Friday, 9 June 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Sam Blake

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 


to share her BEST OF CRIME ... 

Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is my favourite book of all time, it has everything – intrigue, mystery, romance, and it’s multi layered with a great twist. Lee Child is my favourite contemporary author, I love the pace and detail of the Reacher books -what’s not to love about a 6 foot 5 inch ex US Military Police hunk? 

The Shawshank Redemption based on Stephen King’s short story. Morgan Freeman’s voice is as important as the superb script by Frank Darabont. It shows the best and the worst of human nature, and is all about integrity and hope. The concept of freedom is paramount – it shows how your spirit can be free even if you are incarcerated, and that even people who are essentially free on the outside, can be trapped by their thoughts or outlook. One of the central scenes when the corridors of Shawshank State Penitentiary  are filled with the Mozart’s ‘Letter Duet’ from The Marriage of Figaro is unforgettable. 

I rarely get time to watch TV, but I adore House of Cards. I was also completely hooked by the Making a Murderer series, appalled in equal measures by the system and the individuals involved.

Dr Hannibal Lecter is just completely chilling. Educated, a match for his pursuers, in Thomas Harris’ books he is antagonist, protagonist and antihero. 

There are so many brilliant ones - I love Karin Slaughter’s Sara Linton, she’s red haired, calm and intelligent but I’m also mad about Alex Barclay’s bi polar FBI agent, Ren Bryce – she’s always on the edge of getting into serious trouble. 

One of the more gruesome murder weapons I read about recently was a nail gun. A Chinese student  was murdered with one in Australia in 2008. His body was found wrapped in a carpet and bound with electrical wires - 34 nails had been fired into his skull.

Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum series is utterly hilarious and just brilliant – I can never think about a funeral home without thinking of Grandma Mazur. There are more mad, crazy deaths in her series than any other!
“And don’t shoot him or gas him or fry his hair with your stun gun.”
“You got a lot of rules,” Lula said (Fearless Fourteen) 

Couldn’t live without Google Street View – I visit all my locations but sometimes I need to check something and it’s invaluable. I also use a site called to get the interiors of my characters houses right. Very practical and boring. But for IN DEEP WATER, the second book in the Cat Connolly series I did a lot of trawling around the Deep Web. I won’t give you addresses in case you end up on an NSA watchlist. 

Just keep writing was the best advice I was ever given. And if you get stuck, go back to where it was working and retrace your steps, usually a character has said something out of character or you’ve made a mistake and your subconscious is putting the brakes on. 


Tea, gallons of it. I try and drink more than eat – unfortunately brain power doesn’t burn calories.

Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the popular national writing resources website She is Ireland's leading literary scout who has assisted many award winning and bestselling authors to publication. Vanessa has been writing fiction since her husband set sail across the Atlantic for eight weeks and she had an idea for a book.
Little Bones hit the No1 slot when it was released in Ireland staying there for four weeks and remaining in the top 10 for another four. It was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Irish Crime Novel of the Year in 2016.

Find Sam Blake on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @samblakebooks


Publisher's description
Good intentions can be deadly . . . 
Cat Connolly is back at work after the explosion that left her on life support. Struggling to adjust to the physical and mental scars, her work once again becomes personal when her best friend Sarah Jane Hansen, daughter of a Pulitzer-winning American war correspondent, goes missing.
Sarah Jane is a journalism student who was allegedly working on a story that even her father thought was too dangerous.
With Sarah Jane's father uncontactable, Cat struggles to find a connection between Sarah Jane's work and her disappearance. But Sarah Jane is not the only one in deep water when Cat comes face to face with a professional killer . . . 
In the world of missing persons every second counts, but with the clock ticking, can Cathy find Sarah Jane before it's too late?

In Deep Water was published by Zaffre on 6 April 2017.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

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