And now for the the little Xmas story, narrated (of course!) by Fiona herself:

I’m up in the Beacons. A cold wind down from Talybont. Coat, scarf, boots, hat, but I’m still cold.

I’m with Bev. She’s cold too. Cheeks pink and baby-fresh. Eyes streaming a bit. We’ve got evidence bags with us. A basic forensic collection kit, but what we’ve got in front of us goes way beyond any of that.

71DKb3g4OcLA long, long way.

Light glitters from the water. Silver, black and the palest green-gold.

I say, ‚Mass grave, Bev. Awful.‘

‚Fi –‚

‚There must be, what, five hundred corpses? Probably more.‘

‚Fiona –‚

‚Just think of them, though. The victims. All killed the same way. And yes, OK, they were only snowmen, but snowmen with families. With friends. With snowpeople who loved them.‘

Bev grabs my arm and pulls me gently away. Her eyes are bigger than Bambi’s. Her cheeks are porcelain, rain-polished.

‚Fiona,‘ she says again. ‚It’s a pond. It’s just a pond.‘

Arm in arm, we walk together down the hill, and into all the joys of Christmas.

Have a wonderful holiday and a peaceful New Year. Nadolig Llawen.

Siehe auch das Harry Bingham-Porträt bei CrimeMag und das Interview bei Krimiscout.

blauner peter-298_Michael ParmeleePeter Blauner

I don’t think I’m alone in finding that 2017 was an odd year culturally.

Any American with a smidgen of conscience or even awareness had a hard time focusing on books, movies, television or even music with the devolving nightmare of our national political life lighting up our screens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s a tough dilemma for an artist. Face things head-on and you’re in danger of being over-explicit and didactic. But escapism feels not just cowardly, but like an act of deliberate capitulation – and as much of an ideological choice as protest art.

Just the same, there were few things that stood out this year.

Strangely, one of them was an American studio movie. Once upon a time, the major motion picture was the most exalted pop culture form in the U.S. Now it’s among the most debased (as long as there’s an internet, it’s hard to hit rock bottom). Any filmgoer without an obsessive interest in superhero franchise films is going to find limited options at the multiplex.

A very welcome exception was Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele. The film is a rare case of perfectly confounded expectations. For one thing, it was marketed, successfully, as a horror film. In fact, some of the more tender-hearted people I know were reluctant to see it because recent reality has been disturbing enough.

It tells the story of a young black man named Chris Washington (played by British actor Daniel Kaluuya) who accompanies his new white girlfriend Rose (played by Allison Williams of HBO’s Girls fame) for a seemingly innocent weekend in country, to meet her open-minded parents and her brother. But along the way, elements of both the uncanny and the unnerving keep intruding. Rose hits a deer with the car she’s driving, but the responding police officer asks for Chris’s identification. The parents and brother seem unnaturally fixated on Chris’s race and physical attributes. And all the black people who visit the house or work there act like zombies. Incrementally, the audience is led from a comedy of awkward manners into a realm of terror that is all the more deep and disturbing because it feels, well, not quite real, but certainly natural and believable in these times.

I was particularly surprised and impressed by the film because I mainly knew Jordan Peele as a comedian on the TV sketch show Key and Peele. Fans of that program know that he’s a deft mimic and an omnivorous observer of pop culture – his imitation of Ray Parker Jr. trying to repeat his successful Ghostbusters theme for movies like The Pelican Brief is priceless. But what I didn’t expect is that he is also a patient and literate creator of suspense narrative, with an excellent visual sense. Unlike most comedians who turn to moviemaking, he doesn’t feel the need to shock, amuse or reassure his viewers every ten minutes. Instead he sustains and escalates his tension with a steely assurance that reminded me of the way Roman Polanski directed Rosemary’s Baby. His theme intentionally echoes socially-conscious pictures of the same era like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but in more contemporary and personal terms. Peele calls Get Out a “social thriller,” and for once that seems just about right. I hope he makes more films like this.

blauner 9780399173042For some reason, I had a harder time getting traction with books this year. Maybe it was my own distracted state of mind. My friend Reed Farrel Coleman delivered his usual excellence in the thriller What You Break and I enjoyed Jennifer Egan’s historic waterfront novel Manhattan Beach. But the news cycle kept pulling me out of the grip of fiction and long-form nonfiction.

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy

The piece of writing that resonated for me the most was 112 years old. “Master and Man” is a short story published by Leo Tolstoy. The narrative concerns an avaricious businessman named Vasilly Andreich Brekhunov who takes a dull-witted servant named Nikita on a long treacherous journey to make what amounts to a dubious real estate deal (shades of one of our current world leaders!). On the way back, Vasilly, impatient to get home, makes a wrong turn. The two men find themselves lost in the woods in the middle of the night, with shivering horses and torrents of snow coming down. I was reading the story on a long dark night of the soul when I got to the part where Tolstoy describes how his anti-hero tries to fool himself into thinking his ordeal is almost over because the sky is brightening and dawn must be near. I’d been thinking the very same thing just moments before. But then Vassily realizes it’s just the risen moon and there will be no easy way out for him. He decides to leave his servant to die of hypothermia, but then has a spiritual revelation and tries to save Nikita the peasant with the warmth of his own body. In doing so, he dies and Nikita goes on to live an unremarkable life. In the hands of a lesser writer, it would have been a sentimental conclusion. But the way Tolstoy renders it, the conclusion is devastating. And after it was done, I lay awake for hours in the dark, wondering how something written in 1895 could affect me more deeply than anything else I’d read over the past twelve months.

The other work that moved me this year was by a different kind of Old Master. Ray Davies was, of course, the main songwriter and vocalist for the British Invasion band, the Kinks. He wrote and sang “Waterloo Sunset,” “You Really Got Me,” “Lola,” “Sunny Afternoon,” and dozens of other rock and roll classics. But the Kinks broke up some twenty-two years ago and there’s been reason to believe that Davies, who is now 73, had probably put his best work long behind him.

blauner-ray-davies02-626ecdf6-4244-4a60-b18f-146bc80c18a5This year this most English of songwriters put out an album about called “Americana.” I wouldn’t say anything on it is as great or unforgettable as “Days” or “All Day and All of the Night,” but it’s pretty damn good and fresh for a guy who’s been at this for 53 years. Acutely observed, occasionally bitter and ironic, and not infrequently heartfelt and tuneful. Partly because he has backing vocals and instrumentation from the American country-rock group the Jayhawks, Davies sounds a bit different than he has on his previous records – especially when he shares the singing with keyboard player Karen Grotberg and allows her to give a warm womanly voice to his words. But there’s also a sense that this is a man who should be at the twilight of his career pushing himself as a writer to say something new. It reminded me of why I’d always loved his work and also why as I get older I often get more inspiration from the mature and durable than from the new and flashy.

In a mid-career song, Davies sang in a slightly frayed and desperate voice “I hope tomorrow you find better things.” I’m holding out the same hope for 2018.

Peter Blauner – whose first novel „Proving Ground“ after a eleven year hiatus made quite a splash – at CrimeMag: From Crack Houses to TV Shows sowie: Reading ahead (12) von Alf Mayer: Nicht mehr im Krieg, sondern jetzt hier.

blocklawrence0309pm20Lawrence Block

„Books this year have had less impact on me than television, esp. the streaming services of Netflix and Amazon. We’ve been watching the full ten-season run of Friends,endless true-crime episodes of Forensic Files, Scott Frank’s western epic Godless, and a delicious new series called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

„But what I’ll single out now are the first three seasons of Boschbased on the ongoing series of novels by Michael Connelly, who has had an integral role in the TV adaptation. The star is Titus Welliver, an actor previously unknown to me, and perfect for Harry Bosch. (Reading the books, I’d always seen Robert Ryan in the part, but that fine actor wasn’t available, having died in 1973. Robert Ryan had a sort of hangdog look that’s how I always pictured Bosch.)

The transition to TV is superb, notwithstanding the fact that the story’s set in present time, while the latest printed book has Bosch in his 70s, retired from the LAPD, and working pro bono for a suburban police department. But so what? Bosch on TV is tough-minded, dark, and with plot threads that are at once richly complex and not difficult to follow. 

alf chip nighthawks 978-3-426-28164-2_DruckBosch himself, it must be said,can be a real pain in the ass. Judgmental, unforgiving, and, in a hotly contested field, his own worst enemy. Again, so what? This is a wonderful series. My Frequent Companion and I breezed through all three seasons in a mere two weeks—ah, the joys of streaming video. And, as soon as Season Four releases, we’ll be there for it.

Larry Block’s „In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper“, which he dreamed up and edited, is just out in Germany – and even more beautiful than the beautiful US edition. The German title is „Nighthawks.“ (CrimeMag review here; his Edgar winning story „Autumn at the Automat“, as a CrimeMag Exclusive, here) Larry already has a follow-up out: „Alive in Shape and Color: 17 Works by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired“. 

LB’s Blog and Website, his LB’s Facebook Fan Page and Twitter:  @LawrenceBlock. His German newsletter gives information about what books are availabe in translation. Larry Block is in close contact with his German translators. — Deutscher Newsletter von Larry Block hier.

Katja BohnetKatja Bohnet

2017 – Jahresrückblick – Pleiten, Pech und Frauen

Wenn ich 2017 nach Terroranschlägen und anderen Attentaten sortiere, war’s für mich ein gutes Jahr. Ich lebe noch. Irgendwo muss man ja anfangen. Die Kategorien „Sport“, „Kultur“ und „Religion“ werden erst nach „Anschläge“ gelistet, zumindest im Inhaltsverzeichnis des Jahres 2017 bei Wikipedia. Wenn die Rubrik „Terror“ am Schluss erschiene, könnte vielleicht der Eindruck entstehen, Menschen hätten überwiegend Spaß in diesem Jahr gehabt.

Dieser Bestseller Leben bietet alles: Spannung, Spiel, Spaß und Tod.

Bester Witz des Jahres: Hugh Hefner wird im Januar als Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten vereidigt.

Zweitbester: In der Playboy Mansion verstirbt im September Donald Trump.

Drittbester: Harry Weinstein hatte einvernehmlichen Geschlechtsverkehr.

Gut sind nur die Jahre, die auch vorübergehen. Im Dezember ist es demnach durchaus erlaubt, so etwas wie Euphorie zu empfinden.

Muss man sich allerdings auch leisten können bei all den Geschenken, die noch zu besorgen sind, bei all den Weihnachtsfeiern zusammen mit Menschen, die man kaum kennt. Bei all den Jahresendprojekten, die doch nur eine Entschuldigung dafür sind, um drei Wochen zu pausieren. Mal ehrlich: Die Tage zwischen Heilig Abend und dem zehnten Januar gibt es eigentlich nicht. Oder haben Sie in diesem Zeitaum schon mal jemanden in einer Werbeagentur angetroffen? Oder an einer Schule? Oder in einem Verlag? Natürlich existieren Ausnahmen. Zum Beispiel bei Karstadt in der Abteilung „Herrenunterbekleidung“, zum Beispiel in der Gastronomie. Zum Beispiel bei SchriftstellerInnen. Aber Uhrbei denen läuft die Zeit ohnehin nach anderen Gesetzen ab.

Dieses Jahr ist vorbei, und das ist gut. Kleiner Nachteil: Älterwerden. Die Zähler ticken:




Hören Sie das grausame Geräusch? Mit jedem Tag und Monat, mit jedem Jahr. Schnitter Tod reibt sich die Hände, profitiert mit Optionsscheinen von der Konjunktur. Da können Sie Romane schreiben, Kinder zeugen, Bohnen ziehen, Bäume pflanzen, veganen Weihnachtstofu braten oder im Fitnessstudio Bänke drücken: Sie sind so gut wie tot.

Es gab aber auch gute Nachrichten: 2017 war ein Frauenjahr.

Eine Frau setzte als künstlerische Leiterin die documenta 14 in den Sand. Eine Frau siegte beim Eurovision Song Contest. Eine Frau gewann die Vierschanzentournee und kurz danach die Tour de France. Frauen gewannen und moderierten den Superbowl. Zwei Frauen stritten sich, wer die erst Atombombe seit 1945 abwerfen darf, eine Frau spielte Russisch Roulette mit Hauptstädten, eine Frau setzte modische Standards in der FDP.

Bei Seminaren im Literaturhaus München erklärten mir überwiegend Frauen die Welt. Aus Sicht einer Frau. Ich unterzeichnete zwei Romanverträge mit dem Namen einer Frau. Ich stellte ein Foto nach, auf dem ich selbst — zusammen mit vielen anderen Frauen, die aussehen wie ich — einen Preis erhielt. Frauen machen Männer. Das weiß auch Emmanuel Macron.

Die USA stiegen im Mai aus dem Pariser Klimaabkommen aus: dank einer Frau. Erfreulich auch, dass eine Frau den Literaturnobelpreis erhielt. Eine deutsche Altkanzlerin verstarb in Oggersheim. Frauen schossen um sich bei Massakern in Las Vegas und Sutherland Springs. Eine Frau namens Irma verwüstete ganze Regionen auf den Karibischen Inseln und in den USA. Hurricane Maria: #metoo.

Na? Wie war Ihr Jahr? Auf der Suche nach der perfekten Erinnerung gibt Marcel Prousts berühmter Fragebogen Antworten:

schuheWas ging Ihnen 2017 tierisch auf den Sack?

Welcher Politiker trägt die sexistischste Frisur?

Ihr Lieblingssupermarkt, -automarke, -konflikt?

Ihre Lieblingssalami?

Ihre Lieblingshandfeuerwaffe?

Ihr Lieblingsinsekt?

Wessen Geschichtsschreibung bevorzugen Sie?

Wessen natürliche Schönheit würden Sie gerne besitzen?

Als welche geschichtliche Figur verkleiden Sie sich gerne?

Welche Eigenschaften schätzen Sie bei einem Wirbelsturm am meisten?

Mit wem hatten Sie Geschlechtsverkehr?

Warum retweeten Sie nicht noch mehr?

Bei welchen Gelegenheiten macht Versagen am meisten Spaß?

Wo möchten Sie permanent campen?

Welches Happy End sehen Sie nicht herbei?

Könnten Sie mehr Geld verdienen? Wenn nicht, warum?

katja bohnet kerkerkind 978-3-426-52093-2_DruckWer möchten Sie nicht sein?

Wie lautet das beste Motto einer Motto-Tapete?

Ihr Geisteszustand?

Warum ausgerechnet Sie?!

2017: fast vergessen.

2018: #freedeniz. Es kann nur neuer, besser, schöner werden.

Katja Bohnets funkelnde Kritiken bei CrimeMag. Am 1. Februar 2018 erscheint von ihr „Kerkerkind“ (Droemer Knaur). Die e-Premiere läuft ab 15. Januar.

William-Boyle © Katie Farrell Boyle

© Katie Farrell Boyle

William Boyle

Whether you want to call it a TV show or a film, Twin Peaks: The Return was my favorite anything this year. It’s brutal, beautiful, silly, surreal, and so much more. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say I believe it’s one of the most important pieces of American art ever made. America might be falling apart, but at least we can claim David Lynch as one of ours, a true American (and truly American) visionary, and at least 2017—a shithouse kick of a year otherwise—gave us this new Twin Peaks.

There are still a million movies I need to catch up on but favorites of mine from this year so far include Julia Ducournau’s wild and unsettling Raw, Oliver Assayas’s Personal Shopper, Terence Malick’s Song to Song, Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Macon Blair’s I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and Bill Morrison’s mesmerizing Dawson City: Frozen Time. Kelly Reichardt is among my top three or four favorite living directors, and I finally caught up with Certain Women, released last year but more widely available only recently. A true masterpiece.

As for TV, HBO’s The Deuce—with the best writers’ room of all-time (David Simon, George Pelecanos, Megan Abbott, Richard Price, and Lisa Lutz)—far exceeded my impossibly high expectations. And David Fincher’s Mindhunter hit that Zodiac sweet spot.

517o-kxlMpLBooks: I loved Katherine Faw’s Ultraluminous, Richard Lange’s The Smack, Mary Miller’s Always Happy Hour, Jimmy Cajoleas’s Goldeline, Scott McClanahan’s The Sarah Book, Samantha Schweblin’s Fever Dream, Ace Atkins’s The Fallen, Santiago Gamboa’s Return to the Dark Valley, Ivy Pochoda’s Wonder Valley, Reed Farrel Coleman’s What You Break, Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun, David Joy’s The Weight of This World, Lidia Yuknavich’s The Book of Joan, and Hank Early’s Heaven’s Crooked Finger. I read an advance copy of Willy Vlautin’s Don’t Skip Out On Me, which won’t be released until February 2018; Vlautin’s my favorite writer, and it might just be his best book. Jonathan Eig’s Muhammad Ali biography consumed me. I revisited Martin Goldsmith’s neglected Detour because I wrote a foreword for the French translation coming out from Rivages/Noir in January. I read and loved a bunch of books by Frederic Dard and Pascal Garnier. And my to-read pile is overflowing with writers I really admire: Jesmyn Ward, Scott Adlerberg, Chris Irvin, Lori Jakiela, Steph Post, Woody Haut, Bill Loehfelm, Jerome Charyn, and Barry Gifford.    

Gravesend_300If I start getting too in depth with music, I’ll be here all day. Instead, I’ll keep it to a handful of records that currently top my end-of-year list: Phoebe Bridgers’s Stranger in the Alps; Julien Baker’s Turn Out the Lights; John Moreland’s Big Bad Luv; Mark Lanegan Band’s Gargoyle; Shilpa Ray’s Door Girl; Jake Xerxes Fussell’s What in the Natural World; and Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked At Me. Bob Dylan’s Trouble No More is my favorite from his bootleg series—I’m glad to see his gospel stuff getting the attention it deserves. Neil Young’s Hitchhiker is incredible. And I’m thankful as hell for the release of The Replacements live set from Maxwell’s in 1986. I love Angel Olsen, and Phases is a great gift to fans. My pal Jimmy turned me onto Bell Witch and Electric Wizard, and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of their recent records lately.  

Gravesend von William Boyle erscheint im Januar im geretteten Polar Verlag. Passender Titel, solche Grüße aus dem Grab – d. Red.

Ken_Bruen_3001 Polar VerlagKen Bruen                                                                                             





                   GOD LESS.

At the end of the year,

Here are the books that I loved most

Haylen Beck (aka, Stuart Neville)

Craig McDonald

Lisa Sandlin and where is the next one Lisa?

Kent Anderson

Thomas Cooke on travel and grief

Time and time again I return to the letters of Raymond Chandler, a literal masterclass in writing, also the letter of Hemingway and for all sorts of nostalgic reasons and wish fulfilment, I return to ‘A Movable Feast’

ken bruen brant 41zYBjpKfGLPete Dexter‘s collection of journalism is a joy perennially.

Joan Didion is always close to hand

Eoin Colfer for continued great writing.

Hakan Nesser for the the Van Veetering series.


Get Out

Baby Driver

ken bruen füchsin 51k1-1+7MSLSlow West

Starred Up

And I watch over again

Most of Russell Crowe

Tom Hardy

Paris Texas

But the most enjoyment I received were from Netflix programs and constituted most of any spare time I had

ken bruen kaliberThe utterly superb

Mind Hunters

God Less





Godless is spectacular, beautiful photography and an understanding of horses that is phenomenal, a cast to stand up and applaud, Jeff Daniels in a stunning turn as biblical many faceted psychopath and a whole slew of new female actors who are riveting, Jack O Connell in the role of a young Gary Cooper showing he might just be the best of the young guns in every sense.

Pfluger_IN-THE-DARK_HBPeaky Blinders 4 introduces Aiden Gillen to the cast and phew-oh, steals almost every scene, as Tom Hardy did in earlier series.

And then there is Andreas Pflüger’s In The Dark (Endgültig), which has restored my faith in Noir, what a novel, moves with the speed of accelerated art, a flawless translation from the German and a heroine to equal the recent spate of flawed realistic characters.
I learnt so much about blindness that is truly not only inspirational but deeply moving. 
Never will I hear a tongue click without thinking of flipper and the sonar abilities of the human spirit.
That this is the first in a series is superb news and why this novel isn’t first in every one’s top ten is a travesty.
A rare and rarest magnificent book.
Some of Ken Bruen’s books in Germany. See also this CrimeMag-Essay: Das gefährliche Vielleicht. Alf Mayer über Nietzsche & Ken Bruen.

Declan Burke author picDeclan Burke

 I had a pretty mixed reading year in 2017. Of the books published this year, my favourite was probably John Connolly’s He, a novel about the comedian Stan Laurel and a wonderful piece of literary ventriloquism.

Melissa Scrivner Love’s debut, Lola, was a brilliant noir set in the barrios of Los Angeles. I loved Tim Pears’ The Horseman, set in England’s West Country in pre-World War One, and strongly reminiscent of Thomas Hardy. Mick Herron’s Spook Street confirmed that he’s the best spy novelist since John le Carré; le Carré’s own A Legacy of Spies was an enjoyably indulgent trip down memory lane. Haylen Beck (aka Stuart Neville) wrote a deliciously old-fashioned, stripped-back thriller with Here and Gone. Ali Land’s debut, Good Me / Bad Me was a deeply unsettling psychological thriller. Tim Glencross’s Hoffer read like an ice-cold homage to Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels.

In non-fiction, Fintan O’Toole’s biography Judging Shaw was brilliant in re-assessing George Bernard Shaw’s relevance in the 21st century. I loved Pascale Hugues unorthodox account of recent German history, Hannah’s Dress. It wasn’t published this year, but Robert Macfarlane’s Mountains of the Mind was a fascinating account of humanity’s recent obsession with mountains, peaks, and the untameable sublime (Jennifer Peedom’s film documentary-poem Mountain, released this month, is adapted from Macfarlane’s book).
pbpbI also loved Sebastian Juan Arbo’s Cervantes: Adventurer, Idealist and Destiny’s Fool and Diane Johnson’s The Life of Dashiell Hammett, neither of which were published this year. Gordon Lish’s collection of short works, White Plains, was bonkers but utterly charming.

Accidental finds of the year (none of which were published in 2017) included Kevin Cook’s Titanic Thompson: American Legend, Hunter Steele’s Lord Hamlet’s Castle (an offbeat novelisation of events at Elsinore), and Henry Fielding’s Jonathan Wild the Great. Also, this year I read a lot of PG Wodehouse, Damon Runyon, and Patrick O’Brian, re-read some Jane Austen (and Claire Tomalin’s biography Jane Austen: A Life), and finally got around to reading David Copperfield, Moll Flanders and Frankenstein.

Declan Burke is an Irish author and journalist. He is currently writer-in-residence with Dublin City Council. Eight Ball Boogie will be published by Edition Nautilus in March, 2018. Already there: The Big O.

James Lee BurkeJames Lee Burke

I would first like to thank all of the readers in Germany and in other countries for their good will and their support of my work. 

Regarding the events on 2017, I try to take heart and not feel discouraged about our presidential election, the threat of nuclear war in Korea, and the human catastrophe in Syria and and Myanmar. I believe that ultimately good vanquishes evil, but sometimes that is sore consolation. The death and suffering that has occurred could have been avoided. Unfortunately it seems, as W.B. Yeats once wrote, that the best lack all conviction and the worst are filled with passionate intensity.

I hope a better day awaits us. I think the choices we make during this century will determine whether or not our species survives. Neo-colonialism dies hard, and so do nativism and nationalism. I think we live in a era when all good people need to link hands and not be undone by those who would turn the Earth into a gravel pit. There is no other way to defeat an evil ideology, no more than one can destroy an airborne malignancy that travels invisibly from person to person.

Zeit der Ernte von James Lee Burke

It’s a great honor to be among you. Best to all of you for New Year,

James Lee Burke here at CrimeMag. He is one of the most published authors in Germany. 2017 saw seven of his novels going into print. His Dave Robicheaux series – after being out of print and interrupted – is in reconstruction at Pendragon Verlag, with currently ten Robicheaux novels available. Heyne (which belongs to Random House) is publishing his other novels, has seven books available, among them even a translation of „Lay Down my Sword and Shield“ (Zeit der Ernte) from 1971. This makes 17 books in total.  James Lee Burke’s new novel „Robicheaux“ is just out, Januar 2nd, 2018. His website.

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