The Guilty One a debut novel by Lisa Ballantyne
But what crime did Minnie commit that made Daniel disregard her for fifteen years? And will Daniel’s identification with a child on trial for murder make him question everything he ever believed in? (Fantastic Fiction)
Review : The Guilty One is really two stories in one. I enjoyed the parallel stories and was gripped equally by both. I thought that they complemented each other well and it was possible to draw comparisons between both stories. Daniel’s story was very moving and also intriguing and all the way through I did not know whether Sebastian had been responsible for Ben’s death and it was impossible to predict the trial’s outcome. Ballantyne’s switchback narrative plunges us in and out of Daniel’s past and Sebastian’s trial, asking interesting questions about guilt, innocence, and complicity.
An assured and confident debut novel.
Murder is a messy business. The motivations behind committing murder can be complicated. The murder weapon needs to be considered, a pistol perhaps? Or, the ubiquitous blunt instrument? The location and the timing of the murder need to be carefully planned. Witnesses are to be avoided. An alibi has to be constructed. Then, of course, the question of what to do with the body must be answered.
If murder is so difficult, why is it so fascinating?
Crime fiction is the world’s largest genre. It’s without doubt the most popular genre with Blue Mountains City Library users. One of the reasons for this is that crime fiction writers have so successfully capitalised on the appeal factors of reading: character; language; setting; and story. Many crime fiction readers are very familiar with these appeal factors: the numerous characters from cerebral sleuths who can solve a crime in their living room over a cup of tea (Edgar Allan Poe or Arthur Conan Doyle for instance) to weapon wielding heroes who track down villains on foot in darkened alleyways (James M Cain, Raymond Chandler, Peter Corris, Dashiell Hammett); the language of the cultured conversations from the novels of the genre’s Golden Age between World Wars I and II (Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh or Dorothy L Sayers) to the hard-hitting terminology of forensic procedurals (Patricia Cornwell, Gabrielle Lord, Kathy Reichs or Australian Kathryn Fox) and legal procedurals (Sydney Bauer, John Grisham, Scott Turow); the settings that range from Australian towns and cities (Shane Maloney, Peter Temple, Arthur Upfield) to glamorous locations around the world (Ian Rankin, Ian Fleming, Patricia Highsmith); and the diversity of detective stories from the classic locked room (John Dickson Carr, Fergus Hume) to modern day military thrillers (Tom Clancy, Matthew Reilly). Crime fiction also covers the continuum of stories that focus on solving the crime (G K Chesterton, P D James, Ellis Peters) to works that explicitly detail criminal acts (James Ellroy, Thomas Harris, Mo Hayder). There is, quite simply, a dead body for every reader.
And in the 634s on the Adult Non-Fiction shelves you’ll find enough True Crime to chill you to the bone. Two recent crime reads of mine are So Brilliantly Clever and The Search for Anne Perry by Joanne Drayton by Peter Graham and both about the brutal, premeditated murder of Honorah Parker in 1954 in a lonely park by her 16-year-old daughter Pauline and Pauline’s 15-year-old friend Juliet Hulme in the early 1950s in Christchurch, New Zealand. The girls spent a few years in prison each before being released under new names. Pauline Parker stayed in NZ for a number of years, becoming a Librarian, before moving to the UK where she now lives a reclusive life in the Shetlands. Juliet Hulme, taking her step-father’s surname, became popular historical fiction author, Anne Perry, who has also chosen Scotland as her home. She’s an extremely popular author among Blue Mountains City Library readers – her books go backwards and forwards over our circulation desks all the time!
So, this April read a work of crime fiction. If you are already familiar with the genre try a sub-genre or author you have not read before. If you are new to crime fiction then close your windows, lock your doors and curl up in bed with a killer…
What are your favourite crime related reads? Any films, TV series or games? Did you enjoy the light-hearted, clever Miss Phrynne Fisher series, or is the more gritty Underbelly series more up your alley? What are the blogs, twitter streams or magazines you read for #crimeread? Any apps which form part of your #crimeread environment?
There will be a live twitter discussion on Tuesday 30 April starting at 8pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. Use the tags #crimeread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of #crimeread, so others can join in the conversation too.
The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller
A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming
The CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger
A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash
The CWA Non-fiction Dagger
The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan.
This book gives an account of the historical events surrounding the 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center.
There was a tie for the CWA Short Story Dagger this year - The Message by Margaret Murphy and Laptop by Cath Staincliffe. Both stories published originally in Murder Squad: Best Eaten Cold and Other Stories.
The CWA Debut Dagger was awarded to Beached by Sandy Gingras - this Dagger recognizes unpublished works.
The CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger
Icelight by Aly Monroe.
This is the third book in the Peter Cotton series set in WWII Europe.
The CWA Dagger in the Library was awarded to Steve Mosby. The CWA award this dagger for lifetime achievement and the author’s entire body of work.
The CWA People’s Bestseller Dagger
Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs
You can see the list of nominations for all categories here.