2016 Spotlight: Why Did You Lie by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

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Publication Date: 11th August 2016 from Hodder and Staughton

(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)

Source: Review copy

A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide. An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing. Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea. They have one thing in common: they all lied.  And someone is determined to punish them…

This is my first book from this author – MY BOOK HALO IS SLIPPING – how could I have missed them? But it certainly won’t be my last, Why Did You Lie was superb. Working on every level, plotting, characters and insane amounts of creepy haunting prose that led to me peering out from under my duvet like a kid checking for monsters under the bed. Monsters of the human kind…

Why Did You Lie follows several  strands – a family returning from a holiday, a small group of people in a confined space awaiting rescue and a police officer whose husband has recently attempted suicide. All of these slowly but surely edge us towards the link between them all and the truth behind a lie told many years before. It is really quite beautifully layered and utterly compelling throughout, Yrsa Sigurdardottir building the tension through a series of events that are dotted about over a short period of time.

I was freaked out a lot by this novel in the best possible way. The atmospheric sense of it is really involving, a pervading sense of menace with the source just out of reach, glimpses caught from the corner of an eye – and some classic scene setting that just really engages you into each and every moment. For me the intricacy in this cleverly woven web was highly addictive, despite it making me jump at every shadow including my own, it was eerily beautifully fascinating and explores the depths of human nature, especially the darker side of that, with a fine eye and a character driven narrative.

It is chilly! And claustrophobic. And intensely disturbing. And the ending means I will DEFINITELY be looking for those monsters under the bed for a good while to come. So that there was a damn good read. Loved it.

Highly Recommended. And kudos to the translator.

If you dare you could:

Follow Yrsa on Twitter here:

To purchase Why Did You Lie clickety click right HERE

Happy shivery reading!

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Stasi Child by David Young. A late late review….

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Publication Date: Available Now from Twenty7

Source: Review copy. And purchased copy.

When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.

Müller is a member of the national police, but the case has Stasi written all over it. Karin is tasked with uncovering the identity of the girl, but her Stasi handlers assure her that the perpetrators are from the West ­- and strongly discourage her asking questions.

The evidence doesn’t add up, and Muller soon realises the crime scene has been staged. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Muller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home . . .

I’m a bit late reviewing Stasi Child, which has actually caused much hilarity but in the end I win. As I knew I would…

The thing with Stasi Child is that it doesnt matter that this is a late review because that book has stayed with me. When I rather randomly decided that today would be the day, I thought I’d have to remind myself of the read somewhat but then discovered that I remembered it pretty much in its entirety – the political landscape, Karin Muller a completely engaging character, the beautifully done descriptive sense of it all – I guess in a lot of ways that is the biggest compliment I could pay it considering the number of books I read, take it as read that this is really really good…

There are lots of reviews of this novel out there -many speaking to how David Young has recreated with a huge dose of creative genius the stifling and claustrophobic atmosphere and reality of 1970’s Berlin – and that he has. Whether you know something or nothing of this period of history you’ll get it – in fact you’ll be right there as events unfold. For me as a reader that is when it works – Allowing the truth of the time to unfold within the story, underneath the narrative, the characters live it so YOU live it – much better than random history lesson type info dumps in some historical novels…

For me though its always about the emotional resonance of a story and Stasi Child had emotional resonance in spades – this was a book I devoured – along with the deep and lasting sense of history you get a banging good story, a proper page turner with absolutely the most gorgeous and absorbing writing style. I mean what else can you ask for really..

Well you want decent characters who you can identify with, want to follow down the rabbit hole, root for or alternatively wish fiery painful death upon – you can put a big tick in that box also. Karin as a main protagonist incredibly well drawn and full of depth I LOVED her (big big book love because I just wanted her to win godarnit) – as she wakes up to the realities of her country and the way it works, begins to doubt her own loyalties, her journey is totally engaging and I was with her all the way. Surrounded by an eclectic and enigmatic cast (Klaus Jager hmm) of others, there was not a single dull moment in the entirety of Stasi Child, not once did attention wander and really I only put it down to feed the kids. Apparently it is frowned upon not to do so.

Belting crime story too. The tale twists and turns, thought provoking and so addictive, weaving its way through the historical flavouring, the character arcs and just so perfectly constructed to engage and inform and entertain, really storytelling doesnt get much better than this. David Young is  a bit of a genius but sssh don’t tell him I said that. I may NEVER see my blog post if he is too busy preening. Plus I’d really like another book from this author soon. Writing up this review has made my chronic impatience kick in.

Brilliant brilliant book. Just read it (you won’t need to weep)

Good blogger friend Christine and I recently interviewed David at Crimefest – look out for that coming soon it was a corker – highly entertaining. In the meantime you could…

Find out more here

Follow David on Twitter here.

You can purchase Stasi Child by clickety clicking right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Talking Kitty Hawk – Interview with Iain Reading

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Today I’m really happy to welcome Iain Reading to the blog talking about his series for young adults – Kitty Hawk. Thanks so much Iain!

Tell us a little about the inspiration behind Kitty – it seems as if a lot of old school heroines have kicked off the concept -what started the story in your head?

What started the story off in my head was Kitty Hawk’s name itself. Kitty Hawk is a town in North Carolina where the Wright brothers flew the very first airplane, so when I first thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a book about a teenage female pilot named Kitty Hawk?” the whole story just kind of snowballed from there. Where would Kitty Hawk come from? Of course she would have her own plane, but what kind of plane would that be? And where would she fly with it? Every piece of the puzzle just fell into place, like dominoes stacking themselves up. And all I had to do was struggle to race along behind the ideas trying to get them down on paper into books. I am still struggling, by the way, on book number six (and seven and eight and beyond…).

It is a series for Young Adults – however Young Adult fiction for me is one of my favourite things to read even though I’m (ahem) older, do you hope that the stories will have a wider appeal than simply the target audience? If so, as a writer, how do you go about tackling that?

In writing the Kitty Hawk books I always try to include some kind of information and feel for the exotic places that she visits. And then, in the course of things, I try to introduce some kind of mystery that is based on real history or real-life events that is somehow connected to each geographic location. The end result is a kind of virtual-travelling of the world and I think that’s something that is not only enticing and exciting for young adult readers, but also for (ahem) older readers as well.

Can you tell us a little about the first adventure for Kitty? Just a little taster….

Well, in the first Kitty Hawk book you find the heroine still trying to figure herself out and trying to decide what to do with her life. She comes up with an ambitious project for the summer to track humpback whales in Alaska, and although it is a lot of hard work and effort, she follows it through to the end. That project and the crazy and sometimes frightening adventures that come of it give her confidence and even more ambition and that’s when she decides she wants to fly around the world.

Lets find out about you in 6 little life questions.

* Tea, Coffee or other?

Root Beer!

* Real Book or E-book?

eBook (I am ashamed to admit….)

* Bacon Sandwich or Muesli?

Bacon Sandwich!

* Summer or Winter?

Winter!

* No 1 on the bucket list if you have one

This year I would like to meet Captain Kirk from Star Trek.

* What one skill would you like to have that you do not?

I would REALLY love to be able to create visual artworks, like the covers of the Kitty Hawk books. I can visualise them and tell some very talented artists what I am looking for, but I would love to be able to create that kind of amazing artwork for myself.

Thank you so much.

About the book:

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This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses.

Find out more HERE

To Purchase Kitty Hawk clickety click HERE

 

2016 Spotlight: Die of Shame Mark Billingham

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Publication Date: Available Now (UK) from Little Brown 7th June (US) from Grove Atlantic.

Sources: Netgalley (Grove) Purchased copy (Hardback)

Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about addiction. There they share their deepest secrets: stories of lies, regret, and above all, shame. Then one of them is killed – and it’s clear one of the circle was responsible. Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner quickly finds her investigation hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these people and their therapist together. So what could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when denial and deception are second nature to all of your suspects?

I’m a bit of a closet fan of Mark Billingham (sometimes I’m shrieky other times I just quietly get on with reading everything an author has ever written) but I think I might get *slightly* shrieky over “Die of Shame” because it was bloody brilliant.

Mainly for me it worked because of the layered characters, all with a common thread but all so very very different, the interaction and relationship the group developed I found endlessly fascinating – the main premise of the plot dealing with addiction, a subject I am not unfamiliar with, was done in such an authentic fashion at times I forgot I was reading a crime novel – then ooh look big fat juicy murder. The mish mash of personal drama and dastardly deeds made this a bang on perfect read for me.

The investigative strand, the other side of the coin if you like, was also horrifically addictive (yes you see what I did there?) as the police mostly in the form of the highly intriguing Nicola Tanner attempt to drag secrets out of those who are secretive by nature.  A natural part of the recovery process and one again that was done with a healthy dose of reality whilst still making it extremely entertaining. I was fond of Nicola – sharp around the edges, determined and refreshingly confident in her professional abilities – even though her home life is causing her somewhat of a challenge.

What else can I say? The point is its a blinking good read, plotted to perfection, entirely absorbing from the very first paragraph and as for the ending just really. Honestly. Clever. I sat there and went huh? Aaaah. Hmm. Interesting…..

Really good. Really VERY good. Mark Billingham is at the top of his game right now and lets face it he was hardly a lightweight to begin with.

Highly Recommended.

Find out more HERE

You could follow Mark on Twitter HERE

To Purchase “Die of Shame” clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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2016 Spotlight: The Girls by Emma Cline

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Publication Date: 2nd June from Randomhouse Uk, Vintage publishing.

Source: Netgalley

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

The Girls is a haunting and evocative read, beautifully written to capture both a sense of time and place and subtle nuances of character – I really enjoyed this one, it was one of those novels that gets all the senses working, an absorbing and intriguing read that really caught my imagination.

Evie is a strangely compelling character – I can’t say I liked her that much, but I was involved in her journey. As she and her best friend grow apart, she becomes obsessed with a group of seemingly free spirited girls, Suzanne in particular and so gets caught up with a cult – although of course she doesnt see it that way. It was never going to end well, but Emma Cline leads you through that world with a deft touch and an engaging style that makes it a real page turner.

The Girls is one of those novels that when I review it I do not want to give too much away because the sense of it has to be taken individually – what I took from it the next reader will not. It is the story of a very personal journey, a coming of age tale that looks both at female friendship, obsession and the subtle manipulation of enigmatic charismatic men . Both clever and fascinating, these girls will stay with you.

The Girls totally consumed me during the reading of it – for that reason it gets a Highly Recommended tag from me.

You can find Emma Cline on Facebook HERE

To purchase The Girls clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!

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Top 10 Witches and Vampires in Literature with Marie Anne Cope.

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Today I am pleased to welcome Marie Anne Cope to the blog talking about Witches and Vampires….

AUTHOR, MARIE ANNE COPE’S TOP 10 WITCHES AND VAMPIRES IN LITERATURE

Witches and vampires, the subject of my debut novel Bonds, are a constant source of fear, fascination and wonder.

Both have the power and control over others that most of us would kill to have some, if not all, of the time. Both fill you with a mix of fear and excitement. Both have magnetism and allure that draw you towards them, desperately wanting a little piece of what they have, if only for a little while.

So, with this in mind, here are a selection of my favourite witches and vampires in literature, starting with the spell-casters themselves.

Circe – The Greek Goddess of Magic from The Odyssey by Homer

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Some say Circe is the ultimate witch and certainly a sorceress to be reckoned with. She is self-sufficient, sexually alluring and expert in the areas of potions and herbs.

She also wields a wooden staff, which she famously uses to transform whomever she wishes into an animal, usually a pig. This emasculating tendency is rumoured to be payback for a broken heart.

The Weird Sisters from Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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‘Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble’

The eerie repetition of this line, in the opening scene of the Scottish Play, sends a shiver down your spine and is, arguably, the first thing that pops into your head when you think about witches.

Fear them, because if they can convince battle-hardened and ambitious Macbeth to do what they want, think what they could do to you!

The Witches of Oz from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum

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Although there are four witches in Baum’s classic story, it is Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, whom everyone remembers.

In contrast to her green skinned, broomstick riding silver screen persona, Baum’s Elphaba (pictured) has a single all-seeing eye, carries an umbrella and makes it her mission to avoid water.

Despite her weakness, she still manages to inspire fear and wreak havoc before her watery demise.

The White Witch Jadis from The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe by C S Lewis

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With Jadis, C.S. Lewis takes witches back to their position of villainy.

With disarming beauty, charm and sorcerous power, she epitomises the terrifying evil witch. Match this with her tendency to turn those who displease her to stone and Jadis stands out in the literary world of witches.

Beware – do not be fooled by a person’s beauty, as it may only be skin deep.

Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling

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Last, but by no means least, we come to Hermione Granger, ‘the brightest witch of her time’. With Hermione, Rowling redeemed the witch and erased the negative historical implications and gender bias.

Nothing phases Hermione, except the possibility of getting expelled for breaking the rules. She is courageous, gifted, kind, witty and always prepared.

Now, it is the turn of the enigma that is the vampire:

Lord Ruthven from The Vampyre by John Polidori

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The first and, arguably, most influential of modern vampires is Lord Ruthven, the archetype of the ruthless, charismatic and sophisticated vampire. Polidori is said to have based Ruthven on his pale, languid and over-sexed patient, Lord Byron (pictured).

Polidori’s creation remains timeless and has spawned countless more, all sired in Ruthven’s image, as is the vampire way.

Varney the Vampire by James Malcom Rymer

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Originally a penny dreadful, totalling over 1,000 pages, Varney the Vampire was the first vampire novel published in the UK.

It is based on the adventures of aristocrat, Sir Frederick Varney, a hapless vampire who is usually exposed as such before he has chance to make his kill.

The tales are cheap, lurid and melodramatic, but the Victorians loved them.

Carmilla by J.Sheridan Le Fanu

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Carmilla is said to be the most interesting of all vampires, possessing the ability to shape shift and feed on her victims in her black cat persona.

Although known for the savageness of her attacks, her technique changes when she finds Laura, to one of seduction, as the first ever female vampire falls hopelessly in love.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

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With Dracula, Stoker took a ruthless and bloodthirsty historic persona – Vlad the Impaler (pictured) – and incorporated him into a character and a novel whose themes of demonic possession, combined with undertones of sex, blood and death, struck a chord with the Victorians and defined the most influential vampire in popular fiction.

For me though, Dracula is, without compare, THE best love story ever written.

Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

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Lestat is a complex character. Whilst endearing and charming, he is selfish and quickly bored. If you spark his interest, you will be spoiled. If you don’t…..

In Interview with a Vampire, he is shown in all his selfish and monstrous glory, yet in The Vampire Lestat, we see a fun loving, altruistic and, in the end, heroic side to him.

Marie Anne Cope is the author of newly released dark fantasy novel, Bonds. 

About the Book:

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Half the village of Breccan lies dead – slaughtered. All that stands between Antony Cardover and his freedom is his wife, Isabella, or so he believes.

In his wrath at his wife’s adultery, Antony trades his soul for the chance of vengeance. His price? An eternity as a monster – a man bearing a vampire curse. To stop him, the curse must be broken. To break the curse, Isabella and all her descendants must be destroyed. The catch? Only Antony can break the curse.

With Breccan in mourning and Antony on the rampage, only one person can help. Anna Martindale, a witch shunned by the villagers, entombs Antony within a stone sarcophagus, bound by spells and buried in hallowed ground for the rest of time.

Breccan breathes again. Time heals.

That was four hundred years ago.

You can purchase Bonds HERE

And visit Marie at her website HERE

 

All Things Crimefest…My Highlights

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So this last (long) weekend I attended Crimefest in Bristol and had the most bonkers and brilliant time. Alongside good blogging friend Christine (and with a killer question from Vicki and  Lisa often hanging out too)  I managed to interview a whole pile of my favourite authors and we went to some killer panels so look out for some fascinating stuff coming soon on our blogs. But for now I want to post my personal highlights of the weekend and if you pop over to Christine’s place HERE you can see hers too.

Panels Panels Panels…and so much more. Crimefest 2016 Highlights.

I went to many terrific panels, featuring a plethora of fantastic authors, talking about a myriad of interesting things, often with a lot of laughs, always with a lot of insight and genuinely engaging throughout. A full report on all of those will be done as a separate feature later from me but here are a few of my favourite bits of the entire trip.

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LOOK Matthew Blakstad, Corrie Jackson and Sanjida Kay – A panel full of new blood and 3 books I adored (Sockpuppet, Breaking Dead and Bone by Bone) . Read them if you have not already. And if you dare…

 

 

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I’ve recently discovered that William Ryan is an enigmatically fantastic writer but I soon discovered he’s a pretty good public speaker too. This was a fascinating panel (not just because of Mr Ryan but he was the reason I went so he gets this picture) and I’ll definitely be talking about this one more in the later post…

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Most hilarious event definitely goes to these guys – including a baptism of fire for Hugh Fraser on his first ever panel, the brilliantly witty Kevin Wignall presiding and my favourite lady Emma Kavanagh mostly trying not to laugh hysterically. She didn’t always succeed….

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An entirely fascinating panel on novels set in times gone by, and I’ll do the important stuff in the panel post, but an enduring memory of this one will be Rod Reynolds (Author extraordinaire) beginning a sentence with “This is going to sound wanky” Yes indeed. (Giggle)

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I spent a lot of time with my good friend and uber author (Willow walk is intensely brilliant) Susi Holliday this weekend but I’m sorry to say most of that is redacted to protect the innocent…. anyway moving on,  her panel was brilliant (again more on that in the later post) although in this picture she and Matthew Frank DO look as though they are having a slight disagreement. They were not but it does make this one of my favourites snaps.

 

Then of course Christine and I  interviewed many authors (not all pictured here but trust me they will be when their interviews run) Here’s a selection for now or we’ll be here all day.

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THE David Young! Yes Yes I’ll review Stasi child soon NO REALLY (Fantastic book by the way everyone read it!)

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With Paul Hardisty (who was incredible in his interview, so utterly open and entirely engaging) and its possibly I *may* be swooning just a little here….

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Rod Reynolds was our last interview of the weekend hence the “run over by a truck” look here but he still managed to somehow be extraordinarily intelligent in his answers. Not sure how that happened. He’s a better man than I…

 

But THE highlight of Crimefest 2016 for me?

Well THIS of course….

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Way back in January when the original “Making A Murderer – YOU decide” post went live on the blog and became the best viewed post of all time in pretty much under 60 seconds I thought it would be fantastic if this incredibly intelligent pair of lawyers turned crime writers could have a wider audience,  so huge points to Angela and Orion Books for making it happen in a genuinely fantastic event. I was on the jury (the best fun) and it was standing room only with a lot of disappointed people outside the room as Neil White and Steve Cavanagh went head to head on the Steven Avery case once more. I’ve got some great pictures which I’ll save for the featured blog post and I’m happy to say the lovely Mr White is going to jot down some thoughts on the experience for me so that should be entirely brilliant (no pressure Neil)

So that is THAT. Much more to come of course over the next couple of weeks but hey, that was a taster and if you get the chance to attend next year, I would not hesitate.

To finish on an aroundabout note in which they say the best things happen in the bar…..

I drank a lot of gin, I can tell you, in the in between the books times but I think this is possibly the drink that I loved the most out of the ones I was presented with. Although it was slightly challenging to drink…yes yes YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

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Watch this space for more CRIMEFEST  reporting….VERY soon.

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Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quantrill Talks: The Dead Can’t Talk – Hull and its Crime Writers.

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To celebrate the release of “The Dead Can’t Talk” the lovely Nick Quantrill has been talking to various bloggers about various things. Today I’m delighted its my turn as he tells us all about Hull and its crime writers…

Hull and its crime writers (by Nick Quantrill)

When talking about the writers who inspire me and have an influence on my work, I tend to fall back on certain perennial favourites. I point to Michael Connelly for combining a brilliant protagonist within the framework of international bestsellers, Lee Child for his sheer page-turning plots and pace, Elmore Leonard for his amazing dialogue and Ian Rankin for making his setting of Edinburgh a character in its own right. The list goes on…

But I also need to acknowledge the debt I owe my home city of Hull. There’s no doubting it’s a place that marches to its own beat, found at the end of the line (or beginning of it, if you prefer). You don’t pass through Hull, you need a reason to visit, and I think that makes it a little different to other places. If that makes it the kind of place which gets overlooked, so be it. Times are changing, and as the City of Culture team say, it’s “all back to ours in 2017”. If you don’t know much about Hull, chances are you don’t know it has such a rich line of crime writers.

Best known for his novel, “Jack’s Return Home” (filmed as “Get Carter”), Hull played a major part in the story of Ted Lewis. Lewis was brought up in the Humber area and studied at Hull Art College. Rather than being set in Newcastle like its cinematic equivalent, the novel is set in part around the banks of the Humber. “Plender”, Lewis’s 1971 novel is set in Hull and has been subsequently filmed as “Le Serpent” in 2007, cementing his position as one of the genre’s modern forefathers.

If you only know one contemporary Hull crime writer, it’s likely to be David Mark. David’s an outsider (see, we do let people in…) and his DS McAvoy series is proving hugely popular with readers around the world. In a previous life, David was a journalist working the city’s crime beat and that gives him an understanding few crime writers can match. The list goes on. Robert Edric dragged the city into the 21st century with a well-received trilogy featuring Leo Rivers. Since then, we’ve seen accomplished novels that use the city from Russ Litten (“Swear Down”), Nick Triplow (“Frank’s Wild Years”) and Cathi Unsworth (“The Singer”). And that’s only scratching the surface. Son of the city, David Young, is tasting success with his debut set in 1970’s Berlin and Louise Beech will be following up her fantastic debut with a psychological thriller.

Amongst all this, I hope I’ve offered something to the vibrant crime writing scene, too. My new novel, “The Dead Can’t Talk”, is a fresh start for me after a trilogy of Private Investigator novels. It features Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer, and Luke Carver, a former Army drifter forced together by circumstance in relation to her sister’s disappearance. It’s a story that leads from the downtrodden to the powerful. It’s a story set in an isolated city and becomes a giant locked room mystery. From heavy industry and its past as a major fishing port, it’s a place with new beginnings coming into focus via the well-earned 2017 UK City of Culture status. It’s a city with plenty more stories to tell and an appetite for even more crime writers.

 

About the Book:

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How far will Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer on the brink of leaving her job, go to uncover the truth about her sister’s disappearance? Approached by Luke Carver, an ex-Army drifter she’s previously sent to prison, he claims to have information which will help her. As the trail leads from Hull and the Humber’s desperate and downtrodden to its great and good, an unsolved murder 25 years ago places their lives in danger, leaving Stone to decide if she can really trust a man who has his own reasons for helping.

“The Dead Can’t Talk” Can be purchased HERE

Visit Nick at his website HERE

Or follow on Twitter HERE

Happy Reading!

Don’t you Cry Mary Kubica – Blog Tour review.

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Publication Date: 19th May from Mira UK

Source: Netgalley

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.  

I was a HUGE fan of Mary Kubica’s “The Good Girl” one of my favourite books of its year, not QUITE so fond of “Pretty Baby” even though it was still heads and shoulders above a lot of psychological thrillers, so Don’t You Cry was much anticipated. The fact that I banged through it like a grasshopper on acid probably tells you that I’m a big fan of this one too…

The two points of view work very well in tandem and Mary Kubica has such a gorgeous turn of phrase and ability to suck you in.  It really didn’t take long for me to be totally immersed in the problem of the missing Esther, the roommate she left behind and the mysterious girl wandering the streets of a small community inspiring a keen obsession in one of the residents.

The plot weaves a spell and twists and turns towards the ultimate resolution, which I won’t say anything about because obviously that would spoil things – but once again the author spins you around and uses pretty classic (and cool) misdirection to keep you on your toes. Meanwhile there are some great engaging characters and fascinating family dynamics that give a realistic edge to things and will keep you turning those pages.

The psychological thriller is definitely not dead. Not when authors like Mary Kubica can give such good book – whilst a lot of the standard tropes are in here they are often not recognisable as such, plus the prose is authentically atmospheric and intensely absorbing.

Highly Recommended.

You can purchase “Dont You Cry” HERE

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Paul Cornell on Nostalgia Properties – Who Killed Sherlock Holmes blog tour.

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Very happy to welcome Paul Cornell to the blog today as part of the “Who Killed Sherlock Holmes” blog tour. He’s talking about nostalgia properties and information on the entirely brilliant novel follows soon after. Thanks so much Paul!

Nostalgia Properties – Paul Cornell.

There’s one enormous reason why nostalgia properties are so big right now, and that’s name recognition. A certain number of audience members are guaranteed for a recognisable brand. With piracy cutting into the bottom line, and audiences having their focus split between so many entertainment choices, any factor that gives a new movie or TV show an edge is pounced on. Of course, often creators are merely representing their own love of an established character. You don’t get Sherlock Holmes fans bigger than Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Rob Doherty. And their versions are the opposite of nostalgic.

My own take on nostalgia is that, as a trait in myself, I’m afraid of it. I can feel that I’m susceptible to it, with my collection of ancient telefantasy, classic Doctor Who and Hammer movies. If I give in to that tendency, I feel, I’ll lose my connection to the now, and might as well check into the waiting room for death. It’s a feeling one of the characters in my Shadow Police novels, Lisa Ross, shares. Lisa is an intelligence analyst for the Metropolitan Police, and, like the rest of my heroes in those books, she’s been cursed with ‘the Sight’, the ability to see the magic and monsters of London. So her skills at picking out patterns and networks gain a whole new dimension. Wandering around a New Age fair, encountering the culture of those orbiting the Sight, she recognises that they’re comfortable, affable, settled, and she yearns for that. But she also feels it would be terrible to let herself be so lulled.

The use of the lead character in the third of these books, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? was because the title suddenly came into my head, and the rest of the pieces fell into place immediately. In the London of the Shadow Police, ghosts are what every Londoner, living or dead, remembers, so deceased individuals and fictional characters reside where they’re best remembered, visible only to those with the Sight. So of course there’d be a Sherlock Holmes in this world, and he’d be in the Holmes Museum at 221b Baker Street, but he’d be ghostlike, not quite sentient, a flickering mass of all his different versions. So what if our team found that guy lying face down with a ceremonial dagger in his back? The first question they have to ask themselves is almost existential: what does the murder of a ghost even mean? And then we get onto how it might be connected to the crimes of the Conan Doyle stories being re-enacted in their original locations, and, on the matter of nostalgia, whether or not it has anything to do with three different Holmes productions all being filmed in London at the same time.

That last matter lets me indulge in some fond satire of all the current modes of Holmes in the media, but it also lets my heroes ask some desperate questions about how nostalgia shapes a character, because, for them, as for me, it turns out that nostalgia is a matter of life and death.

Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? is published by TOR UK on 19/07/2016 TOR.

Paul Cornell has been Hugo-nominated for his work in TV, comics and prose, and is a BSFA award-winner for short fiction. He has also written some of Doctor Who’s best-loved episodes for the BBC, and has more recently written for the Sherlock-inspired TV show Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. He lives in Gloucestershire. Find out more www.paulcornell.com and @paul_cornell.

About the book:

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Someone has murdered the ghost of Sherlock Holmes. As a fictional character remembered by the people of London, Holmes’ ghost walked the city, and now someone has put a ceremonial dagger through his chest. What could be the motive? The small team of Metropolitan Police detectives who have The Sight find themselves pursuing a criminal genius who soon lures them into a Sherlockian maze of too many clues and too much evidence. Ross finds herself drawn to an actor who may or may not be a deity, and goes on a quest to win back her happiness. Lofhouse seeks the answers, finally, about why she brought the team together. Quill battles for his sanity. Costain battles for his soul. And Sefton just wants to bring his team back together, even if that takes him to the edge of death.

My Review:

I love the Shadow Police series – top notch urban fantasy with some banging characters and beautifully plotted storylines and really engaging world building.

There is a London that not everyone can see – a London that remembers. Quill and his team have the sight and can follow this shadowy underworld, their cases therefore go nowhere near anything resembling normal – yet Paul Cornell makes it all horribly believable with his pacy and often witty descriptive prose and a character group dynamic that works on every level.

I think this is probably my favourite yet as the author envelops Sherlock Holmes into the story to create a dream read (big fan of Sherlock in all his various forms, me) although unfortunately someone has just killed his ghost. Cue lots of shenanigans as our guys try to track down the culprit and find out just what is going on.

These are great fun to read but they have a dark and emotive heart – this is Fantasy for adults, Paul Cornell does explore some dark themes within the narrative. Especially when it comes to the ongoing storyline, as the main characters grapple with their sight and with their own personal circumstances. In this instalment Quill is facing a real battle in the aftermath of previous events, to some degree they all are and the ever shifting landscape in which they reside is endlessly fascinating.

Never one to let you off easy, Mr Cornell also put a finish on things with a flourish here leaving me desperate for the next book. Who Killed Sherlock Holmes was brilliant and clever and a proper page turner, terrific writing as ever and continuing to build this world into one you want to keep visiting. But you wouldnt want to live there….

Highy Recommended (and best read in order)

You can purchase Who Killed Sherlock Holmes HERE

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