Monday, 1 May 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Johana Gustawsson

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 Block 46 blog tour

to share her BEST OF CRIME ... 

Oh Agatha Christie, definitely! My mother, who used to be a teacher, heard from a famous French writer that reading the Queen of crime was a very good exercise for young readers. So she bought me The Mysterious Affair at Styles when I was about seven, eight. A few days letter, I asked her to take me to the little second hand bookshop where I used to go with my father on Saturdays, just after school, and I bought a few more Agatha Christie and so on until I read them all! 

All About My Mother from Pedro Almodóvar. And that is just to mention one. High Heels or The Skin I live in, are two other films which show Almodóvar incredible talent in depicting families, which seem to all be dysfunctional! The Spanish director also creates some unforgettable characters that drive the plot in a unique way. And then there is the music: please, go and listen to the divine Luz Casal who sings Piensa en mi in High Heels, you will be blown away…

The Killing, a Danish series, with the wonderful Sofie Gråbøl as Sarah Lund. Lund is such an antisocial and unpleasant character, but despite that, we really grow fond of her; that shows all the art in the writing and the acting. The series is a perfectly plotted whodunit. 

Dr Hannibal Lecter, in Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs. That scene when Clarice Starling meets him for the first time in the psychiatric hospital is as powerful as it is chilling!

Hercule Poirot! It was love at first sight when I met him his little grey cells and his groomed moustache at Styles. Agatha Christie created the most original character, which we do not know much about, if you think about it. And it was such a great pleasure to meet him again in Sophie Hannah’s novels!

Sweatpants! When I was doing some research for my second book that will be published in the UK, in May next year, I drifted from one website to another and found this incredible story about a grandpa who killed a young woman with his sweatpants! He strangled her with it…

I’ll have to go back to dear Dr Lecter killing the two policemen who are bringing him his meal… This is a scene that is tattooed in my mind…

I do not have one website that I consult systematically for research; it all depends on the book I am writing. I am old style and tend to refer to books rather than the web, but I do complement with Internet. As I am now working on Roy & Castells 3 which is partly set during the Franco dictatorship, I am surfing on Catalan and Spanish newspapers websites like El País.

Write away! If you are a planner (like me), build the skeleton of your book before beginning to write, and if not, let your imagination and the characters guide you!

Cheese and bread. My best buddies. And if wine joins in, well… I cannot write anymore!


Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in Political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over seven million viewers in June 2015. Block 46, her first thriller, has now been sold to fourteen countries and is published in the UK by Orenda Books. Johana is working on the third book in the Roy & Castells series.

Find Johana Gustawsson on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @JoGustawsson

About BLOCK 46

Publisher's description
Evil remembers...
Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea's.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.
Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea's friend, French true crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Block 46 is being published by Orenda Books on 15 May 2017.

Did I like this book? I LOVED IT!! I was the first 'outside' reader so a HUGE thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for giving me that opportunity. 

Here's a snippet of my review: 
'I was so intrigued to see where Block 46 was going. Yet after just a few pages, I had to put the book down for a while, needing a break. I desperately wanted to read more, but also didn't. Those who know me well will know that books don't often have such an impact on me. And not many books make me email a publisher with the expression 'OMG'!'

To read my full review, click here.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

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