CTG’s #threewordbookreviews – DON’T MAKE A SOUND by DAVID JACKSON

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Today in my feature series – three word book reviews – I’m reviewing DON’T MAKE A SOUND, a thriller from crime writer David Jackson. Don’t Make A Sound will be published in May 2018 by Bonnier Zaffre.

My verdict: CREEPY. SUSPENSEFUL. PAGE-TURNING.

(I’m using that hyphen to make ‘page turning’ into one word – my blog, my rules!).

To find out more and pre-order the book in ebook, hardback or paperback click this link to AMAZON

GIRLS ON TOP: SEX IN CRIME FICTION (PART 1) with STEPH BROADRIBB & SJI HOLLIDAY #GirlsOnTop

 

Today it’s time for something a little different. Susi (SJI) Holliday and me, in conjunction with CrimeTime, have been thinking about sex in crime fiction. You can read our thoughts in a few places – the first half of our conversation here on the CTG blog, the second half over on Susi’s blog HERE, and the full article over on the CrimeTime website HERE

Once you’ve had a read, we’d love to know your thoughts – do you like a sprinkling of sex with your crime? And, if you do, what’s the most memorable sex scene in a crime thriller for you? Tweet us at @crimethrillgirl and @SJIHolliday using hashtag #GirlsOnTop to let us know.

[STEPH] Let’s talk about sex. Sex in crime fiction, specifically. Okay, so I’ll go first – I’m not embarrassed – there’s a couple of sex scenes in my debut novel DEEP DOWN DEAD. One is more of a cut away as the action happens, but the other one, towards the end of the book, is very much the action as it happens; my protagonist Lori Anderson riding a male character cowgirl style. I put it in because the scene felt right for the story and (I hope) conveys something about the characters, adding additional conflict and raising the emotional stakes of the decisions they’re about to make and the (negative) consequences they could have for their relationship. That’s a whole lot of subtext to put on a sex scene, but that’s my rationale.

Back when I was starting to write my novel, I was told that sex and crime fiction don’t mix, but that doesn’t seem quite right to me. I can think of memorable sex scenes in the crime thriller genre like Lee Child’s The Affair – Jack Reacher has sex as a train thunders along the tracks – and that chilling sex scene in Gone Girl between Amy and Desi – the book, and the slightly more bloody film version! But, now I think about it, I can’t think of many detective stories that have sex scenes playing out in full in them unless the sex itself is the crime to be solved. Surely there must be more and my memory is just playing tricks on me? To help, I’ve enlisted crime writer S.J.I. Holliday – author of the Banktoun series – to answer the question, do sex and detective fiction mix?

[SUSI] I really don’t see why not. When you ask people about this, you get very mixed responses. Readers (in general) are absolutely fine with serial killers, blood, gore, death and destruction. But throw a blow job in there and they’re skimming the pages faster than a quickie in the stationery cupboard.

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The Slice Girls [L-R]: Alexandra Sokoloff, Steph Broadribb, AK Benedict, Louise Voss, Susi Holliday, Harley Jane Kozak

Personally, I love a bit of sex. Slotted in at the right time, it can help add to the tension of your story, especially if the characters are having sex with people they shouldn’t. In all three of my books, there is a hint of sex – an encounter reminiscent of 9½ Weeks on a kitchen table in BLACK WOOD, where various food items are strewn around the kitchen… In WILLOW WALK, there’s a first-timer’s sex scene down by the river which I thought was quite touching (so to speak) and entirely relevant to the plot. There’s actually less sex in THE DAMSELFLY than in the other two. A thwarted BJ and an illicit scene in a lock-up that’s kept mainly off the page. It totally depends on the story. It definitely shouldn’t be shoehorned in if it doesn’t advance the plot.

[STEPH] Seems like Susi and me are on the same page about sex-on-the-page, but what about other crime writers, what do they think? We asked a few to find out.

Neil White – From the Shadows (Bonnier Zaffre) – said, ‘Never written a sex scene. Too buttoned up. My mum will read it’ and Mason Cross – The Time To Kill (Orion) – said, ‘I’ve only included PG13 sex scenes so far, although I may need to change that for plot reasons in the new one. But Jeez, my dad reads these!’ So it could be the fear of family members reading intimate scenes is in the forefront of some writers’s minds (and limits them going all the way) but that’s not all. Chris Ewan – Long Time Lost (Faber) – said, ‘I almost wrote one yesterday and then … just cut away again. Performance anxiety.’

It also depends on the character. James Oswald – Written In Bones (Penguin) – said, ‘I don’t put much sex in my books. Tony McLean is incredibly repressed anyway, so there’s that too … on the other hand there’s auto-erotic asphyxiation and death by priapism in my latest, so maybe I do write sex after all.’

Andy Martin – Reacher Said Nothing (Transworld) – said, ‘Sad to say there are few explicit sex scenes of note in Reacher Said Nothing. I only looked over Lee Child’s shoulder while he was writing Make Me. I think there is the occasional manly handshake. But Lee – as straight as a die – had some wry remarks to make on the subject. “Never sleep with someone you know,” still resonates in my mind. And more recently he said that the most erotic experience he had ever had was a brief encounter on a train. They shared a moment but had no actual language in common. I think I may have been influenced by Childean minimalism, that “zero degree” of writing recommended by Roland Barthes. I was at a Norman Mailer writers colony in Wyoming recently when a brilliant Indian writer devised an elaborate sex scene about a dozen pages long. I wrote one, rather shorter, that went like this: “We had sex.” It’s not exactly lyrical or spiritual but it gets the job done.’

It seems, from the guys we spoke to, that male crime thriller writers generally prefer not to write on-the-page sex and to cut away before the act takes place. Mark Edwards – The Devil’s Work (Thomas & Mercer) – bucks this trend, he wants more sex in crime fiction, and said, ‘we Brits are notoriously squeamish when it comes to the squelchy bits. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of our great detectives were as skillful in bed as they are at solving crimes? Don’t you think there should be more people handcuffed to beds in thrillers because they like being handcuffed to beds?’

To find out what the female crime writers thought, why Susi hates ‘panties’ and what the trick to writing a good sex scene is, hop over to Susi’s blog HERE then come find us on Twitter @crimethrillgirl and @SJIHolliday and tell us your thoughts on sex in crime fiction using hashtag #GirlsOnTop

And check out the article in full on Barry Forshaw’s CrimeTime at www.crimetime.co.uk  and check out his Rough Guide to Crime Fiction here

Buy DEEP DOWN DEAD by Steph Broadribb here

Buy THE DAMSELFLY by SJI Holliday here

And you can buy books by our contributing authors by clicking the book titles below:

Neil WhiteFrom the Shadows (Bonnier Zaffre)

Mason CrossThe Time To Kill (Orion)

Chris EwanLong Time Lost (Faber)

James OswaldWritten In Bones (Penguin)

Andy MartinReacher Said Nothing (Transworld)

Mark EdwardsThe Devil’s Work (Thomas & Mercer)

 

More about Steph and Susi:

Steph Broadribb is an alumni of the MA Creative Writing at City University London and trained as a bounty hunter in California. Her debut novel DEEP DOWN DEAD is out now. Find out more at www.crimethrillergirl.com right here!

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday grew up near Edinburgh and now lives in London. She works as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry and writes books set in a creepy and claustrophobic small town in Scotland where the crime rate is apparently higher than in New York. BLACK WOOD, WILLOW WALK and THE DAMSELFLY are a mix of psychological thriller and detective fiction, featuring the terminally unlucky in love, Sergeant Davie Gray. You can find out more at www.sjiholliday.com

 

CTG EXCLUSIVE: STASI WOLF AND THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE MURDER

Today I’m super excited to have award winning crime writer (and good pal of mine) David Young guest posting on the CTG blog as part of his STASI WOLF Blog Tour. STASI WOLF is the second book in the Oberleutnant Karin Müller series following up from the smash hit STASI CHILD. Today, David Young is talking about the real life case that inspired the story in STASI WOLF.

Over to David …

Twenty-six years ago this month communist East Germany’s most well-known murder hunt began when the torso of a young boy was found stuffed in a suitcase by the side of the Halle to Leipzig rail line.

The body was soon identified as that of seven-year-old Lars Bense, who’d gone missing on a cinema trip two weeks earlier in the supposedly ideal socialist new city of Halle-Neustadt. A city where every apartment was near-identical, where streets didn’t have names, and where addresses were simply a strange six-digit code.

It’s the city that is the setting for Stasi Wolf, and although my fictional story is set six years earlier than the real-life murder, I’ve ‘borrowed’ some aspects of the murder investigation for the novel.

In the actual murder case, the only clue detectives had to the identity of the killer was found in a newspaper the body was wrapped in. A crossword puzzle was partially completed – the idiosyncratic handwriting, so experts said, was that of a middle-aged woman.

So began what still ranks as the biggest-ever handwriting sampling exercise in world history as part of the Kreuzworträtselmord – the Crossword Puzzle Murder. More than half-a-million samples of writing were collected, sometimes by ingenious methods such as staged competitions.

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At the heart of the hunt were the GDR’s reviled secret police, the Stasi – only this time they were doing some good, providing the manpower to help the overworked CID section of the People’s Police. I have them playing the same role in the novel – but also have them constantly overseeing my fictional detective Karin Müller’s work, because they don’t want news of her investigation to alarm the model city’s residents. And that has some basis in truth too. The successful end of the actual investigation was – in East German times – only mentioned in one small local newspaper report.

Today Halle-Neustadt is battered and worn, with many of its apartment blocks empty and condemned. A once-thriving population of 100,000 – mostly workers at the giant chemical works at nearby Merseburg – has shrunk to less than 40,000. But memories of the Crossword Puzzle Murder live on.

The team that eventually cracked the case – after several months – was led by Halle murder squad head Hauptmann Siegfried Schwarz. ‘Sigi’ – as he’s known – is still a hunter – but now it’s his hobby, and animals and birds are the quarry, rather than murderers, in the fields north-east of Halle where he now lives.

He agreed to meet me in Halle-Neustadt as part of his research and talked me through some of his cases, as well as his most famous one.

Although generally a jovial man, his face clouded over with sadness and his voice cracked with emotion when he spoke of another case that is perhaps closer to the central plot of Stasi Wolf – the killing of a baby whose body was found stuffed in a drawer in Halle city itself.

But it’s the Crossword Puzzle that he’s most well-known for. Some nine months after the hunt began the culprit was arrested. The handwriting had been matched to a resident of Block 398 – a middle-aged woman working as a seasonal worker on the Baltic Coast.

A male friend of the woman’s daughter fitted the profile of the killer, and eventually confessed to murder and sexual abuse of the boy, and was jailed for life – although after reunification this sentence was reduced because as he was eighteen at the time, he qualified as a juvenile.

He was released in 1999 and died in 2013 – on the day of the 32nd anniversary of his crime.

But – just as in the fictional Stasi Wolf – the real-life case has a final twist. His then girlfriend published what was supposedly a German-language ‘novel’ based on the murder that same year. Prosecutors opened a new case against her, on the grounds of alleged complicity to murder, because her statements in the novel differed from her accounts at the time.

However, she and her publishers insisted her book was fiction – and the case against her was subsequently dropped for lack of evidence.

A huge thank you to David Young for guest posting on the CTG blog today.

STASI WOLF is out now. Here’s the blurb: East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing. But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town – the pride of the communist state – and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town’s flawless image. Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive . . .”

You can buy STASI WOLF from Amazon HERE

And be sure to check out all the fantastic stops on the STASI WOLF Blog Tour and follow David Young on Twitter @djy_writer

 

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CTG REVIEWS: TALL OAKS by Chris Whitaker

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What the blurb says: “When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town. Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect. Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures. Teenage Manny, whose absent father has left him with strange ideas of how to make his mark. Photographer Jerry, who’s determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all. And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own …”

OMG this book! It was my top crime novel read of 2016 and one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished it.

Set in a backwater town in America, it’s quirky, secretive and unputdownable. It reminded me of Twin Peaks and Fargo, crossed with Stephen King’s Under The Dome, but it has its own special kind of magic too, its own special kind of terror.

Because spine-chilling, heart-pounding dread is something that Chris Whitaker is a master at creating. You want look away, but he hooks you with brilliantly unique characters like the distraught and troubled Jess, noir gangster obsessive Manny, isolated photographer Jerry, cake creator extraordinaire French John, car salesman and looking for love Jared, and troubled Police Chief Jim and you can’t stop, you just can’t stop – you have to know what happens to them.

Also there’s a clown. A really scary-as-hell clown!

And there are lighter moments too. Chris Whitaker traverses darkness and light in a super skillful way, bringing a little lightness through dark humored moments between characters. The pace is face, the twists are plentiful, and the end revelation had me gasping out loud.

In short this is a must-read crime thriller, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Buy it now!!

You can buy TALL OAKS from Amazon here

To find out more about Chris Whitaker follow him on Twitter @WhittyAuthor

GORGEOUS COVER REVEAL: #STASIWOLF by DAVID YOUNG

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I am so excited to be a part of this cover reveal for the fantastic new book from CWA Historical Dagger 2016 winner, David Young.

Out on 9th February 2017 from Bonnier Zaffre, STASI WOLF is the second instalment in the Karin Müller series. I’ve had a sneak peep at the book already, and it’s a fabulous read.

What the blurb says: “How do you solve a murder when you can’t ask any questions? The gripping new thriller from the bestselling author of Stasi Child. East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing. But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town – the pride of the communist state – and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town’s flawless image. Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive . . .”

You can pre-order STASI WOLF from Amazon here

And be sure to follow David Young on Twitter @djy_writer to keep up to date with all his news.

Guest Post: Mike Thomas talks the 10 phrases every cop hears in their career

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Today I’m delighted to be handing the controls of CTG HQ over to Mike Thomas. Mike’s novel ASH AND BONES is out now and, having served in the police he’s just the right person to talk about the ten phrases every cop will hear during their career. So, over to Mike …

Thirty years is a long old time to be a copper. What makes that length of service feel even longer are the stock phrases you hear day in, day out. Some of them come from your ‘customers’ (or criminals, in old money). Some will drift from the mouths of your colleagues. And a few will be heard from normal MOPs (Members of the Public) who you interact with at incidents and general patrol – if you’re not sitting in the parade room filling in interminable forms for six hours, that is – during a shift. All of them are guaranteed to make you roll your eyes and curse inwardly, and wonder why on earth you ever signed up to be a plod.

  1. What’s your number, I’m going to have your badge

An old favourite of villains. Usually spouted by one of them after the police have had the temerity to arrest him for violently assaulting his girlfriend, his mother, and then several MOPs who intervened, before headbutting, kicking and spitting at the arresting officer, who was forced to wrestle him to the ground and handcuff him, all the while trying not to go overboard (reasonable force, y’see) or hurt him at all. This, of course, is police brutality in his tiny little mind, and now the man wants the arresting officer’s force number so that he can have them sacked and their warrant card –‘badge’ – taken away.

  1. Of course I loves him/her, I f*** him don’t I?

You go to a Domestic Dispute, and find the male and female have spent the day drinking litres of Spar super strength cider in their garden – it’s not raining that much, so of course it’s okay to sit in deck chairs amongst the weeds and those rusted car wheels – before deciding to spend the evening punching one another in the face really, really hard, while calling each other some rather choice names which people living three streets away could hear. Neither party wishes to make a complaint, arguing that they love each other, and when you question this that phrase above comes out. So you attempt to arrest the male, just to get him away from the house so the fighting stops and everyone within a two mile radius can get some sleep. Then, of course, they turn on you, and start punching you in the face really, really hard.

  1. If you weren’t in that uniform I’d fight you right here, right now

A strange one, this. Criminals or angry drunks seem to think that if you were to quickly change into a tee shirt and jeans it would a) suddenly make you weaker than if you were in uniform and b) mean you were no longer a police officer, just because you are out of ‘the cloth’. After a few years it had got to the point that I’d offer to strip naked to see if people still wanted to carry out their threat. Oddly, not one of them did.

  1. I’ve just got a quick call for you, it’s on the way back to the station

Ah, the control room. Sometimes called Ops Room, or if you’re feeling fancy, The Public Service Centre. Woo. Anyway, typically a windowless hive of workstations, staffed primarily by female civvy (civilian) controllers, who spend twelve hours a day/night handling endless calls from the public, liaising with other emergency services, and dishing out incidents to police officers via the radio system. Working there is a thankless, stressful nightmare, and they all deserve a medal. But this is the one phrase that gets those cop eyes rolling – thanks to GPS and other tech gubbins, the controllers know exactly where you are, all the time. And that incident they have on their list, the one that’s been hanging around for hours because nobody wants to do it, because it’s absolute rubbish? They’re now giving it to you, because it’s at a house on your route back to the station at the end of a tour of duty. Just a quick call. Just to pop in and see if elderly Mrs. Jones is okay. Just to clear that pesky incident from the computer screen. So you go, and you find Mrs. Jones dead, and she’s been dead for a month, and your first finish on time for two weeks goes south because now you’re the OIC (Officer in the Case) for a Sudden Death which sees you dealing with grieving relatives and mountains of paperwork and a trip to the mortuary and handling the putrid remains of a human being. Oh, and working an extra six hours on top of the ten you’ve already done. But hey, at least you’re still sucking air.

  1. There we are then

You’ve just heard that phrase from Number 4. You don’t want to do that ‘quick call’: you have seventeen incidents to update on the Niche computer system, your notebook to write up, the sergeant to liaise with, and it’s your daughter’s fifth birthday and you are not – under any circumstances – going to a call that has been sitting on a computer terminal in Ops Room since yesterday. You are going home on time for the first time in an age, dammit. So you touch the transmit button on your personal radio and explain, a tad grumpily, and ask them to pass it on to the next shift. The terse reply: ‘There we are then.’ And you sigh, and do you know why? Take a look at the first letter of each word she just transmitted across the airwaves. See what they spell? That’s what she’s just called you.

Thomas, Mike

  1. Can I wear your hat?

If I had a pound, et cetera. Friday night? Working the dreaded ‘After Dark’ shift, where you’re drafted into a city centre to police the thousands of revellers who have flooded into its pubs and clubs? You will hear this question every half an hour. You will, when new to the Job, let them wear your hat, even pose for photographs with smiley men and women – many of them drunker than you’ve ever been – while they laugh and giggle and try on your police helmet. Then, after a few years of it, and after that one time when a young whippersnapper ran off, laughing gleefully, with your ‘lid’, something inside you will snap. And you will refuse. You will ignore the drunk-yet-polite men and women, and come across as a right miserable old bugger. And you will walk away, ignoring their pleas for a picture while they wear your Custodian helmet, and you will find a dark, drizzly corner to stand in, and you will breathe a sigh of relief while contemplating your lot, and hope nobody ever finds you again, until five minutes later when, from beside you, you will hear: ‘Can I wear your hat?’ See also: ‘Are you the strippagram? A-hahahahahaha!’

  1. Why don’t you catch some real criminals?

Never understood this. What is a real criminal? The kingpin of a massive drugs importation gang? A murderer, or rapist? Someone who traffics children into sexual slavery? Or perhaps someone who repeatedly – and deliberately – kicks the wing mirror off their neighbour’s car due to a long-running and terribly petty dispute over parking spaces? It’s all crime. Kicking a wing mirror off is criminal damage. Hence, you are a criminal. The police are going to arrest you for it. There is no point whatsoever saying this phrase as they are placing you into the back of a prisoner van, hands cuffed to the base of your spine. It just sounds like you’re whining, so stop it. Nobody cares.

  1. What’s the problem? Is it going to take long?

See those bright yellow cones, and that fluttering police tape, and the half dozen police cars and two ambulances and a fire truck inside the cordon, plus that – look, up there! – crying man sitting on top of a twelve storey office block, legs over the ledge, face ashen and eyes on the ground all that way below as he mulls over whether to jump and end it all because he’s lost his job and his wife has left him and taken the kids and he has nothing whatsoever to live for? But anyway, we’re REALLY, REALLY SORRY for closing the road while our negotiator tries to save his life and it means you have to queue for ten minutes or – heaven forfend! – find an alternative route into work.

  1. This is harassment, bro

A close relative to number 7, and usually followed by Number 1. Frequently uttered by career criminals and recidivists, as if in astonishment that you have arrested them – again! – for burgling another house, or hitting their partner for the third time this week, or selling yet more dodgy E tabs that sent a clubber into a coma from which they will never awaken. The police are not harassing, you, for goodness’ sake. They are doing their jobs. If you don’t like getting lifted by the Old Bill, STOP DOING CRIMEY THINGS, THEN.

  1. I pay your wages

Wait, you personally go into my bank each and every month, fill out a deposit slip with my name and account details, write down the requisite amount, and hand it over to the cashier so they can give me all your money? THANK YOU SO MUCH, YOU ARE VERY KIND.

A big thank you to Mike Thomas for sharing the ten phrases every cop will hear during their career with us. As you can imagine, Mike’s novel ASH AND BONES is a truly authentic police procedural, and the beginning of a new series featuring DC Will MacReady.

Here’s the blurb: “At a squalid flat near the Cardiff docks, an early morning police raid goes catastrophically wrong when the police aren’t the only unexpected guests. A plain clothes officer is shot dead at point blank range, the original suspect is left in a coma. The killer, identity unknown, slips away. Young and inexperienced, Will MacReady starts his first day on the CID. With the city in shock and the entire force reeling, he is desperate to help – but unearths truths that lead the team down an increasingly dark path …”

You can buy ASH AND BONES from Amazon here

And be sure to check out Mike’s website www.mikethomasauthor.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @ItDaFiveOh

 

Confessions from #TheakstonsCrime (Part 3): Some New Blood, A Secret Garden and the Crime Writers Football Match

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