Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Promotion of mystery in Russia hits rock bottom

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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.

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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 Victoria-based Brindle & Glass.

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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, award-winning library located in a former Walmart store.

According to, 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.

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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.

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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.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 17, 2013 A1


Updated on Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 10:20 PM CDT: Tweaks formatting.

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