Indie Sweetheart: Meet Crime Publisher Bitter Lemon Press

For our #IndieSweetheart this month, we’re excited to introduce (if you don’t know them already!) Bitter Lemon Press!

Indie Sweetheart is a spotlight on some of the independent presses we work with at Turnaround.

Who are Bitter Lemon?

Based in London, England, Bitter Lemon Press was launched in 2003 by a trio of hardcore booklovers who founded the imprint: Frédéric and François Von Hurter, and Laurence Colchester. The press specialises in contemporary, translated crime, mystery, noir, and psychological thrillers from Germany, Latin America, Turkey, and many more international writers. In 2014, they launched their non-fiction imprint: Wilmington Square Books, committed to knowledge, observation and debate about culture and society.

Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, this unique and passionate independent publisher certainly has a lot to commemorate, with many highly-acclaimed, award-winning titles to their name. With each book expertly hand-picked from around the globe, translated and published, Bitter Lemon keeps their readers at the heart of their publishing, bringing incredible literature from far and wide to their hand.

The proof is in the pudding and this small but mighty publisher has a success streak that speaks for itself. Bitter Lemon’s latest outstanding titles are just the tip of the iceberg after 20 years of remarkable books! See some of the newest and upcoming releases below:

Trouble by Katja Ivar

Bitter Lemon Press, 9781913394776, p/b, £9.99, 19/01/2023

The first Bitter Lemon publication of 2023, Trouble is an absolute scorcher of a Nordic Noir. This political thriller is the much-anticipated third instalment to feature Hella Mauzer, a whip-smart and headstrong Finnish heroine. Helsinki, June 1953, at the heart of the Cold War. Hella, now a reluctant private investigator, has been asked by her former boss at the Helsinki murder squad to do a background check on a member of the Finnish secret services. She accepts it on the condition that she is given access to the files concerning the roadside death of her father in 1942, at a time when Finland joined forces with Nazi Germany in its attack against the Soviet Union. German troops were sent to Finland, the Gestapo arrived in Helsinki and German influence on local government was strong, including demands for the deportation of local Jews. Colonel Mauzer, his wife and other family members were killed by a truck in a hit and run incident. An accident, file closed, they said. But not for Hella, whose unwelcome investigation leads to some who would prefer to see her stopped dead in her tracks…

Sounds right up your street? Check out the other two titles in this gripping series:

Evil Things by Katja Ivar
Bitter Lemon Press, 9781912242092, p/b, £8.99, 17/01/2019

Deep As Death by Katja Ivar
Bitter Lemon Press, 9781912242306, p/b, £8.99, 16/06/2020

The Hand That Feeds You by Mercedes Rosende

Bitter Lemon Press, 9781913394745, p/b, £9.99, 23/02/2023

Take note of that publication date and put it in your diaries because this fast-paced and slick crime thriller is one you are not going to want to miss. The attempted robbery of the armoured car in the back streets of Montevideo is a miserable failure. A lucky break for the intrepid Ursula Lopez who manages to snatch all the loot, more hindered than helped by her faint-hearted and reluctant companion Diego. Only now, the wannabe robbers are hot on her heels. As are the police. And Ursula’s sister. But Ursula turns out to be enormously talented when it comes to criminal undertakings, and given the hilarious ineptitude of those in pursuit, she might just pull it off. She is an irresistible heroine. A murderess with a sense of humour, a lovable criminal with an edge, she is practically invisible to the men who dominate the deeply macho society of Uruguay. To take the words right out of The Guardian: “buckle up and enjoy the ride.”

There Are No Happy Loves by Sergio Olguín

Bitter Lemon Press, 9781913394714, p/b, £9.99, 25/08/2022

The third instalment in the Veronica Rosenthal Mysteries, an incredible psychological thriller series, There Are No Happy Loves is a taut thriller based on real facts about the Catholic church in Argentina. During her investigation about a possible child abduction, Veronica befriends an ex-nun who shares her love for whisky and helps her infiltrate a religious order on the trail of a network of illegal adoptions and body trafficking. Darío, the sole survivor of a car accident that supposedly killed all his family, is convinced that his wife and child have in fact survived and that his wife has abducted their child. Then a truck searched in the port of Buenos Aires on suspicion that it is carrying drugs, is revealed to be transporting human body parts. These seemingly separate incidents prove to be tied in a shadowy web of complicity involving political and religious authorities. This is a dazzling thriller but also a story about the possibilities of love, in which jealousy, eroticism, humour and even elusive moments of happiness make an appearance. An ambitious, complicated and utterly captivating protagonist, journalist Veronica Rosenthal leaves no stone unturned in her investigations, no matter how dark or dirty the secret underneath is…

Find more on the previous two novels below!

The Fragility of Bodies by Sergio Olguín
Bitter Lemon Press, 9781912242191, p/b,
£8.99, 11/07/2019

The Foreign Girls by Sergio Olguín
Bitter Lemon Press, 9781913394387, p/b,
£8.99, 18/02/2021

Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda

Bitter Lemon Press, 9781913394592, p/b, £8.99, 16/06/2022

Set in a Tokyo flat over the course of one night, Aki and Hiro spend one last night together before going their separate ways. Each believes the other to be a murderer and is determined to extract a confession before the night is over. Who has been killed and why? Which one is the killer? In an intense battle of wills over the course of a night, the true nature of the pair’s relationship and the chain of events leading up to this night are gradually revealed in this gripping psychological thriller that keeps the reader in suspense to the very end. The thriller — buried in a literary whodunit — explores the mysteries of romantic love, memory and attaining self-knowledge. Dubbed ‘one of the twistiest psychological thrillers of the year’ by Crime Reads, this highly acclaimed title is an unflinching foray into the darker recesses of the soul, quietly suspenseful and elegantly constructed. Our Book of the Month June 2022, read the full review on the blog here!

Kalmann by Joachim Schmidt 

Bitter Lemon Press, 9781913394684, p/b, £8.99, 19/05/2022

Kalmann is the self-appointed Sheriff of Raufarhöfn. Day by day, he treks the wide plains which surround the almost deserted village, hunts Arctic foxes and lays bait in the sea — to catch the gigantic Greenland sharks he turns into the Icelandic fermented delicacy, hákarl. There is nothing anyone need worry about. Kalmann has everything under control. Inside his head, however, the wheels sometimes spin backwards. One winter, after he discovers a pool of blood in the snow, the swiftly unfolding events threaten to overwhelm him. But he knows that his native wisdom and pure-hearted courage will see him through. There really is no need to worry. How can anything go wrong with Kalmann in charge? He knows everything a man needs to know about life — well, almost. This is a touching and very funny Nordic crime thriller with a tightly plotted suspense story based on a mentally challenged character described with empathy, humour and psychological tact.

Find out more about Bitter Lemon Press through their website:
or by contacting your Turnaround sales rep.

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