Friday, 10 March 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Sarah Hilary

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 her Quieter Than Killing blog tour

to share her BEST OF CRIME... 

Patricia Highsmith, and her British counterpart Celia Fremlin who wrote terrifically perceptive and psychologically astute novels including her debut, The Hours Before Dawn. Muriel Spark is another favourite of mine. From contemporary writers, I would single out Mick Herron, Alex Marwood, Sabine Durrant and new kids on the block, Joseph Knox and Ali Land.

The Silence of the Lambs, Le Plein Soleil (my favourite of the Tom Ripley adaptations), The Dead Zone, Grosse Point Blank, and Notorious (my favourite Hitchcock). Im also a sucker for big noisy action movies like Bond and Bourne.

The Bridge, first and foremost. It’s unbeatable for characterisation, psychology and sheer writing power. The Good Wife, which never once misses a beat across seven series. Happy Valley, of course, but also Unforgotten which combines intrigue with compassion. I’m hoping the third and final series of Broadchurch can match the power of the first. Oh and I love Peaky Blinders.

Tom Ripley, and Dexter Morgan. I especially like their character arcs and the fact that seeing inside their heads doesn’t dilute their power (unlike, for example, Hannibal Lecter).

Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg (Fred Vargas), Clarice Starling (Thomas Harris), Edie Kiglatuk (Melanie McGrath). Each one stands out for being human first and a detective second.  

A polecat-ferret called Sredni Vashtar in Saki’s short story of the same name. Saki’s hero is an isolated young boy who retreats from his guardian’s cruelty by worshipping Sredni Vashtar and praying for his ‘god’ to exact a terrible revenge on his tormentor. It’s a tremendous story.

Another short story choice: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. The best paranoia tale I’ve read, which builds the tension brilliantly. The murder — the narrator smothers his invalid employer with his own bed — is almost incidental as the pressure either side of this act is so taut that the old man’s death is a moment of relief in the middle of the story.

I’m a little obsessed with abandoned buildings, and with urban explorers, so I often wander around Infiltration and for inspiration.   

Write every day, even if it’s just notes or a diary entry. And read every day. If you get into a writing slump, go for a walk. I’m lucky enough to live near a canal path; walking by water seems to have a miraculous quality for getting the blood flowing in a creative direction. Val McDermid swears by it, and so do I.    

I don’t snack and write. But I do set myself writing targets with snacks as rewards. Sour cherry brownies are my current treat of choice.

About Sarah Hilary
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut novel, Someone Else's Skin, won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2015, and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer's Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series was published in 2015. The Marnie Rome series continued in 2016 with Tastes Like Fear.  Sarah lives in Bath, and is available for interviews, events and to write features. Sarah will be appearing at CrimeFest and the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival in 2017.

Find Sarah Hilary on her website, Facebook Page and Twitter - @sarah_hilary

About Quieter Than Killing

Publisher's description
It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

Quieter Than Killing is published by Headline today (9 March 2017).

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

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