Wednesday, 1 March 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Julia Crouch

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

Today I'm delighted to welcome 


to share her BEST OF CRIME... 

Patricia Highsmith because she writes in such a beautifully arch way. With Ripley, she gets you rooting for a monster, and that is always such fun.

Pulp Fiction – love it, the meta stuff, the references to other movies, the cool stylishness, the humour, the winding and framing of the stories. And I really admire the way that Tarantino doesn’t flinch from the mess of violence – Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta cleaning out their car has to be one of the best aftermath scenes ever. You can view that scene here.

I was obsessed by The Bridge, and more recently completely blown away by Unforgotten S2 – the way it took its themes so seriously. But my favourite is Happy Valley, just because it is so bloody brilliant. And because it has real, middle aged women with complicated family stuff in their lives who still manage to do proper important jobs. 

You can’t really beat Hannibal Lecter, can you? Educated, a real match for his victims and pursuers, a fully rounded character with a gourmet penchant for human flesh. I’ve read the books, seen the TV series, and I’m still fascinated.

I really enjoy Sarah Hilary’s Marnie Rome – in a genre populated by troubled middle aged male detectives, it’s great to encounter a complicated, youngish woman whose own difficult background keeps on insisting on intruding into her work and personal life. 

I did Marlowe’s Edward II for A Level, and I’ve never got the manner of his death out of my twisted mind. If you don’t know what happened, I’m not going to pollute your brain by going into it in detail, but I’ll just say that the weapons involved were a table, a horn and a red hot poker... In my own books, I’m particularly proud of the manner of Gareth’s death in Cuckoo, which has led to the book being described as ‘a nasty Aga saga’.

Sorry to go back to the theatre (it’s my background, dahling), but it has to be the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. It’s such a brilliant device – every single time I’ve seen the play, I’ve willed it not to happen. But Shakespeare pretty much aced it at death – my husband wrote and directed a play with a company called Spymonkey that catalogued all 74 onstage deaths in his works. The arch gory death play has to be Titus Andronicus, with mothers eating their sons baked into pies, fathers killing daughters, tongues being cut out, a live burial… And they say that modern crime fiction is too gory! I have to say, though, that there are scenes in both Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and Chuck Palahniuk’s work – notably the swimming pool thing in Guts – that I wish I had never read.

I belong to a top-secret Facebook group of fellow crime writers. Between us we have a wide range of specialist knowledge, and the deal is we help each other out. It has been invaluable to me in many, many ways. But if I gave out the address, they would have to kill me. So...the website I can list is Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds. (don't go there if you are offended by swearing!!!) He makes me realise I am not alone, and, I am certain that, behind the scary, sweary facade, he is incredibly generous, warm and wise.

Write every day, even if you don’t feel like it.

A piece of sharp, tangy cheddar – the type with crunchy crystallised bits in it – cut into small cubes, with a firm, Braeburn apple cored and cut into thin wedges, and a cup of tea. If you’re doing the evening shift, a glass of red wine and a bowl of cool original Doritos (I’ve done the classy snacks and have come full circle back to evil, synthetic and addictive).

First Monday Crime, March 2017
Julia Crouch will be on the First Monday Crime panel on 6 March 2017. Come along and listen to her and three other fantastic authors - Erin KellyDaniel Cole and MJ Arlidge - talk about their books and crime writing. The event is held at Browns, St Martins Lane, London at 6.30pm.

Buy your tickets here.

About Julia Crouch

Julia Crouch started out as a theatre director and took a long, geeky diversion into graphic and website design before finally discovering that she was a writer. She now works full time on her novels in a shed at the bottom of her garden in Brighton. She has had five books published: Cuckoo, Every Vow You Break, Tarnished, The Long Fall and Her Husband's Lover. When she's not reading or writing, she's teaching, hanging out with her nearly-all-grown-up family, or running half marathons. And yes, she has cats.

Find out more about Julia Crouch on her website and follow Julia on Twitter - @thatjuliacrouch

About Her Husband's Lover

Publisher's description
She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.
After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start.
Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died. 
Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though. 
But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie.
And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her - the life she would have had if Sam had lived.

Her husband's lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

Her Husband's Lover was published by Headline on 26 January 2017.

Click here to read my review.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

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