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Before I start my December ‘Roll Call’ of crime writers, I would like to thank all those readers and visitors of for your lovely emails and condolences in what has been a difficult time for me. Even though some of you I have never met, your messages lifted me up during a very dark time. Again, I thank you for your kindness and wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Author of the Month for December stays as Doug Johnstone for the time being. There were a number of candidates for December AotM, but none quite came up to the level we look for in this category. I have never once lied about liking a book if I didn’t think it worth the praise, nor have I, or any of us on this website, ever reviewed a book without reading it! Yes, I have heard of this happening! So, I’d rather roll the very nice Doug Johnstone over another month. However, if the one I am currently comes up to scratch, then it may get changed halfway through the month. Crash Land is based on the island of Orkney, this is a tale of twenty-one year-old, Finn who is waiting for his plane home to Edinburgh. In the departure lounge he meets Maddie and it is from there that Finn’s ‘normal life’, turns in to a rollercoaster of fear and murder.

Fresh Blood was nominated by reviewer and crime writer, Graham Smith. He praised Dead Man’s Prayer by Jackie Baldwin and basically told me it was Fresh Blood for December! Knowing never to say no to a rugged Scotsman, I knew that if Graham was excited about a book, then it was one worth getting excited about!

We have a bumper number of Reviews for you this month to give you plenty of ideas for Christmas. They include Elly Griffiths, Craig Russell, Craig Robertson, Adam Hamdy, Ian Rankin, John Grisham, Antonia Hodgson and tons more!

Now these initial reviews are online, I will start reading and posting some of the books which are intended for those Christmas stockings. One I am looking forward to is the P.D. James short stories as I am currently in the process of re-reading her Dalgliesh novels from the beginning. I know that many have James’ book on their Christmas list. More mysteries and thrillers involving the festive season will be put up very soon. In the meantime, you can check out our Xmas Top Ten.

The Penguin microsite features Jack Grimwood and his stunning thriller, Moskva. We highlighted Grimwood and this novel on Author of the Month back in May. Now it is out in paperback. January, 1986. A week after disgraced Intelligence Officer Tom Fox is stationed to Moscow the British Ambassador's fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing. Fox is ordered to find her, and fast. But the last thing the Soviets want is a foreign agent snooping about on their turf. Not when a killer they can't even acknowledge let alone catch is preparing to kill again… I claimed that while reading Moskva, ‘I felt glimmers of Le Carré shining through the prose’. Definitely worth reading!

Penguin Microsite

Classic Crime for December will be George Bellairs. I have been collecting this man’s books from various second hand bookshops over the years and it is great to see them being re-printed. The British Library will be releasing a double helping of Bellairs with the publication on the 10th December of The Dead Shall Be Raised (which is based around Christmastime) and Murder of a Quack. So, you have two helpings of D.I. Littlejohn for the price of one book! Keep an eye out for this one online soon!

Check out our Christmas Top Ten. For the past two years it seems the Golden Age of Crime is having a renaissance where Christmas is concerned. In 2014 we had the emergence of J. Jefferson Farjeon with the wonderful Mystery in White, followed by Francis Duncan’s Murder for Christmas. Both were unexpected bestsellers. This year we have Another Little Christmas Murder which I am sure will be under a lot of Christmas trees. With the new P.D. James collection plus other collections from The British Library and Martin Edwards in the form of Crimson Snow, your Christmas crime cup will be more than overflowing!

To check out all our past reviews use the Review Archive. Search under author surname and author Christian name if you can’t recall the surname. And for good measure you can also search under the title of the book. Simply click on the box at the top of the page and then click on to the letter of the author/title you would like to find. As you will see, we have reviewed our fair share of books during's nine years. Have a wander round our archives and I hope you will find something you might have missed first time around!

If you have any comments or have a particular author you would like to see highlighted on this website please e-mail me at

Chris Simmons
Online Editor.