Nov 28, 2016

Seven days in the book world with Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus was born in East Kent. He started writing when he was a teenager but in his twenties he made it a career. His first book Floodland was published in 2000 and he has been shortlisted for and won many awards since then. Marcus was writer in residence at Bath Spa University for three years, he writes reviews for The Guardian and currently teaches creative writing at Arvon and Ty Newydd. In his spare time he draws, plays the drums and is a dab hand with a longbow. He now lives in the French Alps.

Here is Marcus’ reading week.

Thomas Mann - Buddenbrooks (1994)
Stefan Zweig - The World of Yesterday (2011)
Alanna Collen - 10% Human (2015)
Malcolm Lowry - October Ferry to Gabriola (1970)
and finally
Paul Mason – Postcapitalism (2016)

Mister Memory comes out March 2017  9781681773407
Snow comes out April 2017  9781908213402

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Nov 21, 2016

Seven days in the book world with Mason Cross

Mason Cross is a Scot (he hails from Glasgow) who writes crime novels set in America. His Carter Blake series, Killing Season, The Samaritan and The Time to Kill (Winterlong in the US) are edge of the seat thrillers. Mason Cross isn't his real name. He's married and lives with his wife and kids in Glasgow.

Here is Mason's week in his own words.

To be an author, two things are absolutely essential: writing a lot and reading a lot. Writing a lot is the easy part: deadlines make sure of that. I try to read as much as possible, but between working, being a dad to three young kids and turning in a book a year, it’s not always easy to find the time.

2016 has been an unusually news-heavy year, too, so I’ve found a lot of my reading time lately has been sucked into keeping up with the escalating insanity of planet Earth. I try to read actual books as much as possible, and ideally that means on paper. I love the convenience of my Kindle, but it doesn’t feel as though I’ve really read a book unless it’s a hard copy.

At the start of the week I finished Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, which is an exhaustively-researched study of the origins of al Qaeda and the road to 9/11. For such well-trodden ground, I was surprised by how much I learned. I read quite a bit of nonfiction – sometimes when I’m researching for my own work, sometimes just for its own sake. The next one I’m hoping to get to is Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me, about her experience of working alongside Ted Bundy, not suspecting his true nature.

Fiction is important to me too, though, as you would expect. I’ve just started reading Sarah J. Naughton’s debut novel Tattletale, which is published next year and is already getting major buzz. It’s a twisty psychological thriller about the way a tragic incident impacts the lives of two very different women.

I like to have an audiobook on the go at all times. When I go for a walk or a long drive I can listen to a book and it feels like I’m winning the time back. Right now I’m listening to Harlan Coben’s The Innocent, read by Richard Ferrone. You know what you’re getting with Coben: action, mystery and an emotional kick, and so far this one is no exception.

I’ve always been an avid reader of comic books, and this week I’ve been reading a couple of volumes. Love in Vain is a graphic biography of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson by the French creators J.M. Dupont and Mezzo. I’m also reading a hardcover collection of Batman stories from the 70s written by Len Wein. Some of the stories are dated and a little goofy, but the art is gorgeous and the sheer creativity packed into each twenty-two-page story is breathtaking.

So when I stop to think about it, I’m actually reading more than I thought I was this week!

The Looming Tower (2007)
The Stranger Beside Me (2000)
Tattletale (Pubs 2017)
The Innocent (2009)
Tales of the Batman (2014)
Love in Vain (2016)

Killing Season is out in paperback 9781605989525
Samaritan is out in hardcover 9781605989532
Winterlong comes out February 2017 9781681773148

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Nov 16, 2016

Sad news

Ghostman, Vanishing Games and that's it. Roger Hobbs is gone. He was only 28.


Nov 15, 2016

Lockout, John Nance

Pangia airways flight ten just developed a mind of its own. Something or someone has turned the aircraft around and is flying it back towards Tel Aviv. No one on the ground can contact the flight. Have they been hijacked? Has one of the pilots gone rogue? Is there a more sinister explanation?

With the Situation Room at the White House and the 'The Hole', in Israel both on full alert, it emerges that one of the passengers is the hawkish former Israeli Prime Minister, Moishe Lavi, a master strategist whose policies on dealing with Iran's nuclear capabilities got him bounced out of office. If the plane keeps its present heading it will enter Iranian airspace without permission.

Is this Lavi's attempt to go down in the history or could this be a plot to start a war by proxy coming from one of the alphabet soup of agencies surrounding the US President. With tensions mounting on the ground and in the cockpit, time and fuel are running out.

I can't say that this is a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller because this scenario hasn't happened.


Nov 14, 2016

Seven days in the book world with Chris Holm

Chris Holm grew up in Syracuse, New York. His first literary award was a Hershey bar after his three page story ‘The Alien Death from Outer Space’ (with red crayon illustrations) landed the second grader in the principal’s office. Chris’ short fiction has appeared in various publications including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Thuglit. He doesn’t have writerly superstitions; he’ll write anywhere, anytime on anything. His books have netted him multiple nominations and won him many awards (Killing Kind recently won an Anthony Award for Best Novel) Chris and his wife live in Portland, Maine. 

Here is Chris’ week in his own words.

I just returned from Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee. (Don't worry; it's a conference, not a killing spree.) Since I live in Maine, that means I had some dedicated reading time while flying to and from. The problem was, the book I’m in the middle of at home—Colson Whitehead’s beautiful and harrowing THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD—is signed, so I didn’t want to stuff it in my carry-on. Instead, I grabbed a couple new books I’ve been eager to dive into.

On the way there, I read Iain Reid’s I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS. It was spare, propulsive, and unsettling in a Lynchian way—the sort of book you want to make your friends read so you can talk about it with them. It’s on the short side, too, which made it perfect for a single sitting.

On the way back, I read Domenic Stansberry’s THE WHITE DEVIL. Stansberry’s Edgar-winning THE CONFESSION made me an instant fan, but he hasn’t put out anything new in six years. THE WHITE DEVIL, which is inspired by the 1612 John Webster play of the same name, ran the risk of reading more like a formal exercise than a novel capable of standing on its own, but Stansberry’s far too skilled an author to fall into that trap. Instead, it demonstrates noir’s timeless quality, and made me curious to learn more about the crime that inspired Webster’s play.

I was also fortunate enough to get an early look at Steph Post’s forthcoming LIGHTWOOD, a gritty tale of betrayal and revenge set in rural Florida. Though temperatures in Maine have plummeted of late, Post’s sense of place is so strong, I could darn near feel the sweat roll down my back while I read. It’s always nice when books I read for work prove to be a pleasure.

Chris' week in a nutshell

The Underground Railroad (2016)
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2016)
The White Devil (2016)
Lightwood (Jan 2017)

Red Right Hand is out now 9780316259538
Killing Kind is out now in paperback 9780316259521

Nov 1, 2016

Her Nightly Embrace, Adi Tantimedh

Meet Ravi Chandra Singh, former religious scholar, former teacher and now a private eye for Golden Sentinels, a firm that handles the dirty laundry of the rich and famous with the ultimate discretion. His colleagues include a couple of gay ex coppers, a weed smoking genius, a PR maven, a techie who’d give MacGyver a run for his money, a well connected lawyer and an heiress who just happens to be one of the best hackers in the world. Ravi is still proving himself to Roger and Cheryl the bosses of Golden Sentinels but he won’t even think of turning his back on this job, or the money because he has his sister’s lavish wedding to pay for and his mother’s gambling debts to pay off.

And the cases…A politician being groomed to lead his party who is convinced his dead fiancĂ©e is haunting him in the sack. A twitter war between authors that spawns literary terror mobs, an escapee from an arranged marriage with global implications if the wedding doesn’t go ahead and a banker whose evidence of her firm’s catalogue of wrongdoing is on a thumb drive that no one (not even her) knows the password to.

Through all of this mayhem and chaos Ravi sees visions of Hindu gods, dressed in pinstripes and tweeting on their mobile phones, he’s pretty sure they’re tweeting about him using the hashtag #ourownpersonalholyfool

This is the first in a trilogy that gives a fresh shot of adrenaline to the PI genre.

Oct 25, 2016

Hold A Scorpion, Melodie Johnson Howe

Movie actress Diana Poole makes it a rule never to date other actors, her one exception, the one she just dumped, has taken to twitter claiming he dumped her. Diana’s last movie may have been a flop but it paid for some much needed work on her Malibu beach house. Her place isn’t gated and camera ridden so occasionally fans and stalkery ex-boyfriends turn up outside. Diana thinks that the woman waving at her and neighbour Ryan from the other side of the pacific coast highway could be a fan, as she gets closer the woman, spooked by something they can’t see walks straight into traffic and dies instantly, closing the PCH for hours and giving writer Ryan about ten years of therapist’s bills and an idea for a zombie movie.

The mystery woman was carrying a scorpion, jewel encrusted and instantly recognizable to Diana as belonging to her late film star mother. How did the dead woman get hold of it? Who scared her into traffic and why is someone turning Diana’s life upside trying to get the scorpion back.

With help from PI Leo Heath and some hindrance from Ryan and his new squeeze, Diana begins to investigate her mother’s death. She’s fed up of landing the kind of walk-on-and-die-half-way-through-the-movie type roles but real life could soon prove to be even deadlier.