CTG EXCLUSIVE: ARNE DAHL ON CREATING TENSION & HIS FAVE BOOKS #WATCHINGYOU

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To celebrate the release of bestselling international crime writer Arne Dahl’s new thriller WATCHING YOU – the first instalment in a new rocket-paced series featuring a brand new crime team, led by Detective Sam Berger – Arne invited a few folks to ask him some questions about his writing and then recorded his answers on camera.

I asked him two questions…

Question 1: What are your top tips on creating tension and pace when writing a thriller? Click to watch Arne’s answer on the Dead Good Books YouTube channel HERE

Question 2: Which books or writers in the crime genre do you enjoy reading, and why? Click here to watch Arne’s answer on the Dead Good Books YouTube channel HERE

WATCHING YOU  by Arne Dahl is out now. Here’s the blurb: “Elen Savinger has been missing for three weeks. At each abandoned crime scene linking to the case Detective Sam Berger finds a hidden clue: a tiny metal cog, almost invisible to the naked eye. Someone is sending Sam a message, someone who knows that only he will understand the cryptic trail. When another teenaged girl disappears without trace, Sam must convince his superiors that they’re dealing with a serial killer. As the police continue the hunt to find the latest victim, Sam is forced to unearth long-buried personal demons. He has no choice if he is to understand the killer’s darkly personal message before time runs out. Somebody is killing just for him.”

You can read an extract of WATCHING YOU by clicking HERE and popping over to Dead Good Books.

Order it HERE from Waterstones or HERE from Amazon

And find out more about Arne Dahl and his books over on his website at www.arnedahl.net and follow him on Twitter @arne_dahl

CTG shameless plug: #VoteLori #FearlessFemale @DeadGoodBooks Reader Awards 2017 – thank you!

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Please excuse the shameless plug but…

I’m totally thrilled that DEEP DOWN DEAD is on the shortlists for two awards – Fearless Female Character and Most Exceptional Debut – at the Dead Good Readers Awards that are presented at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate this July.

These awards are nominated and voted for by readers – so if you enjoyed DEEP DOWN DEAD I’d be real grateful if you could throw a vote in Lori Anderson and DEEP DOWN DEAD’s direction!

The voting is open now over at the fab Dead Good Books website here: http://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/dead-good-reader-awards-2017/

#VoteLori
THANK YOU!!!!

CTG Exclusive: Chris Ewan talks rebooting the Good Thief’s Guide series

Today the fabulous Chris Ewan – a great crime writer and all-round good guy – is reissuing the first few books in his awesome Good Thief’s Guide… series.  

To celebrate, Chris is taking the controls for the day at CTG HQ to tell us more about the series and how it came about.

Over to Chris…

Just lately, I’ve been in the process of reissuing the first five titles in my Good Thief’s Guide To … series of mystery novels as ebooks in the UK. (I’ve priced them very reasonably! You should totally check them out!) The novels are fun, fast-paced capers about globetrotting crime writer and thief-for-hire Charlie Howard, with each book set in a different international city, ranging from Amsterdam to Paris, Las Vegas, Venice and Berlin.

One of the most interesting parts for me in reissuing the books has been the opportunity to read them again and remember all of the experiences and ideas that went into each one – from the research trips I made to the cities I was writing about, to learning how to pick locks and crack safes, to figuring out (usually after a LOT of swearing) whodunnit and why. As I thought about some of those experiences, it occurred to me that it might be a nice idea to include a letter to readers in the back of each of the reissued books sharing a few of my memories.

Which brings us to the letter below. It’s a slightly amended version of the letter I’ve included in the back of my first Good Thief’s Guide novel, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam, and it tells the story of how I got published for the first time. It took me a while to get there – a little under a decade – but the story has a pretty neat ending, I think. I hope you enjoy reading about it. And hey, if you fancy checking out one of my Good Thief’s Guides while you’re at it, I’d be doubly thrilled.

*

Dear Reader

In 2006, when I was twenty-nine years old, I made my wife a promise. I had spent most of my twenties pursuing my dream of becoming a published author. I had written in the early mornings before work, in the evenings and nights after work, and all day every weekend. In that time, I had written and endlessly rewritten three novels. I’d been taken on by a literary agent but I hadn’t got my break. Eventually, my wife pointed out that I was spending more time in my makeshift study with the imaginary people in my head than I was with her. She was right, and I felt bad about it, and so I promised her that if I wasn’t published by the time I was thirty, I would take a breather for a few years. (I still wasn’t prepared to give up on the dream quite yet).

That year, I happened to be working on a book about a burglar set in Amsterdam. I chose Amsterdam because I had lived there for six months when I was training to be a lawyer and I had fallen in love with the city. I chose a burglar because I’ve always enjoyed crime novels about crooks. And I made my lead character a writer of mystery novels because I wanted to write about my love of the genre. I called the book The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam.

One day, some time around April, I think, when I had just completed yet another draft of the book, a colleague at my law firm on the Isle of Man came into my office and asked me if I had seen that the author Susan Hill was running a competition for unpublished writers. Anyone could submit their work and the winner would have their book published by Susan’s small publishing company, Long Barn Books. I emailed my novel to the competition in the secret hope that if I was very lucky I might get a small word of feedback from Susan, perhaps even a gem of advice.

Many months went by. Then, on a day in September, the same colleague stuck their head into my office to say that I should look at Susan’s website because my book was on the shortlist for the award. A week later, my phone went at work. I picked it up and a voice on the other end said, “Hello, this is Susan Hill. You’ve won my competition. You’re going to be a published author.”

That phone call changed my life. It remains the single best phone call I’ve ever received. And it reached me one week before I turned thirty.

Since then, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam has gone on to be published in thirteen countries around the world. It has led to four more Good Thief’s Guides, set in Paris, Las Vegas, Venice and Berlin. The books have been optioned for television three times and they set me on my way to realizing an even bigger dream of becoming a full-time writer. I am itching to write more books in the series, and with your support, I hope there may be many more Good Thief’s Guides to come.

But none of this would be possible, or worthwhile, without you. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this book and for becoming such a crucial part of the Good Thief’s Guides story.

These books are brilliant. I recommend you read them right now! As a fabulous bonus the Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam is only 99p on Kindle right now, and the Good Thief’s Guides Box Set just £6.99.

Here are the links…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Thiefs-Guide-Amsterdam-Guides-ebook/dp/B071F6PBQM/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Good-Thiefs-Guides-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B072LXDRWB/

And be sure to pop by Chris Ewan’s website and follow him on all the social media sites to stay up to date with his news

www.chrisewan.com

www.facebook.com/chrisewanauthor

Twitter: @chrisewan

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CTG REVIEWS: #LoveLikeBlood BY MARK BILLINGHAM (plus chance to #WIN a copy)

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Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a tour stop on the LOVE LIKE BLOOD blog tour for Mark Billingham’s latest book in the Tom Thorne series.

LOVE LIKE BLOOD is out in hardback on 1st June 2017, but I’ve got one copy to giveaway! To be in with a chance to win it, tweet the link to this review on Twitter and include @crimethrillgirl in the tweet, or retweet one of my tweets about it [see end of this post for the T&Cs].

So, to the review…

What the blurb says: “As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner Susan is brutally murdered, leaving the detective bereft and vengeful. Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts. As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world in which families will do anything to protect their honour.”

Wow, this is one hell of a great read…

DI Nicola Tanner wants justice. She wants justice for the young murder victims in the cases she’s been working that she believes to be honour killings carried out by professional killers, and she wants justice for the horrific murder of her partner, Susan.

Grieving, yet utterly focused and determined, Tanner makes it her mission to enlist DI Tom Thorne to help her investigate the plausibility of her hypothesis, something that it seems everyone – both the Honour Crimes Unit and the community – are unwilling to consider.

But Tom Thorne is never one to shy away from difficult cases or from doing things that might ruffle other people’s feathers, and with a small amount of persuasion he agrees to help Tanner investigate.

Tanner and Thorne make a great crime solving duo. Tanner is driven and focused, all business, not one for small talk and niceties; but her passion for justice and her dogged determination to get to the truth no matter what the danger might be makes her a compelling character that I was rooting for to succeed.

Street-wise, country music loving, DI Tom Thorne has a family now with Helen and her young son Alfie. As he digs deeper into the cases that Tanner believes are connected, and some members of the religious communities the victims are from become increasingly hostile, he starts to worry about all that he has and all that he could lose. As Tanner and Thorne get closer to discovering the truth, the tension ratchets ever higher all the way to the dramatic, breath-taking climax and the shocking twist at the end.

This is a book with a strong theme of social justice. It explores a community divided in views, hate crime, honour killings, generational differences, religious tradition, political sensitivities and gives the strong message: whatever it’s dressed up as, murder is still murder.

LOVE LIKE BLOOD is a disturbing, heart-breaking, and utterly compelling crime thriller crafted by a writer at the top of his game. An absolute must-read for all fans of crime fiction, and my top read of 2017 so far.

LOVE LIKE BLOOD is out this week. You can pre-order it from Amazon here and from Waterstones here

To find out more about Mark Billingham visit his website at www.markbillingham.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @MarkBillingham

** The giveaway closes at 9pm on Tuesday 30th May** Rules
 (1) One entry per person (2) The winners will be drawn at random (3) No cash alternative (4) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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CTG REVIEWS: SILENT RAIN by KARIN SALVALAGGIO

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What the blurb says: “Grace Adams has spent three years trying to move on – mentally, physically, emotionally – from the traumatizing events of her past. But it’s not easy when the world is morbidly curious about the crimes that shaped her childhood, when despite her changed name, people still track her down for the sensational details. Now in college in Bolton, Montana, the one person Grace has trusted with the truth about her past has betrayed her. The bestselling novelist Peter Granger wants to use Grace’s story in his next book, regardless of how desperate Grace is to keep the details to herself. And then, on Halloween night, Peter Granger’s house burns to the ground and his and his wife’s bodies are found inside.

Montana state detective Macy Greeley is sent to Bolton to handle the investigation into the fire and deaths… which soon appear to be arson and murder. It doesn’t take Macy long to realise Grace isn’t the only one whom Peter Granger has betrayed, and there are no shortage of others in town who took issue with him and his wife. What at first looked like a straightforward investigation is poised to expose some of Bolton’s darkest secrets, and the fallout may put more than one life in danger.”

SILENT RAIN is the fourth book in the Detective Macy Greeley series that started with Karin Salvalaggio’s acclaimed debut novel BONE DUST WHITE.

First off, I have to say that I loved this book. Karen Salvalaggio creates such wonderful textured characters that it’s impossible to resist being pulled into the story from the very first page. The sense of place surrounds you, transporting you to Bolton, Montana, on Halloween night and the aftermath that follows.

Grace Adams is a fascinating character, she’s a combination of tough and vulnerable – determined to get beyond the shadow of her past, yet haunted by the events that happened in her childhood and even in a new town with a new identity, unable to escape entirely. She’s making a new life for herself though – going to college, hanging out with new friends, and focusing on her art. But things aren’t easy, and a man – Peter Granger, a literary novelist – who she trusted with her story now wants to use the details in his latest book. When he ends up dead in a house fire, and Grace is unable to provide an alibi for the time the fire started, it looks like trouble might have found her again.

And that’s just the start of it.

Enter Detective Macy Greeley. She’s tough, smart and juggles her job alongside parenting her young son Luke. She also has a history with Grace Adams – she investigated the awful events that happened in Grace’s past. As Macy starts investigating the death of Peter Granger she uncovers increasingly disturbing things about him and how he has been using young women. It seems a lot of women in Bolton could have had motive to kill him. The question is, who did?

With themes of the search for self-identity, abuse, betrayal, guilt and infidelity, this is a fast paced, gripping story which will also grab you by the heart and make you ponder for a long while after the last page has been devoured.

SILENT RAIN is an fabulously engrossing mystery delivered with one hell of an emotional punch. Read it now!

 

You can buy SILENT RAIN from Amazon here

Find out more about Karin Salvalaggio at www.karinsalvalaggio.com and be sure to follow her on Twitter @KarinSalvala

WATCHING THE BODIES BLOG TOUR: @GrahamSmith1972 – CREATING A NEW LEAD

Today I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on Graham Smith’s WATCHING THE BODIES blog tour. 

First, here’s a little bit about the book – what the blurb says: “When Jake Boulder is asked by his PI friend to help investigate the vicious murder of Kira Niemeyer, he soon finds himself tracking a serial killer who selects his next victim in a most unusual manner.

As the body count rises, Boulder has to work with the police to identify the heinous killer before more lives are taken. What ensues is a twisted game of cat and mouse, that only Boulder or the Watcher can survive.”

Graham is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one book, WATCHING THE BODIES in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder. On the tour today, Graham’s talking about the process of creating a new lead. Over to Graham…

Forgive me for starting with back story, but it is rather relevant.

A few years ago I had a near miss with an American publisher and after being accepted by the commissioning editor, her readers and the proprietors, I found myself being rejected because the marketing bods for the publisher didn’t feel they could sell a UK set novel by a UK based writer to the US market.

Now, as anyone who knows me will testify, I’m rather stubborn, so after I found another publisher for that novel and I’d finished writing its sequel, I found myself with a window in which I could write another novel.

Being the stubborn Oedipus that I am, I decided to set a story in the US so I could present it all wrapped up in a neat bow to the publisher, and the marketing bods if I’m honest, who’d previously turned me down. The problem was, I had to create a new lead.

Enter Jake Boulder.

I knew which market I wanted and I’m very familiar with the genre of thriller I was planning to write. Namely that of the all action hero who fights for justice and is as handy with his fists as he is with his brain. This kind of character is your usual ex-forces type who is often very much a loner.

That’s right, I was planning to enter the world inhabited by the likes of Jack Reacher, Joe Hunter, Sam Carver, Victor and Charlie Fox.

The problem was, all these guys were so established, I would find it hard to break through writing about yet another ex-forces guy or gal who righted wrongs.

To solve the problem I decided my as yet unnamed hero wouldn’t have any military or police background and would be more of a back street brawler. I wanted him to be different and by not giving him any of this training, it’d be easier for me to pit him against enemies who were ostensibly better equipped than he was.

I was also adamant that I didn’t want my hero to start out as someone who could, and would, kill anyone who crossed him. Rather, I wanted him to be an everyman, who can look after himself and those around him. Jake Boulder may one day take the life of another human being, but on page one of Watching the Bodies, he has never killed a man.

After a few conversations with a writing buddy and a lot of thought, I had a name and Jake Boulder was officially christened. I feel it’s a good name and that Boulder suggests toughness and durability, while the Christian name of Jake is short and therefore emphasises his surname.

By now Boulder was growing in my mind. He’d moved to the US as a fifteen year-old when his mother remarried. Before he left Glasgow, his grandfather took him out into the garden and passed on a few of the fighting techniques he’d learned working in the shipyards on the Clyde.

I now had a hero with a credible back story to explain some basic, if underhand, fighting skills. Next I needed to give him a position in life. Lee Child’s Reacher has the drifter covered and both Zoe Sharp and Matt Hilton have their characters act as bodyguards on occasion so I needed to find a new hook as I didn’t want Boulder to be an assassin.

Instead I made him a bouncer / doorman in small town Utah. It’s the kind of place we’ve all seen in one movie or another where the police department is largely incompetent and every member has been hired due to nepotism.

I gave him a best friend who has his own private detective business which thrives due to the uselessness of the police and this in turn allows me to embroil Boulder in mysteries.

To round out the character, I gave him a few hang-ups from his past, a specific fear and a trait or two to hopefully endear him to my readers.

As with all lead characters, he didn’t appear fully formed in my mind, rather he grew stage by stage until he was fully developed into a person I was comfortable I could spend many hours with.

Yes, there’s a little bit of who I want to be in there along with a lot of what I find interesting. I plan to hang with Boulder for a good few more years, I’d love it if anyone who reads this would join me.

A big thank you to Graham Smith for dropping by the CTG blog today and telling us about the origins of his new lead character Jake Boulder.

You can buy WATCHING THE BODIES here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Graham-Smith/e/B006FTIBBU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491159376&sr=8-1

And find out more about Graham Smith and his books:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/grahamnsmithauthor/?fref=ts

Website https://www.grahamsmithauthor.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972?lang=en-gb

And be sure to check out all the other great stops along the tour:

#unleashboulder

#NIGHTMARKET BLOG TOUR: CTG + @DPemb TALK GIN, BOOK SHOPS AND HA-HAs!

 

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on Daniel Pembrey’s – aka ‘DPemb’ – blog tour for his latest thriller NIGHT MARKET. To mark the occasion, Daniel stopped by CTG HQ for couple of gins and a chat about what he’s getting up to this week…

Good to see you DPemb, what’s going on? It seems you have another book out, already!

Well ….

Well? *taps fingers against glass* Tell me all about it.

Strictly speaking it’s the second half of the same story, which started with The Harbour Master. Part two of two, if you will.

But this is a different story – it’s not The Harbour Master, it’s Night Market?

That’s true. And my Amsterdam detective Henk van der Pol is really put through the wringer this time!

Well, he went through quite a lot in the first book so sounds like gin is required.

That’s exactly right, CTG. This Wednesday 26th April, I’m doing an event at South Kensington Books in London – http://www.kensingtonbooks.co.uk/ – with the wonderful Fiona Cummins, and gin will most certainly feature.

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Excellent! That sounds like a very fun event – I loved both NIGHT MARKET and Fiona Cummins’s RATTLE. And then what, I hear you’re out and about all week?

And then … publication day is the next day, April 27th, which happens to be King’s Day in Holland, so I’m trotting along to the Dutch Embassy to celebrate that. Koningsdag, as they call it. (Not that this has anything to do with my book, still!)

The Embassy, very fancy! *CTG resists the urge to ask DPemb about the likelihood of Ferrero Rocher* And then later in the week?

Ah yes, I’m going to up to Newcastle Noir to chair a spectacular thriller panel on the Sunday evening, 30th April featuring Paul Hardisty, Luca Veste and…

Me!

Yes, you! How cool will that be?

I think it’ll be very cool and a lot of fun!

We shall be talking about Deep Down Dead. And Deep Blue Trouble

Excellent – I’m looking forward to it! Now is there anything else I need to know?

Actually there is. The following Thursday 4th May, I’m doing an event at Nomad Books in Fulham with the brilliant David Young (STASI CHILD/STASI WOLF). Find out more at www.nomadbooks.co.uk/whats-on

Is he bringing his Stasi police car?

I believe that’s kaput, but perhaps he’ll bring some jet fuel-strength ex-GDR schnapps, or similar. Let’s see!

You’re going to have a busy couple of weeks! Now what’s this about ha-has, I hear you’ve been doing some rather unusual research?

*DPemb gulps down the rest of his gin* What’s what about what?

You know … *gives knowing look* Ha-has!

Ohhh … *notes down reminder to contact Jilly* yes, fingers crossed for that!

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A ha-ha. (Huh?)

*CTG laughs*

I guess D Pemb is keeping his ha-ha story under his hat for now!

Well best of luck with the launch of NIGHT MARKET, Daniel, and see you in Newcastle at the weekend!

Likewise CTG, and thank you for having me.

NIGHT MARKET by Daniel Pembrey is out this week. You can buy it here

Here’s what the blurb says: “When Henk van der Pol is asked by the Justice Minister to infiltrate a team investigating an online child exploitation network, he can hardly say no – he’s at the mercy of prominent government figures in The Hague. But he soon realises the case is far more complex than he was led to believe… Picking up from where The Harbour Master ended, this new investigation sees Detective Van der Pol once again put his life on the line as he wades through the murky waters between right and wrong in his search for justice.

Sometimes, to catch the bad guys, you have to think like one. . .”

To find out more about Daniel Pembrey and his books hop over to his website at www.danielpembrey.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @DPemb

And be sure to visit all the other stops on the fab NIGHT MARKET blog tour…

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