Thursday, 8 February 2018

BEST OF CRIME with Leigh Russell

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 ...

Of the many books I’ve read and enjoyed recently, I found Bill Beverley’s debut novel, Dodgers, really interesting. The book crosses genres of crime, coming of age, and American road trip, and the writing is very engaging. It’s deservedly won multiple awards, possibly more than any other debut novel. 

Depending on my mood, my favourite film could be anything from Silence of the Lambs, with Anthony Hopkins’ memorable portrayal, to the easy escapism of The Wizard of Oz. You couldn’t think of two more diverse choices, although both of them examine the conflict between good and evil characters. 

Breaking Bad is a series I would recommend. The dialogue is convincing, the cast are superb, and the premise of the series is really clever. The violence is quite graphic but somehow not disturbing because it’s never gratuitous. The series examines the destructive nature of hard drugs through an original and intriguing storyline. 

Some of the most memorable fictional killers appear in Shakespeare, whose characters portray different aspects of human nature. Macbeth’s experience is an exploration of the effects of guilt, showing how easily a person can become desensitised to killing, at the same time destroying himself by his own violence to others. 

Sherlock Holmes is justifiably iconic and I find Conan Doyle’s writing endlessly entertaining. The crime genre has grown so much in recent years, that there are hundreds of fictional detectives I could mention, from old school examples Poirot and Miss Marple, to contemporary characters like Jack Reacher and Roy Grace

I’ve employed all sorts of murder weapons in my own books: guns, knives, ropes, poison, fire, water, and falling from a great height, to mention just a few. They would all be horrific in reality, but in fiction they are great fun to write about. One of my own more unusual weapons was a Viking axe. But I am far more interested in the person wielding the weapon than the instrument itself. 

In one of Ruth Rendell’s novels a character exacts a revenge killing on a woman responsible for the death of a child, without realising the woman is already dead. In this unexpected twist, the would be killer was prevented from actually committing a murder.  

I don’t use any specific websites. I start with a story, and use a search engine like Google to research whatever I need to know. It’s not always possible to find specific information online, but generally the internet is a really helpful tool for any writer. 

It’s a good idea to stop writing knowing what is going to happen next in your narrative. That way you will avoid so-called ‘writer’s block’ because when you return to your work you know what to write about. 

Chocolate, nuts, toast, oh, anything really. I’m a highly skilled procrastinator, and food is one of my favourite distractions from writing. 


Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop DeadFatal ActKiller Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Find Leigh Russell on her website and on Twitter - @LeighRussell


Publisher's description
With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.
Geraldine Steel is back for her tenth case. Reunited in York with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, she discovers that her tendency to bend the rules has consequences. The tables have turned, and now he's the boss.
When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the confusing case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered? 

Class Murder was published by No Exit Press in ebook on 7 December 2017 and will be published in paperback on 29 March 2018.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

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