New Blood 2016 announced for Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

Last week, Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in partnership with HW Fisher & Company, invited 50 authors and publishing professionals to its ‘New Blood’ reception in London. The event was designed to showcase new talent in the crime fiction genre in advance of the announcement of the New Blood panel for the July festival.

The event was hosted by leading crime writers Mark Billingham, author of the Tom Thorne series, and David Mark, creator of the hit DS McAvoy series of crime fiction books.

David Mark, who was one of Val McDermid’s New Blood picks at the 2012 crime festival, said: “The Festival is the most important in the literary calendar for the crime genre. I was incredibly excited, and proud, to be one of the New Blood authors chosen by Val. It was part of the whirlwind that led me to being signed in Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and America. I know how much it means when you’re starting out to not only get that recognition and platform, but the support of veteran crime authors, which is why I felt honoured, and delighted, to co-host this inaugural London New Blood celebration.”

For the 2016 festival, Val McDermid’s 2016 New Blood authors have been announced as Martin Holmen for Clinch, JS Law for Tenacity, Beth Lewis for The Wolf Road and Abir Mukherjee, author of A Rising Man.

Gemma Rowland, Literature Festivals Manager at Harrogate International Festivals – the arts charity that delivers the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival – said: “As well as celebrating the best crime writers around, the Festival is also about introducing new writers to crime fans.”

One of the top crime writing festivals in the world, Theaksons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is a must attend weekend for all crime fiction fans.

Val McDermid’s New Blood panel takes place at 12pm on Saturday 23 July at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate during the 14th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

This year the Programming Chair is Peter James, and Special Guests include Jeffery Deaver, Martina Cole, Neil Cross, Tess Gerritsen, Gerald Seymour and Linwood Barclay.

For the full programme, visit www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com

Confessions from Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival: Part 3

The New Blood Panel

The New Blood Panel

On Saturday (after a rather late night on the Friday) I started my day with the New Blood panel.

To a sold-out audience, Val McDermid talked to debut novelists Renee Knight (Disclaimer), Clare Mackintosh (I Let You Go), Ben McPherson (A Line of Blood), and Lucy Ribchester (The Hourglass Factory) about the inspiration behind their books, their journey to publication, and what they had planned for their second books.

It was a real treat, especially as I’ve read, loved and reviewed Renee Knight and Clare Mackintosh’s books – find the reviews here for Disclaimer and I Let You Go. And wonderful find out more about Ben McPherson’s chilling psychological thriller about a seemingly ordinary family caught in the middle of a murder investigation, and Lucy Ribchester’s fabulous sounding historical murder mystery set in the world of suffragettes and trapeze artists – two more books to add to my To Be Read pile for sure!

 

Authors Paul Finch and JS Law

Authors Paul Finch and JS Law

After the panel I caught up with some friends for lunch before heading across the lawn to the tent where Headline Publishing had set up a submarine-themed game of battleships to celebrate the launch of JS Law’s debut novel (on 30th July) TENACITY.

 

 

Here willing volunteers battled it out in a game of wits and rum. Author Paul Finch was victorious in a game (pictured here with JS Law). I have to admit that I didn’t play the game – but I did get my picture taken with JS Law.

 

After that, I caught up with Graeme Cameron, author of NORMAL – which was one of the books available for festival goers to bag (if they were fast) from the bookshelves. I was chuffed to get myself a copy – and have Graeme sign it for me.

 

JS Law and CTG

JS Law and CTG

Then it was off to the Harrogate Crime Writers North vs. South Challenge Cup football match (you can read my post on the game here).

Perhaps that’s why I didn’t make it to any panels on Sunday morning. It was either that or the fact that it’s impossible to move more than a few feet at Harrogate without bumping into friends – hours seem to pass in a flash.

 

But all too soon the weekend was over and I was saying my goodbyes to all the fabulous crime folks and heading home weighed down by as many books as I could carry.

 

 

Graeme Cameron pointing to his book NORMAL

Graeme Cameron pointing to his book NORMAL

If you’ve not been to the festival before I seriously recommend that you check it out and make a plan to go next year – it really is a crime reader’s heaven.

 

You can find out more here

 

The 2016 programme chair is best selling crime writer Peter James – so go on, book now, I’m sure you won’t regret it!

 

The Quiz!!

The Quiz!!

 

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.

IMG_1899

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 …

CTG Reviews: The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook

cover image

cover image

What the blurb says: “Any mystery connoisseur worth their salt knows that whether it’s being used as a villain’s nefarious weapon or keeping their favourite detectives going, food plays a major role in the genre.

From the comforting breakfast cuisines of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Mrs Hudson to the poison-laced meals of Agatha Christie’s fictional victims, food not only provides major plot twists but also defines characters.

Considering how intertwined food and murder fiction are, Mystery Writers of America presents The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die For edited by Kate White – former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and New York Times best-selling author of the Bailey Weggins mystery series.”

Okay, so I don’t usually review cookbooks, but as you can tell from the title, this one is a little different! With over a hundred different recipes in the book – some based on author’s favourites and others their character’s usual choices – there’s some really yummy (and unusual) recipes to try.

You can learn how to make Harlan Coben’s ‘Myron’s Crabmeat Dip’, Frankie Y. Bailey’s ‘Whole Wheat Wild Blueberry Lemon Pecan Muffins’ (which sound amazing), and David Housewright’s ‘Corn Chowder’ (I love corn chowder). There’s even a ‘special guest’ recipe from Richard Castle (the detective character in ABC’s hit TV show – CASTLE) – for the very apt ‘Morning-After Hotcakes’.

For me a few recipes stand out above the rest …

Sue Grafton’s ‘Kinsey Millhone’s Famous Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich’ – this is a fabulously simple recipe, and includes peanut butter, yummy!

Kathy Reichs’ ‘Shrimp Scampi’ – this Southern seafood recipe looks amazing!

Linda Stasi’s ‘Mystery Baker: Original New York City Cheesecake – New York Cheesecake is my absolute favourite dessert, and this recipe is mouth-wateringly gorgeous!

Coffee, black (in my favourite mug!)

Coffee, black (in my favourite mug!)

And then there’s the drinks …

You can make like Peter James with what he refers to as his rocket fuel to kick off his evening writing – ‘The Peter James Vodka Martini Writing Special’ (complete with ‘twist’ and ‘olive’ variations).

Or opt for a ‘strong and silent’ option and take Lee Child’s ‘Coffee, Pot of One’ – a recipe that helps you brew the perfect coffee, and pick the perfect mug to drink it from.

Whichever you go for, The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook is a great, and rather different, recipe book to add to your collection. It includes a number of food related facts about mystery authors and their lead characters, and is beautifully presented with fantastic pictures of the food.

It makes me hungry just looking at it!

#TheAbruptPhysicsofDying Blog Tour: Simplifying my Life by Paul E. Hardisty

cover image

cover image

Yesterday, I reviewed the fabulous debut thriller THE ABRUPT PHYSICS OF DYING by Paul E. Hardisty, a novel that’s been described by best selling author Peter James as “a stormer of a thriller”. Today, I’m thrilled to be the latest stop on wonderful new publisher Orenda Books’ blog tour for this brilliant book.

So, just to recap, here’s the blurb for THE ABRUPT PHYSICS OF DYING: “Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is what it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead.”

And here, to tell us about how he’s planning to simplify his life (if his book collection will allow it!) is debut author Paul E. Hardisty …

Pretty Soon I am Going to Simplify my Life.

I’ve realised that I don’t need much to be happy.   Don’t need three-quarters, more, of the stuff that fills up the place I live. Hell, I don’t even need the place I live – now that the kids are older and starting their own lives. A roof to keep out the ever less-frequent rain and something to keep me warm on those ever rarer cold nights, sure. But rooms filled with furniture and exercise equipment and shipping containers of appliances and toys and obsolete printers and all of the clutter that suffocates most citizens of G20 nations? I’ve decided no.

So one day soon, we’re going to go South, into the bush, and live in a shack. All I need, I’ve decided, is my mountain bike, writing stuff, and my favourite books. But the place won’t be big. And we’ll probably build most of it ourselves.   So I’ll have to choose carefully. The first twenty or so are easy, like your all-time best ever football (or in my case, ice hockey) side. After that it gets tougher.  I guess I could always just go with the kindle, pack a lifetime of reading in one place, but I can’t be stuffed with all the chargers and cables, and quite frankly, the lack of smell.   That musty old-book smell that makes you want to stick you face into the pages and breathe in all of the words you love. I must be part dog (my wife thinks so).

Paul E. Hardisty

Paul E. Hardisty

Ok. Top Twenty. Criteria: none – just go with it, without planning. And be honest. As fast as you can. A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway) – my dad’s old paperback copy; The Way of a Transgressor (Negley Farson) – a first edition, falling apart. He was the original real traveller. My hero. War and Peace (Tolstoy) – read it while rough-necking in Texas, oil smudged pages, the contrast; A Moveable Feast (Hemingway) – when I realised I wanted to be a writer of fiction (which I’ve since found is truer than non-fiction); The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas), in French, timeless storytelling; Chaos (James Gleick) – everyone should read this, the mysteries of the universe exposed; Goodbye to All That (Robert Graves) – to survive that war, the way he did, and to think of what could have been lost if he had been killed, how much was lost in that nightmare; and so, I Claudius and Claudius, the God (Robert Graves) – his masterpiece (counts for two). What’s that? Nine.

Eleven more. Okay. Les Particules Elementaires (Houellebecq) – in French, hard, challenging, utterly contemporary; Antarctica (Kim Stanley Robinson) – science fiction about the present, beautifully written; Adventures in the Skin Trade (Dylan Thomas) – another one of my dad’s old volumes; Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy) – pretty close to top five, the last line has propelled me ever since I read it; Pure (Andrew Miller) – something about this book grabs me, it’ll take me a few more years to figure out exactly what; Le Pere Goriot (Zola) – in French, genius; Martin Eden (Jack London) – another book that cried out to me not to give up; A Night Over Water (Ken Follett) – a subtle thriller, loved it; Three Cheers for Me (Donald Jack) – the funniest book I’ve ever read; Macbeth (you know who) – just re-read it a few months ago, more there every time I pick it up; and twenty (but probably first) Seven Pillars of Wisdom (T.E. Lawrence).

Out of space. Too many missing. Especially some fantastic newer stuff. Guess I’ll have to take my kindle along. Screw it, we’ll build the interior walls of the shack out of books.

***

You can find out more about Paul here: http://paulehardisty.wix.com/paulehardisty

Follow him on Twitter @Hardisty_Paul 

Plus, check out his fabulous publisher ORENDA BOOKS here: http://orendabooks.co.uk and on Twitter @OrendaBooks

And don’t forget to hop over to the other stops on this fantastic blog tour …

Abrupt Physics Blog Tour Banner

Your chance to win: FACE OFF – stories by Lee Child, Peter James, Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin and more (ed. David Baldacci) #bookgiveaway

FACE OFF cover image

FACE OFF cover image

It’s not due to be published in paperback until the 29th January, but this week those lovely people at Sphere have given me a copy of FACE OFF to give away to one lucky winner. Here’s some more about the book …

The Prize: FACE OFF

What the blurb says: “Twenty-three of the world’s best-selling crime writers and your favourite series characters FACE OFF in eleven original short stories. Never before has such a glittering array of the world’s bestselling crime writers brought their series characters together in a collection of co-written short stories … FACE OFF includes the first meeting of Ian Rankin’s Rebus and Peter James’ Roy Grace; a case for Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie and Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, as well as a page-turning mystery starring Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller. Edited by international bestseller David Baldacci, this exclusive page-turning collection is one of a kind.”

It’s a fantastic book of short stories, each one just perfect for reading over breakfast, or taking with you to read at lunchtime as you eat your sandwiches, or for a sneaky bit of procrastination when you should be doing something else!

The character pairings and full list of authors are:

Lee Child’s Jack Reacher + Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller

Ian Rankin’s John Rebus + Peter James’ Roy Grace

Michael Connelly’s Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch + Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie

Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme + John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport

Linwood Barclay’s Glen Garber + Raymond Khoury’s Sean Reilly

Linda Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper + Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani

Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone + James Rollins’ Gray Pierce

Lisa Gardner’s D.D. Warren + MJ Rose’s Malachai Samuels

T. Jefferson Parker’s Joe Trona and John Lescroart’s Wyatt Hunt

Heather Graham’s Michael Quinn + F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack

Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child’s Aloysius Pendergast + R.L. Stine’s Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy

 

** THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED **

So, to the competition …

For a chance to win a copy of FACE OFF all you need to do is tweet the link to this post (using the Twitter button below) OR retweet one of the CTG tweets about the giveaway. [You’ll also need to follow us on Twitter, so that we can send you a direct message should you win]. Rules
(1) One entry per reader (2) UK residents only – due to postage costs – sorry! (3) We will draw the winner at random (4) No cash alternative (5) The competition closes for entries at 9pm GMT on Sunday 25th January 2015 (6) The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Good luck!

CTG Reviews: WANT YOU DEAD by Peter James

Want You Dead cover image

Want You Dead cover image

What the blurb says: When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror. Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red’s nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has know and loved – and then her too…”

DCI Roy Grace returns in the latest book in Peter James’ best selling detective series – Want You Dead. He’s juggling the new responsibilities of parenthood with planning for his approaching wedding when his team is called to inspect the scene of an apparent suicide. But the suicide is suspicious, and when the dead man is found to be the current boyfriend of Red Westwood, a women whose previous boyfriend – Bryce Laurent – is known for his violent outbursts, Grace and the team are pulled into a deadly race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.

Red is a survivor of domestic abuse, determined to rebuild her life after being betrayed and brutalised by the man she loved. She’s started a new career, and is beginning to date again. But when her boyfriend is found dead, and she starts to catch glimpses of her ex – Bryce Laurent – her confidence begins to crumble.

Bryce is a smart and terrifying villain, able to be both utterly charming and brutally violent. Obsessed with Red, and destroying her and all she holds dear, anyone who threatens his success instantly becomes a target.

Told in short chapters, with points of view alternating between viewpoint characters including Grace, Red Westwood, Bryce Laurent, and Sandy (Roy Grace’s wife who disappeared many years previously) the tension continues to rise as Brighton becomes the setting for a series of devastating fires. Alongside the case, Grace and his fiancé – Cleo – prepare for their wedding, but unknown to them, in the background someone is watching – Sandy, Grace’s first wife, who has now been declared legally dead.

The story twists and turns at break-neck pace towards its dramatic showdown with plenty of shocks along the way. It’s a must-read for fans of the series, and all those who love police procedurals.

Highly recommended.