Details of Anthony Horowitz’s third official James Bond novel, With a Mind to Kill, have been revealed ahead of publication in May 2022.
Thursday, 16 December 2021
Sunday, 5 December 2021
People are taking different things from Peter Jackson's edit of the Beatles Twickers sessions, entitled Get Back that recently aired over eight plus hours on Disney +. But for me (I'll start a sentence how I fucking want to. That's rock 'n' roll) , a lifelong Beatle (there's nothing better) fan the vibe, the message, the word I get is that it's time to re-evaluate Paul McCartney.
After all this time (it was more than fifty years ago today! That's half a fucking century) nothing could be really truthful and all that gold tinged celluloid can be made to tell any story that is required, meet whatever agenda is needed to keep everyone happy. Fuck that though - it's time for some peace in the neighbourhood. Yoko bashing is no longer necessary, Lennon myth-making has run its course, and now it is time to look at the Beatles as they were - that is what made up the Beatles.
That's what Get Back shows - I've always maintained that the Beatles as a functioning unit ceased to be after Revolver and that from Sgt. Pepper's onwards it was the Paul McCartney band. Sure John and George (actually George came up with his best stuff during this period) contributed a lot of greatness but Macca was the driving force. McCartney seemed to be the only one who cared - the others were burnt out from being the most amazing musical force the world had ever known. Paul was still Beatle-Paul while George was fast vanishing into mysticism, Lennon was in ego destroying and self indulging smack head mode and Ringo was Bricky building. It's all too much but listen to reason folks because you're mother should know.
So let's re-evaluate Macca - let's pull him from his Beatle past, his ever present past, but remember the Beatles may have split up but Paul never stopped being Beatle Paul. He's still, after all these years, Beatle Paul.
I got married last year, to a girl I'd known forever and directly after the ceremony (Hand in Hand was played in place of the wedding march) we went and had a snap at the Abbey Road crossing.
Sunday, 28 November 2021
THE KILLING TIMES have reported on an all new series of Beck which will premiere on Christmas Day in Sweden, with a UK showing in the wings - great news for fans of all things Nordic Noir -Beck – A New Life will be the first of four new films.
A body is found floating in the water near Liljeholmen. The body belongs to a 39-year-old Danish citizen with a solid criminal record and a member of a notorious Danish drug
gang. When his car is found near suspicious premises, Alex and Josef start guarding it.
Saturday, 20 November 2021
In a special promotion the eBook version of The Reluctant Terrorist is free to download from Amazon for the next three days.
That's an explosively good deal!
Go, get it.
From the pen of G. M. Dobbs, creator of the Granny Smith series.
Set deep within the picturesque Welsh valleys lies the quiet village of Gilfach. Nothing ever happened in the village until - the peacefulness is shattered by a confusion of killer clowns and a full-scale terrorist hunt.
John Smith is an everyday sort of man with everyday concerns. He spends his time working at the local supermarket, walking his dog and arguing with his domineering wife, Rose. However, John Smith, thanks to a bizarre series of events, most of which were beyond his control, finds himself with the tag of Britain’s most wanted.
John Smith is the reluctant terrorist.
It's an eccentric dimwitted character book. Sort of like a set in Wales version of a Florida set Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, Bill Fitzhugh novels. It ends up not being a bad novel at all. ****
Last week marked 14 years since the Kindle first burst onto the scene - Back in 2007 Amazon had intended to revolutionise reading with its eReading device and here in 2021 I think it can safely be said that it is a case of mission accomplished.
It was ten years previously, in 1997, that the first true eReader was created and this was the Rocketbook. It was created by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, voracious readers who saw a future where everyone was reading electronically.
They initially took their prototype to Jeff Bazos and for a short while it looked like Bezos and Amazon were going to run with the Rocketbook, but the fact that books had to be hard-loaded, via a USB cable, soured the deal and Bezos passed on the design.
"Bezos seemed impressed but had some reservations. To download books, a customer needed to plug the e-reader into his computer. We talked about wireless but it was crazily expensive at the time. It would add an extra four hundred dollars to each unit and the data plans were insane.” Martin Eberhard
The pair then took the device to Barnes and Noble and a deal was struck at once. In its first year the Rocketbook sold over 20,000 eReaders.
The Rocketbook, now a device largely forgotten to history, was the father of the modern eReader, and it would take another ten years before Amazon did get in on the so called future of reading when it launched the first ever Kindle device.
This time books could be loaded by wi-fi, the resolution of eInk had improved and Amazon launched the device with 90,000 eBooks available in its eBook store.
The first generation of the Kindle sold out within five and a half hours of its launch - Amazon had a massive hit on their hand.
At the same time Amazon also launched their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) store which allowed anyone to easily publish a eBook to their platform for sale to eager Kindle readers out there, and many many writers, as well as spivs who suddenly developed a literary ambition, did.
In 2009 Amazon launched the next generation Kindle, offering some improvements on the original clunky device.
True, there have been a few missteps - The Kindle DX for one was short lived and the Kindle Voyage, a deluxe eReader never really took off in the way Amazon expected.
To be fair the Voyage was a very good eReader, but it didn't really do that much more than the Kindle Paperwhite, and maybe the timing of its launch, when tablets were starting to take off, worked against it. In the end Amazon discontinued the Voyage. The company would eventually score a success though with deluxe eReaders and the current Kindle Oasis, my own reader of choice, is a great seller despite being the most expensive eReader out there.
" My top objective was to make the Kindle disappear.We want to provide the ultimate reading experience—so a person forgets that he's using a device." Jeff Bezos
And now in 2021 the Kindle has become synonymous with the eBook industry - sure there are other great devices out there from other companies, but it is the Kindle that holds the biggest market share across the world, and the devices we use today offer a truly immersive experience. Bezos always said that he wanted to device to disappear in the reader's hand, for them to be sucked into the story and that aim has been met tenfold.
Happy Birthday, Kindle.
Thursday, 11 November 2021
It is complicated, though and it wasn't until 2011 that Wales was officially declared a country when the International Organisation for Standardisation said so - though in truth Wales hasn't been a Principality since the 16th Century.
So why did the ISO step in, when there was no real need since the Welsh have long considered Wales to be its own country? It started when the ISO defined Wales as a Principality in a newsletter, which prompted the Welsh politician, Leanne Wood to start a campaign to have its status changed. Yes, Welsh politicians, just like those all over the world chose their fights on the basis of it creating good press rather than what really matters.
Though it gets even more complicated - in the Thirteenth century the Princes of Gwynedd ruled most of North and West Wales. They were called Princes of Wales and had to swear an oath of allegiance to the King of England. In 1216, at the council of Aberdyfi, the Welsh princes declared Llywelyn the Great to be their main leader, and this prompted the King of England to agree that Llywelyn's heirs would be known as the Prince of Wales.
Then the Welsh had a level of independence from England but this ended in 1283 when Edward 1 conquered the principality, and after that Wales was split into two separate Principalities - Gwynedd in the North and Cardigan in the South and these were ruled by the English King. The rest of Wales was then ruled by the Marcher Lords.
It was the Act of Union in 1536 that actually made Wales a country again - though until September 1997, Wales was governed from Westminster by the UK government. It was a vote for devolution that sparked the creation of the Welsh Assembly, but Wales still has a Prince of Wales (that Charley blokey with the big ears) and that title is given to the eldest son of the reigning English monarch. It is this last fact that creates the confusion with many still claiming that Wales is a Principality rather than a country. It still causes problems from time to time and in 2017 the English rugby coach, Eddie Jones sparked controversy by calling Wales a Principality.
Now that's all out of the way (sort of) let's get on with the real thrust of this article and that is the Welsh crime fiction movement. For a country of little more than three million people, Wales has a vibrant crime fiction movement. We've had Nordic noir and Tartan noir - so it the next big thing Taff noir? I'd like to lay claim to that phrase, Taff Noir - you heard it here first. So, is Taff Noir to be the next big thing? I do hope so, since I'm very much a part of the movement myself. Quick plug for my valleys set crime thriller, Down Among the Dead - available now. Listen to the Wind, a second book featuring Chief Inspector Frank Parade will be published next year.
Wales - 870'ish miles of stunning coastline, from the industrial scars of the valleys to the breath-taking beauty of rural Wales the country has a plethora of fictional crime, and always has - Agatha Christie set her 1934 novel in the fictional Welsh town of Marchbolt.
Though these days the real Wales features in a range of crime fiction, taff noir if you like. Take Henry Bingham for instance, who has penned a truly amazing series of crime thrillers featuring the character of Detective Fiona Griffiths. Or there's the great Belinda Bauer whose novel Rubbernecker used the A470 (The Welsh answer to Route 66), 180 odd miles of Welsh road to set up the premise of what is a truly stunning thriller. In fact all of Belinda's books are brilliant.
"Honestly, I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be writing crime fiction in Wales.” Author, Beverly Jones
The first Welsh International Crime Festival ( Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival ) is to kick off in 2022, and then hopefully we will see Taff Noir (that phrase again) become a thing in the crime fiction world. Though, those who keep their ears to the corpse strewn ground have always known that Taff Noir is a thing - it's just never been as well publicised as say Tartan Noir or Nordic Noir. Let's hope all that is about to change.
The entire spread of Wales is covered by crime fiction - Dylan H Jones (Anglesey), Rose Claverton (Cardiff), Gary M Dobbs (The South Wales Valleys), Simon McCleave (Snowdonia), John Williams (Cardiff), Alis Hawkins (the Teifi Valley) and the list goes on and on with many great writers and well realised locations to discover.
“Ever since Hinterland appeared on TV, people have been getting more interested in looking for Welsh crime, and not just on their TVs,” Gail Williams, CWA
Wales had produced a lot of great crime writing and continues to do so - and apologies for the many many writers not mentioned here, but the list of all of the excellent writers working in Taff Noir would end up reading like one of those telephone directories that used to sit in everyone's hallway.
Suffice to say Wales is an amazingly picturesque country, with landscapes steeped in ancient myth, with valleys that still hold the scars of the industrial might that once held sway, with clear lakes that hide secrets a'murky beneath their pristine surface and inner city mean streets that even Chandler would think twice about sending his tarnished knight a'walking down.
Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU Festival is Wales’ first international crime literature festival. Crime writing takes many forms – from crime fiction and non-fiction through to television and film.
Wednesday, 10 November 2021
Available at a criminally low price on eBook - also in print and audio.
An exhilarating crime thriller *****
Frank Parade is a wonderful creation, and Dobbs is a shining star in the crime fiction universe
Few thrillers have been so gripping in recent years
Available at Amazon, iBooks, and anywhere else books are sold.
Review from Donna Morfett on Goodreads
This is set just after the outbreak of World War 2, in the Welsh Valleys, both providing a great setting and atmosphere, both dark, brooding, tense,
The story begins with the murder of a young woman, and then a man is found dead shortly after. It follows the police investigation into both murders hampered by the increased issues of blackouts and air raid sirens, and Germans bombing the local big cities.
The main Policeman, Parade, is patient and dogged. His men can't work him out. He is a widower and despite being in charge of of station is willing to bend the rules a little to get the job done. He also didn't want to implicate any of his men.
When a German airman is arrested, he shows him humanity and compassion, which says everything possible about the man.
Despite the subject being relatively dark, there were a lot of light hearted moments, that I think showed the spirit of British people, not only during the war but in general. There is also the exploration of friendships, relationships, both clandestine and genuine.
This book hooked me in, every time I put it down i was itching to get back to it to find out what happened. I wouldn't have guessed the truth either.