Normal Service Will Resume….

……..On 9th October. Apologies for any posts due up last week or this week that did not appear. All missed posts will get a spot next week. Please bear with me. An unusual situation prevents my usual bookish glee. I’m now taking a few days just for me and after that expect the normal book babble to continue…

Happy Reading!

 

On Hiatus….

Liz Loves Books is taking a short break and will be back somewhere between the 2nd and 4th October 2017.

If I am due on blog tours or to post a specified date review during this time the posts have been set to go but please forgive me if the schedule goes mad and decides to throw out a technical hitch..

If I get time to complete any reading short reviews will appear on Goodreads – fuller reviews will be added here when I am back.

Have a great bookish little while peeps!

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Ones to Watch in 2018: This Is How It Ends. Eva Dolan.

Publication Date: 25th January 2018 from Raven

Source: Review Copy

This is how it begins.

With a near-empty building, the inhabitants forced out of their homes by property developers.

With two women: idealistic, impassioned blogger Ella and seasoned campaigner, Molly.

With a body hidden in a lift shaft.

But how will it end?

Well to be honest I’m not sure where to begin. I’m certainly sure that the end has left me with that melancholy, low key buzz of a feeling that all real readers will know when they’ve just finished a novel that will  linger in the senses and be the benchmark for future reads for a long long time to come.

Eva Dolan’s Zigic and Ferreira series is one of the best, most authentic police series out there but This Is How It Ends enters a whole new league of subtle brilliance that defies explanation in any kind of review – things to note though are the beautifully immersive writing, the insightful and deeply layered characters and the ability to recreate the world we are living in without need for filter or fuss. Socially relevant, entertaining yes but also utterly genuine and just getting you right in the heart.

This Is How It Ends is masterfully plotted – A party, a body and two friends who live in a world of protest and activism, suddenly faced with a moral dilemma – This is how it began…

I’m not telling you anymore about the detailed plot than that and I hope HOPE that not many reviewers coming after me do either. This is a masterclass of suspense and character study, peeling back layers of both the fact and the fiction of these two women, until you are left with how it ends. If you know almost anything else it won’t have the same impact – and it does have impact, trust me on that one. I was blown away by the ultimate resolution both emotionally and practically, all I could do was sit there and shake my head at the pure resonance of it (and give a small nod of approval to the clever way Eva Dolan had manipulated my head)

Look this is classically good writing right? There are a plethora of brilliant crime and thriller writers around, using language in many different ways to entertain us, but there a few, those very few that just have that depth of emotion, that literary twist to the way they do things, that thing in their storytelling that tells you they were born to do this – and this author is one of those. She’s been showing us for a while now, but with this novel, undoubtedly for this reader her best so far, she’s hit that sweet spot that starts defining a writing career.

Exquisitely understated prose that digs deep, two characters that you will live with, an utterly utterly riveting story with a final denouement that will leave you stunned, This Is How It Ends heads straight onto my favourites of all time list. No messing. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Read this. This is what it’s all about. Eva Dolan is the real deal.

Highly Recommended.

Follow Eva on Twitter

Purchase This Is How It Ends

Happy Reading!

Genuine Fraud E Lockhart – Author Interview and Review.

Today I am VERY happy to welcome E Lockhart to Liz Loves Books, telling me a little about the brilliant Genuine Fraud – available now from Hot Key Books. A little review from me follows, but if you are a fan of engaging and clever psychological thrillers this one will definitely be for you.

I’ve just finished reading “Genuine Fraud” which I devoured in two sittings, it definitely engaged me on more than one level – I know you took inspiration from the Ripley tales – but what attracted you first to writing a non linear narrative?

 

Thank you.  I was inspired by Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley more than by her other Ripley novels.  I was interested in the making of an antihero.  I also referenced superhero origin stories and Victorian orphan novels like Vanity Fair and Great Expectations  — all stories of class mobility and compromises both moral and emotional.  I wanted to tell an antihero story that ended with the reader feeling very connected to the central character.  After you know all that Jule has done — you see her at her youngest and most innocent.  That was a big reason to tell the story  backwards.

 

The enigmatic “Jule” never really shows us her true self, or does she? What do you think?

 

The novel is in third person, and the narration is tricky, but not unreliable.  There are no untrue sentences anywhere in the book.   And to answer your question about Jule — I’m not sure anyone has a true self.  It’s a very slippery thing, the self.

 

 When plotting “Genuine Fraud” did the story come to you in reverse or did you work beginning to end and then write it in the way that you did – I suppose this ties back to the first question in some ways, maybe the attraction to the non linear came after the story was fully formed for you.

 

I love to play with narrative structures.  In my earlier books, which were comedies, I did this a lot.  A book structured like a list, or with footnotes.  My last novel, We Were Liars, has a structure of two intersecting timelines intercut with fairy tales that are outside the main narrative but which still move it along.  Challenging myself with a structure is like setting myself to solve a puzzle.

 

It is a very different tale to “Liars” which was hugely popular for good reason, is it your aim to try and write different things every time, try and stay out of any particular comfort zone?

 

To me, We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud are both psychological thrillers about  class differences and intense friendships.  Both books  also have central female characters who are labelled “difficult” and both have  playful narrative structures and twisty plots.   But Liars is quite romantic, whereas Genuine Fraud is quite violent.  I like to shake things up and still satisfy my readers.

 

What do you hope readers are feeling at the end, how do you think you would respond to it if you were reading it as a pure reader?

 

I hope people will feel exhilerated and that they’ll want to read it a second time  and talk it over with their friends.  It’s a good book to argue about, I think.

 

Finally a question I ask everyone – is there a novel you have read this year that you would like to recommend to everyone?

 

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby is a cross-genre thriller that’s gorgeously written and very gripping. It won the Printz Award here in the US.  I think you’ll love it.

 

Thank you so much! And for the book which I loved very much.

 

Thank you for the fun questions and for featuring me on your blog.  xoE

 

About the Book: 

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. 
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. 
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. 
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

My Review: 

I read this in just over 2.5 hours because I couldn’t put it down. Told in reverse, taking masses of inspiration from The Talented Mr Ripley but with a female main protagonist, Genuine Fraud was a huge page turner.

It did, in substance, feel like a homage to Ripley and to Highsmith, the author captures you with her beautiful descriptive prose, rich and layered settings and hugely divisive characters. By the end of it you know everything, yet you know nothing. This is a book that demands a second reading.

It won’t be for everyone and it is nothing like Liars, but for me it worked extraordinarily well and I have been caught up in it all day. I like the backwards story telling, like Megan Miranda’s “All The Missing Girls” a book I would also recommend if you enjoy this, it captured my senses, beginning at the ending and ending at the beginning – each little gem of a timeline giving you that bit more but also taking away, messing with your perception leaving you to work out what you believe.

Yes I’m a fan of books like these. I hope more authors try their hand at this non linear storytelling and hone the craft until I’m genuinely upside down. Genuine Fraud is both Ripley and not Ripley, a beautifully formed novel that yeah, definitely won’t be for everyone.

But it was for me.

Highly Recommended.

Find Out More

Follow the author on Twitter

Purchase Genuine Fraud

Happy Reading!

 

Recommended Read This Week: Did You See Melody? Sophie Hannah.

Publication Date: Available Now from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Review Copy

Pushed to the breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

So I’m going to be taking one book out of my well loved previous or recent/early advanced reads that I have loved and recommending it each week – these novels will always be available now and may be old, new or somewhere in between the two.

This week I’m going with “Did You See Melody?” the latest twisted thriller from Sophie Hannah – I read this a  few months ago but it is now out there in the world and if you are a fan of the hard to see resolutions and the twisted path to the truth of the matter then you could pick up almost any Sophie Hannah novel to be fair, but Did You See Melody was definitely, for me, one of the most addictive.

This story follows Cara, who has (rather childishly I felt but that somehow made it all the more compelling that she ended up stuck in an enigma wrapped up in a mystery) run away from home. Wanting peace and quiet and time to think, she ends up at a relaxing resort. A mix up on the first night finds her in the wrong hotel room and seeing people who don’t want to be seen – but was the girl she saw REALLY the supposedly murdered Melody Capa or just someone who has a remarkable resemblance to said girl. Should Cara say what she has seen? Oh what to do…

As usual Sophie Hannah peppers her cast with a diverse range of characters, often hard to like ones, then mixes them all up, making everyone seem suspicious at one point or another, draws out the background to tell you everything you need to know but then blindsides you with something you didn’t think about. It is clever writing, I mostly love how I spend the entire time trying to second guess the author, who never ever makes things easy for me.

Added to that of course is the sheer vitality of it – once started pretty much not put down – I devoured this one in two quickfire, immersive sittings, predicting some things and absolutely not predicting others.  As usual Ms Hannah explores some dark themes but makes it just as entertaining as it is thought provoking and makes it almost impossible to second guess. Obviously occasionally you need a slight suspension of disbelief during but then when it all comes together in her  Christie-esque way, you go AH THAT is what that was all about – and give a nod to the genius thinking.

With the poetic prose and intrepid plot construction that is her trademark, Sophie Hannah gives us yet another twist fueled, character driven, intensely intriguing psychological thriller and I will continue reading them as long as she continues writing them. Bring on the next challenge, I anticipate it eagerly.

#ISawMelody

Recommended for: Fans of psychological thrillers with twists you are actually unlikely to see coming.

Find out More

Follow Sophie on Twitter

Purchase Did You See Melody

Happy Reading!

 

 

Ngaio Marsh Awards finalists: Best Crime Novel.

 

 

Today I’m very happy to welcome the five finalists for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, announced last month, to talk a little more about their finalist books.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards are New Zealand’s literary prizes for crime, mystery, and thriller writing. Last year’s winner, Trust No One by Paul Cleave, was released in the UK this summer. This year’s winners will be revealed next month in Christchurch, New Zealand.

PANCAKE MONEY BY FINN BELL

Detectives Bobby Ress and Pollo Latu are put to the test when someone starts martyring Dunedin priests in the most medieval of ways. The international judging panel called this book “a brutal page-turner with compelling characters that takes a deep-dive into the psychological and a captivating examination of urban and countryside settings”.

Purchase Pancake Money:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pancake-Money-Finn-Bell-ebook/dp/B01IED3FWO 

What were the inspirations behind your finalist book?

In my day job (prior to writing) I’ve worked in night shelters, charities, hospitals and prisons. Over the years people have told me absolutely amazing things, spanning the human condition from wondrous to grotesque. After a while some of those things started following me home – writing became a way of making sense of it. Eventually that writing coalesced into my first two books (Dead Lemons and Pancake Money) which I originally wrote as one too big, overly complex story but then separated out into two much more sane looking books. When I started I didn’t have a clear intention or plan to publish. So I couldn’t say the books had a clear inspiration or goal. I just wrote. Because I liked doing it, the process helped me. I didn’t really think much about the end result or what to do with it. The books as they are really just sort of came out. It happened without thinking (and knowing the quality of most of my thinking that’s probably a good thing).

How does it feel to be named a Ngaio Marsh Awards finalist?

Not real at all. The day it was announced I must have checked and rechecked the list five times. I even went back later in the evening and checked again, just to be sure nothing changed. There are some good, good books on the short list. I keep thinking at some point someone is going come tap me on the shoulder and explain that there’s been some kind of mistake.

SPARE ME THE TRUTH BY CJ CARVER

A man suffering memory loss, a grieving daughter, and disgraced cop all have their lives upturned as they’re plunged into a global conspiracy. “Intriguing characters, twists that keep you guessing, and at heart a complex tale of betrayal and deception – a brilliant page-turner,” said the judges.

Purchase Spare Me The Truth: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spare-Me-Truth-explosive-Forrester/dp/1785760335

What were the inspirations behind your finalist book?

The inspiration behind Spare Me The Truth was reading an article by the Telegraph’s science correspondent Richard Gray, who stated, “Researchers have found they can use drugs to wipe away single, specific memories while leaving other memories intact”. I wanted to explore the ramifications of such an amnesia drug, the downsides being that it could be taken on a whim, say, after a relationship breakup, but the upside could potentially help a severely traumatised victim of crime or war to return to a relatively normal life. All this got my creative synapses firing. What if someone had been administered the drug and couldn’t remember? Why was it done? What if everyone knew about it except the protagonist? I love, “what ifs”. They’re my staple diet.

How does it feel to be named a Ngaio Marsh Awards finalist?

I keep pinching myself. Being explicitly recognised for what I do feels fantastic. I also feel very moved, because it was my Wellington-born father who introduced me to Ngaio Marsh’s writing when I was a teen. We read all of her books, and if Dad knew I’d been finalised for this award, he would just about burst with pride.

RED HERRING BY JONOTHAN CULLINANE

Private eye Johnny Molloy and reporter Caitlin O’Carolan get entangled in deadly agendas and union politics as the 1951 waterfront dispute rages. Said the judges: “Cullinane’s characters fizz and sparkle in this historical thriller whose cracking dialogue and ceaseless pace make it feel utterly current.”

Purchase Red Herring  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Red-Herring-Jonothan-Cullinane/dp/1775540987 

What were the inspirations behind your finalist book?

I wanted to write a crime novel because: (a) they’re the novels I most enjoy reading; and (b) because like any genre fiction they follow certain rules about plot and atmosphere and characterisation which the better novelists can afford to break but for the first-timer provide a reassuring template. I set Red Herring in 1951 because that was the heyday of hard-boiled fiction so it seemed appropriate – plus the industrial dispute (or lockout or strike, depending on your point-of-view) that closed New Zealand’s ports for 151 days in that year provided such a rich source of material.

There is a photograph in Never a White Flag: The Memoirs of Jock Barnes, Waterfront Leader that shows Barnes, president of the TUC, and a small group of watersiders on the footpath outside the Auckland Town Hall after a stopwork meeting during this period. The men have broad backs and lined faces. They are wearing tweed jackets or coats. A few have ties. Most are wearing hats. Barnes is leaning back, lost in thought. In the middle of the group, George Samways, the top of his short-back-and-sides just visible, is listening intently to the man on his right. Alec Drennan, head cropped on the right of frame, a smoke stuck to his bottom lip, has cauliflower ears and a nose so gloriously broken you could use it for a step-ladder. The men look to be around 40 for the most part (Barnes was 43). All of them would have been through the Depression and at least one world war and they’re still fighting. What would they make of New Zealand now? These were the sort of people I had in mind when I wrote Red Herring.

How does it feel to be named a Ngaio Marsh Awards finalist?

Thrillers, crime novels, tangled conspiracies, pulp fiction of any kind – Elmore Leonard, Paul Cleave, John Godey, James M. Cain, Eric Ambler etc etc etc – those are the novels I love to read. The Ngaio Marsh Awards were established to recognise the sort of writing, by New Zealanders, that I most enjoy reading, so it is a great feeling to have made the finalists this year and to be part of the wider group.

MARSHALL’S LAW BY BEN SANDERS

After his witness protection handler is kidnapped, ex-NYPD undercover cop Marshall Grade decides that offense is the best form of defense, infiltrating his old haunts for answers: “Some of the tautest writing and nastiest characters around, an adrenalin-charged tale where no-one emerges unscathed,” said the judging panel.

Purchase Marshall’s Law:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marshalls-Law-Marshall-Grade-Sanders/dp/1250058805 

What were the inspirations behind your finalist book?

Marshall’s Law had to be a sequel to my previous novel, American Blood, so I knew my anti-hero Marshall would take centre stage. In terms of the setting however, I wanted a complete change: American Blood took place in New Mexico during summer, so I decided Marshall’s Law would be a city novel, playing out in New York during winter. The inspiration for the plot came during a trip to the US in 2014, when my friends and I stopped at a restaurant in Connecticut called the Galaxy Diner. There happened to a big SUV parked outside, and for some reason that image of the car stayed with me—I decided it belonged to a heroin dealer named Henry Lee, and that Marshall was meeting him there to talk about something. But I had to start writing to find out what they needed to discuss.

How does it feel to be named a Ngaio Marsh Awards finalist?

The Ngaios serve as a great profile-booster for crime writers in New Zealand. I’m thrilled and grateful to be on the shortlist alongside such talented spinners of criminal yarn.

THE LAST TIME WE SPOKE BY FIONA SUSSMAN

A survivor and a perpetrator of a brutal home invasion seek to come to terms with their altered lives after the news cycle moves on. “Lyrically and sensitively written, a harrowing yet touching story that stays with you; this is brave and sophisticated storytelling,” said the judges.

Purchase The Last Time We Spoke:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Time-We-Spoke/dp/0749020644

What were the inspirations behind your finalist book?

There were a series of high-profile crimes in New Zealand in the 1990s, which captured my attention both for their senseless brutality and the youth of the perpetrators. Long after the news cycles had ended and the stories disappeared from our national consciousness, I found myself still pondering them. One in particular – a brutal home invasion – would leave its imprint. I had questions. How could the victim of an awful crime ever go on to negotiate some sort of meaningful life again? And what had happened in a youngster’s life to set him/her on a path to murder? From the outset I had two voices in my head – that of a victim and a perpetrator. I realised then that I wanted to bear witness to the fuller story of a crime.

How does it feel to be named a Ngaio Marsh Award finalist?

Special indeed! It is endorsement for a story I was anxious but compelled to write. I’m thrilled The Last Time We Spoke has found its way into the light.

You can follow the Ngaio Marsh Awards on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NgaioMarshAward

And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ngaiomarshaward

Find out LOTS more as my fellow book reviewers take a little virtual tour around the awards.

Happy Reading!

Getting to Know You with Amanda McKinney

Today I am very  happy to welcome Amanda McKinney, author of The Woods, to talk a bit about herself and her latest book.

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it.

Readers can expect a suspenseful, page-turner! The Woods is a fast-paced read about murder, mystery, sex and seduction and offers the entanglement of Crime Fiction, Romance and Mystery. It’s a story about two strangers—Archaeologist Katie Somers and FBI trainee Jake Thomas—who find themselves thrown into a serial killers path, which unleashes a series of unexpected events, including a sizzling attraction to each other.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I was born and raised in the small, southern town of Berryville, Arkansas. I grew up playing in the woods, shooting BB Guns and reading, of course. My family life was the best a gal could ask for—a wonderful dad, a brother who I still look up to, and an unbreakable bond with my mom, who is also my best friend.

Academic or creative at school?

Definitely creative. Math, Chemistry? Forget about it.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

A marine biologist or a veterinarian. I love dogs more than people. Seriously.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

My life had recently taken a pivot; I’d quit work to become a stay-at-home mom and didn’t realize what a personal and mental transition it was going to be. I knew pretty quickly that I needed to find something for myself, that I considered a job at least, or I was going to go nuts. I’d just finished a Nora Roberts book (during kids naptime), set it down, and said out loud, “I’m going to write a book.” And, thank God I did because I truly found my passion. I absolutely love crafting stories and creating characters. I go to sleep thinking about the current story that I’m working on, and wake up thinking about it. It’s the only thing where I can truly escape from everything around me . . . which every mommy needs! Hell, every woman needs!

Who are your real life heroes?

My mom. Hands down. Strongest human I’ll ever know.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

Phone my husband. He can fix anything.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

No night owl here, I love getting up before the sun. I’ve always been an early riser.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Believe in yourself. Always.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Laura Griffin, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson, just to name a few.

About the Book:

A year after her sister’s death, Archeologist and part-time neurotic, Dr. Katie Somers returns to the sleepy, southern town of Berry Springs to sell her childhood home. She’d planned to be in and out in less than a week, but a chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns her perfectly crafted world upside down. 

Army Ranger Jake Thomas only has one shot at a position with the FBI, even if that means concealing his true identity from those closest to him. As he tries to focus on the mission at hand, Berry Springs is rocked by two gruesome murders and it isn’t long before he and Katie become entangled in the killer’s web, while becoming suspects themselves by the prickly Chief of Police, David McCord. 

As their attraction begins to sizzle, so does the danger when Katie stumbles onto new details about her sister’s death, leading her down a dangerous path. 

A path she should’ve never stepped onto… 

Find Out More

Follow the author on Facebook

Purchase The Woods

Happy Reading!

Spoonbenders – An Interview with Daryl Gregory

Today I am very happy to have a chat to Daryl Gregory, author of the amazing Spoonbenders – one of the best books I’ve read this year. When asking the questions I was only partway through but I was already immersed into the world of the Telemachus family. You should go meet them too. Short sharp review after the short sharp interview…

Incidentally I also recommend you try “We Are All Completely Fine” which was one of my stand out reads of 2014…

So at the point I’m writing these questions I’m about half way through the book and I’m loving every single minute of it – definitely going to be one of my books of the year – so perhaps you could tell me just a little about the family you created here and where the inspiration for them came from. I always love to hear about the inspirations!

Thanks for the kind words! I hope you dig the rest.

As you know from the opening chapters, the book is about the “Amazing Telemachus Family”—at least, that was their showbiz name when they travelled the country in the 1970s performing psychic feats. Teddy Telemachus, the patriarch of the family, is just a conman and a cardsharp, but his wife Maureen is a genuine clairvoyant. The kids have their own powers. The eldest, Irene, is the human lie detector; Frankie can move objects with his mind (except when he’s nervous); and Buddy can see the future.

But in 1995, twenty years after Maureen’s death, the family is in disarray. Frankie’s in debt to the mob, old CIA agents are sniffing around, and all of them are struggling to find love. The book opens when fourteen-year-old Matty, Irene’s son, accidentally has an out-of-body experience, which raises the possibility that the Telemachus family might be amazing again.

My inspiration came from, as always, books and life. I love the sprawling family stories of John Irving, such as The Hotel New Hampshire, and John Crowley’s magical family in Little, Big. But I was also thinking of my friends’ families in Chicago. My family was quiet and boring, but I’d have sleepovers at my friends’ houses, and there would be yelling and loud laughter and slamming of doors—so much drama! I was jealous. This book was my way of getting into one of those families.

I am currently especially taken with Matty – who is undergoing something of a revelatory experience about his relatives whilst dealing with his own sudden awakening – despite the more fantastical elements of Spoonbenders, it is also a realistically portrayed family drama. How hard was it to walk that line?

I love psychological realism in the face of surrealism. When far-fetched things are happening—Matty moving outside his body, say, or his Uncle Buddy glimpsing a doom-filled future—it’s doubly important for the characters to behave as real people would. The heart of the story has to be true, and there can be no genre shortcuts—characters acting a certain way because they somehow know what kind of story they’re in. If readers don’t believe in your characters, they won’t follow them when the going gets weird.

Who is YOUR favourite Telemachus and which character caused you grief during the writing (I know there is always one!)

You’re not supposed to love one of your children more than the others! My job was to fall in love with each member of the family, and to write each of them as if they were the hero of the story (because of course they are the heroes of their own stories). I love Teddy’s charm and nostalgia for the past, Irene’s yearning for love, Matty’s anxiety, and Buddy’s fortitude despite his broken heart. Each family member gets to tell their story—the point of view rotates through them—and I had to find each of their voices.

Buddy’s voice was the most difficult to find, until I realized that because he’s a bit lost in time—he remembers the future as well as the past, and every day it’s a struggle to locate the “now” in the timestream—then of course he would speak always in present tense. It’s always now. Once I realized that, I could hear him clearly.

I do have to admit that Frankie was my favorite to write, because he’s the most desperate member of the family, yearning for the big score, and wildly compensating with a grandiose presentation. In short, he’s the funniest. His rambling, self-justifying monologues (with Matty as his captive audience) were some of my favorite passages to write. He loves his family, and is desperate to win their approval, but he keeps getting in his own way.

Finally, a question I ask everyone – do you have a book you have read this year that you’d like to recommend to everyone?

The most enjoyable book I read this year was Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. It’s another multigenerational family story (I’m a sucker for those, obviously), about a Black family in 1950s America. They’re smart, talented, and magically gifted, but the supernatural horrors they fight are not as scary as the racist cops and oppressive culture of Jim Crow America. It’s thrilling, fun, and moving.

Thanks so much! 

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory is out now and published by Riverrun

About the Book: 

The Telemachus family is known for performing inexplicable feats on talk shows and late-night television. Teddy, a master conman, heads up a clan who possess gifts he only fakes: there’s Maureen, who can astral project; Irene, the human lie detector; Frankie, gifted with telekinesis; and Buddy, the clairvoyant. But when, one night, the magic fails to materialize, the family withdraws to Chicago where they live in shame for years. Until: As they find themselves facing a troika of threats (CIA, mafia, unrelenting skeptic), Matty, grandson of the family patriarch, discovers a bit of the old Telemachus magic in himself. Now, they must put past obstacles behind them and unite like never before. But will it be enough to bring The Amazing Telemachus Family back to its amazing life?

Spoonbenders is a miraculously readable speculative family drama featuring the Amazing Telemachus family – who are all actually amazing but not for the obvious reasons – this is a novel you sink into. It is strongly character lead with some beautiful plotting and a huge addictive quality as we go from one family member to the next, discovering their story and that of those around them.

Entirely entertaining and eccentrically intricate, this is a quirky, non conformist, rush of a literary read that as a reader you engage with entirely – using flashbacks to flesh out the history and their current status to show you where that history took them, putting a beautifully placed little twist on the end, this is storytelling at its best. Covering generations, a sprawling joy of a read first page to last, I am in love with this book and with this family.

Highly Recommended.

Find out More

Follow the author on Twitter

Purchase Spoonbenders

Happy Reading!

 

 

Killer Women Killer Weekend – October 2017

Today I have all the information you could possibly need if you want to join the Killer Women Killer Weekend 10am-6pm, 28 & 29 October 2017 and gain huge insight into the craft of crime fiction.

The event will be held at Browns Courtrooms, Covent Garden, London WC2

Will you write the next crime bestseller?

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Learn the art & craft of crime fiction from bestselling authors incl: Rachel Abbott, Mark Billingham, Erin Kelly, Mick Herron, Stuart MacBride, Sarah Pinborough, Cally Taylor

Pitch your idea to senior commissioning editors and agents incl: HarperCollins, Orion, Penguin Random House, Headline

· Masterclasses on thrillers, procedurals, author as brand, self publishing and more

· Insider tips from top writers, editors and agents

· Craft workshops on suspense, character, plotting and more

· One-to-one research sessions with experts

Information on the full programme can be found HERE

Get in early! Book your weekend ticket at the special early bird price of £260* by joining the Killer Women Club (for free) here. (You will receive  an exclusive secret link to the early bird ticketing page.)

*Tickets go on general release 1 September. Weekend tickets will be £275

Don’t miss it!

Latest Reads: A Twist of the Knife Becky Masterman

Publication Date: Available Now from W&N

Source: Review Copy

It takes a strong woman to be able to watch someone die.

Brigid Quinn is tough, determined, steely and sharper than sharp. As an ex-agent of the FBI she has seen it all, and survived. But nothing can cut her closer to the bone than family…

When Brigid gets a call from her mother saying her father is in hospital with pneumonia, she decides to check on her former colleague Laura Coleman who is living nearby. Having saved Brigid’s life, Laura is now working on an ‘innocence project’, investigating cold cases. And one in particular seems to have caught her attention. Fifteen years before, Marcus Creighton was accused of killing his wife and three children. Now the state governor has signed the warrant for his execution.

Worried that her friend is getting in too deep, Brigid promises to help. But what if her instincts are betraying her? If she can’t even trust her memories of her own childhood, how can she make a call on some stranger’s story that took place over fifteen years before?

A Twist of the Knife is the third novel featuring Brigid Quinn and honestly for me this series just gets better and better – Brigid is probably the most diverse female lead in crime fiction right now – older, wiser in some things yet none the wiser in others, driven and often haunted but determined and following her own moral guidelines. She is entirely engaging, her thoughts and actions leap off the page pulling you along with her through some difficult and often thought provoking cases.

In this story she is  worried about an ex colleague and friend of hers – they had faced previously a dangerous and life threatening situation together – now Laura is caught up in the case of a man on death row and may be way too involved for her own good. Brigid wades in and what follows is a highly addictive and intriguing read that asks a lot of questions of the reader and of Brigid. Often edge of the seat, with many emotional layers, you get sucked into this battle to save a possibly innocent man.

I love how Becky Masterman changes things up with each of her stories featuring Brigid – drip feeding us pieces of her personality and previous history – showing you all her sides and edges – at the same time always providing taut plotting and invariably twisted mystery elements. There are brilliantly placed psychological insights within each story and at the end of each one I always want more. Brigid’s relationships with family, friends, close loved ones are cleverly described and endlessly fascinating, the cases she investigates are dark and twisted, overall this series provides everything you might want from a crime novel and therefore they come highly recommended by me.

Find Out More

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Purchase A Twist of the Knife

Happy Reading!