Western Fringes by Amer Anwar

I’m very excited to have Amer Anwar on my blog today. Amer’s debut novel, Western Fringes was published earlier this month. It’s a fast-action, explosive thriller and I absolutely loved it. But more of my review later. After reading the book, I had a few questions for Mr Amer…

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  1. Did you visit all the pubs mentioned in Western Fringes? If so, which was your favourite?

Yes, I did. I visited all the main ones that feature. It was “research”, obviously, so I’d take a friend along and we’d have a couple of drinks while I’d make some notes and diagrams, got a feel for the place and then we’d just spend the rest of the evening there ‘soaking up the atmosphere’. Hard work, I know but somebody’s got to do it.

I’m not sure about picking a favourite. They all have good points. The Scotsman and the Black Horse both do really good Indian food at very reasonable prices. The Hare & Hounds is in a lovely spot near Osterley Park and has a nice garden and outdoor space, great for summer, while the London Apprentice is a historic pub right on the river Thames in a part of Isleworth that has a very village-like feel to it.

I think anyone who’s interested should visit them all and make up their own minds.

 

  1. Slightly scared about asking this – how do you know how to write all those fight scenes?

Ha! Well, I have a very cinematic imagination, I visualise everything clearly when I’m reading or writing, and I also used to box a little. When I’d shadowbox, I’d always imagine an opponent in front of me and what punches they’d be throwing and how I’d counter. Same on the punchbags. So, when it came to writing the fight scenes in the book, it was an extension of all that same technique.

I basically acted out each fight scene in my lounge – if anyone had seen me prancing around throwing punches and elbows, they’d probably have been pretty worried about me. I always made sure there was no one else around when I was doing it.

I’d picture the setup, what the attackers would do, how Zaq would react and choreographed it all, to make it flow and seem as realistic as possible. I’d work out where each of the characters would be, how they’d attack and how Zaq would defend and counter. I’d jot down notes as I went along – whether coming in with a left elbow would be more natural after a straight right, that kind of thing. It also helped me figure out when there would be openings for the attackers to land blows on Zaq. I wanted the violence to feel real.

There are quite a few fights in the book, but each of the scenes are actually very quick, they don’t take up a lot of pages, the action is kept short and sharp, except in just a couple of places.

 

  1. Are you excited about the rise of Asian Crime Writers in Britain? I am!

Yes, absolutely! One of the main reasons I wrote Western Fringes is because I love crime and thrillers but there was no one writing anything like that with Asian characters or settings. I spent a lot of time in Southall in my teens and there were loads of real characters around and all kinds of stories about stuff going on. I thought it’d be a great setting for a thriller, with characters like the ones I was hearing about and I really wanted someone to write one. But no one did. So, when I finally started writing myself, I knew I was going to write a thriller and I knew it was going to be set there.

Seems I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. There are now several Asian crime writers on the scene, each with their own particular spin on things and it’s great. Hopefully it’ll encourage others to try as well. It’s wonderful to see something of yourself and your experiences reflected in popular culture, it makes you feel an integral part of it, not just an onlooker and it also gives others some insight into the British Asian experience.

It should also make for some new and exciting books to look forward to, which is only a good thing.

 

  1. What’s for you next? More of Zaq?

I’m working on a second book at the moment, one which doesn’t feature Zaq or Jags. It has a new character, also a British Asian and it’s still very much a crime thriller in the vein of ‘Western Fringes’.

I’d originally thought to write a Southall trilogy with Zaq and Jags and had some vague ideas for the next two books – but now I’m thinking of combining those ideas into a single book, which might be my next project after I finish the one I’m currently on. It also depends on how well Western Fringes does and if anyone wants more of Zaq and Jags.

 

  1. Slightly cliched question but who are your Crime writing influences?

It’s not a cliched question – it’s one I’m always interested in whenever I read an interview or a Q&A with an author. As both a reader and a writer, I like to know about the books and writers that have influenced other people.

As for my own crime writing influences, there are three particular names that leap out; Elmore Leonard, Joe R. Lansdale and Richard Stark.

I think it was Elmore Leonard that really drew me into reading crime, before that I was mainly reading horror, WWII and fantasy. The first Leonard novel I read was ‘Killshot’, about a professional hit man and a small time crook, who start working together on a scam and, through a case of mistaken identity, end up in conflict with a builder. It was a real revelation. The writing was tight; the characters weren’t super smart sleuths or damaged detectives, they were criminals and ordinary people; the dialogue was fantastic, smart, cool and funny; and the plot was excellent. I’d never read anything like it before and it turned me into a lifelong fan. I bought and read all of his crime novels after that and even some of his westerns too.

It was a friend of mine who introduced me to Joe R. Lansdale’s work. He lent me an American edition of ‘Mucho Mojo’ because at that time Lansdale’s work wasn’t published in the UK. What a revelation. ‘Mucho Mojo’ is the second book in what’s become the Hap and Leonard series and I love all of them. They’re set in a relatively poor part of East Texas and follow the (mis)adventures of friends Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. What really stands out about the books are the first person narration from Hap’s POV and the friendship between the two main characters. Their constant bickering, name calling and mickey-taking is just so spot on and funny and true. Quite a few people have commented on how much they like the relationship between Zaq and Jags in ‘Western Fringes’ – well, you don’t have to look too far to see where I got my inspiration to write them the way I did. That’s not to say these are lightweight cozy mysteries, they’re not. They’re actually pretty dark, with murders and bursts of visceral violence, and they also touch upon racism, poverty, love and life. And Lansdale has written many other excellent novels too, ‘Cold in July’ being another particular favourite crime novel.

Another very major influence is Richard Stark and his Parker novels, a series about a professional robber. The first book, ‘The Hunter’ was filmed twice, first as ‘Point Blank’ and then as ‘Payback’. I actually got into the books after watching ‘Payback’. I loved the amoral hardness of the character and his single-minded determination to go up against anyone who’d crossed him. The original run of the series was from 1962 – 1974 and was unfortunately out of print here in the UK. However, following a 23 year break, Stark revisited the character and started writing some new books in the series, which were available and so got those and whizzed through them. A lot of things had changed in 23 years but the writing and the character hadn’t – they were both still fantastic. I read all the newer books but still wanted more. When, eventually, the University of Chicago Press reissued the whole of the original series, I snapped them up and read them all, right from the very beginning. I also bought anything else I could find by Richard Stark and also those he wrote under his own name, Donald E. Westlake (Richard Stark was just one of a number of pseudonyms Westlake used). The writing is lean and stripped-back, much like the character of Parker himself. There is violence and killing and Parker does some pretty nasty things at times but even so, the brilliant thing Stark does is, he still has you rooting for him. A truly great series.

One final thing I want to mention is the book that really made me want to be a writer. I’d never thought of writing a book before then, but when I finished reading it, I was totally blown away, the sheer scope and imagination of it – and even more importantly, how it made me feel. I remember thinking, wow, if I could make people feel emotions the way this book’s made me feel, that would be the best thing in the world. That was when I first knew I wanted to write.

Thing is, none of my teachers at school or college ever told me it was something I could do, or something worth pursuing – even though they knew I could write. I was getting pulled up for copying essays because my tutors didn’t believe I could write as well as I did. Even so, no one suggested that I might want to look at writing as a career, so I never thought it was something I could do. I still had the ambition though, deep down, and knew I’d give it a try someday, I just didn’t know when. Turned out to be 20 years until I started writing and another 12 to actually get published. Through all that time, I never forgot that particular book and how it made me feel and the desire to write it ignited in me.

And what was that book? ‘Magician’ by Raymond E. Feist. A fantasy novel, but oh, so much more than just that. It’s an epic tale of friendship, growing up, family, love, war and everything else. And it has dragons. And magic.

And it made me want to write – which was probably the best magic of all.

 

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Amer, and good luck with the book!

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The blurb

A SIKH GIRL ON THE RUN. A MUSLIM EX-CON. A WHOLE HEAP OF TROUBLE.

Released from prison, Zaq Khan is lucky to land a dead-end job at a builders’ yard.

All he wants to do is keep his head down and put the past behind him.

But when he has to search for his boss’s runaway daughter it quickly becomes apparent he’s not simply dealing with family arguments and arranged marriages, as he finds himself caught up in a deadly web of deception, murder and revenge.

Finding the girl will be one thing. Keeping her, and himself, alive long enough to deal with the people who want them both dead, is going to be another.

 

My review

You know, there are times when you get so excited by a book that you want to jump up and down. For me, Western Fringes is that book. However, I am a bit biased. No, I don’t personally know the author [although we have now met since I first wrote this review in the spring]. And I’m not Asian either. But I did grow up in West London, so this book was like going down memory lane. I could picture the streets and landmarks mentioned. This made the book totally alive for me.

When I first started reading it, I thought two things. Firstly, I could see why Western Fringes won the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. The opening puts us straight into the action with a great introduction to Zaq and the plot. Secondly, I did wonder though if the premise of the book – finding Rita – could actually last for a whole novel. Well, it did, and with great aplomb. Because finding a missing girl is a lot harder than you think, and in the process, Zaq finds a lot more than he’d bargained for.

The pace of this book never lets up and I’m slightly apprehensive about ever meeting Amer Anwar. His knowledge of fight scenes is a little worrying! [We’ve now met and he’s lovely. Don’t let than mean moody picture put you off.] There is a particular scene that made me wince (I am a wimp though) but it was in keeping with the storyline and revealed more about some of the characters and the lengths that they will go to, to get what they want.

This is a terrific thriller and an outstanding debut for Amer Anwar. I really hope he has a few more Southall stories up his sleeve.

You can buy Western Fringes here.

 

About the author

Amer Anwar grew up in West London. He has worked as a warehouse assistant, a comic book lettering artist, a driver for emergency doctors and as a chalet rep in the French Alps, before finally landing a job as a creative artworker/graphic designer and working in the home entertainment industry. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London and is a winner of the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. Western Fringes is his first novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Monday Crime – June 2017

It seemed more like February than June as we gathered together for First Monday Crime. Thankfully, the welcome inside for our four fabulous authors was a lot more welcome. Joining us was Abir Mukherjee, Ruth Ware, James Oswald and debut author, Imran Mahmood. The inimitable Barry Forshaw was in charge of the evening.

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Abir Mukherjee is an accountant by profession from Scotland. His first book, A Rising Man, was the start of a series set in India during the period between the two world wars, when the UK still occupied it. His new book, A Necessary Evil, continues the story of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force.

The film rights for Ruth Ware’s debut, A Dark, Dark Wood, were bought by Reese Witherspoon and is about a hen night that goes very, very wrong. Someone described the book as ‘does for friendship what Gone Girl did for marriage’. Ruth’s second book was Woman in Cabin 10 and her latest is The Lying Game, published on the 15th June. It’s about four old school friends who reunite after their time at boarding school.

James Oswald is a farmer by day and a writer by night. As he said himself, there’s not much that can be done on a farm after dark – not that’s legal anyway! Initially self-published, James writes two books a year. His latest in the Inspector McLean series is Written In Bones.

Imran Mahmood seemed very much at home in the old magistrate’s court at Brown’s. You Don’t Know Me is the barrister’s debut novel. Set in a court room, the book is the closing speech from the defendant. In a sense, the character is based on all the people that Imran has represented but is nameless.

Barry asked what writers have influenced the panel. Are there any ‘ghosts’ behind their writing?

Agatha Christie is an influence for Ruth Ware and people have commented on that. Although, as Ruth pointed out, her characters swear more and get very drunk. As she has small children, Ruth has little time for research so an amateur detective character is much easier to write than looking up police procedural.

For Amir, he’s more influenced by living writers such as Philip Kerr and Ian Rankin. Although William McIlvanney was a huge influence on him too.

Imran’s book is about gangs so naturally, his influence is Enid Blyton – very dark and the Famous Five is basically a street gang.

James likes to put the ghosts in his novels as the supernatural plays a part in his books. As he started off writing comic and Sci Fi, Stan Lee and Iain Banks have been influential.

There was a question from the audience asking what’s the hardest part about writing.

Both James and Ruth agreed that the hardest part is when self-doubt kicks in around the 30k mark in a manuscript.

For Imran, editing is the hardest part. It’s easy to lose the thread of the story as you make changes.

Amir chose guilt. As he’s still working full-time as an accountant, he feels guilty about the time he spends away from his family as he writes in the evenings and weekends.

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And so, First Monday Crime came to a close. I’m not sure yet about details for July but if you can’t wait that long for your crime fix, then Crime in the Court is on Thursday 29th June at Goldsboro Books. Come along and meet some of your favourite crime authors. I went last year and loved it. Sadly I can’t make it this time (I’m not sobbing, really). Tickets are £5 and can be bought here.

FMC2 June 17

To find out more about the authors and buy/pre order their books:

For Abir Mukherjee, click here

For Ruth Ware, click here

For James Oswald, click here

For Imran Mahmood, click here

All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker

All the wicked girls

Blurb

Raine sometimes complains that nothing exciting is ever gonna happen in Grace again. Daddy told her careful what you wish for.

Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine.

Then Summer goes missing.

Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.

But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye…

 

My review

I read Chris Whitaker’s debut novel, Tall Oaks, earlier this year. You can read my review here . I couldn’t praise it highly enough. But now I see that Tall Oaks was just the support act to All The Wicked Girls. I had wondered where Chris Whitaker could go with his next novel – how could he possibly improve? The result is incredible.

The writing is sublime. As I have a proof copy I’m not allowed to quote but oh, how I wish I could! (The first two sentences of chapter 3 are just divine).  The American South inflection is there throughout, constant and true. The lyrics ‘Killing me softly with his words’ has taken on a whole new meaning for me with this story. Without humour to fall back on, Chris Whitaker’s writing is laid bare and is not found wanting. Utterly beautiful.

The characterisation in Tall Oaks was fabulous but Whitaker takes it to a whole new level with All The Wicked Girls. In the end it was more about the characters for me than the plot (and it’s normally the opposite). I’m always impressed by anyone who writes with multiple viewpoints but to do so with such clarity for each character is remarkable.

The setting of Grace, a small town in Alabama, with a giant storm cloud that blacks out the sun, added to the intensity of the storyline and the characters. And when all those three ingredients are pretty darn perfect, then you have an awesome book with hidden depths.

So how much did I love this book? I actually slowed down my reading. Normally when a book grabs me, I race through it. Not this time. This was a novel that I chose to savour, like a good wine. By the end, I was undone and I’m ruined for the next book I read. It’s no good. I have to use ‘the word’, the one that I so rarely use and was only employed once last year – extraordinary.

Brave and fierce, Chris. Brave and fierce.

 

I’d like to thank Emily Burns at Bonnier Zaffre for my proof copy.

 

All The Wicked Girls will be published on 24th August. To find out more about Chris and to pre order, click here

CrimeFest 2017

I’ve almost recovered from CrimeFest. It was an amazing four days of going to panels, meeting lots of friends, making new friends (Jen, Katherine and Sharon, in particular) and eating all the food I shouldn’t be eating at the moment. I’d like to be able to tell you that I wrote copious pages of notes but I didn’t write any! Instead, I live tweeted and you can tell how much sleep I’d had by their quality. Day 1 – lots of coherent tweets. Day 2 – quite a few tweets but often with mistakes so I had to delete them and write them again. Day 3 – pictures of the panels and nothing else. Day 4 – there were panels?!! So that was the only downfall – hardly any sleep. But a fabulous time otherwise in reasonably sunny Bristol. If you want a really good write-up to read, then check out Katherine Sunderland’s superb blog posts here . A massive thank you to Vicki Goldman who held my hand on my first residential festival (especially as I was so sleep deprived). We had a few scrapes together and you can read more about them on Vicki’s blog here.

But here are a few photos, just to prove that I actually did go!

Day 1

cookies
42 cookies taken to CrimeFest. They were very popular. One author (who shall remain nameless) had at least 6!
CF panel 1
Debut authors – (L- R) Mary Torjussen, Steph Broadribb, David Coubrough, Lucy V. Hay & Karen Robinson moderating
CF Panel 2
Think Andrea Carter is demonstrating to Rod Reynolds how one of her characters dies. Julia Crouch & Lucy Dawson also on the panel for Keeping Secrets and Telling Lies. Moderator (on left) Valentina Giambanco.
CF panel 3
The Dark Side of Nature. (L-R) Stanley Trollip (moderator), Luke McCallin, Johana Gustawsson, Doug Johnstone & Jorn Lier Horst.

At the end of day 1, I went on a lovely walk with Vicki Goldman and we discovered Harbourside.

CF harbourside

Day 2

CF day 2 panel 1
Partners in Crime: Male/Female duos. (L-R) Sarah Ward (moderator), Luca Veste, Sarah Hilary, Anne Randall Stav Sherez.
CF Sam Carrington
Sam Carrington who did a talk about her former occupation, working with prisoners.
CF Day 2 panel 3
Giving your protagonist family & friends. (L-R) Cally Taylor, Thomas Enger, Gunnar Staalesen, Louise Beech & Lucy V. Hay (moderator)
CF day 2 panel 4
Journalists: Characters who tell stories for a living. (L-R) Rod Reynolds (moderator), Anne Coates, Matt Wesolowski, Antti Tuomainen & Walter Lucius.

The weather was glorious on day 2 and I had lunch in Bristol Cathedral Café, in their beautiful garden.

CF Bristol cathedral garden

And in the Marriott hotel, I found this gem with classic books

Jilly Cooper at Marriott

Day 3

CF day 3 panel 1
Modern Police Procedural: Are we really the good guys and girls? (L-R) Elizabeth Haynes, Fergus McNeil, Alison Bruce (moderator),Valentina Giambanco & Sharon Bolton
CF Anthony sign
Anthony Horowitz gave a revealing interview to Barry Forshaw

 

 

CF day 3 panel 2
When Your Protagonist Can’t Forget. (L-R) Thomas Enger, Katerina Diamond, Simon Toyne, Ragnar Jonasson & Elizabeth Haynes (moderator)

 

Day 4 – as I said earlier, I didn’t make it to any panels. But here’s a final photo.

CF 2 cookies
The last 2 cookies for the journey home. I think Vicki and I deserved them!

Block 46 Blog Tour – Johana Gustawsson

 

FINAL block 46 blog tour poster

Honoured to be part of this epic blog tour. Thank you Karen & Anne for including me. It’s my turn today along with the fabulous Swirl & Thread so feel free to check out Mairead’s blog post too.

Blurb

Evil remembers…

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.

Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.

Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Ebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir.

 

My review

BLOCK 46 COVER AW.indd

There is always a worry that translated fiction may not work. Not so in this case. Although this is deemed French Noir as Johana Gustawsson is French, the action takes place in London and Sweden, with a time lapse back to the concentration camp at Buchenwald in 1944-45.

Block 46 was an infamous building for the prisoners at Buchenwald. No one quite knew what happened in there but they knew it wasn’t good. When Erich Ebner was forced to go there, none of his fellow inmates expected to see him again. Johana’s writing for this section is superb. Deeply moving, she doesn’t shy away from the terror and horror of the camp. As difficult as it was to read, these were the parts that captured me the most.

However, this isn’t the main part of the story. Alexis Castells (French) is a true crime writer. When her friend, Linnea, is murdered in Sweden, she doesn’t hesitate to go and help. Initially dealing with the Swedish police, there are many things that don’t quite make sense to Alexis. When Linnea’s death is linked with murders in London, nothing makes sense at all. Emily Roy, a Canadian profiler working with Scotland Yard, is brought in to help catch the killer.

This is a novel with multiple viewpoints so it’s almost like reading a book in IMAX format. As well as hearing from Alexis, Emily and the Swedish police officers, we also hear from the killer. Chilling doesn’t even begin to describe it. Steadily, the two main plotlines weave together, with a few twists thrown in for good measure, leading to a climatic ‘don’t go in there’ moment.

Johana Gutawsson’s debut thriller is impressive. Of all her characters, Emily Roy is the one who intrigued me the most, not least because so little is given away about her. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to find out more as, thankfully, a sequel is on its way.

 

To buy click here

 

About the author

Johana Photo

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is now working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

 

 

 

First Monday Crime – May 2017

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While the panel were waiting to start, Mark Hill decided to take a photo of the audience.

 

Yay! After missing last month (pesky family birthdays), I was back at First Monday (technically Second Monday) for another great event. The crime authors were debut novelists – Michelle Adams and Mark Hill, along with two very experienced authors – Jane Casey and Chris Brookmyre. Heading up proceedings was Joe Haddow from Radio 2.

So first up – those all important books!

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My Sister is the debut novel from Michelle Adams. Michelle is a part-time scientist, currently living in Cyprus. The book is about two sisters who have a very toxic relationship. One of them attempts to find out the truth while the other tries to hide it.

Want You Gone is the third book in the Jack Parlabane series by Chris Brookmyre. Essentially, the book is about hacking and online blackmail. Chris was keen to point out that some of the word games played on social media aren’t always wise – name of your first pet teamed with your mother’s maiden name to make your porn star name – gives away two pieces of important security information. So don’t do it!

Jane Casey’s Let The Dead Speak is the seventh book in the Maeve Kerrigan series. A teenage girl comes home to find the family house covered in blood and her mother missing. As so many books and television series often focus on the body and what clues can be gleaned from it, Jane wanted to explore what would happen if you didn’t have a body.

Mark Hill’s debut is Two O’Clock Boy (you can read my review here) and is the first in the DI Ray Drake series. Written in two timelines, the story is told with multiple viewpoints. DI Ray Drake is investigating a series of murders but finds himself up to his ears in trouble.

One of Joe’s questions was the importance of location and whether you needed to know a place well to be able to write about it.

For Chris Brookmyre, knowing a location is important but often first impressions are best. Although Chris’ novels are often coined as Tartan Noir, he likes to set books where they need to be. Want You Gone is set in London. He once set a book in LA and his next one is set in space!

Place is important for Jane Casey too and the house in her story is almost like one of the characters. Being from Ireland means that she can write about London with a bit of distance. She thinks she’s too sentimental about Dublin to write about it.

Mark Hill was actually on holiday in Manhattan when he started writing Two O’Clock Boy. It was snowing, he could see Central Park from the window and he was writing about Wood Green Bus Station.

What about writing routines? Strict or fluid?

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As Michelle is working during the day, her writing hours tend to be 5-11pm. However, she’s learnt to work wherever she is and finds herself often thinking about her story.

Chris’ work hours tend to be office hours, although when his children were younger, it was nursery/school hours. He finds that manual tasks help to free up creativity as does walking. It’s easier to dictate into a phone now without looking stupid, as long as no one hears you talking about how to dispose of a body.

Jane is of the belief that everyone in London has at least one murderous thought a day – on public transport or the monotony of pushing a swing for an hour in the park. So her thoughts are always focused, not least because her husband is a criminal barrister and a volunteer police officer. They’ve been known to clear restaurants with their dinner talk.

Mark tends to write in short bursts – intensive fifteen minutes or so. Some of his book *may* have been written when he was meant to be working on the Alan Carr radio show.

To finish off – a question from the audience. Current favourite reads.

Michelle – Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown

Chris – Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb books

Jane – He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly

Mark – Die Of Shame by Mark Billingham

 

There are so many other things I could tell you but you all have lives to lead. But I will leave you with some very wise words from Chris Brookmyre – Don’t make yourself a target for hackers!

Michelle Adams – to find out more and buy My Sister, click here

Chris Brookmyre – to find out more and buy Want You Gone, click here

Jane Casey – to find out more and buy Let The Dead Speak, click here

Mark Hill – to find out more and buy Two O’Clock Boy, click here

Of course, other booksellers are available!

 

So, First Monday will be back on Monday 5th June, and just look at who’s coming! James Oswald will also be there, along with Barry Forshaw to lead the evening.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: It will be 7- 8pm rather than the usual 6.30pm start. Tickets for £7 can be bought here from Goldsboro Books.

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The Lies Within Blog Tour

The Lies Within Blog Tour Banner

I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Lies Within by Jane Isaac.

The blurb

Be under no illusions by her kind face and eloquent manner… This woman is guilty of murder.

Grace Daniels is distraught after her daughter’s body is found in a Leicestershire country lane. With her family falling apart and the investigation going nowhere, Grace’s only solace is the re-emergence of Faye, an old friend who seems to understand her loss.

DI Will Jackman delves into the case, until a family tragedy and a figure from his past threaten to derail him.

When the police discover another victim, the spotlight falls on Grace. Can Jackman find the killer, before she is convicted of a crime she didn’t commit?

 

My review

The Lies Within

Jo Lambourne, a young woman, is found brutally murdered in her home town of Market Harborough. DI Will Jackman is on secondment from Warwickshire Police to the Leicestershire force and becomes the SIO for the case. Grace, Jo’s mother, is in a dreadful state. Having lost her first husband a few years before, she is swamped by grief yet again. With the help of her friend, Faye, Grace manages to pull herself together and starts to search for the truth behind Jo’s murder, unaware of the danger she faces.

I’ve met Jane Isaac a few times now and you wouldn’t think that a devious mind existed in such a lovely woman. But somehow, she manages to come up with intriguing twists and turns. DI Will Jackman is fast becoming one of my favourite police detectives (not least because I picture Rufus Sewell playing him – I think I’ve mentioned this before and I probably will again). Thrown into a new team, Jackman revels in the challenging role of acting DCI. The only hiccup is Carmela Hanson, acting Superintendent. Jackman has to juggle his feelings for her along with loyalty to his critically ill wife, Alice, who has locked in syndrome.

Jane Isaac writes the story of Grace, the mother of the dead woman, with great sensitivity. There are plenty of ‘don’t do it’ moments as Grace tries to uncover the truth of Jo’s murder. Although the first 48-72 hours of an investigation are crucial, this is a case that isn’t easily solved and drags on for months. Isaac shows the cost of this both with Grace and her family and the police officers involved.

There is so much more I want to tell you about this book but daren’t for fear of giving away spoilers. But what I will say is that Jane Isaac has a writing style that makes it so easy to just keep reading The Lies Within. And in my humble opinion, this is her best novel to date.

Click here to buy The Lies Within.

 

About the author

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Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014’.

In 2015 Jane embarked on a new series, featuring DI Will Jackman and set in Stratford upon Avon, with Before It’s Too Late. The second in the series, Beneath The Ashes, will be published by Legend Press on 1st November 2016 with the 3rd, The Lies Within, to follow on 2nd May 2017.

Both DI Jackman and DCI Lavery will return again in the near future. Sign up to Jane’s newsletter on her website at http://www.janeisaac.co.uk for details of new releases, events and giveaways.