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

DEEP DOWN DEAD Dead Good Readers-2

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 Reviews (over @DeadGoodBooks): THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware

 

 

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Shush, *don’t tell anyone*, but today I’m moonlighting over at the awesome http://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk and talking about Ruth Ware’s new psychological thriller THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 – it’s a pacey page turner, packed with suspense and twisty with tension; a fabulously contemporary locked room mystery.

To find out more hop over to Dead Good Books and check out my review here

*tell everyone*

 

 

CTG Reviews: #REACHER SAID NOTHING by Andy Martin

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What the blurb says: “On 1 September 1994, Lee Child went out to buy the paper to start writing his first novel, in pencil. The result was KILLING FLOOR, which introduced his hero Jack Reacher. Twenty years later, on 1 September 2014, he began writing MAKE ME, the twentieth novel in his number-one-bestselling Reacher series. Same day, same writer, same hero. The difference, this time, was that he had someone looking over his shoulder. Andy Martin, uber Reacher fan, Cambridge academic, expert on existentialism and dedicated surfer, sat behind Lee Child in his office and watched him as he wrote. While Lee was writing his Reacher book, Andy was writing about the making of MAKE ME. REACHER SAID NOTHING is a book about a guy writing a book. An instant meta-book. It crosses genres, by bringing a high-level critical approach to a popular text, and gives a fascinating insight into the art of writing a thriller, showing the process in real time. It may well be the first of its kind.”

I don’t usually read non-fiction, so this book was rather a departure for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect – would it be an academic analysis of the creation of a Reacher novel? Would it be a ‘fly on the wall’ style documentary of Lee Child’s life as he wrote the 20th book? Would it be the literary equivalent of a series of ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’? The answer was: yes, yes, and hell no! (come on, the Kardashians – really??). As a massive Jack Reacher fan I knew it was a book I wanted to read. What I hadn’t anticipated was just how illuminating and thought provoking it would be for me as a writer too.

Lee Child often says in interviews that he’s not a plotter – that the story unfolds organically as he writes. In REACHER SAID NOTHING the reader gets a front row seat seeing how this method looks and feels when things are going well, and when they’re going less well. It charts the flow of ideas, the blocks and decisions, and the light bulb moments when the plot strands start to come together, in real time.

It also shows the nuances of the writing; the importance of the rhythm of the narrative, how specific words are selected, and why commas are put in (or omitted). It’s a brave choice on Lee Child’s part – to invite someone in to analyse his process and his writing – and to have them shadowing him for the best part of a year all the while knowing that they will be writing about what he’s doing. But, if you were going to trust anyone to do that, Andy Martin is the perfect person to pick. I found that, for me, some of the most thought-provoking sections of the book came when Lee and Andy discuss the choices Lee is making about MAKE ME and the thinking behind them.

The result is a captivating snapshot of the life and process of Lee Child during the writing of MAKE ME – illuminating how his life and his writing feed into each other. As a writer, it made me consider my own process – the similarities, and the differences – and was inspiring, reassuring and educational.

It’s a lesson in thriller writing – the Lee Child equivalent of Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ – distilled through the expert observations and analysis of Andy Martin. It’s an honest, access-all-areas study of a writer at the top of their game, and it’s also a damn entertaining read.

REACHER SAID NOTHING is the documentary about the making of MAKE ME. It’s the special features of the DVD box set of the novel – the behind the scenes sneaky peep.

An absolute must read for Reacher fans, and essential reading for aspiring writers too. If you’re a fan of crime thrillers this is a book you’re not going to want to miss.

 

You can buy REACHER SAID NOTHING from Waterstones here and from Amazon here

To find out more about Andy Martin, pop over to his website at http://www.andymartinink.com and follow him on Twitter @andymartinink

On June 20th Andy will be talking in London at the Prospect Magazine Book Club. Find out more and get tickets here http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/events/bookclub-andymartin

 

Confessions from the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Harrogate: Part 1

Going to the crime festival at Harrogate is a bit like entering another world – a world populated entirely by crime writers and crime readers. A perfect place for a crime fiction addict like me to hang out!

The Irish Noir panel

The Irish Noir panel

So I arrived on Thursday afternoon in time for the opening party (of course!) and the announcement of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. This year the highly coveted barrel trophy was won by the fabulous Sarah Hilary for her brilliant novel Someone Else’s Skin. [FYI: the partying went on well into the night/morning]

On Friday I managed to make it to breakfast (just before the food was cleared away) and after a few strong coffees was ready to skip along to the Irish Noir panel. This lively event, with Steve Cavanagh, Stuart Neville, Brian McGilloway, Eoin McNamee and Adrian McKinty, saw the authors discussing why they’d chosen to set their books where they had (in Ireland or not, and in the far past, recent past or present), what their writing influences had been, how the troubles had shaped them as writers, the challenges of research – including the danger of being sucked down the rabbit hole by Google and Wikipedia – and many other topics.

Killer Women

Killer Women

Then it was time for lunch and drinks on the lawn where I caught up with some of the wonderful Killer Women (pictured) Anya Lipska, Helen Giltrow, Louise Voss, and Helen Smith.

Then it was time for the Yorkshire Pride panel with moderator Nick Quantrill posing the questions to Lee Child, Steve Mosby, Frances Brody and Peter Robinson around the central topic of Yorkshire. Lee Child spoke of his fond memories buying sweets with his grandma in Harrogate, Steve Mosby spoke of creating a Leeds-like place to set his novels in, and Peter Robinson and Frances Brody spoke about the Yorkshire settings – both present and past – of their novels.

As soon as the panel ended it was a quick sprint along the corridor to the Dead Good Reader Awards – luckily not arriving too late for one of the special ‘The Widow’ themed cocktails (pictured) of blood orange and bubbly!

'The Widow' cocktails

‘The Widow’ cocktails

From the thousands of votes, the winners of the first ever Dead Good Reader Awards were announced as …

  • The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book: The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins)
  • The Lee Child Award for Best Loner or Detective: Vera Stanhope (Ann Cleeves)
  • The Val McDermid Award for Fiendish Forensics: Time of Death (Mark Billingham)
  • The Reichenbach Falls Award for Most Epic Ending: The Skeleton Road (Val McDermid)
  • The Dr Lecter Award for Scariest Villain: You are Dead (Peter James)
  • The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location: Amsterdam – The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die (Marnie Riches)
Award winner Marnie Riches with her agent

Award winner Marnie Riches with her agent

And there was still much to come. The next event was Mark Billingham in conversation with Eddie Izzard. This session, to a packed out audience, was one of the major highlights of the festival. With great banter, packed full of anecdotes and laughs, they talked about some of the stranger venues they’d played on the comedy circuit, what it’s like to die on stage, how to deal with hecklers, through to the need to continuously challenge yourself, and how everyone can keep learning – even if they’re 90. The hour seemed to pass in a flash, and I for one could have continued to listen to them all night.

The final session of the day (starting at 10pm) was The Black Art of Criticism panel with moderator N.J. Cooper posing the questions to panellists Jake Kerridge (the Telegraph’s book reviewer), and authors S.J. Parris, Stav Sherez and Ann Widdecombe. It was a playful panel who debated how they approached reviewing, and how they took being reviewed, with plenty of entertaining discussion.

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The Black Art of Criticism panel

And so, at 11pm as the events of the day drew to a close, I headed to the bar – where I stayed until the early hours of the next morning.

To be continued …

#VintageMurderMysteries – The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

The Crime at Black Dudley cover image

The Crime at Black Dudley cover image

Those lovely people over at Vintage are bringing Margery Allingham’s golden age murder mysteries back into print under their Vintage Murder Mysteries banner. The book covers have been given a fantastic make-over, and the whole of the Mr Campion series will be published between May 2015 and August 2016.

One of five Margery Allingham titles published this month is The Crime at Black Dudley.

What the blurb says: “A suspicious death and a haunted family heirloom were not advertised when Dr George Abbershaw and a group of London’s brightest young things accepted an invitation to the mansion of Black Dudley. Skulduggery is most certainly afoot, and the party-goers soon realise that they’re trapped in the secluded house. Amongst them is a stranger who promises to unravel the villainous plots behind their incarceration – but can George and his friends trust the peculiar young man who calls himself Albert Campion?”

This is the first of Margery Allingham’s books that I’ve read and it’s certainly a lot of fun. With quirky characters, and a mysterious family custom involving a haunted dagger, this is a lively locked-room mystery with plenty to keep the reader on their toes as George Abbershaw tries to figure out the truth behind the strange and sinister goings on at Black Dudley mansion. As the danger mounts, and the group of London’s bright young things decide to take action into their own hands, it’s a race against time for them to escape the locked-down mansion and bring the culprits to justice.

To find out more about The Crime at Black Dudley and read an extract, hop on over to Dead Good Books to read the first chapter here

 

[with thanks to Vintage for my copy of The Crime at Black Dudley]

Event Alert: Dead Good Books announces the Dead Good Reader Awards

Dead Good Reader Awards logo

Dead Good Reader Awards logo

The fabulous team behind Dead Good Books have created six new crime writing awards which will be presented in Harrogate this July at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

Created in collaboration with the Dead Good Facebook community each of the six awards celebrates a unique element in crime writing.

The awards are:

  • The Lee Child Award for Best Loner or Detective
  • The Val McDermid Award for Fiendish Forensics
  • The Reichenbach Falls Award for Most Epic Ending
  • The Dr Lecter Award for Scariest Villain
  • The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location
  • The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book

The plan is for readers to nominate their favourite authors and books for the awards online through the Dead Good website. The nominees with the most votes will make the shortlists, and readers will then be able to vote for the final winners both online and in person at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival itself.

The awards will culminate at a special festival event on Friday 17th July with well-known crime authors including Lee Child and Val McDermid presenting the awards. Each winner will receive a specially designed magnifying glass trophy.

So, be sure to vote by hopping on over to http://bit.ly/DeadGoodReaderAwards

 

#ChooseThePlot launches today!

Specsavers

Those experimental folks at Specsavers and Penguin are launching a new literary experiment today – #ChooseThePlot.

They’re inviting crime thriller fans to get involved in the creation of a new novella through the online crime community Dead Good Books.

#ChooseThePlot will use social media to get your views on the plot, steering the story for crime writers Christopher Fowler, James Oswald and Jane Casey to write. Each author will write a chapter following on from the last, shaping the story and adding their own unique take on the situations presented to them.

On 24th October, at the end of this experimental process, a digital only eBook of the novella will be available to download for free.

Penguin

To get involved with #ChooseThePlot hop on over to www.specsavers.co.uk/choosetheplot where you’ll find all the info on how to get involved and the details of how the stories are progressing.

Happy plotting!