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Erin Kelly

Sixty seconds with Erin Kelly...

ERIN KELLY is the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Poison Tree, among others. She has worked as a freelance journalist for ten years. A regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Psychologies, Red, and Look, she has also written for Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour. HE SAID/SHE SAID is her latest novel.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Kelly: I *mean* well.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

Kelly: John Martyn's Solid Air. And I'd hide my iPod in the gatefold sleeve.

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Kelly: A novelist

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July 08, 2017

I'd been hoping to trot out a list of blissfully mindless, sunny summer reads for this issue. Fat chance! Current events have made that kind of escape difficult and most of the books we read this time have something to say about what's going on in the world as we speak. Still most of them are far more entertaining than real news and some at least come to more satisfactory conclusions.

Barbara Fister reports that Mark Billingham has been moving away from his earlier tricky serial killer plots to ones more rooted in contemporary issues. His latest, LOVE LIKE BLOOD, deals with honour killings and Barbara says that he handles this touchy subject thoughtfully, without evoking any Islamophobia. Terrorism, especially in London, is at the heart of Daniel Silva's HOUSE OF SPIES, starring Gabriel Allon, now head of the Israeli secret service. Anne Corey says that Silva has created a rivetting thriller once again.

A device that runs through a number of books this week is the exploration of how the past persists into the present. In the case of BOUNDARY, by Andrée A. Michaud, the past is the Summer of Love, and the loss of innocence suffered by the summer residents of a lakeside community on the Québec/Maine border. I was impressed both with the quality of the prose and the excellence of the translation. Arnaldur Indriðason goes back even further in THE SHADOW DISTRICT to Iceland during World War II when the influx of American soldiers fundamentally altered the course of Icelandic history. Here, his new series protagonist solves a very cold case harking back to 1944.

David C. Taylor continues his investigation of the early 1960s in NIGHT WORK, where he sends his NYC cop off to protect Castro while he makes an appearance at the UN. Jim Napier says that it fully lives up to the promise of the earlier NIGHT LIFE. In Elizabeth Kostova's THE SHADOW LAND, an innocent mistake by a contemporary American exchange teacher leads her into learning about a Bulgarian victim of Stalinist oppression in the late 1940s. Lourdes Venard says that it is a compelling narrative with a wonderful cast of characters. THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn goes further back in history, combining a plot based on the real network of British women spies in France during World War I and quest by an American to find her missing cousin just after the Second World War. Meredith Frazier reports that it combines both impeccable research and intriguing characters.

While Cathy Downs observes that TWO LOST BOYS, by L.F. Robertson deals with serious and compelling issues, like the death penalty, the relationship between justice and crime and so on, the characters lack conviction. PJ Coldren found many things to like in Linda Greenlaw's SHIVER HITCH, but the logical weaknesses of the insurance investigator were not among them. The failures of the policewoman lead in Theresa Schwegel's THE LIES WE TELL sank that book for Cathy Downs, as the lies the cop in question kept telling to hide her progressing MS endangered all around her.

The short story collection MATCHUP edited by Lee Child is unusually long, but that may be because of its ingenious premise - twenty-two writers, eleven women, eleven men, pair to write eleven stories. But Lourdes Venard reports that it is the often improbable pairing of the authors' characters that is inventive. Consider, for example a Washington DC in which Jack Reacher comes to the aid of an unfairly suspected Temperance Brennan.

Christopher Farnsworth's FLASHMOB is techno-driven, says PJ Coldren, but his characters are still memorable and believable. And finally, Peggy O'Neal Peden's debut, YOUR KILLIN' HEART is set in the author's hometown of Nashville and offers country music, romance, and a great setting, says Meredith Frazier. Now that sounds like a summer read to me.

Sixty Seconds With...this week features Erin Kelly, who has a thing or two to say about the news as well. Find out what in the box to your left.

Interested in British crime? So are our friends at CRIMEREVIEW and you can pay them a visit to see what they've been reading.

So there you have it for this week. We'll be back at the end of the month and we hope you will be too.



P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.

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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