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An Evening With Jo Nesbo

This week, I was fortunate enough to attend an evening with the multi-million selling author Jo Nesbo. Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of his most famous creation, Harry Hole, Jo is currently embarking on a UK tour, promoting his latest book, The Thirst.

In an interview with Jake Kerridge, Jo recalled how Harry Hole first came into being. When asked to write about life on the road with his band, he decided that the old adage, ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’ was true and so used the lengthy flight to Australia to plan out the first Harry novel, The Bat. His love for his native Oslo is apparent when he speaks and so it was not too long before his books were being set in the Norwegian capital. It could be argued that Harry Hole is now one of Norway’s biggest exports although he does, according to Jo, have a rival in the Norwegian cheese knife!

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His new book The Thirst is, literally, one of Harry’s most blood thirsty cases, dealing with clinical vampirism. A serial killer is stalking the dating app, Tinder, in order to find victims whose blood he can drink. When asked if he’d consulted convicted murderers to aid his research, Jo revealed that he had spoken to a couple but had never been able to use anything in his books. He also spoke about the end of the Harry Hole series which may come fairly soon.

One of the most interesting parts of the evening was when he discussed The Redbreast  his favourite self-written book. This book, set partly during World War Two, had some of its inspiration thanks to Jo’s father’s involvement in the war, fighting on the side of the Germans whilst his mother was part of the resistance in Norway.

One of the biggest laughs came as he talked about his pride in seeing strangers on aeroplanes reading his books, unaware that the author was sitting next to them. He also is known for signing people’s books when he spots them on an unattended sun lounger on the beach. I wonder how many people have been furious when discovering that someone had written on their book, unaware that it was actually Jo’s signature!

The Thirst is available to buy now.

 

Put a Book on the Map

51eodoodzlToday, I was incredibly pleased to take part in the ‘Put a Book on the Map’ feature on Cleo Bannister’s blog, Cleopatra Loves Books.

I have given a description of the setting of David Jackson’s ‘A Tapping at My Door’ and am thrilled to have my writing alongside that of the man himself!

Please do take a look, and while you’re there, take a look at the rest of Cleo’s fantastic blog!

See the post here.

Read my review of ‘A Tapping at My Door’ here.

My Eagerly Anticipated Books!

It’s been a great year for books and 2017 promises to be just as good! Here are some of the books I’m looking forward to seeing published:

img_0987The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

2016 has seen me binge-reading all of Elly Griffiths’ Dr. Ruth Galloway books and the publication of The Chalk Pit can’t come soon enough! Over the past year, Ruth has become one of my favourite fictional characters and I can’t wait to see what happens to her next.

Published on February 23rd 2017

 

Origin by Dan Brown

519g6di52dl-_sy346_I know that Dan Brown’s books aren’t to everyone’s liking but I’m a firm believer that any book that gets people reading is a good idea! After finding The Lost Symbol a bit of a disappointment, Brown was back on track with Inferno (despite the dodgy ending in the film adaptation…). As with all of Brown’s books, the plot is, so far, shrouded in secrecy, but I’m hoping that it’s set in Europe and not America!

Published on September 26th 2017

 

51vc6ddce-lThe Somme Legacy by M J Lee

I enjoyed M J Lee’s first foray into genealogical mystery (The Irish Inheritance) and was pleased to see that a second book in the Jayne Sinclair series is imminent! As someone with an interest in the Somme, I am looking forward to this book immensely and can’t wait to see what secrets are hidden in the trenches of the First World War.

Published on February 9th 2017

 

downloadDying Games by Steve Robinson

After the revelations in Steve Robinson’s previous book, Kindred, this book is highly anticipated! The Amazon blurb has done more than whet my appetite!

Washington, DC: Twin brothers are found drowned in a Perspex box, one gagged and strapped to a chair. It’s the latest in a series of cruel and elaborate murders with two things in common: the killer has left a family history chart at each crime scene, and the victims all have a connection to genealogical sleuth Jefferson Tayte.

Published on 4th May 2017

2017 will also, hopefully, see new books from Kathleen McGurl, Lynda la Plante, Ann Troup, Nathan Dylan Goodwin, Luca Veste and Alex Grecian amongst others – I can’t wait!

My Books of 2016

2016 has been a great year for books, especially for crime and thriller fans! With so many to choose from, it has been difficult to choose my ten favourites, but I think I’ve just about managed it!

The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

By far, my favourite book of the year, and one whose plot will stay with me for a long time. Telling the story of a suicide bomber onboard a train bound for London, Cath Staincliffe’s novel is emotional and fast-paced and is one that makes you ask the question, “What would I do in that situation?”

Follow Me / Watch Me by Angela Clarke

51g8rpiawvlA slight cheat, as this is actually two books, but I couldn’t separate them! The first books in Angela Clarke’s ‘Social Media Murders’ series show how the likes of Twitter and Snapchat can help to bring out the worst in people and they certainly make you question your own social media usage. Having just finished Watch Me, I do hope that there’s a third book on the horizon!

Kindred by Steve Robinson

I do love a good genealogical mystery and, for me, Steve Robinson is the master of them! Told in two timeframes – the present and World War Two – this is, at times, an incredibly emotive book as genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, uncovers the truth about his own family. Dealing with The Holocaust  and the events of Kristallnacht, this is not a light-hearted read, but one that truly shows what millions of people endured at that time.

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

I could have included any of Robert Bryndza’s three ‘DCI Erika Foster’ books as they are all as brilliant as each other but decided to go with the one that started off the series. In Erika, we have a feisty, no-nonsense police officer who will stop at nothing to secure a conviction. Of course, like a lot of fictional detectives, she has a traumatic backstory, and this has helped her to become as determined as she is. Robert Bryndza’s foray into crime fiction has been a very welcome addition to the genre.

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl

It’s always  good sign when, after reading a book, you immediately download other books by the same author. This was what happened after reading The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. This is really two stories within a book, one set in the present day and one set during the Victorian era. In 1838, two sisters have been found shot but who was the culprit and how is the story linked to the present day? The book is billed as, ‘A gripping novel of family, secrets and murder’ and this is indeed true!

Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

For me, Luca Veste is fast becoming one of the crime writers. Set in Liverpool, the books follow the work of DI David Murphy, a born and bred Scouser, and DS Laura Rossi, a Liverpudlian of Italian descent. One of the main strengths in this series is the relationship between the two main characters. What I really enjoyed about this book was that I had no idea who the culprit was and was left guessing until the very end.

Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian

51ZBjJC54-L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Victorian crime is a big interest of mine and, for the past few years, I have eagerly anticipated the next of Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad books. After the shocking end to the previous book, The Harvest Man, I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Detective Walter Day. Lost and Gone Forever really shows the depraved side of Victorian society whilst also showing the growing importance of females. A great read!

The Disappearance by Annabel Kantaria

When I started to read this, I thought it was going to be a straightforward whodunnit: a woman disappears from a ship; how and why? It was so much more, though, telling the life story of Audrey Templeton and the consequences of her actions and those of other people. Heart-warming and distressing in equal measures.

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

Edie inherits a house in the same square where five women were killed years before and soon finds herself drawn into the events of the past. This is a very dark story but one which is well-written and contains wonderful description. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing up until the end.

Hidden Killers by Lynda La Plante

51dispit6tl-_sx320_bo1204203200_I’ve always been a massive Prime Suspect fan so was ecstatic when Lynda La Plant started to write prequels to the original story. Hidden Kilers, like the first book, Tennison, helps to explain the character of Jane Tennison that we all know so well. Providing an insight into how difficult it was for the first group of female detectives, hopefully this series will go on and on!

An Evening with Ian Rankin

imageAs a fan of the Ian Rankin ‘Rebus’ novels for a very long time, I was incredibly excited to get the chance to be in the audience of ‘An Evening with Ian Rankin’ at Oh Me Oh My in Liverpool. The venue, the ornate former Bank of British West Africa, built in 1920, was the perfect place for an evening filled with insights, stories and laughter.

Rankin’s latest book, Rather be the Devil, sees the retired detective John Rebus, taking on the cold case of Maria Turquand, a socialite murdered in her hotel room in 1978. Meanwhile, the struggle for power in Edinburgh is alive and well with newcomer Darryl Christie taking on the old-school might of ‘Big’ Ger Cafferty. As a lot of the places that are used in Rankin’s books actually exist, it was interesting to hear how he contacted the hotel for permission to place the murder there – their response was ‘yes’ as it was a historical murder. Four weeks ago would have got an entirely different response however!

Always one for realism, Rankin felt that it was time that John’s penchant for cigarettes, alcohol and bad food came back to haunt him. Seeking advice from a doctor, a family friend, as to the sort of ailments Rebus could be suffering from, I was glad that several of the more grim conditions were discarded in favour of something more manageable! It will be interesting to see how he copes in subsequent books with his diagnosis although Ian admitted that he sometimes forgets about previous events saying that he almost forgot that Rebus had a dog when starting to write this book!

Throughout the evening, Ian was in conversation with Luca Veste, himself the author of superb books such as Then She was Gone  and Bloodstream. Both authors shared their similarities, discussing the settings of their books being in places not usually associated with the crime genre, with Veste talking about how he was turned down by numerous publishers due to the Liverpool setting. Rankin discussed how he, originally, used fictional places but how he now uses actual streets and buildings – a bonus for anyone participating in Rebus tours. He talked about the drawbacks, though, with the owner of the Oxford pub having to fit a foot rail by the bar as fans  were not happy to realise there wasn’t one, and also how a well-known coffee shop that he used in his current book has now become a restaurant!

Perhaps the funniest tale of the evening was his story about Peacock Johnson. Auctioning off the chance to appear as a character in the book A Question of Blood, the successful bidder was Johnson. On viewing his website, the author found a rather flamboyant, Hawaiian-shirted character – something seemed a bit suspicious! After a bit of detective work, Ian discovered that Peacock Johnson was none other than the alter-ego of the former bass player from Belle and Sebastian, Stuart David! Despite the subterfuge, Peacock Johnson did appear in A Question of Blood, along with his trusty sidekick, Evil Bob! Stuart David has since written a novel of his own featuring Peacock Johnson alongside another character with the familiar name of Ian Rankin!

In addition to his numerous anecdotes, we also discovered what had inspired him to become a crime writer. Revealing that he didn’t really start to read the crime genre until his early twenties, he discussed how television programmes such as Z Cars, Softly Softly and Shaft were amongst his favourites and talked about how the first name of Inspector Rebus is a nod to the private investigator  John Shaft!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and if you ever get the chance to hear Ian Rankin speak, do go – you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

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