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Nathan Larson is an award-winning film composer, musician, producer, the author of the novels The Dewey Decimal System, The Nervous System, and The Immune System. He has made music for many films, including Boys Don't Cry, Margin Call, and the Swedish movies Stockholm Stories and Lilya 4-Ever. He and his wife, singer Nina Persson, divide their time between New York City and Sweden.

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Larson: I am an over-achieving, impulsive white male person who feels guilty having to sleep.

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Larson: An avenging ninja

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June 11, 2016

Many of you must be looking forward to a sunny holiday near the water, glass in hand and a nice fat summer read to keep you entertained. But for whatever reason, there are none of these on offer this week. What we do have is what might be called a clutch of constables, a surprising and diverting collection of police procedurals situated all over the place, so I think you won't be too disappointed.

But first we begin with an historical spy novel set in Berlin in 1939. Anne Corey reports that Jane Thynne's THE PURSUIT OF PEARLS captures the tension of the period and the history that is unfolding so that it is an engrossing read. Another historical is David Lagercrantz's FALL OF MAN IN WILMSLOW, about the death of Alan Turing and its effect on the fictional police detective who is sent to look into it. This begins as a police procedural but develops into a discussion of mathematical theory, computer science, and homophobia. While Barbara Fister reports that Michael Robotham's CLOSE YOUR EYES is compulsively readable, the clichéd serial killer elements are a disappointment.

We are used to police procedurals taking place in big-city crime centres - London, New York, LA - but a number of those we have this week are set in places far off the beaten track. J. Todd Scott's THE FAR EMPTY (the title says it all) takes place in West Texas and is informed by the years its author put in with the DEA. Cathy Downs says that as a result Scott gets his details, procedures, and the nature of crime itself absolutely right. In THE EXILED, by Christopher Charles, the detective is an ex-NYPD narcotics officer now languishing in New Mexico, where he has to deal with a grisly triple homicide. Christine Zibas liked it very much. In Louisiana, BJ Bourg combines a driven detective, a wrongfully accused man, and a mysterious church to produce a Southern Gothic that Ben Neal thought had its moments but was weighted down with too much in the way of plot.

As Jim Napier observes, Michael Connelly can be called the gold standard of police procedurals. Even though Harry Bosch has officially retired, old habits die hard and he's hard at it in THE CROSSING. Of course there are police everywhere, and Canadian writer Steve Burrows has chosen to situate his Canadian police detective in Norfolk, England in his series of birding mysteries. In A CAST OF FALCONS, the latest, we find out why Jejeune made the move. Caryn St Clair says that this is a series that keeps getting better with each book.

On the other side of the world, in NECROPOLIS Avtar Singh combines the workings of the New Delhi police service with what Susan Hoover calls an intriguing mix of history, myth, and urban werewolves. SIX FOUR by Hideo Yokoyama, is an exhaustive account of a police investigation into a case of a girl missing for years. Karen Chisholm says that this long book will not be to every reader's taste, but that some at least will be enthralled by its detail.

Christine Zibas calls Matthew Palmer, THE WOLF OF SARAJEVO, a writer with something to say and this time he is saying it about the Balkans and peace and very well, too.

Alex Grecian is wrapping up his series about the Murder Squad and Jack the Ripper in LOST AND GONE FOREVER and provides the answers readers have been awaiting, says Meredith Frazier. Or is it really over?

Two cosies this week. Diana Borse was let down by Beth Gutcheon's first foray into the genre, DEATH AT BREAKFAST, which she found overloaded with characters. But, she says, the author writes so well that she remains hopeful that the next time out, the author will have worked out some of the kinks. Katherine Hall Page, on the other hand, has been at it for a while now. THE BODY IN THE WARDROBE is the 23rd in the Faith Fairchild series, and Sharon Katz enjoyed every word of it.

Our friends at CRIMEREVIEW have expanded their offerings so if it's UK crime you're after, that's where to go.

We'll be back before the month is over and maybe next time we can have a beach blockbuster or two to report on. Do come back and see.



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Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

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