Tuesday, 23 May 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Howard Linskey

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 Hunting the Hangman blog tour

to share his BEST OF CRIME ... 

John Le Carre – his books are beautifully written and have page-turning plots, complex characters and wonderful subtlety. I love ‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’ and ‘Smiley’s People’ but my all-time favourite book is ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’, which manages to be a mystery, a whodunit, a thriller, a social commentary and a devastating account of the cost of betrayal all at once. It’s a marvelous book. 


The Godfather – though don’t ask me to choose between parts one and two as they are both sublime. Michael Corleone’s journey; from the young guy who doesn’t want anything to do with the family business to mafia king pin who loses his soul, is so watchable I can never turn it off if it’s on late night TV, despite owning the DVD. It’s one to watch over and over again. Great acting, wonderful writing and superb lines abound. I can probably recite every one of them. 

Band of Brothers or Our Friends in the North, though my guilty pleasure is Game of Thrones. Band of Brothers is the best and most realistic portrayal of war I have ever seen. Our Friends In The North is a moving journey through three decades of north east politics, crime and enduring friendships. The three main actors, unknown at the time, went on to play James Bond (Daniel Craig), Dr Who (Christopher Eccleston) and, in the case of Mark Strong, just about every Hollywood villain of the past decade. 

Hannibal Lecter. I’ve yet to come across a scarier human being in any book or film; a man who will happily slaughter and eat you then wash you down with a nice Chianti. “I do wish we could chat longer but I’m having an old friend for dinner.” 

Saga Noren from the Bridge, as played by Sofia Helin, because she is eye-rollingly bonkers. Not sure how someone so ‘out there’ could actually function as a police officer but her social alienation makes for excellent drama and very often great comedy, particularly when she comes out with something wildly inappropriate, which she so often does 

I instantly thought of the oar that Tom Ripley uses to beat Dickie Greenleaf to death in a boat in ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’. It’s a shocking episode from a dark book about an immoral man and great storytelling.

When Michael Corleone confronts his brother in law Carlo Rizzi in the Godfather, because he was responsible for his brother Sonny’s death, Carlo fears the worst. That’s until the new godfather convinces him he would never kill his sister’s husband and his actual punishment is exclusion from the family business. He even gives the man a plane ticket and they put his suitcase in the boot for him. Then Carlo gets into the car to find gangster Pete Clemenza in the back seat waiting for him. ‘Hello Carlo’ he says before efficiently garroting the traitor, as the car slowly drives away, watched by a vengeful Michael and his Consigliere. Carlo’s foot goes through the front windscreen too and as it twitches that’s all we see of his final death throes.      

I go on NUFC.COM every day, which is a great site for long suffering Newcastle United fans. What has it got to do with crime writing? Not much at first glance but my characters often have the surnames of obscure but popular Newcastle players. It’s an in-joke that only Newcastle fans will get. I love this site so much that every year we do a competition giveaway on it when my books are published and it gets a great response. 

Be your own worst critic during editing before you send anything in and keep going. Momentum is what’s needed to complete a book, so a few hundred words a day most days will get you there in the end. 


Is wine a snack? I think it should be. I’m a terrible grazer so I try to avoid actual snacks while writing, otherwise I’d be huge. I’ll say coffee instead then, which is writer’s fuel as everybody knows.


Howard Linskey is the author of three novels in the David Blake crime series published by No Exit Press, The Drop (2011), The Damage (2012) and The Dead (2013). The Times newspaper voted The Drop one of its Top Five Thrillers of the Year and The Damage one of its Top Summer Reads. He is also the author of No Name Lane (2015) and Behind Dead Eyes (2016), the first two books in a crime series set in the north east of England featuring journalists Tom Carney & Helen Norton, published by Penguin. Originally from Ferryhill in County Durham, he now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.

Find Howard Linskey on his website and on Twitter - @HowardLinskey


Publisher's description
Bestselling author Howard Linskey’s fifteen year fascination with the assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the holocaust, has produced a meticulously researched, historically accurate thriller with a plot that echoes The Day of the Jackal and The Eagle has Landed.
2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on a man so evil even fellow SS officers referred to him as the 'Blond Beast’. In Prague he was known as the Hangman. Hitler, who called him 'The Man with the Iron Heart', considered Heydrich to be his heir, and entrusted him with the implementation of the ‘Final Solution’ to the Jewish question: the systematic murder of eleven million people.
In 1942 two men were trained by the British SOE to parachute back into their native Czech territory to kill the man ruling their homeland. Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik risked everything for their country. Their attempt on Reinhard Heydrich’s life was one of the single most dramatic events of the Second World War, with horrific consequences for thousands of innocent people. 

Hunting the Hangman is being published by No Exit Press on 25 May 2017.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

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