Wednesday, 7 February 2018

BEST OF CRIME with Helen Fields

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 Perfect Death blog tour

to share her BEST OF CRIME ...


Jeff Lindsay who wrote the Dexter books. A tour de force in terms of plotting, originality and character writing, Lindsay is a one off. The Dexter character is captivating and thrilling. More than that, the books are beautifully written, quite lyrical and intense. I can’t think of another author writing such unique crime as this. Even if you’ve watched the TV series, it’s worth going back to the source material. Pretty much a master class in crime writing. 

Most recently, Get Out, which has just been the surprise nomination in the Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy category for a Golden Globe. It’s not a comedy, although it contains moments of proper belly-laugh funniness. In fact, it’s about a town of white folks who kidnap younger black people to utilise their bodies with extreme criminal intent (no more spoilers - you should watch it). It’s scary, freakish, beautifully animated in parts and bizarrely believable in spite of the ridiculous plot. (Oh, and it stars Bradley Whitford who I kind of love).

Definitely Deadwood. Set in South Dakota in the 1870s the series incorporates a mixture of historical fact and fiction, along with some very well known Wild West characters. It’s a gory, crazy, action packed, funny, terrifying series featuring that stunning combination of the best dialogue I’ve heard with the most brilliant acting. Not to mention the sets (I could go on…). Really. Watch it. I was in awe. (And some of the best screen deaths ever).

Dr. Hannibal Lecter, of course. Silence of The Lambs will never grow old. Harris struck a note of genius in creating the antagonist who was also the protagonist. Lecter is creepy but we like him. He’s a psychopathic murderer but we want him to escape. He’s likeable and awful. Perhaps the most well-rounded fictional killer ever created. I dream of the day I discover the Hannibal in my imagination and commit him to paper.

Jack Parlabane from Christopher Brookmyre’s novels. Parlabane is funny, dry witted, long-suffering, and finds trouble everywhere he goes. And yet…and yet, he also manages (albeit in the guise of journalism) to say the day and solve the crime. I know I cheated - not a detective - but as good as. Go back to the old books first if you want to catch up with Jack Parlabane’s story. I have never laughed so hard at material that’s so dark. If I could go on a fictional date with any character, Parlabane would be my man.

Spiders. Used more in films than in books, but I long to write something bizarre enough that I can release a jar of black widows under the bed covers of a sleeping character. Creepy and painful! Perfect combination.

I love the body made up of parts from six different people in Daniel Cole’s Ragdoll. What a brilliant idea. Just occasionally you read someone else’s book and throw it across the room with jealousy at a concept (*turns green thinking about it all over again*). Stitching bits of different bodies together to make one complete corpse - what’s not to love?

Googlemaps, naturally. The world suddenly became a much easier place to write about after this feature became available. And TripAdvisor for more specific locations. The detail these sites offer can add real colour and texture to descriptions. Also, I love the Trip Advisor bad reviews. Endless sources of comedy.

Rip up the rule book and write the way you want to. Your editor will give you a hefty red pen session if they hate it, but don’t do what everyone else tells you. I read recently that one agent advises you to remove every single adjective and adverb from your manuscript before sending it to him. Poppycock. Everything in moderation and with purpose. Choose good words. Use them wisely. But be yourself, listen to your own voice, create your own unique narrative. Who wants to sound the same as everybody else?

Biscuits. Then, when I’ve eaten too many biscuits and I have carb/sugar guilt, I get through whole packs of pea shoots. The only salad I never get bored of.

Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. 
After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar. Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

Find Helen Fields on her website, on her Facebook page and on Twitter - @Helen_Fields


Publisher's description
There’s no easy way to die…
Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.
But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task…

Read a snippet of my review
'I can't really say much more, other than Perfect Death is brilliant and I recommend it highly to crime fiction fans. Oh, and finally, I must add that I can't wait for another Callanach/Turner book!.'

To read the rest of my review, click here.

Perfect Death is being published by Avon Books on 10 October 2017.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

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