Monday, 24 July 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Caz Frear

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 ... 

It’s so hard to pick just one but if I base it on who has me clawing at the bookshop door on the day of publication, it would have to be Tana French.  I’ve read In the Woods that many times that my copy isn’t so much well-thumbed as battered-to-shreds.  I should probably get a shiny new copy but it would be like washing your childhood comfort blanket, it just wouldn’t feel the same…. 

I love anything gangster-related but it needs to have heart rather than simply being two hours of ‘very-bad-people-do-very-bad-things’.  Donnie Brasco, starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, is a near-perfect example of this.  For me, the film belongs to Pacino – his portrayal of an aging bit-part gangster, a man on the fringes who never got near the power or wealth that he craved, is sublime.  The final few scenes when he realizes……well I won’t spoil it…..let’s just say it’s an amazing performance, so full of pathos, and it really should have bagged him his second Oscar IMO! 

Mmmm, Prime Suspect 1 or Line of Duty??  *Pulls thinking face.  Prime Suspect, I think.  I first watched it when I was 13 and I was instantly blown away.  THAT moment at the end, when George Marlow loses his rag in the interview room and Tennison finally knows it’s him, actually winded me.  I’ll never forget it.  I must have watched it twenty-thirty times since and I’m fairly sure I can recite the whole thing, word-perfect.  In fact, scrap ‘fairly sure’, I know I can! 

I’m going to go with the Coen Brothers/Javier Bardem’s interpretation of Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men.  I’ll sheepishly admit that I haven’t read the book and I’m not sure I could now, Javier Bardem’s performance is just so engrained in my mind.  As a killer he’s just so relentless, slaying practically everyone he meets without a shred of mercy or remorse.  And the hair - only a true psychopath would rock that long bowl-cut. 

Back to Tana French again but I absolutely love Detective Cassie Maddox who features in two of her novels, In the Woods and The Likeness.  She’s just so normal in a whip-smart, witty, wholly compassionate kind of way.  It’s also for this reason that I love DS Manon Bradshaw from Susie Steiner’s, Missing Presumed and I can’t wait for the follow-up.  Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks is also a big fave – never better than in Aftermath which is a master-class in crime fiction.

And obviously Superintendent Ted Hastings from Line of Duty.  Who doesn’t love him? 

Death by typewriter – Stephen King’s, Misery. 

It has to be Brendan Gleeson’s leap from the top of the bell-tower at the end of In Bruges.   Gleeson’s character jumps to his death in order to save the life of much younger hitman, Ray, and his face expresses so much in his last 10 seconds – panic, resolve, regret.  It’s an incredibly moving end to a cracker of a film. 

Sword & Scale – a true crime podcast.  They’re up to episode 91 now so you could literally lose a week of your life listening to this.  Definitely not for the faint-hearted though – nothing is taboo and a few of the episodes are particularly hard-going.  Like most authors, I visit Google about a hundred times a day, all in the name of research.  And Twitter, all in the name of procrastination.  

Join a writing group, a creative writing class, anything that gets you feedback.  It’s a tricky one though - you have to be very open to feedback but also know how to filter it because at the end of the day, no one knows your book better than you.  A very obvious tip is that if the whole group/class is saying that there’s an issue with your protagonist/plot/prologue, then there probably is.  However, if only one or two people raise it, it’s something to think about but not necessarily act on. 

Tea and peanut M&Ms.  Water and sugar-snap peas if I’m trying to be good.  It all depends what’s in the house, really – I have been known to dip mini Shredded Wheats in Nutella because I was deep in rewrites and didn’t have time to shop…. 

Caz grew up in Coventry and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel.
After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true.
She has a first-class degree in History & Politics which she’s put to enormous use over the years by working as a waitress, a shop assistant, a retail merchandiser and, for the past twelve years, a headhunter. When she’s not agonising over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at the TV when Arsenal are playing or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about.
Caz is the winner of the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller Award 2017.

Find Caz Frear on Twitter - @CazziF


Publisher's description
What happens when the trust has gone?
Cat Kinsella was always a daddy's girl. Until the summer of 1998 when she sees her father flirting with seventeen-year-old Maryanne Doyle.
When Maryanne later disappears and Cat's father denies ever knowing her, Cat's relationship with him is changed forever.
Eighteen years later, Cat is now a Detective Constable with the Met. Called to the scene of a murder in Islington, she discovers a woman's body: Alice Lapaine has been found strangled, not far from the pub that Cat's father runs.
When evidence links Alice to the still missing Maryanne, all Cat's fears about her father resurface. Could he really be a killer? Determined to confront the past and find out what really happened to Maryanne all those years ago, Cat begins to dig into the case. But the problem with looking into the past is that sometimes you might not like what you find. 

Sweet Little Lies was published by Bonnier Zaffre on 29 June 2017.

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