Thursday, 23 November 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Adam Hamdy

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 his BEST OF CRIME ...

Deon Meyer.  I absolutely loved his post-Apocalyptic epic, Fever, and have just started reading his crime fiction.  Late to the party, I know, but I’m glad to have learned of this cracking author. 
I believe in supporting new talent and know how hard it can be to get a signal boost when you’re starting out, so here are a couple of highly recommended forthcoming debuts.  The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is unlike any other crime book you’ll have ever read, a true rollercoaster for the mind.  The Devil’s Dice, by Roz Watkins is a well-written modern detective tale that deals with a controversial contemporary theme.  

Prisoners is a crime thriller that really sticks in the mind.  Written by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Denis Villeneuve, it is about the abduction of two girls and the responses of their families and the police.  It is a powerful, often challenging film that kept me gripped until the final frame.  Brilliantly written and exceptionally well put together with compelling performances from a cast that includes the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Viola Davis and Maria Bello. 

I love Amazon’s adaptation of the great Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels.  Titus Welliver is perfectly cast, the production values are great, and season three has to be one of the best examples of how to script a detective story.  I can’t wait for the new series, which is due early next year. 
My all-time favourite crime show has to be The Wire.  I loved the realism and complexity.  Watching an episode felt like one hour spent cruising the mean streets of Baltimore. 


How many people say Hannibal Lecter?  He’s probably the only fictional killer I’d have to dinner, provided I was doing the cooking.
I’ve got to say John Doe, the serial killer played by Kevin Spacey in Seven.  He wasn’t just taking lives; he was trying to enlighten people.  I always find philosopher killers far more sinister than those who simply perpetrate mayhem. 

William of Baskerville, the protagonist in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.  He’s a man out of time, possessed of an intelligence and open-mindedness that would be more at home in the modern world.  How much has been lost to the world because of ignorance and superstition?  Not just physical objects, such as the one at the heart of the book, but opportunity and advancement.  How far might humanity have come if it hadn’t been constrained by repressive dogma?
And before we get too heavy, and because detectives don’t always trade in doom and death, I’m going to share my guilty pleasure; The Big Lebowski.  Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski is the most chilled-out detective one could ever encounter, and a couple of hours in his company puts a smile on most people’s faces. 

I have a doozy in my new book, but I’m not going to pimp my own twisted tools.  Probably a bowling alley.  David Mitchell’s novel, Number9Dream, has a gruesome sequence in which one of the characters, a Yakuza gangster, takes his enemies to a bowling alley and uses their heads as pins.  Twisting something as innocent and fun as bowling and turning it to murder is devious.  The victims have that horrible five or six seconds of anticipation as the heavy ball comes thundering down the lane…

So many memorable death scenes, but I’m going to go with Willem Storm’s death in Fever.  The book opens with Nico Storm telling us about his father’s murder, so I’m not giving any spoilers away.  Even though I’d known it was coming for hundreds of pages, Willem’s death was an emotional gut punch, a mark of truly great writing.  And it was all a…to say any more would be a spoiler, so I’ll just leave it there. 

When I started out, I learned a lot from Wordplay ( a website created by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio.  It’s aimed at screenwriters, but there’s lots of useful information on character development and the essentials of good storytelling.

Like a lot of writers, I’m a bit of a research junkie.  I use hundreds of obscure blogs and websites to research weapons, national foods, clothes, locations, local dialect, countless things.  In addition to the less travelled paths, there’s lots of good information available from big beasts like the CIA and FBI.  Both publish thousands of documents on their websites.  If you’re an author or filmmaker, the FBI has a special liaison office to assist with research into the Bureau or its work.

A writer’s life tends towards solitude.  If I didn’t make a concerted effort, I’d happily live as a hermit.  Beneath the bravado, I’m very shy, so much so that I’m often queasy with nerves before social events.  But I learned long ago that living to the fullest and taking an interest in life is the best research.  Talking to people, learning about the detail of their lives, learning new skills, putting yourself in unusual, uncomfortable or challenging situations, all of these things can add depth and realism to one’s writing.  Highlights from my many reckless episodes include picking up hitchhikers, becoming a temporary guardian to a pair of traveler children, impersonating a military official to travel through security checkpoints in the Middle East, and spending a lot of time with a number of serious organized criminals and at least two murderers, all of which was nerve-wracking, but led to some creative nuggets. 

If I get up to stretch my legs, I invariably find them leading me to the kitchen.  Luckily I’ve figured out that if the snack cupboard is bare, my weak will can’t betray me.  Roasted and salted pistachios are my snack kryptonite, so I can’t have them in the house.  The sedentary life of a writer makes snacks the enemy, so my one daily indulgence is a cup of freshly ground black coffee with a shot of double cream.  

Adam Hamdy is the author of the Pendulum trilogy, a series of conspiracy thriller novels.  James Patterson described Pendulum as ‘one of the best thrillers of the year’.  Adam is currently adapting Pendulum into an eight-part series for Hardy, Son & Baker and NBC Universal.

Prior to becoming a writer, Adam was a strategy consultant and advised global businesses in the medical systems, robotics, technology and financial services sectors.

Find Adam Hamdy on his website and on Twitter - @adamhamdy


Publisher's description
James Patterson hailed Adam Hamdy's first PENDULUM novel as 'one of the best thrillers of the year'. The high-octane follow-up, FREEFALL, is perfect for fans of Gregg Hurwitz's ORPHAN X and Terry Hayes' I AM PILGRIM, with a story as unexpected as a sniper's bullet.

Hiding off-grid after exposing the shadowy Pendulum conspiracy, Wallace is horrified to discover he is still marked for death.

DI Patrick Bailey is still reeling from the murder investigation that nearly cost him his life.
FBI Agent Christine Ash is hunting a serial killer with a link to an unfinished case

The death of a London journalist triggers an investigation that brings them back together, hurling them into the path of an unknown enemy.


Hunted across the world, they are plunged into a nightmare deadlier than they could have ever imagined.

Freefall was published by Headline on 2 November 2017.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

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