Friday, 1 December 2017


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 ...

I’m a massive Val Mcdermid fanboy and have been for a very long time. When I started writing and I was trying all kinds of genres, it was seeing all of Val’s books on my shelf one day that made me realise that maybe I should be writing in the genre that I love to read. I love her description and the way she portrays really dark happenings in really readable and accessible language – she’s just a really great writer. I think, if it hadn’t been Val, then I’d have had to go for William Mcilvanney  - I discovered him much later than Val, but another really great writer and one who understood ‘sense of place’ like few other authors I’ve ever read.

This is a tough one as I’m not a huge film/TV buff. I loved LA Takedown, which was later remade as Heat. Just a really good, honest, cops against robbers movie that I could watch again and again. But other movies that stand out would be The Departed and Manhunter – the latter was definitely the best in the Lector collections.

The Shield – hands down, no questions. It was awesome. Vic Mackey was the hero/anti-hero that you can’t help backing, but who crossed the line far too many times. The way he was presented was awesome, the way he’d do the wrong thing for the right reasons and take the Strike Team with him. This was TV at its very best.

Francis Dolarhyde – just a superb killer – came to life in Red Dragon, which is still one of my favourite books. I think, whether writers admit it or not, a lot of today’s serial killers have their roots in Francis Dolarhyde.

Holmes! It’s a cliché for a reason, but I reckon that if you polled writers on the detective they wish they’d created the most, I think Sherlock Holmes would be your winner. Multifaceted and bizarre, there’s so much to do with this character. He’s practically a super hero (or maybe he is?) but if I were to ever write fan-fic, this is who it’d be about. The fact that the character has been reprised so many times, successfully, but so differently, tells you everything you need to know about it – well done Conan-Doyle!

I like murders to be part of a human fury, so I think my favourite weapon would be the human body itself. Murder by strangulation with bare hands, or beating/kicking someone to death – flesh on flesh. We don’t need weapons really, humans are ideally built for killing each other.

When Holmes falls over the Reichenbach Falls – or maybe the final scenes of  Stephen King’s Carrie…

The first three books in my series really focus on misogyny, and if you want to research that, there really is only one place on the internet to go – Twitter.
I follow a load of really smart women and I simply check the replies to their thoughts and opinions – that’s how I get inspiration for Hamilton, who spent 30 years killing women. I hope, one day, that Twitter will take some action and actually stop the misogyny and other hatred that flourishes on its site, but until then, it’s my go-to place to research men being horrible wankers to women. 

If you want to write, then don’t spend time stopping, checking, changing and second guessing yourself. If you have a good idea, then get it down and finish the book. You can always go back and edit thoroughly later – you can change anything you like, re-write sections, delete them and/or add new ones, but I speak to a lot of people who, for varying reasons, won’t finish their novel; for me, that first draft is just gathering together the clay you need to actually start making something. So my writing tip would be - write first – edit later – finish the fecking book!

I’m trying not to at the moment, because I’ve ballooned in the past few years (120kg – the biggest I’ve ever been!!!), but…… when I’m on deadline and things are getting tense, my body is composed of approximately 87.43% peanut M&Ms and you might occasionally find traces of blood in my Irn-Bru system….

About J.S. (JAMES) LAW
James Law joined the Royal Navy in 1993 as an apprentice and went on to serve for twenty years, the majority spent in the Submarine Service. He rose through the ranks, taking a commission as an engineering officer in 2001, and serving as a Senior Engineer and Nuclear Reactor Plant Supervisor, where his responsibilities ranged from the safety and operation of the submarine’s nuclear power plant to hydraulic plants, fridges and toilets; it was the latter of these tasks that brought the majority of any pressure.
His final years in service were spent training future submariners in the role of Senior Lecturer in Nuclear Reactor Engineering, where he lectured and mentored future submarine operators of all ranks and rates.
Having written short stories and novels throughout his naval career, James completed an MA in Creative Writing at Portsmouth University shortly before leaving the navy in 2013, completing his debut novel, Tenacity, shortly afterwards.
James lives in Hampshire with his wife, Elaine, and two children. He spends what spare time he has riding his bike around the South Downs and travelling to Edinburgh to watch Scotland play rugby at Murrayfield stadium.

Find J.S. Law on his website, on his Facebook page and on Twitter - @JSLawBooks


Publisher's description
A young woman has disappeared without trace from a Navy ship - is it a missing person case or something far darker? 
Lieutenant Dani Lewis, star investigator of the Navy's Kill Team, must mine the shadows of the ship and the secrets of its crew to uncover why the girl might run, or what might motivate a predator to take her.
But as Dani relentlessly pursues the truth, threads emerge which take her back to the dark conspiracy revealed aboard the submarine Tenacity. And closer to a killer who continues to taunt her from prison.
Is this a simple missing person case, or is the hunter about to become the prey?

The Fear Within was published by Headline on 30 November 2017.

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