Today I am sharing the penultimate post in my round up of Ten Year Stretch, the anthology of short stories celebrating ten years of CrimeFest in Bristol and featuring some of the top crime writers of our time. My thanks to publishers No Exit for supplying me with this little gem. I’ve been lowing heading through the stories and seeing what all the different authors had to offer. Here’s what the book is all about.
About the book
Twenty superb new crime stories have been commissioned specially to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Crimefest, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the fifty best festivals in the world’.
A star-studded international group of authors has come together in crime writing harmony to provide a killer cocktail for noir fans; salutary tales of gangster etiquette and pitfalls, clever takes on the locked-room genre, chilling wrong-footers from the deceptively peaceful suburbs, intriguing accounts of tables being turned on hapless private eyes, delicious slices of jet black nordic noir, culminating in a stunning example of bleak amorality from crime writing doyenne Maj Sjowall.
The foreword is by international bestselling thriller writer Peter James. The editors are Martin Edwards, responsible for many award-winning anthologies, and Adrian Muller, CrimeFest co-founder.
All Royalties are donated to the RNIB Talking Books Library.
The contributors to Ten Year Stretch are: Bill Beverly, Simon Brett, Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Jeffery Deaver, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Peter Guttridge, Sophie Hannah, John Harvey, Mick Herron, Donna Moore, Caro Ramsay, Ian Rankin, James Sallis, Zoe Sharp, Yrsa Siguroardottir, Maj Sjowall, Michael Stanley and Andrew Taylor.
Freezer Burn – James Sallis
James Sallis is best known for the Lew Griffin series and Drive. He has published 17 novels, multiple collections of stories and essays, four collections of poetry, three books of musicology, reams of criticism, a landmark biography of Chester Himes, and a translation of Raymond Queneau’s novel Saint Glinglin. He’s received a lifetime achievement award from Bouchercon, the Hammett award for literary excellence in crime writing, and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière.
Author Links: website
Quite an intriguing story this one, which starts with a father and his children heading on a road trip. Now there is something a bit unusual about the father, least of all his assertions that he is a spy of kinds and being followed, but it is something which ties in with the title.
Quite clever with things in a not so dissimilar future but just different enough to keep readers alert for what might happen, there is a real air of mystery about this one. Have a read. We can chat.
Caught on Camera – Zoe Sharp
Zoë Sharp opted out of mainstream education at twelve and wrote her first novel at fifteen. An autodidact with a love of language, house renovation and improvised weaponry, she writes the award-winning crime thriller series featuring ex-soldier turned bodyguard Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox, and various stand-alones, including collaborations with espionage author John Lawton. Lee Child said of Sharp: ‘If I were a woman, I’d be Zoë Sharp, and if Jack Reacher were a woman, he’d be Charlie Fox.’
Stuck in traffic on the A40, heading to her first day on the job, new police recruit Olivia just wants to make a good impression. However fate has other ideas and she soon finds herself witness to a hold up at a toll booth where she has to make a split second decision. Drive on or take action – which would you choose.
I love the way that Zoe Sharp creates tension in her action. You can feel the angst building, not just with the young man involved in the hold up, but precipitated by Olivia’s increasing frustration at the traffic. This is quite a tale, examining the fine line between good and bad judgment, heroics and idiocy, set in a London of the perhaps not quite so distant future?
Road Trip – Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is an internationally bestselling crime writer from Iceland, published by Hodder and Stoughton in the UK. In 2015 she won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel and her novels have twice been selected by the Sunday Times as crime novel of the year. Her latest book out in the UK is The Reckoning, a novel considered amongst her best work. Yrsa is a civil engineer by trade and still works as such in her native Iceland.
Author Links: Twitter
Signý has a problem. Her career looks about to end, the paper she is working on is struggling, perhaps about to go under and she needs a scoop and fast. So when offered the chance to interview someone who may have been involved in a miscarriage of justice, one of the most notorious killers in Iceland, she cannot pass it up. Can she?
Dark, twisted and perhaps a little bit claustrophobic, I do love the way Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is able to create a true sense of place, keeping the reader on edge with a slow building inevitability about what is yet to come. The clues are drip fed, the tension starts to mount and the story is all set to please. Fabulous stuff.
All being well, I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts on the final three stories tomorrow. In the meantime, if you’d like to pick up a copy and read for yourself you can find it at the following retailers:
Two days to go until Crimefest. It really is a brilliant festival, perfect for fans of the genre, readers, writers (and aspiring) alike and you can find out more about it right here.
Might see you there …