For the next few weeks I’m having a little blogging holiday. I’ve got a stack of fantastic books to read, some cool interviews to do, and I’m cracking on with writing the first draft of the follow-up to DEEP DOWN DEAD.

I’ll be back on 1st September with a revamped look and bursting to tell you about the books I’ve read.

Until then, here’s a sneak peep at my August TBR pile …

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Until then, you can catch me over on Twitter …

 

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What the blurb says: “Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late …”

 

The second book in the Charlie Yates series is another noir-drenched belter of a thriller.

When Charlie gets a call from Jimmy Robinson, a shady reporter from Texarkana – a place Charlie just wants to forget – asking for help, his gut instinct is to hang up. But when Jimmy hints that the trouble that chased Charlie from Texarkana could be connected to murders in Hot Springs, Charlie finds himself agreeing to make the trip. But when he lands at Hot Springs things aren’t at all what he’d expected, and a bad situation turns dire fast. Charlie feels driven to discover the truth of what’s going on and starts to investigate. He soon finds out that beneath it’s party town exterior, Hot Springs has a darker, and much more dangerous side.

Picking up a few months after Rod Reynolds stunning debut The Dark Inside ended, Black Night Falling oozes authenticity and a whole lot of deeply dark menace. The prose is a delight, and I adored the rhythmic Southern cadence.

Reporter Charlie Yates is a great character, and in this second book of the series he’s doing his damnedest to move on from his past – his exile from New York, his failed marriage, and the brutal events in Texarkana that nearly claimed his life – by making a new life for himself in California. But it seems no matter how hard he tries, trouble always finds him! He’s still rather brooding and a bit mysterious, but he’s got a little more hope about him – or at least he’s trying to have!

I think that if Raymond Chandler and John D. MacDonald had co-written a book it might have been rather like BLACK NIGHT FALLING. Darkly gritty and authentically compelling, this is a flawless treat of a novel.

A must-read for all thriller fans.

I recommend that you get it now!

(And if you’ve not read The Dark Inside – get that too!)

BLACK NIGHT FALLING is published today! You can buy the book here from Amazon or from Waterstones here

To find out more about Rod Reynolds and his books go to his Amazon author page here and be sure to follow him on Twitter @Rod_RW

 

The annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2016 in Harrogate was, as always, an amazing weekend of crime fiction, bookish antics, parties, and awards. It was a time to rub shoulders with like-minded types who write and read crime fiction, and to catch up with friends and meet new ones.

I always vow to take lots of pictures, then usually don’t manage to take many at all. This year I snapped a few, and here they are …

 

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Look like your kind of thing? Make sure you check out Harrogate Festivals and join the mailing list for the details of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2017

 

The annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate happened last weekend and, as always, it was an amazing weekend of crime fiction, bookish antics, parties, and awards. It was a time to rub shoulders with like-minded types who write and read crime fiction, and to catch up with friends and meet new ones.

Here are a couple more of the highlights from the weekend …

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The New Blood Panel

Every year Val McDermid picks her four favourite debuts and showcases them on the New Blood panel. It’s a fab panel for readers to be introduced to some brilliant new authors, and always has a great vibe to it. This year was no exception, with the four debut authors – Martin Holmen (CLINCH), JS Law (TENACITY), Beth Lewis (THE WOLF ROAD) and Abir Mukherjee (A RISING MAN) – doing a fantastic job of enticing the audience to read their books.

I was lucky enough to get to sit in the front row for this panel. It was great to see the four debut authors having such a fun time with Val McDermid who expertly put them at their ease. As they talked about their books, it was fascinating to hear about their inspirations and research. It emerged that something they all had in common was the desire to explore what it is to be an outsider, and to have lead characters who recognised their own ‘otherness’.

Martin Holmen said that his inspiration for writing CLINCH was to create a book that combined Swedish expression with the great American thriller tradition. JS Law talked about coming to the realisation that a female naval officer’s experience of the armed forces was very different to his own as a male officer – Val McDermid referred to TENACITY as a feminist Submarine Thriller – and wanting to explore that difference with a female main character. Beth Lewis jumped into THE WOLF ROAD with the premise – what if the person you love is actually a monster? And Abir Mukherjee talked about creating his main character, who while being British in India doesn’t align himself to either culture. Add in Abir’s stories of researching in Indian, Beth’s survival skills course anecdotes (what ever did happen to that pigeon??) and JS Law’s talk of putting his arm into the waste tanks on-board a submarine – which had the whole audience recoiling at the grossness! And this panel had to be a top highlight of the festival.

All four debut authors are well worth checking out:

Click here to buy CLINCH by Martin Holmen

Click here to buy TENACITY by JS Law and follow him on Twitter @JSLawBooks

Click here to buy THE WOLF ROAD by Beth Lewis and follow her on Twitter @bethklewis

Click here to buy A RISING MAN by Abir Mukherjee and follow him on Twitter @radiomukhers

And, of course, be sure to pre-order Val McDermid’s latest book OUT OF BOUNDS here and follow her on Twitter @valmcdermid

 

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The Bonnier Zaffre Secret Garden Party

When you get a party invitation that promises ‘Prosecco, canapés and cake’ and is being held in a secret garden, you just have to go! And Bonnier Zaffre know how to throw a seriously good party. In a (relatively) secret location, the sun shone as I drank Prosecco and mingled with the fabulous stable of authors that Bonnier Zaffre have put together.

It was great to catch up with the Bonnier authors including the ever-bubbly Alex Caan (CUT TO THE BONE), my pal David Young (STASI CHILD) who I did the MA in Creative Writing at City University London with, the lovely David Jackson (A TAPPING AT MY DOOR) and criminal lawyer Neil White (FROM THE SHADOWS). I also got to have a good chat with bloggers Liz Barnsley, The Book Trail and Northern Lass, PR wonder Jamie-Lee Nardone, and crime writers Susi Holliday, Anya Lipska, Zoe Sharp, Martyn Waites, and Mark Hill.

 

The North vs South Crime Writers Football Match

The annual crime writers’ football match was held on Saturday afternoon in front of a large crowd, and as well as crime writers there were a few agents and publishers among the players.

Players for The North were: Luca Veste, Craig Robertson, Howard Linskey, Col Bury, Nick Quantrill, Michael Fowler, Vincent Holland-Keen, Rob Sinclair, and Neil White

Players for The South were: Tim Weaver, James Law, Ian Ayris, Darren Laws, Ed Wood, Phil Patterson, Tom Witcomb, Steven Dunne, and Emad Akhtar.

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As always it was a fiercely fought battle, with the South scoring first (Emad Akhtar), and the North equalising shortly after (due to an own goal by Ian Ayris). Both sides had brought their A-games, but as the end of the match drew closer they started to tire. When referee Mark Billingham announced there would be a penalty shoot out, and the players started to take their shots, it looked for a while as if there’d be no goals. But Rob Sinclair came through for The North and won them the match when Phil Patterson missed the last kick.

So The North remained victorious and, unlike last year, there were no bones broken during the course of the match so all players from both sides were able to celebrate fully in the bar afterwards!

 

Be sure to stop by the CTG blog again tomorrow to see my photo galley from Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (including lots more action shots from the football)!

Sound like your kind of thing? Make sure you check out Harrogate Festivals and join the mailing list for the details of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2017

Liz Mistry Unquiet Souls

Today I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on the Unquiet Souls blog tour.

For the stop today I’ve got a fabulous extract from the book that introduces the hero – DI Gus McGuire …

 

Friday, 10am, Shipley, Bradford, 2015

Detective Inspector Angus McGuire, can of Irn Bru in one hand, looked around the waiting room. He hated it, from its cloying vanilla-scented candles to the china clutter on the mantelpiece and the seaside paintings on the chimney breast. The only thing remotely bearable was the oversized aquarium that stood dead centre, providing 360 degree footage of tank life. He didn’t particularly like fish, but, in this tank, he’d found one he could relate to. He’d named him Nemo out of sheer bloody mindedness because his Nemo was neither a clown fish, nor orange and white. His Nemo was, by aquarium standards, a monster lurking in solitude near the bottom of the tank. Its lazy eye blinked only once every century or so. Cold and dead, it reminded him of Becky’s eye. The one without the knife protruding from it. The one that blinked reproachfully at him in his nightmares. Nemo was Gus.

He tapped the glass and Nemo moved, the frondy things springing from the back of its head floated in the water. They reminded him of his own short dreads which he kept at the regulatory ‘above-the-collar’ length to avoid hassle from DCI Hussain. Gus’ finger trailed across the tank. He’d happily spend the whole hour painting abstract patterns for Nemo to follow. However, such reckless indulgence with a friend who was, nonetheless a ‘bottom feeder’, was not to be.

The door opened and Dr Sabrina Mahmood beckoned him into her lair. Gus, flicked his empty can into the bin and stood. Walking past her, quads clenching painfully, he forced himself not to limp. Ever conscious of her role in his future and resentful of it, he’d trained himself to exhibit no weakness. For Gus, these bi-weekly sessions were the equivalent of a siege. She was the negotiator, trying to worm her way under his defences and he would not comply. Not when so much depended on her assessment of his mental stability.

Despite his pain, he strode towards his usual chair, opposite her desk. In here, vanilla was replaced by occasional wafts of Chanel No 5. No amount of careful lighting and magnolia paint could disguise the age of the building but, Gus had to admit, she’d tried really hard. Little touches, like the fluffy turquoise rug thrown over a threadbare blue carpet, and the coffee table with fresh flowers in the corner were an obvious attempt to humanise the process. Dr Mahmood took her place behind the desk and waited for him to sit. Gus stretched his legs, feeling the pull of scar tissue in his upper thigh. Immediately, he found the damp spot on the wall, above her right shoulder. With a practised half smile, he focussed on the spot and waited for the usual ducking and diving to begin. These sessions were like a strategic ballroom dance and Gus wasn’t a great dancer. All he wanted was to immerse himself in his sole salvation – work. Dr Mahmood, he felt, was hell bent on making him dance to her tune. A dance Gus was determined not to share.

 

A massive thank you to Liz Mistry for making the CTG blog a stop on her tour and letting me post this exclusive extract.

Unquiet Souls is out on July 30th. Here’s the blurb: “When the body of a prostitute is discovered DI Gus McGuire is handed the case. But what first appears to be a simple murder soon turns into an international manhunt for the members of a twisted child trafficking ring. McGuire who is suffering with problems of his own, he must pick his way through the web of deceit and uncover the truth in time before the body count rises. Can McGuire identify The Matchmaker before it’s too late? And can he trust those he is working with?”

From 30th July you can buy Unquiet Souls from Amazon here

To find out more about Liz Mistry hop over to her blog at https://lizmistrycrimewriter.wordpress.com/ and follow her on Twitter @LizCrimeWarp

And be sure to check out all the stops on the Unquiet Souls Blog Tour …

Final Blog Tour

Val McDermid - Life Time Achievement Award Crime Novel of the Year Award 2016 Clare Macintosh - Winner Best Crime Novel of the year (c) Charlotte Graham/Guzelian

Val McDermid – Life Time Achievement Award (on left) and Clare Macintosh – Winner Crime Novel of the Year 2016 (on right) Photo credit: Charlotte Graham/Guzelian

 

The annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate happened last weekend and, as always, it was an amazing weekend of crime fiction, bookish antics, parties, and awards. It was a time to rub shoulders with like-minded types who write and read crime fiction, and to catch up with friends and meet new ones.

Here’s one of the highlights from the weekend …

The first big event was the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2016 ceremony. Sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd and supported by WHSmith and The Radio Times the award is one of the most hotly contested crime fiction prizes and had a stellar shortlist.

After introductions from the festival organisers and sponsors, each of the six shortlisted authors was presented with a silver tankard and invited to speak about their novel. The shortlist was:  Time Of Death – Mark Billingham (Sphere), Career Of Evil – Robert Galbraith (Sphere), Tell No Tales – Eva Dolan (Harvill Secker), Disclaimer – Renee Knight (Black Swan), I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh (Sphere), Rain Dogs – Adrian McKinty (Serpent’s Tail).

Then the winner was announced … Clare Mackintosh for her outstanding debut novel, the psychological thriller I LET YOU GO. I Let You Go was one of the fastest selling books of 2015, a Sunday Times bestseller and a Richard & Judy Book Club winner. Clare was presented with the award by Simon Theakston and broadcaster Mark Lawson. On winning, Clare said: “I first came to Harrogate as an unpublished author so to win this award tonight is a dream come true. I would like to thank my publishers and agent for supporting me, everybody who has read and recommended I Let You Go, and the crime writing community for their endless encouragement.”

During the ceremony, a special presentation of the Theakston Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award was made to the fabulous Val McDermid. Mark Billingham paid a heartfelt tribute to Val saying: “It’s fitting that Val should receive this award at a festival she was instrumental in starting, and it’s one that is richly deserved. She has represented this genre quite brilliantly all over the world, both in person and through her novels, which have earned her legions of fans and a place among the very greatest crime writers of all time. She is the Queen of Crime, and long may she reign over us.”

On receiving the award, Val said: “It’s an honour and a thrill to receive this award. The community of writers and readers at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is unlike any other in its warmth and generosity and so this means a huge amount to me. This year sees the publication of my 30th novel and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that.”

It was a fabulous high energy kick-off to the festival, and afterwards everyone spilled out to the bar and the lawn to congratulate the winners and much fun (and drink) was had!

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The annual Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate happened last weekend and, as always, it was an amazing weekend of crime fiction, bookish antics, parties, and awards. It was a time to rub shoulders with like-minded types who write and read crime fiction, and to catch up with friends and meet new ones.

Over the next few days I’ll be blogging all about it, and today I thought I’d share four things I did over the weekend for the first time …

 

 

 

1. Got a photo of the iconic ‘chalk outline’ at the front of the Old Swan Hotel

Okay, so I had to word this one very carefully. I couldn’t use the words ‘Took a photo’ as technically that isn’t true. I did see the chalk outline – it’s one of the iconic features of the ‘scene setting’ for the fabulous Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. I just didn’t photo it! Big thanks to crime writer Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) for taking the picture!

 

2. Sat in one of the Green Chairs

Another of the iconic fixtures at Harrogate is always the fabulous green chairs. They’re huge. High also (as I discovered). And almost impossible to get into in a ladylike fashion when wearing a long dress. I say ‘almost’ impossible, as with a bit of improvisation using a white plastic garden chair, and a few well timed instructions from the helpful chap already sitting in the other green chair, I was able to scale the chair-face in a relatively elegant way. I have the picture to prove it – here’s me and crime writer Susi Holliday (@SJIHolliday), sitting proudly in the chair. Photo curtesy of crime writer Rosie Claverton (@rosieclaverton) – who also provided the garden chair and removed the evidence!

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CTG (looking a bit grumpy – it was hot!) and Susi Holliday (looking much cheerier!)

 

3. Watched a panel from the front row reserved seating

The first two rows of the massive festival room are VIPs only. The room (well, two rooms joined together) that’s used for all panels and interviews is so huge that there are big screens halfway down it – same as at the O2 arena, or Wembley and the like – just so everyone has a good view of the action on the stage. Anyway, as I was looking for some seats to watch my mates on the New Blood panel (having arrived just moments before the planned start), a very lovely man from Theakstons said he had space up the front and I was welcome to sit there. So I got to view the panel from the front row (and what a brilliantly fun and interesting panel it was – more to come on that in my next post). Fabulous.

 

4. Sang live in a gym

Technically this happened in The Cairn Hotel rather than at the festival, but it’s in Harrogate so I’m counting it! On Friday and Saturday morning, The Slice Girls had band practice. We don’t get to practice together in the same place that often, and with performances coming up in September at both the Bloody Scotland Crime Festival, Stirling, and Bouchercon, New Orleans, we needed to try out some new songs and practice our routines. The best place for this was the gym at The Cairn Hotel. It has great acoustics and (as it used to be a lounge bar) it still has the bar in place – so we could get up on it and practice our moves. It was a lot of fun practising with my fellow Slice Girls – Susi Holliday, AK Benedict (@ak_benedict), and Louise Voss (@louisevoss1) and our dynamic maestro Alexandra Sokoloff (@AlexSokoloff). But it might have been less fun for the poor male crime writer (who will remain nameless) who had to run on the treadmill for over an hour to the sound of us singing our new number for Bloody Scotland!

 

Pop back tomorrow for the next instalment in my confessions from Harrogate …