Thursday, 6 February 2020

BEST OF CRIME with Gytha Lodge

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 




Today I'm delighted to welcome 

GYTHA LODGE


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...




... AUTHORS
I'm choosing two current authors with multiple books because this is so hard any other way! I’ve loved Tana French for her gorgeous, atmospheric writing and dark themes. And Ruth Ware for her wonderful, timeless mysteries which sweep me away. 


... FILMS/MOVIES
The adaptation of Gone Girl was superb. Deliciously dark and tense. I also think Drive counts as a crime movie and it’s shocking, powerful and incredibly atmospheric. Loved it, in a flinching-at-the-violence kind of way. 


... TV DRAMAS
The Killing. I am only mid-way through it (I know – it disappeared off the channel I was watching it on and it’s taken me years to pick it back up) but blimey is it good TV. Skillfully interwoven and utterly addictive. 


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Tom Ripley. He brings such depth to the classic psychopath and it’s possible to empathise with him as he treads towards the terrible end-points of his machinations. 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
Rebus for me. He’s such a rounded, real, messed-up character. And he isn’t a short-hand, either. There’s no replacing character with a tragic back-story. He lives and breathes (and swears). 


... MURDER WEAPONS
A set of church bells (Dorothy Sayers). 
    

... DEATH SCENES
I’m an emotions kind-of girl, so I’m going to go with one of the saddest and most futile deaths in crime: Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. Love, riches and a perfect lifestyle proved to be false. And in the end, only the library books were real.
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
Judiciary.uk is a wonderful resource for all the legal wranglings, and I also loved Clare Mackintosh’s excellent Twitter feed on what annoys her in crime novels. 


... WRITING TIPS
It’s going to be tough, and there are going to be failures. So just do not. Stop. Writing. 


... WRITING SNACKS
Yoghurt covered brazil nuts. Or pretty much anything coated in yoghurt.  I often consider asking my editor to cover any notes on my books in yoghurt as I’d immediately bond with them better. 


About GYTHA LODGE
Gytha Lodge is the Sunday Times Bestselling author of She Lies in Wait, a Richard and Judy Book Club and Sunday Times Crime Club pick. She has lived in Cambridge for more years than she cares to remember, and prior to becoming an author was an award-winning playwright. She has also spent some years as a copywriter, with a little marketing thrown in. She writes YA and children’s novels on Wattpad, where she has accrued over 7 million reads, and coaches rowing for the City of Cambridge. She is profoundly addicted to tea, crosswords, and awful puns. 

Find Gytha Lodge on Twitter - @thegyth


About WATCHING FROM THE DARK




Publisher's description
Aidan Poole logs onto his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. But to his horror, he realises she is not alone. 
Completely helpless, all he can do is listen to the sounds of a violent struggle. 
And then a chilling silence. 
He's desperate to find out if she is OK. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police? 
When his messages finally reach them, DCI Jonah Sheens and his team take the case. 
And discover the body. . .


Watching from the Dark was published by Michael Joseph on 6 February 2020.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

BEST OF CRIME with Jessie Keane

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 




Today I'm delighted to welcome 

JESSIE KEANE


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...



... AUTHORS
This has to be Stephen King. Ever since I picked up Carrie, I’ve been a fan. I truly believe he’s one of our greatest living writers. My favorite book of his? Duma Key.


... FILMS/MOVIES
I’ve just seen The Irishman with Robert de Niro and Al Pacino. A genuinely great film, fantastic actors, loved it.


... TV DRAMAS
This will probably come as a surprise to my fans because of the gritty nature of the books I write, but I love Midsomer Murders. So gentle, so cosy (all right, a bit gruesome too), like an old comfy pair of slippers that I just love to slip into.


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Have to hark back to Stephen King here, and his novel Doctor Sleep – Rose is truly terrifying.


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
I have to choose my own creation DI Romilly Kane. She appears for the first time in The Edge and gives Kit Miller quite a hard time…


... MURDER WEAPONS
The .38 revolver favored by Max Carter in Dirty Game.
    

... DEATH SCENES
The crucifixion in the DaVinci Code, just bizarre, loved that.
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
I rarely use the internet for research. I have a LOT of books to refer to instead.


... WRITING TIPS
Keep going! I cannot emphasise the importance of this too strongly. People will tell you that you’re a dreamer. That you’re mad. That you ought to get a proper job. Ignore all that. Persist.


... WRITING SNACKS
Got to be sherbet lemons!


About JESSIE KEANE
Jessie is a Sunday Times top ten bestselling author with 14 fiction books to her name - although her own life has been as eventful as many of her characters! Born in a caravan to a Romany mother, she has lived at both ends of the social spectrum. Her gritty hard-hitting books are centred around the darker side of London, in particular in Soho. It was a world that fascinated Jessie when she ran away to the capital as a teen, and was to provide her inspiration when she began writing years later.

Find Jessie Keane on her website and on Twitter - @realjessiekeane


About THE KNOCK



Publisher's description
Dora O’Brien had a good start in life, but things went bad when she began to mix with the wrong company. Pregnant by her gangster lover, she found herself on the streets and then in the grips of a bent copper called Donny Maguire.
When her daughter Angel is born, Dora is already under the influence of drink and drugs, and handed around to Donny’s mates. Growing up in the shadow of her mother’s abusive relationship, Angel is nothing like her mother, but when matters turn murderous, Angel is forced to grow up fast and survival becomes the name of the game.
For some, being on the wrong side of the law is the safest place to be...

The Knock was published by Pan Macmillan on 9 January 2020.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

Monday, 13 January 2020

BEST OF CRIME with Catherine Steadman

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 




Today I'm delighted to welcome 

CATHERINE STEADMAN


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...




... AUTHORS
Gillian Flynn.


... FILMS/MOVIES
Seven.


... TV DRAMAS
It’s true crime but ... The Jinx.


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Cat Woman (Tim Burton’s Batman Returns).


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
Rebus (I can’t not think of Ken Stott in this role).


... MURDER WEAPONS
Plant pot on head, lol! See Hitchcock’s ‘A Lady Vanishes’.
    

... DEATH SCENES
I did an episode of Midsomer Murders a couple of years ago where my husband was run over by a decommissioned WW2 tank after a cosplay Blitz party, lol!
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
YouTube - a treasure trove of weapon information and practical tips...


... WRITING TIPS
A thriller is around 85,000 words: that’s 34 chapters at about 2500 words each. I am to get around 2500 to 3000 words a day. Don’t judge the first draft, just redraft before passing it on to anyone else. It’s so much easier to whittle a story out of a rough first draft than to try and write a third draft out of thin air.


... WRITING SNACKS
 Coffee.


About CATHERINE STEADMAN
Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End, most recently in The Rook on Starz and Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution in 2018. In 2016 she was nominated for Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. She grew up in the New Forest and now lives in London with a small dog and average sized man. Her first novel Something in the Water was selected for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club in July 2018 and has been optioned by Twentieth Century Fox for adaption, with Reese Witherspoon attached to produce. It was also a Richard & Judy Book Club pick in 2019.

Find Catherine Steadman on Twitter - @CatSteadman


About MR NOBODY



Publisher's description
When a man is found on a Norfolk beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him; to international medical experts who are baffled by him; to the national press who call him Mr Nobody; everyone wants answers. 
Who is this man? And what happened to him? 
Neuropsychiatrist Dr Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same small town in Norfolk fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then. 
But now something – or – someone – is calling her back. And the more time Emma spends with her patient, the more alarmed she comes. Has she walked into danger?

Mr Nobody was published by Simon & Schuster on 9 January 2020.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Jewish Book Week 2020

This year, Jewish Book Week takes place from 29 February to 8 March 2020 - at King’s Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG and JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, London NW3 6ET. 

Yet again, there are plenty of fabulous events and live performances on offer.




Great events
For nine days, Jewish Book Week brings together nearly 200 multi-award winning writers from the worlds of history, journalism, philosophy, science, art, music, poetry and fiction in a celebration of ideas. Themes range from memory to espionage to what it means to be a 'Jewish writer'.


The 2020 line-up includes:
  • Emma Barnett
  • Tom Bower
  • Camilla Cavendish
  • Gavin Esler
  • Jonathan Freedland
  • Nicci Gerrard
  • Adam Gopnik
  • Howard Jacobson
  • Rachel Johnson
  • Norman Lebrecht
  • Sue MacGregor
  • Douglas Murray
  • Melanie Phillips
  • Philippe Sands
  • Marcus du Sautoy
  • Simon Schama
  • Tom Segev
  • Elif Shafak
  • Martin Rees
  • Andrew Robinson
  • Edmund de Waal
  • A.B. Yehoshua
Live performance is a big feature – and this year, highlights include Rob ‘Judge’ Rinder and singer Claire Martin with music of Hollywood’s golden age, and Simon Schama performing his Wordy: The Show.

Tickets are now available! To see the full programme and book your tickets, click here.


First-ever family day
Jewish Book Week's first-ever 'Family Day' is on Sunday 2nd February, when Murderous Math's Kjartan Poskitt celebrates his hero The Great Houdini: The World's Most Amazing Escape Artist and Michael Rosen discusses The Missing: The True Story of My Family in WWII, his new book on speaking with children about the Holocaust.

Schools programme
Jewish Book Week is running a speakers programme  for schools in the London area. Many of the authors appearing at Jewish Book Week generously donate their time to speak in schools in the Greater London area about topics ranging from Politics to Physics, supporting Jewish Book Week's goal of encouraging conversations and learning within the Jewish community and beyond.

For more information, visit the Jewish Book Week website here.

Follow the #JBW20 hashtag on social media and the Jewish Book Week Twitter account - @JewishBookWeek





Thursday, 9 January 2020

BEST OF CRIME with Helen Sedgwick

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 




Today I'm delighted to welcome 

HELEN SEDGWICK


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...


... AUTHORS
Kate Atkinson is one of my favourites, as is Sophie Hannah – I like my crime with a strong dose of feminism, intersecting narratives and multiple points of view.


... FILMS/MOVIES
I love crime films that are offbeat and genre bending – the deep black quirkiness of Fargo, the folk horror genius of Wicker Man. 


... TV DRAMAS
It’s got to be Twin Peaks for me. The subversion of the supernatural colliding with the police procedural, the stunning visual style and soundtrack, the innovative and unsettling use of pace… Twin Peaks all the way!


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
I’m going to choose a killer who’s drawn with such humanity you can’t help but understand why: Roy Batty from Blade Runner.


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
My childhood favourite was always Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps it was for his mix of intense logic and bohemian eccentricity or – more likely – his absolute refusal to tone himself down in order to make anyone else comfortable.


... MURDER WEAPONS
I like poisoning with weirdly beautiful and highly toxic plants, stabbing with glistening icicles, and the idea of leaving people to float alone in space. 
    

... DEATH SCENES
You never see an actual death, but Janice Galloway’s short story The Meat is horrific and chilling and, once read, will never be forgotten.
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
I love wild, frozen places, so I’d recommend the British Antarctic Survey blogs to give a real sense of what it must be like living on the remotest place on earth.


... WRITING TIPS
Go with your instincts, read and write and keep writing – and don’t waste too much time on social media.


... WRITING SNACKS
At the very least there’ll be a large mug of tea and a small mug of very strong coffee on the desk at any one time. I grow vegetables and love to munch on fresh pea shoots, alongside salted caramel chocolate.


About HELEN SEDGWICK
Helen Sedgwick is the author of The Comet Seekers, selected as a best book of 2016 by the Herald, and The Growing Season, shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year in 2018. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University and won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Before she became an author, she was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University.

Find Helen Sedgwick on her website and on Twitter - @helensedgwick


About WHEN THE DEAD COME CALLING



Publisher's description
A murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where long buried secrets threaten a small community 
When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, the local police force set out to investigate. It’s not long before they uncover a maelstrom of racism, misogyny and homophobia. 
But there’s worse to come. Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband Fergus, DI Georgie Strachan soon realizes that something very bad is lurking just below the surface. Meanwhile someone - or something - is hiding in the strange, haunted cave beneath the cliffs.

When the Dead Come Calling was published by Point Blank Books on 9 January 2020.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

BEST OF CRIME with Mario Theodorou

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 




Today I'm delighted to welcome 

MARIO THEODOROU


to share his BEST OF CRIME ...




... AUTHORS
Arthur Conan Doyle. I just love the Sherlock set up and the way he launches into each caper without it feeling like we’re being hurried along. Stylistically and tonally, Doyle’s books and short stories are mesmerizing, and they always feel fresh and original regardless of their age or how many times I’ve read them. 


... FILMS/MOVIES
This is tough. I’m a huge film fan and love crime films from every decade. With a gun to my head, I’d have to say Training Day. I love everything about this film. It’s real lesson in how to write memorable characters and tie them to plot. I’ve never wanted a bad guy to win so much in my life. 


... TV DRAMAS
Again, there are a lot of great crime dramas. I’m a fan of the original Prime Suspect, although it’s a bit dated now. I loved The WireBreaking Bad and Sherlock, of course. But I’d have to say that the first series of True Detective takes it for me. Very twisty, with great performances, and that edge of discomfort and anticipation throughout.


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Patrick Bateman. What a revelation. A wealthy, high-flying, perfectionist who kills to alleviate his feelings of inadequacy and self-hatred. He’s so complex. Everything he does is a response to how people make him feel about himself. Even though his crimes are horrific, you always know emotionally where his mind is at before he commits them, which scarily allows you to relate. 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
I’d have to say Matthew Shardlake. It's not often that the protagonist is a hunchbacked lawyer. Shardlake’s unthreatening demeanour perfectly disguises his incredible mind, which is a set up that really appeals to me. I love that whole series. 


... MURDER WEAPONS
I’m a fan of the elaborate weapons in Greek Mythology and the dual symbolism. The staff of Hermes, entwined with serpents, Kronus’s Scythe, Hade’s Bident… but my favorite has to be the Tunic of Nessus. The poisoned shirt that caused the death of Heracles. It has since come to represent destruction, ruin and misfortune, from which there is no escape. Beats a knife. 
    

... DEATH SCENES
Has to be Game of Thrones. The scene when the Mountain crushes Prince Oberyn’s head like a watermelon. It was absolutely shocking visually, but also emotionally. We are not used to seeing our heroes lose to the bad guy, and not in such a horrific way. The shock value was incredible. I thought about it for days. 
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
I like true crime websites and podcasts. I read all the news websites too. Anything about people and what motivates them really, which can come from anywhere. I’m also forever on Wiki, legal websites and The Metropolitan Police’s website, making sure that I know all the procedural elements to an investigation.


... WRITING TIPS
I mostly write for TV and Film and find a lot of the tools available to screenwriters help make writing novels more visual.
In terms of a good writing resource, I like, helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com – I find the character ghost section very useful. 
Top tips would be to make sure your character arcs are meaningful. People care about people in the end, not elaborate plots. If you can do both, then perfect! 
Also, if you feel it’s not working for any reason, step away, go for a walk, figure it out away from the screen and then come back. I solve all my puzzles away from the computer.


... WRITING SNACKS
Anything that gives you energy. I eat lots of almonds and drink lots of green tea.


About MARIO THEODOROU
Mario Theodorou is an award winning, London based writer. He first came to prominence after being discovered by Merman Films who optioned his original comedy series, Conny. A script commission from Sky followed for The Master Forger, before he was selected by the BBC for their prestigious writer's programme. He has since been named in the BBC top emerging talent list and has released The Cyprus Missing, a single drama for BBC Radio 4 and Anonymous, his Soho based short film which picked up numerous awards on the film festival circuit, including a nomination for the Short Film Award at the Academy Award qualifying, Austin Film Festival. 
Represented by WME, Mario is currently working on a number of projects, including an original commission for BBC Drama and other original works in development with BBC Studios, Twelve Town, Riff Raff, Sprout Pictures, Tiger Aspect, Vox Pictures, Sevenseas Films, Unstoppable TV and Mainstreet Pictures. 
Felix Grey and the Descendant is Mario’s first novel, and the first in a series of planned works.

Find Mario Theodorou on his website and on Twitter - @MarioTheodorou


About FELIX GREY AND THE DESCENDANT




Publisher's description
1904. Three years since the death of Queen Victoria and the ascension of her son, Edward VII to the throne. In that time, the decline of the British Empire has accelerated, the econ-omy has stuttered, Captain Scott has gone to the South Pole, and Liberal politician, Felix Grey has been parachuted into Number Ten on the crest of a populist wave. The third youngest Prime Minister in history and the son of a Suffragette, Felix is modern and pro-gressive, but also inexperienced, self-deprecating and doubtful. Having taken on the Conservative old guard in the House of Commons, Felix has found his policies continually blocked and his time in power dogged by his inability to affect any real change. However, when a member of the House of Lords is abducted from the East India Club, and a mysterious card is discovered, Felix begins to feel a sense of purpose again. Against his better judgement, and that of his loyal steward, Humphrey, Felix begins to dig into the card and the missing Lord, desperate to be of service to the people he rep-resents. With public approval disappearing under a spate of fatal factory disasters, and the emer-gence of the German and American economies making the front pages, Felix’s premier-ship is suddenly under attack from all sides. When another Lord is abducted, Felix begins to escalate his investigation, determined to uncover the truth. With suspicious links to fel-low members of Parliament and a period synonymous with British history, Felix has to fight off his enemies, unmask the perpetrators, find the missing Lords and solve the case, all whilst protecting his identity and preserving his position as the British Prime Minister.

Felix Grey and the Descendant was published on 11 December 2019.

I proofread this book and loved it, which is why I invited Mario to do Best of Crime. This isn't something I usually do when I proofread books for authors! But Felix Grey is a fabulous protagonist and this book is great fun to read!

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.