Tag Archives: deon myer

61 hours

The programme for the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate has been released. Whilst it doesn’t seem to have the ‘big hitters’ of last year’s festival such as Lisa Gardner and Tess Gerritsen, the actual programme looks very exciting and features more ‘home grown’ talent.

The festival opens with the award for the Crime Novel of the Year. Last year’s winner was Lee Child. The shortlist hasn’t yet been released as far as I can see but I might make reading the books on it my mini-challenge within a challenge.

One session I’m most looking forward to is called ‘Deadlier than the Male’. This includes Jilliane Hoffman and Tania Carver (a man called Martin who writes with his wife, neither are actually called Tania) discussing whether women write the most graphic violence. In my completely non-scientific and non-proven opinion I do think there is a difference in the portrayal of crime between men and women writers. I think the men tend to write more physically violent descriptions with fights and punch ups, whereas I think women are often more psychologically mindedwith their descriptions of torture and fear for example Chelsea Cain springs to mind. It will therefore be interesting to hear this point debated by those who actually right it.

The session titled ‘America’s got talent’ is looking good as I have just read Gillian Flynn which was fantastic, review coming soon for her book, recently read on a trip up to Edinburgh (where for those who read my previous post, the delay on the train this time was due to a slow running train)

There is also a special event called Luther, looking behind the scenes at the TV series of the same name. As a big fan of the tv programme I’m looking forward to hearing writer Neil Cross talk. His books are definitely on my to read list and with any luck the rather handsome Idris Elba might make a surprise guest appearance too!

Sunday morning (a later start after the murder mystery dinner on Saturday night with Anne Cleaves creator of Vera) begins with ‘50 different words for murder’ with Deon Myer and Camilla Lackberg discussing the art of translation in crime novels. The final session of the festival is Jo Nesbo talking to Mark Lawson.

It’s a pretty full programme over the just under 3 days with a late night appearance on Saturday by Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. I haven’t yet read any Ian Rankin but I’m in Scotland for a few days soon so going to save it for that. There is also a quiz on the Saturday night with quiz masters Mark Billingham and Val McDermid. Unfortunately I am not great at quizzes as they involve remembering things, I do have quite neat handwriting though so hopefully me and the sister can join someone elses team and I can always offer to be the scribe!

My new aim for this challenge, in case I don’t complete the whole thing is to try and read at least one author from each session. I will give ‘Crime in another Dimension’ a miss though as Science Fiction is not really for me, sounds like a good time for a trip to Bettys and a bit of shopping in Harrogate.


1 Comment

April 25, 2012 · 5:31 pm

Devil’s Peak by Deon Myer – a review


Last weekend I finished reading Deon Myer, Devil’s Peak. Set in South Africa it’s the story of three main characters, an alcoholic detective, a revenge seeking assassin and an ex prostitute. (Not exactly the basis for a PG rated comedy)

The assassin is seeking revenge against child abusers by slicing them to pieces with what I assume is a very big knife (its given some fancy name I can’t remember), the alcoholic detective is trying to track him down whilst staying sober for six months so that his wife will take him back, and the ex prostitute holds the key to the whole thing and is looking for her daughter.

Mostly I really enjoyed this book. The setting was fantastic and seemed to give a real insight into South Africa, although knowing very little about the country, at times the politics took a little following. The characters were quite engaging and I felt you quickly grew to care about what was happening to them. I did get the impression that the serial killer element of the book (i.e. the revenge seeking assassin) was a bit of an afterthought, although I suppose it was used as a hook for the characters to hang off. The focus of the book was the people and their background stories rather than the crimes but I felt this was actually a really interesting and different way of doing it.

The structure was quite unusual in that it mixed between the three characters stories as the ex prostitute tells her story to a priest, and gradually the two male characters intertwine. I think the writing is very clever (it’s been translated into English from Afrikaans) and although it took a bit of getting into, once I got into the flow it was enjoyable.

The ending is a bit of an anti-climax and as much as I enjoyed it at the time, looking back I’m not really sure how much actually happened. This could also be that since finishing this book I’ve started reading a Jo Nesbo and thats really excellent, so maybe this review is a bit coloured by that.

I would be interested in reading Deon Myer’s other books as this was the first one of his I’d picked up and like I say it was good in parts and he will definitely be on the list of people we go and see at Harrogate.


Filed under book review, Crime writing, Theakstons Festival