Pro­mo­tion of mys­tery in Rus­sia hits rock bot­tom

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - By Bob Arm­strong

IN an age when writ­ers have been caught us­ing pseudonyms to give their own books rave re­views on Ama­zon, the mar­ket­ing of a hit Rus­sian mys­tery rep­re­sents a new low.

Ads in the Moscow sub­way this sum­mer have quoted rave re­views from Svensk Ny­heter (Swedish News) and Opna TV Stock­holm of the new Swedish crime novel, called Red is the Colour of Pain, be­ing pro­moted as a mix of The Girl with the Dragon Tat­too and Fifty Shades of Grey.

The only prob­lem is, nei­ther of those sup­posed Swedish me­dia ac­tu­ally ex­ists. Nor, it ap­pears, does the book’s al­leged Swedish author, Eva Hansen.

Ac­cord­ing to The Moscow News, there’s a great deal of cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence to sug­gest the book was writ­ten by a Rus­sian whose pub­lisher is try­ing to cash in on the Scan­di­na­vian mys­tery boom.

Newly ar­rived Man­i­to­ban author Lau­ren Carter picked a heck of a time to move to her new home in The Pas — Jan­uary — in the midst of a par­tic­u­larly long, cold win­ter.

For­tu­nately, Carter grew up in Blind River, Ont., which is not ex­actly the ba­nana belt of Canada.

This fall, she launches her first novel and sec­ond book, Swarm, a drama of scarcity and po­lit­i­cal chaos set in a de­clin­ing fu­ture. She will read from the book — and meet fel­low res­i­dents of her new home prov­ince — at the Thin Air Win­nipeg In­ter­na­tional Writ­ers’ Fes­ti­val in Septem­ber.

Swarm will be pub­lished by Vic­to­ri­abased Brindle & Glass.

An un­likely build­ing in an un­likely city has be­come the envy of book lovers across North Amer­ica.

McAllen, Texas, a city of 130,000 at the south­ern­most tip of the con­ti­nen­tal U.S., is now home to a mas­sive, award­win­ning li­brary lo­cated in a for­mer Wal­mart store.

Ac­cord­ing to We­bUr­ban­, the ar­chi­tec­tural firm Meyer, Scherer and Rock­cas­tle won the In­ter­na­tional In­te­rior De­sign As­so­ci­a­tion’s 2012 Li­brary In­te­rior De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion for the 123,000-square-foot branch, which has boosted li­brary mem­ber­ship by 24 per cent in its first month.

You all re­mem­ber the stir­ring fi­nal bat­tle from Star Wars:

“Now in a trice brave Han is on the scene! / The smug­gler hath re­turn’d on er­rand kind / With sly ap­proach he makes his way un­seen / And slays th’im­peri’l pi­lots from be­hind.”

If that doesn’t ring a bell, it’s be­cause you’re think­ing of the ’70s movie, not Wil­liam Shake­speare’s Star Wars: Ver­ily, a New Hope.

The iambic pen­tame­ter retelling of the fa­mous movie, by Ian Doescher, is be­ing pub­lished this sum­mer by Quirk Books. With breath­less bat­tle scenes, many nar­rated by a cho­rus, Doescher’s book is like Henry V with light sabres. No doubt many Star Wars fans hope that if there’s ever a Shake­spearean Phan­tom Men­ace, com­plete with young Anakin Sky­walker and Jar Jar Binks, it will have more of a Ti­tus An­dron­i­cus edge to it.

A bru­tal crime on a Bri­tish pub­lic hous­ing es­tate nearly pre­vented Calgary author Natalee Caple from writ­ing her 2013 novel In Calamity’s Wake.

In an in­ter­view on the web­site The 49th Shelf, Caple says the death of her cousin, Heather, af­ter an at­tack near her home in Wales, took away her de­sire to work on the novel. But while con­tin­u­ing her re­search, Caple came upon a photo of her novel’s sub­ject, Calamity Jane, and no­ticed a strong phys­i­cal re­sem­blance to Heather.

That dis­cov­ery in­spired her to get back to work to cre­ate a novel cel­e­brat­ing a strong, kind and non-vi­o­lent woman nav­i­gat­ing a vi­o­lent world, as a trib­ute to Caple’s cousin.

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