July 1, 2015 · 5:30 pm
To celebrate the launch of BritCrime’s first free online crime fiction festival, 11-13 July, I have teamed up with BritCrime authors to give away one fabulous prize.
You could win a gift bundle of ten print books, including new releases by Colette McBeth and Sarah Hilary, and MJ McGrath’s Gold Dagger longlisted White Heat. This giveaway is open internationally. One lucky winner will win all ten books.
Please complete the entries in the Rafflecopter before midnight 9th July for a chance to win.
To learn more about the BritCrime festival, please visit http://www.britcrime.com/ and sign up to the newsletter. There will be giveaways and live Q&As with bestselling British crime fiction authors hosted on BritCrime’s Facebook page 11 & 12 July.
The Magpies + What You Wish For by Mark Edwards
No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary
The Life I Left Behind + Precious Thing by Colette McBeth
White Heat by M J McGrath
Beyond the Rage by Michael J Malone
Follow the Leader + Watching Over You by Mel Sherratt
The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey
a Rafflecopter giveaway
June 22, 2013 · 11:09 am
Every year at the festival Val McDermid runs the New Blood panel which is a group of brand new authors who she thinks are worth reading. If it is good enough for Val it is good enough for me.
I must confess I was a bit sceptical of this book to start with. Another crime novel set in London with a young, naïve woman who would no doubt catch the criminal at the end and all would be rosy. However I was completely wrong. Despite a bit of a slow start (more to do with my attitude than the writing) this book soon gripped me. At the heart it is a murder mystery but told from the perspective of two very different characters.
One is Janusz, a polish immigrant who is seen as a kind of private detective / fixer within the polish community. He is asked to help find a missing girl. He suspects she has just run off with her boyfriend, but agrees to look into it anyway. The other main character is Natalie Kershaw, the young police detective. She is tasked with investigating the death of a young woman found floating in the Thames. Another body soon appears and she connects the two. Both characters paths cross and Janusz becomes both a suspect and a source of information.
This novel was not only an intriguing murder story, it also gave a fascinating insight into the history of Poland, and the Polish community living in London. However unlike some novels which can get bogged down in detail, none of this detracts from the story. In fact it simply enhances it and at no point do you get the feeling that you are being preached at. This was probably testament to the quality of the writing.
I thought both the main characters were equally likeable and annoying, which I find tends to be the case with most human beings anyway and meant that they seemed very realistic. I also enjoyed the way that the story was interspersed with polish words as it seemed to give a realism to the dialogue that added to the feel of the book. You get a real sense of how it must be to have lived both in Poland under communist rule, and now as a settler in a foreign country. The descriptions of London, and then Gdansk in Poland had a certain darkness to them that gave an almost gothic feel. This was interspersed with bits of humour that lifted what could have been quite a dark novel.
I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to hearing about future books featuring these characters at the panel at the theakstons crime festival.
June 11, 2012 · 8:29 pm
Last Wednesday (after an exciting day full of steam engines and train rides at York Railfest) I went to York Library to see the Crime on Tour event.
Peter Robinson, creator of the DCI Banks series which starred Stephen Tompkinson on tv was presenting a ‘New Blood’ Panel discussion. Alongside him were new authors Steven Dunne and David Mark. Sadly there were only about 10 people attending which is always a shame when these kind of events are put on but then the obsession with reading and crime doesn’t extend as far as I’d like I suppose.
Despite low attendees the event was great. It was a very informal evening, introduced by Peter where the authors talked about how they had both got published, and how their respective settings had reacted to the book. It was interesting to hear how their publishing journeys differed, David was previously a journalist and ‘The dark winter’ was his first novel. Steven however had written previous books and was now on his third novel, but his first with a more mainstream publisher.
All three authors were very entertaining and there were some great snippets of information. For example Sky TV wanted to commission the DCI Banks tv series, but only if they could have Ross Kemp as the lead role (there’s something to be grateful to ITV for!)
There was a big discussion over the difference between paper novels and e-books. David was quite vocal about the fact that he only felt like a real author once he saw his novel in print. I completely agree, whilst I love my kindle I still prefer real books when I can. Where we did differ though was him saying how upset he gets when he sees people mistreating books by folding the corner over, or putting them face down to keep the pages open. I love books and I love the whole process about them including seeing them on my shelves, but I can’t say my books are kept pristine. They have soggy pages from reading in the bath, battered edges from carrying them in bags, broken spines from leaving them open next to the bed. Books are about the content, appearance is secondary is all contexts.
There was an opportunity for questions (which is always the point my mind goes blank, and I desperately try and think of something witty and intelligent to ask. What are you having for tea? is probably not the question they want to hear) There was some interesting discussion around how they chose their main protagonists, and why they chose the settings they did.
Seeing these authors talking was a great taster for the full festival at the end of July, and I’ve got two new books in my ‘to read’ pile!