Friday, 10 March 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Matt Johnson

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 


for his Deadly Game blog tour

to share his BEST OF CRIME... 

Oh crikey, now that’s a tough one to start with. I’m limited to those authors I’ve read and, as I don’t read too many fiction books, that isn’t a very large pool. So, I’m going to stick with an author who has always managed to engage me to a put where I couldn’t put the book down – Lee Child.

The Italian Job. Although this is something of a ‘crime caper’, I’m a great fan of Michael Caine and thought that his character – Charlie Croker – was excellent. His infamous line, ‘you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors’ is oft quoted when Ordnance Disposal officers carry out work on IEDs and unexploded bombs. I particularly liked this ending – the actual cliffhanger – to this film where the team are stuck with their loot on a bus overhanging a cliff. It’s a perfect lead into a sequel and maybe one of the only films that has given rise to science competions asking viewers ‘How could they escape in less than thirty minutes and without using a helicopter’. The answer – I’ll leave you to look it up – was pure genius.

24, with no hesitation. I loved Jack Bauer and couldn’t wait for the next hour, the next series. Loved them all.

Hannibal Lecter. I particularly enjoyed the way the author established the relationship between Lecter and Clarice Starling – the FBI agent. As both hunted a serial killer whose depravity defied our understanding, the story gradually reveals how much worse is Lecter, and how brilliantly manipulative. Thankfully, in reality, serial killers tend to be less intelligent and more frustrated people. Well educated, talented psychopaths tend to explore less bloody careers, as artists, in business and – as we are coming to appreciate more and more – in politics.

These aren’t getting any easier. For me, this has to be Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse, GM. Made all the more real for me by the accomplished acting of the late John Thaw. Colin Dexter created an amazing character who appealed to all of us. His beloved Jaguar, his love of real ale, his wit, intelligence and taste in music. It all added up to a character with the kind of depth us writers can only dream of creating. I realize now, as I write this, that Dexter’s decision to have the character known by his surname was hugely influential on my decision to do the same with Robert Finlay.

‘Do you expect me to talk?’ ‘No, Mr Bond. I expect you to die.’ Remember the scene? As our hero James Bond is about to be cut in half – from his crotch – by a red laser operated by Auric Goldfinger. I couldn’t pick this for the next category as, of course, James lives to fight another day.

One that I found particularly imaginative, although perhaps not given the creative ability of the author. In Dead Man’s Grip, Peter James has a professional hitman dispatch his target dispassionately and ruthlessly. The poor victim is handcuffed to the steering wheel of a car after being tortured. To prove suffering, the hitman films the whole death. Horrid – gripping!

Wikipedia, by far, even given it’s slight reputation for inaccuracy.  If it doesn’t show the answer to a question, it will point you in the right direction.

First drafts don’t need to be perfect, they just have to be written.

Chocolate digestives to accompany that ‘never finished’ mug of tea.

About Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for 25 years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1993, and one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital. Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. His bestselling thriller, Wicked Game, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, was the result. Deadly Game once again draws on Matt’s experiences and drips with the same raw authenticity of its predecessor.

Find Matt on his website and Facebook page and follow him on Twitter - @Matt_Johnson_UK

About Deadly Game

Publisher's description
Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed.
Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered, Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all ... Aided by new allies, he must not only protect his family but save a colleague from an unseen enemy ... and a shocking fate.

Deadly Game is being published by Orenda Books in paperback on 30 March 2017 (e-book out now).

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

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