Recently Read – The House at Seas End by Elly Griffiths

The House at Seas End by Elly Griffiths

Published by Quercus (first published January 1st 2010) ISBN13: 9781849163675

HouseWhen bones are unearthed at the foot of a north Norfolk cliff, forensics expert Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson are put on the case. The skeletons have lain there for decades, possibly since the war, and for all that time a hideous crime has been concealed.

When a body washes up on the beach, it becomes clear that someone wants the truth of the past to stay buried, and will go to any lengths to keep it that way. Can Ruth and Nelson uncover the truth in time to stop another murder?

 

 

My Thoughts;

Another great book in the Ruth Galloway series. This third one sees Ruth juggle the demands of her job at the university as an archaeologist as well as being seconded to the serious crimes unit of the police, with that of being a single mother. Griffiths explores this wonderfully as Ruth pitches between her desires to be a part of an exciting discovery and then the ensuing investigation and her guilt at her perceived failures as a mother. Griffiths doesn’t provide easy answers or magic up people we’ve not previously heard of. Neither does she change the behaviours of those we have already met, just to suit. This storyline is an area that many working mothers will be able to identify with deeply. I found it real and genuine and it brought an added depth to the story.

The setting along the harsh cold coastline is as always an enormous character of its own. It feels forbidding and dangerous without the considerations of a murderer at large. And the investigated murder crosses time periods with history, covering the second World War period and family secrets play out in a wonderful story that has you entrenched firmly in there, wondering at a time gone by, and how things may have actually occurred in small coastal towns.

The ending will leave you gasping to read the next one as soon as you can. A perfect way to end a book in a series!

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Can Diversity Really Exist in Publishing?

If you’re a book lover then you know that there has been another incident of mass racial abuse on Twitter. That or you’ve had your head in a box – or a book maybe!

Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman gave an interview to Sky where she said that children’s books needed more diversity. It was incorrectly headlined, resulting in a mass barrage of racism towards her on Twitter.

Stuart Miles @ FreedigitalPhotos

Stuart Miles @ FreedigitalPhotos

Earlier, she had used Twitter to call for “diversity and inclusion. More books featuring kids/YA with disabilities, LGBT, people of colour, travellers, different cultures, religions pls”

I completely agree with her. We are a world of diverse countries, how can we write about the world we live in and not represent it correctly?

But how does that transfer to the authors? Is the publishing world comfortable and ready for people from all of those groups Malorie Blackman has listed, to become authors in their publishing houses? For many of those groups I’d say yes.

But what about disability? There’s a slight difference with that one. With a disabled author the publishing house has to consider if you are a long-term investment – or so I’ve been told. On multiple occasions. As I’ve been told to tone down my accounting of my life as I live with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

We are a diverse world, but I walk on eggshells as I keep writing, in an attempt to keep my slate clean and wonderful people like Malorie Blackman who are already writing wonderful stories get attacked for her views.

I’m not going to tone it down anymore. I can keep writing and be disabled. Yes my life is massively affected, more than I ever thought possible a couple of years ago. If raising awareness, or simply blogging and being honest stops someone taking me on, then that person or place wasn’t right for me anyway.

We need more diversity in our authors as well as in our characters.

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Recently Read – Get Started in Creative Writing by Stephen May

Get Started in Creative Writing by Stephen May

Published March 28th 2014 by JMP Learning
ISBN13: 9781471801785

WritingGet Started in Creative Writing will help writers at the very beginning of their creative journey to gain confidence and find inspiration, and then support you in the completion of your first pieces of creative writing – a short story, a poem, a draft of a novel or screenplay. Each chapter includes a central writing exercise and four shorter ones, while key quotes, key ideas and focus points will be clearly signposted and will summarise important concepts and advice. At the heart of each chapter is a ‘Workshop’. The Workshop is a key exercise, in which you will gain a deeper insight into the craft of writing.
In addition to coverage of all the key genres and their conventions, this new edition includes an expanded section on self- and digital publishing, to reflect recent advances in technology and the wide variety of digital platforms now available for the distribution of creative writing. There will be a section on the latest trend of creative journalling, and insight into how to tap the potential of the Internet to be the world’s largest creative writing workshop.

My Thoughts;

I obtained my copy of this book through Netgalley, so thanks to them, the author and the publisher.

I think this book is exactly what it says it is in the blurb. It is a great book for writers new to creative writing. Each chapter is filled with easy to understand information on the subject at hand (each area of creative writing being broken down into its own area) with tasks being set to get your creative juices flowing. And it does start from an extremely basic level. Set for someone who is just thinking about going into creative writing, because the initial tasks (workshops) are on obtaining notebooks, viewing the people around you, making notes, freewriting, talking to relatives and even looking at your own life timeline. There are some ideas in there that you might find quite handy though. Basic though they seem, those people who may have been writing for a while, may not have thought of some of the things in here.

The chapters, after getting your creative juices flowing, then goes on to cover the whole host of creative writing concepts from short stories, (even blogging), novels, stage plays, to television screenplays and films. Even if you are not at the beginning of your journey and are happily ploughing through a novel, this book may hold some great information about, for instance, writing television screenplays and how to break into that area of work. because it’s not just about the writing, the book does also tell you about how and where to submit these pieces of creative writings you have been doing.

An interesting and comprehensive book, that can easily be skipped through should you not want to read a chapter.

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What’s Your First Draft Like? – Elizabeth Haynes

copyright Ryan Cox

copyright Ryan Cox

Today I’m thrilled to welcome crime writer Elizabeth Haynes to the First Draft hot seat. You can find a Recently Read post on Elizabeth’s first novel, Into The Darkest Corner, Here.

Elizabeth’s books are now published in more than 30 countries around the world and in over 20 languages with more due for release.

Her first novel Into the Darkest Corner was published by Myriad Editions in February 2011 and was featured on Channel 4′s TV Book Club. It was selected as one of Amazon UK’s Rising Stars and went on to win Amazon UK Best Book of 2011.

When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you do?/Do you have a set routine approaching it?

I start a new notebook once I have an idea, and I’ll start by jotting down character names, ideas for scenes, any good bits of dialogue, titles, that kind of thing. I have two notebooks per book, one a small paperback Moleskine which goes everywhere with me, and one a hardbacked, ringbound A4 Whitelines notebook which will have everything in it from mind maps and to do lists through to acknowledgments in the back, so I don’t forget anyone who helped with the book.

But beyond a few brief notes, I don’t write much down. It’s more of a statement of intent. If it has a notebook, sooner or later I will write the novel.

EH plan (2)

Pen and paper or straight to the keyboard?

I always write first drafts in November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so aside from the few brief notes, I will go straight to the keyboard to write and not stop until it’s done (by which I mean I don’t edit as I go along, I do sometimes stop for tea, or sleep).

How important is research to you?

It’s very important, especially writing about real life subjects. Even if I haven’t been through these experiences, someone out there has, and I think it’s insulting to them not to make an effort to find out what a situation is really like.

How do you go about researching?

When I start writing, I usually have an idea of the subject matter the book will cover, so I’ll have done some general research to enable me to write freely without getting too stuck. As I’m writing, I’ll note down specific questions as they crop up. Once the first draft’s done, I have a much clearer idea about the gaps in my knowledge, so then I’ll go and do much more detailed research to cover those areas. Often the research itself will throw up some new ideas which I’ll then incorporate into later drafts. It’s probably not the ideal way to do it.

How do you store everything; ideas, research, images that catch your eye?

Bits of paper and ideas go in the notebooks (the Moleskin has a handy flap), images go into Scrivener, which I use to write. I also have a Spotify playlist for each book. The music isn’t necessarily relevant to the story (apart from Revenge of the Tide, for which I had Genevieve’s dancing music as a playlist), it’s just the music I’m listening to at the time.

Tell us how that first draft takes shape?

Very quickly! I never know what’s going on with the story until it happens, which is a result of writing at speed. On a good day I can do 10,000 words and my record is about 12,000. Most days I’ll write about 5-6,000 words and on some days I won’t write anything at all. I’ll carry on after NaNoWriMo finishes until the first draft is done. Then I’ll leave it for a month or so before re-reading it and doing some rough corrections, taking notes as I go. Usually it will be a mess, with big plot holes, subplots that don’t go anywhere, characters who change name halfway through, and a rubbish ending that doesn’t make sense. But there will be some intriguing ideas in there, too, and I’ll usually be quite keen to dive back in and start fixing things.

Are there any rituals you have to do or items you must have with you while writing that draft?

I don’t think so. I drink far too much coffee and eat too much chocolate, which seems to help. I think NaNoWriMo itself is something of a ritual, because if I try to write first drafts without the momentum that November gives me, I struggle and usually give up.

Does the outside world exist or are you lost to us for a period of time as the magic works?

November is actually the social high point of my year. I’m the co-Municipal Liaison for Kent, which means that I spend much of the month driving around the county meeting other participants for write ins. But once I’m immersed in my story, I do find I switch off quite easily. I work well in coffee shops with lots of noise and chatter around me.

EH workspaces (2)What does your work space look like?

I have a writing shed which takes up a lot of the garden, with desk and bookcases courtesy of IKEA. I also have an IKEA Poäng armchair and footstool, which gets in the way a bit. I also have a filter coffee machine, a small grinder and lots of mugs, piles and piles of unread books, lots of books telling me how to write better books, magazines and a secret biscuit tin that I have to hide from myself.

Edit as you go or just keep getting words out?

Definitely editing as a separate process!

I see many writers counting words in a day. Word counter or other method of keeping track of progression?

In November, word count is everything. It reminds me that I’m making progress. Scrivener is good at keeping track of your targets, but during November I regularly update my word count on the NaNoWriMo website. I also use a spreadsheet that my husband created for me, which shows other useful and encouraging statistics, like percentage achieved, how many words left until target reached.

So, that first draft is down. Roughly how long did it take? And what shape is it in?

At least 50,000 words in November, but I won’t have reached the ending by that stage. I’ll carry on writing until it’s done, which will probably take me into January. By that time it will be about 90,000 words.

In what format do you like to read it through, ereader, paper or the computer screen?

I very rarely print it out. I email each draft to my kindle and I’ll read through on that, but only if I’m going on a long journey. Usually I’ll just read it on my laptop and fix things as I’m going along.

What happens now that first draft is done?

Firstly I will have a bit of a break and try and re-engage with the outside world. When I’ve finished a draft I sometimes feel a bit bereft, and it takes me a few days to catch up with myself. After that, I’ll do a single read-through which will involve correcting spellings, removing really awful bits, and changing anything that is easy to fix. Once that’s done I’ll send it off to my agent and my editor and then the process begins. I can’t edit on my own, I need other people to show me how what needs to be re-worked.

Thanks for digging into the depths of the first draft. It’s been a pleasure having you.

Thank you for asking! This was a really interesting exercise, I’ve never really thought about the mechanics of my first draft before.

 

You can find Elizabeth on her website, Twitter and Amazon.

Under a Silent Moon.

Silent moonIn the crisp, early hours of an autumn morning, the police are called to investigate two deaths. The first is a suspected murder at a farm on the outskirts of a small village. A beautiful young woman has been found dead, her cottage drenched with blood. The second is a reported suicide at a nearby quarry. A car with a woman’s body inside was found at the bottom of the pit.

As DCI Louisa Smith and her team gather evidence, they discover a shocking link between the two cases and the two deaths-a bond that sealed their terrible fates one cold night, under a silent moon.

In this first entry in a compelling new detective series, Elizabeth Haynes interweaves fictional primary source materials-police reports, phone messages, interviews-and multiple character viewpoints to create a sexy, edgy, and compulsively readable tale of murder, mystery, and unsettling suspense.

 

As usual, if you want to take part in the First Draft series, just let me know! You can find a list of the previous Q&A’s Here.

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August’s Crime Book Club and September’s Read

Last night the Crime book club discussed Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger. As it was August we had wanted a summer themed crime book. We had a couple of apologies for members who were unable to make it so we were a small group, but did we think it met its mark?

It definitely stood its ground on setting in the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos. Siger beautifully rendered the island in sight and heat and feel for all members. It was mostly enjoyed and as the start of a series two of the three attending said they would read further books.

Last night saw us discuss it being the year anniversary of the book club and we discussed what our favourite books of the year had been and what we got out of being in the club. You can see the full conversation below.

 

Next month we will be reading Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller. 

Norwegian by nightHe will not admit it to Rhea and Lars – never, of course not – but Sheldon can’t help but wonder what it is he’s doing here..

Eighty-two years old, and recently widowed, Sheldon Horowitz has grudgingly moved to Oslo, with his grand-daughter and her Norwegian husband. An ex-Marine, he talks often to the ghosts of his past – the friends he lost in the Pacific and the son who followed him into the US Army, and to his death in Vietnam.

When Sheldon witnesses the murder of a woman in his apartment complex, he rescues her six-year-old son and decides to run. Pursued by both the Balkan gang responsible for the murder, and the Norwegian police, he has to rely on training from over half a century before to try and keep the boy safe. Against a strange and foreign landscape, this unlikely couple, who can’t speak the same language, start to form a bond that may just save them both.

 

The meeting is on Wednesday 17th September 2014 at 8 p.m. GMT on Google+ Hangouts. You can find the how-to Here. If you’ve not yet managed to join us we’d love to see you.

To keep informed of book choices straight to your in-box, you can sign up to the newsletter Here.

What has been your favourite book of the year? Full list of meetings on YouTube Here. :)

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Murder They Wrote?

The last panel I attended at Theakstons Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate in July was the ‘Keeping it Real’ panel on Sunday morning.  You can find my post about the panel itself Here.

21.7.14 007

 

What interested me and has kept nagging away at me since was a question put to the panel by a member of the audience at the end. The answer was laughter from all on stage. Basically, the panel was about whether crime fiction should mirror real life crimes or stay away from them and the question was about whether any of the writers had thought about writing anything other than murder. Onset lots of laughter and jokes about writing about bank robberies and stolen bicycles. (or some such other lesser crimes.) The mindset of the answering authors was that murder was the most serious of crimes and therefore the only crime that can really be written about to warrant a novel.

I wasn’t overly happy with the response, but couldn’t from the top of my head think of any crime novels where someone hadn’t been murdered.

Good girlFast forward a little over a week and I’m reading The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. One of the highlights of my reading year so far. You can read my review Here. Definitely a crime novel. And not a murder to be solved or occurring anywhere in the book. I’m not spoiling anything by saying the novel is about an abduction. I’ve just read the blurb on Goodreads!

So what about the laughing Harrogate panel?

I think you can have a crime novel without a murder. It needs to be a very cleverly written book, but yes, absolutely.

What about you? What books have you read that don’t have murder within the pages but fall firmly within the crime fiction genre? I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this one.

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Recently Read – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

EleanorEleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

My Thoughts;

I read this book while I was on holiday and I couldn’t put it down. It is so beautifully told in alternating chapters between Park and Eleanor, starting the day Eleanor gets on the bus for her first day in her new school. It’s not a great experience for her and all Park wants to do is stay invisible but there’s a space next to him so in the end he tells her quite harshly to just sit down there. In their own very different ways they are different from the rest of the kids and slowly a connection starts between them. It’s slow and endearing.

It’s not all sweetness and light though. The differences for Eleanor are quite harsh. This book deals with the tough subject of domestic violence in the home and in contrast, Park’s home is warm and welcoming. His mother who is Korean is absolutely adorable and has his father under her thumb which is brilliant to see as he is a great hulking strong man, who happens to adore the woman he married.

It’s a book about relationships. relationships between teenagers, families, and the relationship you must have with yourself. It’s a wonderful book to read. It tore my heart out at the end and I’m now going to read more by Rainbow Rowell.

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What’s Your First Draft Like? – Mari Hannah

Today I’m thrilled to have award winning crime writer, Mari Hannah on the first draft hot seat.

MariWhen an assault on duty ended her career as a probation officer, Mari Hannah turned to scriptwriting. She created a number of projects, most notably the pilot episode of a crime series for the BBC, a piece of work she later adapted into her crime debut – The Murder Wall – which went on to win the Polari First Book Prize. Her second book – Settled Blood – won the Northern Writers’ Award.

The Times described her series character DCI Kate Daniels as a Northerner set to join the roster of top literary detectives.

When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you do?

When an idea first occurs, it consumes me. This is particularly annoying if I’m in the process of writing another book. Like it or not, that often happens. There’s always part of me that believes the new idea is rubbish. Even so, I can’t stop thinking about it. If it remains with me, I know I’m on to a winner. When the uncertainty is out of the way, I begin by imagining the main characters in my head. Nothing is written down at this stage.

Do you have a set routine approaching it?

I plan everything out before taking to the computer and couldn’t do it any other way. It’s a method that worked for me in screenwriting – it’s worked for me in novel writing too.

Pen and paper or straight to the keyboard?

It depends on how I feel. Sometimes, it’s straight to the keyboard to write a lengthy synopsis which will takes me around a week. Other times I use a card system where I write out the main story beats as scenes or, in the case of a book, chapters. This is particularly useful as I can move them around at will, something I can’t do with a synopsis. I’ve written several of my ideas as screenplays first. There are obvious benefits to this. It forces me to think visually. I get a lot of the dialogue down and brief descriptions of the action. It also concentrates the mind. At the conclusion of each scene, I imagine those drums at the end of an episode of Eastenders. I’m thinking: what hook can I create to keep the reader engaged for what comes after? It has to be strong enough to keep them turning the pages.

Mari desk

How important is research to you?

In terms of police procedure, very. I’m not anal about it but I owe it to my readers to be as authentic as possible. Fortunately, I come from a criminal justice background and have a working knowledge of the police, the judiciary, courts, prison system etc. My partner is an ex-murder detective who advises me on all matters relating to criminal investigation. Outside of policing, I’ve found many professionals willing to talk me through a range of subjects. Kate Daniels #2 and #3, for example, required a knowledge of flying I simply did not have. I’m lucky to have friends who are pilots.

How do you go about researching?

I tend to research locations first. I take loads of photographs and decide upon time of year, that kind of thing. I’ve learned as I’ve gone along not to overdo the research. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it overcomplicates matters. The trick is to do a little and more if necessary in subsequent drafts. Much of it will hit the bin in the editing process and that is wasted effort. Anyway, too much research slows the pace. It should almost be invisible.

How do you store everything; ideas, research, images that catch your eye?

I store a lot on my smartphone. I use the Voice Memos application to interview others or talk to myself – I get a lot of funny looks! It’s quick and easy. I take pictures on my phone too and store them in the cloud until I need them.

Tell us how that first draft takes shape?

After the planning stage, I write every day if I can possibly manage it. I loosely follow a three-act structure: set up, development, and resolution. When I reach the end of the set up, I read over my work before attempting what is often referred to as the ‘muddle in the middle’ and then reread again before I write the resolution and pump up the action in a race to the finale. I know it sounds like a faff but it gives me confidence to know that it all gels (in my head at least) and that I haven’t dropped the ball on the way through.

Are there any rituals you have to do or items you must have with you while writing that draft?

Before I even write the title, I Google the sunrise/sunset times for the period I’m working in. It keeps me from writing stuff that is happening after dark when witnesses can’t possibly see! I also begin a timeline document on a second computer that keeps me right in terms of days of the week. You can’t interview a bank manager on a Sunday. My last book took place in the autumn when the clocks went back. If you are writing in real time, it’s important to know these things. If you make a mistake, readers will pull you up on it.

Does the outside world exist or are you lost to us for a period of time as the magic works?

Once I’m in the zone, I just go for it. I turn off notifications. Leave my phone in another room. I abandon Twitter mates – perhaps stopping by briefly at night to say hi. People are very forgiving. They understand what a drain on your time social media can be. Oh, and I ignore my partner apparently! I never listen to a word she says, rarely coming up for air. I’m expecting divorce papers any day now.

Mari wallWhat does your workspace look like?

It’s a box room with two desks, two chairs and a murder wall – a white board like in a real incident room – and woe betide anyone who might touch it! I have many reference books on the shelf above my head: law, policing (especially homicide cases), psychology and sociology books from when I was training to become a probation officer. I use them often. I write in silence, using music only to create the right atmosphere. For example: if I’m feeling particularly upbeat and need to write a really sad scene.

Edit as you go or just keep getting words out?

I edit as I go, rereading and cutting the previous day’s work before I move on. No ‘dirty’ draft for me. I can’t write on unless I know that what is behind me makes perfect sense.

I see many writers counting words in a day. Word counter or other method of keeping track of progression?

Word counter? No. I try to write a chapter a day, whatever length it might be and no matter how long it takes. Sometimes I manage that. Sometimes not. When I began writing, I could agonise over a sentence for hours. These days I’m more relaxed. If I don’t want to write, I do something else. I write for pleasure. It should never be a chore.

So, that first draft is down. Roughly how long did it take? And what shape is it in?

As I said above, I edit as I go. By the time I’ve reached the end, the draft is in good shape, pretty much ready to show my agent. I read it through, polishing – my partner calls it fiddling – until it is the very best I can make it and then I send it off and bite my nails. My agent gives me notes, I rewrite if necessary, and then it goes to my publisher. I reckon it takes about a month to plan, three months to write, a couple of weeks to edit once my agent has seen it – then we’re good to go. Except that I’m usually in various stages with other books. You can bet your life that as you hit the final straight, a copy edit or proofread for an earlier book will arrive, so I’m afraid that drags it out, sometimes for months.

In what format do you like to read it through, ereader, paper or the computer screen?

I used to use paper until I found a wonderful app called iAnnotate created by a company called Branchfire. It is such an amazing piece of kit, allowing me to annotate (but not change) a manuscript. It’s really useful for when I’m on the move. I have it on two iPads so that when I’m reading and making notes, so is my partner. Did I mention that she is my first editor and chief collaborator, an unlimited source of murderous thoughts and anecdotes?

What happens now that first draft is done?

I crack open a bottle. :)

Thanks for digging into the depths of the first draft. It’s been a pleasure having you.

You can find Mari on her website, Twitter and Amazon

Monument to Murder

monumentWhen skeletal remains are found beneath the fortified walls of an ancient castle on Northumberland’s rugged coastline, DCI Kate Daniels calls on a forensic anthropologist to help identify the corpse.

Meanwhile, newly widowed prison psychologist Emily McCann finds herself drawn into the fantasy of convicted sex offender, Walter Fearon. As his mind games become more and more intense, is it possible that Daniels’ case has something to do with his murderous past? With his release imminent, what exactly does he have in mind for Emily?

As Daniels encounters dead end after dead end and the body count rises, it soon becomes apparent that someone is hiding more than one deadly secret…

 

As usual, if you want to take part in the First Draft series, just let me know! You can find a list of the previous Q&A’s Here.

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Crime Book Club – The Three That Got Away

Next Wednesday 20th July, we are reading for our Crime Book club, Murder in Mykonos by Jeffery Sigir. You can find details of the book club Here. It’s great fun and all new member are more than welcome and you have a week to read the current book.

As August is our first year anniversary – yes, can you believe we have been running a year! – we are going to vote on next months read from three that got away during the voting system during this past year. For any new readers of the blog, you can see the playlist of the book group meetings on YouTube Here.

So, the choices for next months read are;

Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller

Norwegian by nightHe will not admit it to Rhea and Lars – never, of course not – but Sheldon can’t help but wonder what it is he’s doing here..

Eighty-two years old, and recently widowed, Sheldon Horowitz has grudgingly moved to Oslo, with his grand-daughter and her Norwegian husband. An ex-Marine, he talks often to the ghosts of his past – the friends he lost in the Pacific and the son who followed him into the US Army, and to his death in Vietnam.

When Sheldon witnesses the murder of a woman in his apartment complex, he rescues her six-year-old son and decides to run. Pursued by both the Balkan gang responsible for the murder, and the Norwegian police, he has to rely on training from over half a century before to try and keep the boy safe. Against a strange and foreign landscape, this unlikely couple, who can’t speak the same language, start to form a bond that may just save them both.

Just What Kind of Mother are You? by Paula Daly

what kind of motherWhat if your best friend’s child disappears? And it was all your fault.

This is exactly what happens to Lisa Kallisto, overwhelmed working mother of three, one freezing December in the English Lake District. She takes her eye off the ball for just a moment and her whole world descends into the stuff of nightmares. Because, not only is thirteen-year-old Lucinda missing, and not only is it all Lisa’s fault, but she’s the second teenage girl to disappear within this small tightknit community over two weeks. The first girl turned up stripped bare, dumped on a busy high street, after suffering from a terrifying ordeal.

Wracked with guilt over her mistake and after being publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. But as she begins peeling away the layers surrounding Lucinda’s disappearance, Lisa learns that the small, posh, quiet town she lives in isn’t what she thought it was, and her friends may not be who they appear, either.

Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

Precious thingRemember the person you sat next to on your first day at school? Still your best friend? Or disappeared from your life for good?

Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever.

They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Now in their late twenties Rachel has everything while Clara’s life is spiralling further out of control. Then Clara vanishes.

Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you’ve shared together. The truth is always there. But only if you choose to see it.

 

As usual, you can vote by leaving a comment or on the Facebook page or on Twitter using the hashtag #crimebookclub.

I look forward to seeing you next week!

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An Interview With Agent Juliet Mushens And Attending Festivals

I thought I’d share this short video today. Agents always seem to be scary beasts on very high pedestals. I like the information and approach in this video.

Is anyone going to the York Festival of Writing in September this year?

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