Friday, 28 April 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Jane Isaac

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 

JANE ISAAC

before her The Lies Within blog tour

to share her BEST OF CRIME ... 





... AUTHORS 
Jeffery Deaver. I’m captivated by the powers of deduction and methods employed by his Lincoln  Rhyme character. It was novels like The Empty Chair that sparked my interest in contemporary police procedurals and eventually inspired me to write this genre myself.


... FILMS/MOVIES
The Talented Mr Ripley (based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith). It’s unusual for a film to be as good as a book, but the movie adaptation managed to re-create Highsmith’s creepy depiction of a serial killer against the Mediterranean backdrop perfectly for me. 


... TV DRAMAS
The Bridge (created by Hans Rosenfeldt). I love strong characters and find the lead of Saga Noren, the Swedish police detective, both intriguing and fascinating. 


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Tony Soprano, the mob boss from The Sopranos. While his methods of torture and killing are deeply disturbing, there is a real sense of humanity and normality to parts of his daily life which left me both feeling sorry for him and rooting for him at times. Bizarre! 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES
I would have to go back to my roots and the early detectives that lured me into the genre here, and Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes comes out top, every time. A good detective character, for me, is someone who not only employs particular observational skills and excellent logical reasoning, but who is also enigmatic. Holmes has these skills in abundance and while the novels have been brilliantly adapted, many times over the years, the character never loses these essential traits. 


... MURDER WEAPONS 
A leg of lamb. In Roald Dahl’s A Lamb to the Slaughter, a wife kills her police detective husband by hitting him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb. Afterwards she cooks the lamb and when investigators arrive (who are friends of her husband), she is interviewed and later offers them the roast lamb for dinner which, after a long shift, they eventually accept. They eat the lamb while discussing the murder weapon. 
    

... DEATH SCENES
Dexter Morgan (created by Jeff Lindsay), a blood spatter expert who also doubles up as a vigilante serial killer. He tracks down serious criminals, takes them to a scene that has been forensically  prepared to leave no trace, kills them, chops them up and then dumps them into the ocean off the back of his boat called ‘Slice of Life’. 
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
I don’t have any specific websites I check on a regular basis, it really depends on what I’m researching at the time. This week’s internet history mainly focuses on the subjects of entomology and asphyxiation. Nice! 


... WRITING TIPS
One of the best tips I have been given was to keep a diary of research notes for each book – places visited, people interviewed etc. – so that facts can be double checked after the first draft is complete. It generally takes me about a year to write a novel and, without this, often small details would get forgotten along the way. 


... WRITING SNACKS
I’m a huge tea drinker when writing generally. I loathe copy-editing and need lots of treats such as Haribo (Starmix is my favourite) as I go along, and a huge glass of wine when I’m finished.



About JANE ISAAC
Jane Isaac lives with her husband and daughter in rural Northamptonshire, UK where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her Labrador, Bollo. An Unfamiliar Murder, her first novel, marked the start of the DCI Helen Lavery series and was nominated as best mystery in the 'eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.' The follow up, The Truth Will Out, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-Thriller.com.
In June 2015, Jane released Before It’s Too Late, the first in the DI Will Jackman series set in Stratford upon Avon. It was followed by Beneath the Ashes in November 2016. In May 2017, the third in the series, The Lies Within, will be published by Legend Press. 

Find Jane Isaac on her website, FB page and on Twitter - @JaneIsaacAuthor


About THE LIES WITHIN 





Publisher's description
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?

The Lies Within is being published by Legend Press on 2 May 2017. 


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.


Follow the Blog Tour from Tuesday 2nd May 2017




Thursday, 27 April 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Daniel Pembrey

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 

DANIEL PEMBREY

for his Night Market blog tour

to share his BEST OF CRIME ... 





... FILMS/MOVIES
I’m obsessed with The Third Man (1949), its sense of place (post war Vienna), characters and acting (Orson Welles), off-kilter camera angles, shadows … not to forget that music. The director Carol Reed lived in a house quite near me – there’s a blue plaque an’ all – and I managed to track down his son, Max, who is now a rare books dealer. I wondered if he’d be interested in an early copy of my Luxembourg-set thriller The Candidate, but thought better of asking.


... TV DRAMAS
Oh, Wallander – both the original Swedish one and the English language version with Kenneth Branagh. 


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
Val McDermid’s Jacko Vance. I interviewed her last year, and she explained how Vance was inspired by Jimmy Savile, after she interviewed him while working as a young reporter. Shiver.


... AUTHORS & FICTIONAL DETECTIVES
That’s such a tough choice, but when I lived in the States, I came to love Tony Hillerman’s Navajo cop detective, Jim Chee. There’s a mystical dimension to his investigations. Jim Chee is always seeking hozro – walking in harmony – only, murders and other ill deeds tend to get in the way. 


... MURDER WEAPONS
Roald Dahl’s short story Lamb to the Slaughter contains this. I have to credit Susi Holliday for pointing it out. I can’t say what it is – it’s a fast read – but I’ll give you a clue: it’s not a vase of daffodils. I don’t think …


    

... DEATH SCENES
Ah, the end scene of The Vanishing, by Tim Krabbe. I can’t say what that is either without spoilers. It’s a novella so, once more, it doesn’t take long to find out. It involves one of my all time greatest fears … shudder. 
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
Highly useful for me is a good Dutch news site, to see what’s going on in my detective’s story world and to find good incident and other material. DutchNews.nl tends to do the trick. Recently I was reading about shootings at coffee shops in Amsterdam, and it was such a great read – till my local coffee shop there featured! 


... WRITING SNACKS (& WRITING TIPS)

I can’t compete with that Mark Hill and his Wagyu beef, white truffles and the rest. I do guzzle coffee. (That’s my writing tip too, by the way: drink beaucoup de café!) I have this stove top coffee maker that’s been with me since university days, tested to destruction. Yet still going!



About DANIEL PEMBREY
Daniel Pembrey grew up in Nottinghamshire beside Sherwood Forest. He studied history at Edinburgh University and received an MBA from INSEAD business school. Daniel then spent over a decade working in America and, more recently, Luxembourg, coming to rest in Amsterdam and London – dividing his time now between these two great maritime cities. 
He is the author of The Harbour Master – the first book in the Henk van der Pol detective series – and several short thriller stories, and he contributes articles to publications including The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, The New European and The Field. His Henk van der Pol series is the product of time spent living in the docklands area of East Amsterdam, where Daniel counted De Druif bar as his local.

Find Daniel Pembrey on his website, FB page and on Twitter - @DPemb


About NIGHT MARKET




Publisher's description
When Henk van der Pol is asked by the Justice Minister to infiltrate a team investigating an online child exploitation network, he can hardly say no - he's at the mercy of prominent government figures in The Hague. But he soon realises the case is far more complex than he was led to believe... Picking up from where The Harbour Master ended, this new investigation sees Detective Van der Pol once again put his life on the line as he wades the murky waters between right and wrong in his search for justice.

Night Market is being published in paperback by No Exit Press on 27 April 2017.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.


Follow the Blog Tour







Tuesday, 25 April 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Paul Finch

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 FINCH


to share his BEST OF CRIME ... 





... AUTHORS
Ted Lewis, creator of Jack Carter, the racketeer-turned-avenger, who appeared in three novels, Jack’s Return Home, Jack Carter’s Law and Jack Carter and the Mafia Pigeon. The first one is the most memorable, not least because it was filmed in 1970 as the seminal crime thriller, Get Carter. It was probably the first adult crime novel I read, and it had a massive impact on me, primarily because it captured my home, the industrial north, so well. Ted Lewis had limited output; he sadly died at the age of 42, but he did more than most to create that stark, gritty school of British noir. 


... FILMS/MOVIES
Ironically, given my previous answer, my favourite crime thriller is not Get Carter, but probably The French Connection (1971), directed by William Friedkin, and of course, starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider. Even now, it breaks all the rules, eschewing plot and traditional narrative structure for documentary-style uber-realism. It’s quite simply an eye-popper (no pun intended), portraying a seedier, grimier New York than we’d ever seen before, and depicting inner city cops, not so much as heroes, but as the ruthless, hard-bitten individuals they are in real life. I was a cop myself, and this is still one of the most authentic cop movies I’ve ever seen.



... TV DRAMAS
Without doubt, it’s The Sweeney (1975-78). I think you can see where this interview is going by now.  All of my preferences, thus far at least, date from a harder, tougher era, when we weren’t afraid to show what cops were really like. I think The Sweeney has dated badly now, if I’m honest, but at the time – when I was at my most impressionable age, I suppose – after slower-paced shows like Dixon of Dock Green – it was such a refreshing change to see a no-holds-barred action series that had pace, rawness and irreverence, with John Thaw as Regan, the last word in roughneck DIs. It didn’t just make me want to write about the cops, it made me want to join them. 


... FICTIONAL KILLERS
For me, Donovan ‘Red’ Grant is one of the scariest killers in thriller fiction. He appeared in Ian Fleming’s fifth James Bond novel, From Russia With Love (1957), as the quintessential professional assassin. A muscular blond psychopath, he deserted the British Army in Berlin, and joined the Soviet counter-intelligence agency, SMERSH, becoming their chief executioner. Despite his looks, he is totally asexual, has the eyes ‘of a drowned man’ and prefers to kill at the time of the full moon. Most folk will remember Robert Shaw’s mesmerising performance in the 1963 movie version. Anyone who can go toe-to-toe with 007 has got to be a serious opponent. 


... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES
After reflection, I think it has to be Art Keller, the DEA man in Don Winslow’s epic duo of ‘dope war’ novels, Power of the Dog (2005) and The Cartel (2015). Keller is the archetypical good guy, because, though flawed – as all our law-enforcement heroes must be these days – he’s up against an edifice of evil in the form of the Mexican cartels, a bunch of crime syndicates who will stop at nothing – including torture and mass murder – to advance their schemes. Keller is clever rather than tough, and though by the end, he’s a pale, wearied shadow of the guy he was, you can’t help but love him for taking on such a monstrous opponent … and winning (of a fashion). 


... MURDER WEAPONS

For me, it’s the actual hound of the Baskervilles. I’ve always been a horror fan as well as a thriller fan, and the more gothic and traditional, the better. Hammer’s Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) was the first horror movie I was allowed to watch as a child, and it terrified me. I soon found myself reading the novel, which also wove a magical spell. The image of the vast, desolate moor and this monstrous beast of legend, which it wasn’t actually difficult for a clever madman to recreate using perfectly non-supernatural means, all make for one of the greatest crime thrillers ever written. The Hound of Hell – can you think of a more hideous means by which to kill someone?
    

... DEATH SCENES
One of the most horrific ever occurs in the second half of Don Winslow’s second dope war saga, The Cartel (2015), when the Zetas, a special forces group who have taken to drugs-dealing themselves, are enraged by a busload of itinerant workers accidentally straying onto their patch when business is in progress. What follows is the most harrowing massacre of the innocent you’re ever likely to read. Everyone on that bus, both men and women, are killed, but only after being used as playthings for hours, and when they die, it isn’t quick – they are garroted, burned, beheaded, etc. It completely underlines the depths of evil in that astonishing novel.
  

... BLOGS/WEBSITES
Sorry to be boring, but for me it’s always Wikipedia. I know it’s not necessarily the most reliable source, but I tend to do most of my real research with people rather than websites; I have a list of various experts I can call on. If I ever need to look something up quickly, I find Wikipedia pretty useful for that. 


... WRITING TIPS
Make your rejections work for you. First of all, accept that rejection slips are an occupational hazard – we all get them (most of us could wallpaper our offices with them). Secondly, learn from them. If an editor or publisher has gone to the trouble of telling you why he’s knocking you back, you don’t have to agree with it, but at least take note of what he/she is saying, and if that criticism comes up again and again, consider that the fault may lie with you. Which is not the end of the world, because if it’s something you can fix, do it – that could be the difference between getting rejected again next time, or making a sale. 


... WRITING SNACKS
It sounds a bit self-indulgent, but today it’s cakes and ale. It isn’t exactly a tradition of ours, but today is publication day – as I write, ASHES TO ASHES has just been published – and someone has treated my wife (and business partner) Cathy, and I, to some cakes and a couple of light ales. We are currently enjoying them as a form of minor celebration.



About PAUL FINCH
Paul Finch is a screenwriter, novelist, short story writer and journalist, whose published and broadcast work covers a wide spectrum of genres, including horror, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers and crime.

Find out more about Paul Finch on his website and also on Twitter - @paulfinchauthor


About ASHES TO ASHES




Publisher's description
John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous.
A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again.

But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next. Least of all Heck…

Ashes to Ashes was published by Avon on 6 April 2017.


Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.