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#WritingCrime Twitter Chat with Chanette Paul & Michael Dufranne

Please join us tonight, 10 October, for an exciting tri-continental literary event on twitter. It will start at 19:00 (7pm) in South Africa and Belgium, in USA the time will be 1PM EST.


Chanette Paul (Sacrificed) and Michel Dufranne (editor of ‘Brussels Noir’) will answer questions about their books.

Chanette’s book spans South Africa, the DRC and Belgium, while Michel looks at the darker side of the European diplomatic capital.

Participation is free and funky. Tune into twitter, search #WritingCrime and read what everyone says. You may ask a question and contribute your thoughts. Simply use #WritingCrime in every post, then everyone in the world will see your contributions.

So, do prepare those questions to Chanette and Michel!

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Mentje, kind van Pas-Opkamp - ’n nuwe oorlogsroman uit die pen van Irma Joubert

Sy is so verskriklik eensaam. So verskriklik bang. Haar hart is verskriklik stukkend.

Mentje de Vries, ’n Nederlandse oorlogswesie, beleef die Tweede Wêreldoorlog in al sy genadeloosheid. Eers moet sy onderduik in ’n geheime kamp vol Joodse vlugtelinge, en daarna beleef sy die hel wat die tyd net voor die bevryding voorafgaan, wanneer Britse troepe gestuur word om ’n brug in Arnhem oor te neem. In hierdie bloedige slag word ’n Suid-Afrikaner, wat deel is van die Britse Leër, gewond en die jonge Mentje red sy lewe.

Maar wat word van die wesie?

Hoe oorleef ’n alleenkind gedurende die berugte Hongerwinter van 1944 en 1945?

Irma Joubert is ’n geliefde naam in historiese fiksie. Al haar vorige romans was topverkopers en met Mentje, kind van Pas-Opkamp sit sy hierdie tradisie voort. Soos gewoonlik is haar navorsing puik. Die Pas-Opkamp het werklik bestaan. Foto’s is op die internet beskikbaar.
Irma Joubert is een van ons groot uitvoerprodukte. Beide haar Tussen stasies-trilogie en haar Pontenilo-trilogie, asook die eerste twee boeke van haar oorlogstrilogie, naamlik Immer wes en Mentje, kind van Pas-Opkamp, is in Nederlands vertaal, waar dit telkens onder die topverkopers tel. Vier van haar boeke is reeds in Duits vertaal en HarperCollins in Amerika het The girl from the train (Tussen stasies) in 2015 uitgegee. Kronkelpad verower in 2014 die BCB Publieksprijs in Nederland. In die VSA is The girl from the train in 2016 ’n finalis vir die Christi-awards, ’n buitengewone eer vir ’n vertaalde werk, en is dit deur Logos Books aangewys as die “Best Book of 2015”.


Consuelo Roland fans: the second book in her Lady Limbo series has hit the shelves!

Paola Dante is a driven project manager employed by a large multinational information technology corporation who reads war strategy books for relaxation. In general she prefers computers to people with their random uncontrolled emotions. Long ago she made a decision that matters of the heart were inherently messy and should be kept at arm’s distance. But her husband had surprised her; she had no resistance against Daniel.

Now she sees herself as a survivor who has successfully moved on from the traumatic events and terrible truth surrounding her husband’s sudden disappearance years before. But the truth is that ever since the night he walked out on their marriage back to his old ways she’s found it hard to get on with normal life.

An unlikely and ill-equipped mother, she stands alone between their adopted daughter Simone and the criminal kingpin who wants the teenage girl for his own ends and has set the savage wolves on her.

To save her daughter − and herself − once and for all, Paola will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she’d finally processed and left behind.
Praise for Lady Limbo:

“Consuelo Roland has written a surprising and intriguing tale about marriage, life and the exceptions we make for those we love.” – Dee Andrew, Slipnet

“Highly, highly recommending this excellent book by Consuelo Roland, who won me over earlier this year with her extraordinary debut novel, The Good Cemetery Guide. Everything I loved about that book – impeccable craft skills, dry wit, full-bodied characters, lovely turns of phrase – is present in Lady Limbo, but Roland has taken it to the next level with a more complex, suspenseful plot. The international intrigue and a fast-paced story kept me engaged without detracting from Paola’s journey, the emotional core of the book, as she searches for her husband and ultimately for herself. – review by just another bookworm.

Consuelo Roland is the author of The Limbo Trilogy, a mystery-suspense series set in Camps Bay, seaside playground for the rich. Her latest novel, Wolf Trap, follows Lady Limbo, the first volume in the trilogy, published to critical acclaim in 2012. She lives in South Africa with her husband.

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Cas Wepener se Johanna ’n aangrypende roman oor die impak van een vrou se lewe binne ’n beperkte milieu en kultuur

Johanna van Cas Wepener is ’n roman oor die dood van ’n vrou, Johanna, en haar impak op die mense rondom haar se lewens. Johanna is lesbies in ’n tyd waar dit in die George waar sy grootword en meeste van haar lewe woon, nie sosiaal aanvaarbaar is nie.

Die verhaal word geskryf vanuit verskillende perspektiewe: Vanuit haar geliefde Muriel se oogpunt, haar wyse bediende Nonna, haar suster, haar dominee en haar susterskind Willie. Hulle almal probeer haar dood verwerk en sin maak van sekere dramatiese gebeurtenisse in haar lewe as klein dogtertjie.

Johanna is ’n aangrypende roman oor die impak van ’n lewe binne ’n sekere milieu en kultuur. Dit getuig van goeie vakmanskap en ’n fyn aanvoeling vir menseverhoudinge, omgewing en atmosfeer.

Cas Wepener (1972) is sedert Julie 2010 aangestel as professor aan die Universiteit van Pretoria. Hy is die skrywer van talle akademiese en populêre artikels, asook ’n boek Aan tafel met Jesus en ’n bundel liturgiese voorstelle, Soos ’n blom na die son draai (2011). Sy bundel kortverhale Dubbelfoto het in 2000 by Protea Boekhuis verskyn en sy debuutroman Syferfontein in 2016. Syferfontein is vir die UJ prys vir skeppende skryfwerk genomineer.


On evil's own trail: Michele Magwood reviews Retribution Road

Published in the Sunday Times

Retribution RoadRetribution Road
Antonin Varenne, MacLehose Press

Don’t be put off by the cowboy on the cover and the words “adventure story”. This is no cartoon Wild West tale, although guns are slung and whisky is drunk in quantity. Antonin Varenne is a French author who has won several prestigious awards in France for his noir novels. Here he travels back to the 19th century, where we meet the British mercenary Arthur Bowman, one of the East India Company’s private army of some 300 000 soldiers. He’s a vicious killer and a charismatic leader, but a mission in Burma ends up with his company captured and tortured.

Bowman barely survives and returns to the slums of London where he sinks into alcohol and opium addiction. When a corpse turns up bearing the same markings of torture that he suffered in Burma, he sets off to hunt the killer, convinced it is one of his men.

Bowman trails the man to America and follows his tracks across the vast young country. It is a pacy, vivid tale that moves at rapid speed for 500 pages and twists and turns like a thriller. Varenne breathes extraordinary life into history, from the junks on a Burmese river, to the Great Stink of London when the Thames dried up, to the gold mines of Colorado and virgin ranches of the Sierra Nevada. He captures the creak and suffocation of stagecoaches, the terror of working women protesters shot in New York, the tedium of sea crossings and the blinding vistas of the New World.

It is an intriguing blend of quest tale, detective story, Western and war drama, with an unusual love interest stirred in – but underneath it all are serious questions about the nature of courage and honour, and whether an evil man can ever be redeemed. – Michele Magwood @michelemagwood

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Book Bites: 8 October 2017

Published in the Sunday Times

The Word is MurderThe Word is Murder
Anthony Horowitz, Century
Just when one thought that Sherlock Holmes (the one Benedict Cumberbatch embraced as his character in the TV series) was the most arrogant detective ever to grace popular culture, Horowitz introduces us to himself and Daniel Hawthorne – both insufferable men. Horowitz writes himself as a character in his own book, where he is called on by Hawthorne to help in a murder case. The murder to be solved is that of Diana Cowper, a wealthy woman who goes to a funeral parlour to plan her burial just hours before she is strangled. Hawthorne is brought in as the police need someone with his intelligence to solve the case. Hawthorne brings Horowitz in to write the book. It’s watery and self-indulgent, with Horowitz name-dropping celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. The murder story, in the end, is irrelevant. – Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

The New GirlThe New Girl: A Trans Girl Tells It Like It Is
Rhyannon Styles, Headline
This bold autobiography relates the tremendous challenges that the writer undergoes in order to embrace life as a woman. She spares no details and is candid in this honest exposé of life behind the scenes in the world of theatre and the performing arts, a place where freedom of expression and individuality is the norm. The New Girl grabs one’s attention and provides a fascinating glimpse into both the inner and outer world of a transgender person. – Penny Swisa

House of SpiesHouse of Spies
Daniel Silva, HarperCollins
Gabriel Allon, the Israeli spy, is back for his 17th book. Co-ordinated terrorist attacks in London’s West End have left hundreds dead. The attacks have all the markings of Saladin, the ISIS mastermind. Clues to the case take Allon and his team to the south of France where they must infiltrate the enemy. A complex thriller brimming with details. – Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie

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