Thursday, 18 July 2019

BEST OF CRIME with Kristen Lepionka

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 

KRISTEN LEPIONKA


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...




... AUTHORS
Richard Price. The brilliant characterization in his police novels is nothing short of infuriatingly good. Read Lush Life for the most vivid fictional portrayal of New York City possible.


... FILMS/MOVIES
A Few Good Men. I saw this military courtroom drama when I was a kid and liked it so much I recorded it onto a VHS tape (ah, remember those?) for frequent re-watching. Luckily, it’s a bit of a syndicated classic and pops up on TV regularly even still. 


... TV DRAMAS
The original Law & Order will always be my favorite, especially the first five or six seasons. The show took a formula—literally half the show is about cops and the other half about lawyers -and turned it into an art form. I also adored The Wire and Sons of Anarchy, for the quality of the writing. (It’s no surprise that Richard Price was a writer for The Wire!)


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
John Wick. The body count in this recent series of thriller films is probably the highest of anything I’ve ever seen on the screen. Wick is a retired hitman who’s forced back into the life after an act of violence against his dog. His is a story of vengeance, not cold-blooded murder, but I love the way he lives by his “code.” 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt—the self-appointed “world’s greatest detective” - is a ray of cocaine-fueled light. I love the unique approach in that series, which blends a present-day mystery with an old “girl detective” comic book series. Claire has an unforgettable cynicism, and she sees through everything and everyone except herself.

... MURDER WEAPONS
I like my murder straightforward, for the most part—you won’t find any unusual murder weapons in my books (yet). I’m very intrigued by poisons though, especially the world of plant medicine and how it can quickly turn deadly…


... DEATH SCENE
This isn’t from crime fiction, but I’m still not over the final sequence of Six Feet Under, in which the audience gets to see how each main character will die in the future. A beautiful and haunting way to end a show about the fact that everybody dies…


... BLOGS/WEBSITES
For no-nonsense writing advice, I like to read Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terrible Minds. I tend to do research in a lot of different places (until someone invents crime-google.com, this is the only way) but I find myself collecting interesting tidbits from Vice.com articles a lot.


... WRITING TIPS
I always say the best piece of writing advice is just to write. Annoying, but true. Beyond that, here are two practical tips that have helped me a lot:
1. Don’t worry about chapters when you’re drafting a novel. Just write the story, and figure out the chapters later. 
2. If you’re stumped about something, be it a detail, a plot point, whatever: just type “TK” and move on. It’s an old proofreading shorthand for “to come,” meaning, to be written later and probably on deadline. But it’s handy because the letters TK don’t appear in that order in any English words, so a find-and-replace will easily help you find them all before you turn the piece in to your editor. If you write linearly (like I do), you might find it scary to leave a detail just hanging around unfinished like that—the horror!—but it’s actually quite liberating once you try it a few times. 


... WRITING SNACKS
I can’t stand getting gunk on my keyboard so I rarely eat while writing, but I am never without a drink - usually coffee, sometimes tea or whiskey.


About KRISTEN LEPIONKA
Kristen Lepionka is the author of the Roxane Weary mystery series. Her debut, The Last Place You Look, won the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. novel and was also nominated for Anthony and Macavity Awards. She grew up mostly in a public library and could often be found in the adult mystery section well before she was out of middle school. She is a co-host of the feminist podcast Unlikeable Female Characters, and she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats.

Find Kristen Lepionka on her website and on Twitter - @KMLwrites


About THE STORIES YOU TELL





Publisher's description
A late-night phone call is never good news, especially when you’re Roxane Weary. This one is from her brother, Andrew, whose evening was interrupted by an urgent visit from Addison, a hip young DJ and one-time fling, who turns up at his apartment scared and begging to use his phone. She leaves as quickly as she appeared, but now Andrew is worried – especially when Addison never makes it home and her friends and family demand to know where she is. As the police begin to suspect that something may have happened to her, and that Andrew is involved, Roxane tracks Addison’s digital footprint as she goes deeper and deeper into the events preceding her disappearance. Meanwhile, a cop is found dead on the opposite side of town, leading to a swirl of questions surrounding a dance club whose staff – which includes Addison – has suddenly gone AWOL. As Roxane struggles to distinguish the truth from the stories people tell about themselves online, it’s clear that the mystery of Addison’s whereabouts is just the beginning.

The Stories You Tell was published by Faber & Faber on 16 July 2019.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

BEST OF CRIME with Paul French

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 

PAUL FRENCH


to share his BEST OF CRIME ...



... AUTHORS
I’m currently racing through everything by George Pelecanos (after binge watching both series of the HBO show, The Deuce, which he co-writes) – the Nick Stefanos series and the DC Quartet are amazing. Most of his noir novels are set in Washington DC in the ‘70s and ‘80s. They’re fast, furious and leave you breathless turning pages so fast.


... FILMS/MOVIES
I watch a lot of Chinese cinema. Especially Chinese gangster and revenge movies. Last year Jia Zhangke’s Ash is the Purest White was about contemporary jianghu, or outlaw gangs; while (my favourite Chinese movie director) Jiang Wen released a 1930s Beijing-set revenge thriller called The Hidden Man


... TV DRAMAS
I started watching Justified, based on Elmore Leonard's short story Fire in the Hole and I will not stop till I get to the end of all six series and 78 episodes.


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Dix Steele, from Dorothy B. Hughes’s 1947 noir In a Lonely Place. A troubled ex-WW2 airman who roams LA at night, falls for actress Laurel Gray and might just be a serial killer. Humphrey Bogart played Dix and Gloria Grahame was Laurel in the slightly toned down 1950 movie, which still looked great. 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
I’m going to go with Detective Sean Duffy of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in the seven Duffy novels from Adrian McKinty. 1980s Northern Ireland is a tough beat – Duffy deserves his nightly pint of vodka gimlet and a little Tom Waits at the end of the day. 


... MURDER WEAPONS
I’m a noir guy – it’s the city that kills you … every time. 


... DEATH SCENE
The opening of James Ellroy’s LA Confidential – LAPD detective turned mob enforcer Buzz Meeksis holed up in an abandoned auto court with $94K, 18b of high-grade heroin, a 10-gauge pump, a .38 special, a .45 automatic and a switchblade. It’s 4 pages of total mayhem (though the dope cloud in the opening scene of Don Winslow’s The Force might just tie for first place)


... BLOGS/WEBSITES
newspapers.com – it’s all there in copious amounts – murder, human depravity, sin - and less per annum than a Netflix subscription. 


... WRITING TIPS
Get it writ; then get it right.


... WRITING SNACKS
Summer – Pastis, a lot of water (you don’t want to slump over the keyboard too early), ice 
Winter – hot chocolate with a serious shot of chartreuse 


About PAUL FRENCH
Paul French lived in Shanghai for ten years, where he was a business advisor and analyst. He frequently comments on China for the English-speaking press around the world. French studied history, economics, and Mandarin at university and has an M.Phil in economics from the University of Glasgow. He lives in London.

Find Paul French on his website and on Twitter - @chinarhyming


About CITY OF DEVILS




Publisher's description
1930s Shanghai was a haven for outlaws from all over the world: a place where pasts could be forgotten, oppression outrun, fortunes made - and lost.
This is the story of 'Lucky' Jack Riley, the Slot King of Shanghai, and 'Dapper' Joe Farren, owner of the greatest clubs and casinos. It tells of their escape from American prisons and Vienna's ghetto, their rise to power, and the trail of destruction they left in their wake.
Shanghai was their playground for a flickering few years, a city where for a fleeting moment even the wildest dreams seemed possible.

City of Devils was published in paperback by riverrun on 13 June 2019.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

Monday, 8 July 2019

50 Facts Everyone Should Know About Crime and Punishment in Britain by Dr Adam Lynes and Professor James Treadwell

50 Facts Everyone Should Know About Crime and Punishment in Britain
By Dr Adam Lynes and Professor James Treadwell
Published by Bristol University Press (27 March 2019)
I was sent a Advance Reader Copy from the publisher



Publisher's description
Are you the kind of person who watches crime drama and real-life crime documentaries on television?
Are you fascinated by the twists and turns of justice and the law? 
But how much do you really know about key issues in crime, crime control, policing and punishment in the UK? 
This exciting, dynamic and accessible book, written by leading experts, presents 50 key facts related to crime and criminal justice policy in Britain. Did you know that, contrary to public belief, in the UK a life sentence does actually last for life? And that capital punishment in the UK was abolished for murder in 1965 but the Death Penalty was a legally defined punishment as late as 1998? Offering thought-provoking insights into the study of crime, this fascinating go to book is packed with facts and figures revealing the myths and realities of crime in contemporary Britain.

My verdict
This book has been compiled by two criminologists, with input from 50 crime and policing experts across the UK. The aim is to strip away some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding crime, punishment, prisons and technology. It's split into ten parts: Historical Context; Crime in Britain Today; International Comparisons; The Police; Prison Realities; Criminal Justice; Black Market Britain; Violent Britain; Victims; and Crime and Technology. 

It doesn't just provide the facts but also encourages questions. The first of the 50 facts, about crime statistics, stresses the importance of remaining sceptical and not to take statistics at face value. Each section focuses on one particular fact, and uses statistics and academic resources to discuss the truth behind it. I learned a lot from the book (too much to describe here), but to give some examples I read about the true definition of arson, the reporting of (and dealing with) hate crimes, length of life sentences, the average cost of a contract murder in the UK, consent to bodily harm and so much more. 

Did you know that judges in courts of England and Wales DON'T use gavels (despite what the TV crime series show us)? Did you know Harold Shipman was Britain's most prolific serial killer, but no one actually knows how many people he killed. Did you know the fake medicines trade is now the world's largest market for criminal traffickers? I could go on...

This book packs a lot of facts within its 300+ pages - often surprising and even shocking. It's a fascinating resource and should appeal to budding criminologists, crime fiction/true crime fans and, of course, writers.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

BEST OF CRIME with Katerina Diamond

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 

KATERINA DIAMOND


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...




... AUTHORS
Too many great authors around at the moment and crime fiction is really experiencing a boom of talent. For my top author of the moment, I'm going to say Sarah Pinborough. 


... FILMS/MOVIES
Anyone who knows me knows that I practically mainline Movies and TV – I even watch TV while I am writing. I have so many favourite thrillers: Taken, Murder by numbers, Copycat, Manhunter and so many more but if I had to pick one, and its one that I watch a couple of times every year because of its brilliant cast and acting its got to be Internal Affairs.


... TV DRAMAS
Oh dear, where to even start? There are so many amazing TV dramas these days. I do gravitate towards crime based shows anyway – some of my favourites include The Wire, Justified, Hannibal, The Shield, Southland, Deadwood ~ really far too many to even list but if I had to pick one, and again, I watch this entire series at least once a year because of its hard-hitting and gripping storylines, excellent characterisation and tragically complex relationships  – I pick Oz


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
This is a pretty easy one for me, my life-long obsession with Batman started before I can actually remember. There is something horribly chilling about the unpredictability, hedonism and sadism of The Joker.


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
Following on from my previous answer, it’s most definitely Batman. I have several graphic novels that I have collected over the years. What I like most is how he plans for every eventuality, he always thinks five steps ahead of the person he is investigating and for that reason he always wins. I know its probably not considered classic crime but created in 1939 for DC (Detective Comics), he’s passed the test of time, With two television series, countless animation and TV spin offs.  He’s the only man for me. 


... MURDER WEAPONS
I imagine this has come up before but in the Tales of the Unexpected story, there's the woman who kills her husband with the frozen leg of lamb, cooks it and then serves it to the police officers, genius.


... DEATH SCENE
I have recently re-read Red Dragon and I did really enjoy the Dolarhyde passages, he was so completely messed up and the way he killed was awful but the backstory gave it a certain poetry. A truly sinister individual. Killing whole families and putting mirrors in their eyes so that he can watch himself transform into The Red Dragon.  


... BLOGS/WEBSITES
This is a tricky one – but I always look up houses and base my characters homes on ones I find on rightmove.co.uk.


... WRITING TIPS
Power through your first draft to the end, edit afterwards. Getting those words down and a basic story is a major hurdle and you can then take your time making it brilliant. No one’s first draft is brilliant. 


... WRITING SNACKS
I am a sucker for halloumi, I tend to write most in the mornings and grilled halloumi is quick to make and filling.  


About KATERINA DIAMOND
Katerina is the author of the Sunday Times Best Selling Exeter-based crime thriller series - starting with The Teacher and followed by The SecretThe AngelThe Promise and Truth or Die. Katerina is currently working on her seventh novel, which is a standalone.
Katerina also runs the Facebook book group CRIME SUSPECT with several other crime authors. 
Katerina currently lives in East Kent. Katerina was born in Weston-super-Mare and has lived in various places since including Greece, Cyprus, Derby, East London and Exeter. Katerina watches way too much TV.

Find Katerina Diamond on her website and on Twitter - @TheVenomousPen


About TRUTH OR DIE




Publisher's description
When Professor Hugh Norris is found brutally murdered at Exeter university, DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles turn to the students for answers. Who would target a seemingly innocent man – and why? Someone knows more than they’re letting on – and they’re playing a very sinister game. A game so dark, it will shake the university to its core…
As another professor is found butchered and the death toll begins to rise, the police have to examine their own pasts to uncover the person behind the killings – before it’s too late. But are they brave enough to face up to the truth?

Truth or Die is being published by Avon on 11 July 2019.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

My Absolute Darling
By Gabriel Tallent
Published by Fourth Estate (12 July 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher


Publisher's description
At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall. She knows how to snare a rabbit, sharpen a blade and splint a bone. She knows that her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him.
But she doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school; why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see. Or why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done.
Sometimes the people you’re supposed to trust are the ones who do most harm. And what you’ve been taught to fear is the very thing that will save you …

My verdict
My Absolute Darling traumatised me, resulting in very disturbed sleep. Not many books manage to do that. I'm not upset that I read it, as it was everything I expected it to be (though admittedly possibly worse), but this was the reason why I had put off reading it for so long.

This is a tale of love and survival in a brutal world, a coming-of-age novel involving a teenage girl who has had to grow up too soon. Turtle Alveston has a difficult and unusual life and a warped view of the world around her. But she knows that her father loves her and would risk everything to keep her safe.

This is a tough, challenging read - brutal, unsettling, raw and shocking yet also filled with vivid beauty and hope. The harshness is cushioned by plush descriptions of the Californian coastline and its fauna and flora. I wanted to turn away yet couldn't as the writing was too compelling, too addictive and too powerful.

My Absolute Darling is a thought-provoking read about victims and survival - a personal struggle of nature versus nurture and right versus wrong. But it won't appeal to everyone. You'll need a strong constitution - be prepared to read about a tough subject (graphic in places) and have your emotions churned and then shredded.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Little Darlings
By Melanie Golding
Published by HQ (2 May 2019)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher





Publisher's description
THE TWINS ARE CRYING.
THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.
LAUREN IS CRYING.
LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.
Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .
After a traumatic birth, Lauren is alone on the maternity ward with her newborn twins. Her husband has gone home. The nurses are doing their rounds. She can’t stop thinking about every danger her babies now face. But all new mothers think like that. Don’t they?
A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone or something is trying to steal her children. But with every step she takes to keep her babies safe, Lauren sinks deeper and deeper into paranoia and fear. From the stark loneliness of returning home after birth, to the confines of a psychiatric unit, Lauren’s desperation increases as no one will listen to her. But here’s the question: is she mad, or does she know something we don’t?

My verdict
Little Darlings is a very disturbing read and one that sent shivers up and down my spine. That's partly because of the subject matter (the disappearance of twin boys - every mother's nightmare) but also the unsettling nature of the writing and the plot.

Lauren is a typical new parent - exhausted and paranoid, worrying about her newborns at every moment and desperate for some sleep. She's convinced that someone is trying to steal her babies, after a bizarre, terrifying experience at the hospital, but no one will believe her. Is it really just a new mother's paranoia or is there something more sinister going on? When Lauren's babies go missing and are then found and returned to her, she's adamant that these aren't her boys at all. I certainly had no idea whether this was real or a fabrication of Lauren's fragile mind.

Little Darlings combines crime, fairytales and the supernatural. It's a slowburner, with great writing, and tension that escalates as the plot moves forwards. It taps into every emotion and is both terrifying and heartbreaking. The ending is slightly ambiguous - not enough to leave me hanging, but certainly with enough mystery to make me wonder, question and think.


Wednesday, 19 June 2019

BEST OF CRIME with Felicity McLean

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 

FELICITY McLEAN


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...



... AUTHORS
Who could go past that god of Gothic literature, Edgar Allen Poe? Poe is variously credited with inventing: the psychological thriller/the detective genre/science fiction/the name of the Baltimore Ravens NFL team. For my money you can’t go past Poe’s poem, ‘The Raven’, which is an elegy of undying devotion to those lost. Poe is the reason I exiled my pining protagonist, Tikka, to Baltimore. 


... FILMS/MOVIES
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, based on the 1938 novel by Dame Daphne du Maurier, and starring Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter. Tense, suspenseful; it’s everything Hitchcock does best. Intriguingly, the film deviates from the book in a major way (spoiler alert) when Rebecca’s death is revealed to be an accident, rather than murder at the hands of her husband. At the time, the Hollywood Production Code required murderers to be punished and so the murder plot was, ahem, killed off.


... TV DRAMAS
Stranger Things. Don’t think Netflix’s blockbuster sci-fi/horror/supernatural series constitutes crime? You tell that to the Demogorgons who are abducting children and imprisoning them in the Upside Down. 


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
We first meet Agnes Magnúsdóttir in northern Iceland in 1829, when she is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. While she’s not entirely fictional (this true criminal is fictionalised in Hannah Kent’s brilliant debut novel, Burial Rites), she’s most certainly a killer, and for that she must die. 
Based on the last public execution in Iceland.


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus. Rankin is the UK’s number-one selling crime writer for good reason, and his hard-drinking, deep-thinking maverick Inspector Rebus is a perennial favourite. Linguistically, a ‘rebus’ is an enigmatic puzzle – the perfect moniker for Rankin’s inscrutable detective.


... MURDER WEAPONS
Few are better than the Bard when it comes to murder weapons, but even Shakespeare outdoes himself in Titus Andronicus when he has the titular Titus bake his enemies into a pie before serving them up to their mother. Bon appétit.


... DEATH SCENE
Is it cheating to say my favourite death scene is a scene where there are no deaths? 
The all-important ‘disappearance scene’ in the iconic Aussie novel, Picnic at Hanging Rockdescribes four Victorian-era schoolgirls vanishing into the sun-saturated scrub, their petticoats flouncing as they go. Accident? Murder? Suicide? Three of the four girls are never seen again, and the riddle of their disappearance is never solved.
Joan Lindsay’s beguiling mystery is something of a national obsession in Australia, with many readers believing the story to be true. It was the starting point when I wrote my own unsolved mystery novel, and the vanishing Van Apfel sisters owe much to those missing girls at Hanging Rock. 


... BLOGS/WEBSITES
My local indie bookshop introduced me to Story Grid which is a website, blog, book, podcast, in fact, it’s an entire bookish universe designed to guide a first time novelist through the process of writing their book. I wish I’d known about it when I started writing.


... WRITING TIPS
Read, read, and read some more. Almost everything I’ve ever learned about writing I discovered through reading. 


... WRITING SNACKS
From 5am to 5pm, I’m fuelled by espresso. After that I switch to scotch. 



About FELICITY McLEAN
Felicity McLean is an Australian author and journalist. Her debut novel The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is out now. She has ghostwritten six books, most recently Body Lengths, co-written with Australian Olympic swimmer, Leisel JonesHer children’s picture book This is a Book! (no wifi needed) was published in 2017. 

Find Felicity McLean on her website and on Twitter - @FelicityMcLean


About THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE




Publisher's description
Tikka Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in an isolated suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters - Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth - mysteriously disappeared during the school's Showstopper concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river.  Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved.
Now, years later, Tikka has returned home and is beginning to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her. The girls that she never forgot.
Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is part mystery, part coming-of-age story - with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart.

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone was published by Point Blank Books on 6 June 2019.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

Monday, 17 June 2019

BEST OF CRIME by Margaret Kirk

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 

MARGARET KIRK


to share her BEST OF CRIME ...




... AUTHORS
Conan Doyle. Because Holmes is just such a perfect creation. His plots are clever, convoluted – and sometimes, frankly just a little OTT. But the genius pairing of Holmes and Watson laid the groundwork for countless ‘tec and sidekick duos, and got me into crime fiction from a very early age.


... FILMS/MOVIES
Silence of the Lambs. There’s so much that’s excellent in this film – the structure, the nuances, the atmospheric lighting, the acting of Foster and Hopkins. Truly a classic.


... TV DRAMAS
Happy Valley.  It’s no accident that so many ex-‘Job’ people have praised this series’ authentic feel – wonderful writing by Sally Wainright, faultless acting by Sarah Lancashire and the ensemble cast. Gritty, compulsive viewing.


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Arya Stark. What, I can’t adore Holmes and still be ultra-contemporary? The traumas she’s endured have made her an implacable adversary, relentless in her need to avenge so many deaths. As the series’ end approaches, I suspect her days are numbered. But I’m still hoping she gets to cross one final name off her list …


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES 
I’ve already had Holmes, so let’s go for Val McDermid’s Karen Pirie – down-to-earth, determinedly unglamorous. Insubordinate, determined, compassionate. The (still) largely male-dominated world of male ‘tecs definitely needs more Karens!


... MURDER WEAPONS
Toaster, from Helen Fields’ Perfect Crime. And gentlemen, you really don’t want to know which part of the male victim’s anatomy gets inserted into it …


... DEATH SCENE
Almost any of Stuart MacBride’s ingenious methods of dispatch would do here! But I’m going with the mass murder in the opening scene of Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes. Why? Because King takes time to introduce us to the victims, to make us start to like them … and then kills them off in the most brutal, most senseless yet sadly believable way. Murder victims shouldn’t be anonymous, they should leave an imprint on our minds. And that’s what happens here.


... WRITING TIPS
I love Twitter– where else can you get into conversation with so many people you know you’ll probably never come into contact with in real life? (Mind you, in some cases you might be quite grateful for that…) And for locations you really can’t visit but need to describe in detail, Google Earth is your friend.


... WRITING TIPS
Hmm. Try not to stare at a blank page or screen for ages – if you’re really not getting anywhere, get up and get out for a walk if you can. It’s amazing what a change of location does for the mental processes, and it does help to halt the, er, spread of writers’ posterior. Also, having a shower often works too – there’s something about the feeling of being cocooned in warm water and quiet that seems to give my thoughts the jump-start they need.


... WRITING SNACKS
Banned, after I saw some fairly horrendous snaps of me at last year’s Bloody Scotland! I will allow myself some fruit and quite a lot of tea and coffee, but that’s basically it.



About MARGARET KIRK
Margaret Kirk writes ‘Highland Noir’ Scottish crime fiction, set in and around her home town of Inverness. Her debut novel, Shadow Man, won the Good Housekeeping First Novel Competition in 2016. Described as ‘a harrowing and horrific game of consequences’ by Val McDermid, it was published in 2017 by Orion. Book 2 in the DI Lukas Mahler series, What Lies Buried, will appear in June 2019. Margaret is also the writer of several award-winning short stories, including The Seal Singers, which has been published in translation in Germany, and Still Life, which was broadcast on Radio 4 as part of the ‘Scottish Shorts’ series.

Find Margaret Kirk on her website and on Twitter - @HighlandWriter


About WHAT LIES BURIED




Publisher's description
A missing child. A seventy-year-old murder. And a killer who's still on the loose.
Ten year-old Erin is missing; taken in broad daylight during a friend's birthday party. With no witnesses and no leads, DI Lukas Mahler races against time to find her. But is it already too late for Erin - and will her abductor stop at one stolen child?
And the discovery of human remains on a construction site near Inverness confronts Mahler's team with a cold case from the 1940s. Was Aeneas Grant's murder linked to a nearby POW camp, or is there an even darker story to be uncovered?
With his team stretched to the limit, Mahler's hunt for Erin's abductor takes him from Inverness to the Lake District. And decades-old family secrets link both casesin a shocking final twist.

What Lies Buried was published by Orion on 3 June 2019.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.