Sunday, December 11, 2011

What is Leighton Gage reading?

This weekend's featured contributor at Writers Read: Leighton Gage, author of A Vine in the Blood.

His entry begins:
The civilized little country of Iceland has a population of slightly more than 300,000 people and a homicide rate akin to that of Japan – only about 0.5 murders per 100,000 people per year. And those (less than) two murders are usually alcohol-related and quickly solved.

Why, then, do they have so many crime writers? More to the point, why do they have so many good crime writers?

Maybe it’s something in the water. Or the fact that they have one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Or the fact that nobody reads more books, per year, than your average Icelander.

Whatever it is, I’m glad of it, because I just love Icelandic crime novels. And I particularly enjoy the work of Yrsa Sigudardottir, whose undark side you can sample every Wednesday on Murder is Everywhere.

Yrsa’s fourth book to feature the exploits of Reykjavik lawyer, Thora Gudmundsdottir, won’t be launched in the United States until the end of March, 2012, but I was fortunate enough to snag an Advanced Reading Copy – and, as is usual with Yrsa’s books, it kept me up all night.

On the 23rd of January, 1973, a volcanic eruption struck Heimaey, the only populated island of Iceland’s Westman Archipelago. The population, almost 5,000 people, was evacuated without the loss of a single human life, but almost a third of the village was covered by a thick layer of lava and ash. In June of 2005, an archeological dig began with the objective of uncovering some of the 400 homes and buildings buried for more than three decades.

That much is fact. But then Yrsa’s rich imagination takes over: corpses are discovered...[read on]
About A Vine in the Blood, from the publisher:
It is the eve of the FIFA World Cup, the globe's premier sporting event. The host country is Brazil. All eyes are on the country's principal striker, Tico "The Artist" Santos, the greatest player in the history of the sport. All the politicians in Brasilia, from the President of the Republic on down, have their seats squared away for the finale, when they hope to see Argentina, Brazil's bitterest rival, humbled by the Brazilian eleven. But then, just three weeks before the first game, Juraci Santos, Tico's mother, is kidnapped. The star is distraught. The public is appalled. The politicians are outraged. And the pressure is on Chief Inspector Mario Silva to get her back.

Suspects aren't lacking. Among them are a cabal of Argentineans, suspected of having spirited the lady away to put Tico off his game; the star's gold-digging, top-model girlfriend, whom his mother dislikes and has been trying to get out of his life; his principal rival, who wants to play in the World Cup in Tico's place; and the man whose leg Tico broke during a match, thereby destroying his career. In the end, Silva and his crew discover that the solution to the mystery is less complex—but entirely unexpected.
Learn more about the book and author at Leighton Gage's website and the Murder is Everywhere blog.

The Page 69 Test: Blood of the Wicked.

My Book, The Movie: Buried Strangers.

The Page 69 Test: Dying Gasp.

Writers Read: Leighton Gage (December 2010).

The Page 69 Test: Every Bitter Thing.

Writers Read: Leighton Gage.

--Marshal Zeringue