Thursday, 10 August 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Susie Steiner

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 ...

The Dry by Jane Harper. Astonishing that this is a debut. Best opening pages I’ve read in a long, long time. Kate Atkinson with her Jackson Brodie series, which some might not see as crime novels in the traditional sense. These are the books that I was emulating in writing Missing, Presumed. Jackson is a wonderfully laconic, hang dog private eye and the writing is to die for. Funny and clever. It’s that mix of literary riffing with page turning plot which really floats my boat.

The Third Man directed by Carol Reed and written by Graham Greene. I saw this at a cinema screening and it totally blew me away. So scary and gripping but also artistic and modern. That music. That fairground scene. 

I loved The Night Of – US crime drama starring John Turturro as a physically unappealing lawyer defending a Pakistani student on a murder charge. The latest series of Happy Valley was extraordinary, with such a subtle ending.
Always Line of Duty. Always.
I’m learning a lot about structure from the current adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. 

I can’t remember any! And I wouldn’t want to tell you who did it, anyway. 

Maeve Kerrigan in the series by Jane Casey. I loved her latest, Let the Dead Speak, which is so twisty and well plotted. This is book 7 in the series, but I began with it – so you don’t have to have read the earlier ones to dip in. 

Tony Last being made to live out his days in Brazil reading Dickens aloud to Mr Todd in A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh. What could be worse? 

There is a scene at the end of Susan Hill’s amazing The Various Haunts of Men (the first in the Simon Serrailler series) that shook me to the core. I’ll never forget it. I can’t tell you what it was without a giant spoiler, but it was so brave and it totally wrong-footed me. Read it. Hill is fearless in delivering a double twist/blow in this book. 

For interesting jobs for your characters, try: 

Think of your first draft as an undercoat. Just slap it up. Don’t try and beautify it because lots of it won’t make the cut. I think the best, most important and most enjoyable work in the construction of a novel, is in re-drafting. As Michael Crichton said, ‘Books are not written, they’re rewritten.’ 

I get through a shocking amount of Tassimo Americano coffee. 

Susie Steiner is the author of three novels, including two in the Manon Bradshaw detective series. The first, Missing, Presumed, was a Sunday Times bestseller and has sold more than 200k copies. Its sequel, Persons Unknown, has just been published and is also a top ten bestseller. It was described as ‘Strikingly modern’ by the  Sunday Times. ‘It is refreshing to see a detective grappling with real life dilemmas but they never get in the way of the plot, which is clever and original. A series to watch from a confident writer who draws even minor characters with care and sympathy.' She is working on a third Manon Bradshaw novel.

Find Susie Steiner on her website and on Twitter - @SusieSteiner1


Publisher's description
Manon Bradshaw is back.
As dusk falls a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding from a stab wound. He dies where he falls; cradled by a stranger, a woman’s name on his lips in his last seconds of life.
DI Manon Bradshaw can’t help taking an interest – these days she only handles cold cases, but the man died just yards from the police station where she works.
She’s horrified to discover that both victim and prime suspect are more closely linked to her than she could have imagined. And as the Cambridgeshire police force closes ranks against her, she is forced to contemplate the unthinkable.
How well does she know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder? 

Persons Unknown was published by The Borough Press on 29 June 2017.

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