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Degrees of Darkness – Tony J Forder

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Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.

Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.

When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.

In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.

But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank solve the mystery, when he has so much to lose?

This is one of those fabulous books that just worms its way under your skin as you turn the pages.  Aptly titled, it creeps you out by degrees as one of the most heinous of serial killers I’ve read in months and one tenacious ex-cop play cat and mouse as Frank tries to locate his daughter.

Brilliantly written, and superbly paced it carefully takes you down dark corridors in your mind,    as you contemplate the cruelty of the killer.  I absolutely loved this book, and whilst it only took a couple of days to read I savoured every chapter.  In a genre that is currently filled with fast paced, race to the end it was a delight to read something different.  Whilst it is still a race against time thriller, it gives a really genuine feel for the passage of time, building the tension carefully.

It’s not an easy book to read, as it can be quite disturbing in places, but that is what makes it all the more compelling.  Highly recommended as a deeply dark and disturbing read for anyone who loves being entirely absorbed in a difficult world.

O/t Partners in crime

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It’s been a loooooooong three years since the other half proposed to me in front of 600+ people at the end of Steve Mosby’s panel at Theakstons Old Perculiar Crime Writing Festival back in 2014.

But I am happy to announce that last weekend, LifeOfCri.me married her partner in crime at the home of Crime & Publishment, in Gretna Green.

12 Words with Paul Finch

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Paul Finch studied History at Goldsmiths, London, before becoming a cop in the north west of England. He then let his passion for writing allow him to follow a career in journalism. Now a full time writer, he first cut his literary teeth penning episodes of the British TV crime drama, THE BILL, and has written extensively in the field of children’s animation. However, he is probably best known for his work in thrillers and horrors.

Today as part of the LifeOfCri.me Theakstons Crime countdown he’s taking on our 12 word challenge.

 

Rules

All answers must be complete sentences and completed in no more than 12 words

Contractions Count.  It’s = 2 words

LOC: Your latest release Ashes to Ashes is your sixth book to feature Detective Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, what can you tell us about it?

PF: It is the darkest and most violent of the hecks to date

LOC: You are particularly evil to your protagonist, regularly putting him through the mill, why?

PF: I believe that personal jeopardy is intrinsic to a good crime thriller

LOC: How would you describe your writing process?

PF: A bit haphazard, but it seems to get the job done

LOC: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt in your writing career?

PF: Because my writing matters to me, that does not mean it matters

LOC: What words of wisdom do you have for aspiring authors?

PF: Pay attention to your rejections, and make sure you learn from them

LOC: What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?

PF: The Cartel by Don Winslow

LOC: Why?

PF: The ultimate account of a lone cops war against organised crime

finally just for laughs…

LOC: Thanks to the author Angela Marsons you’ve just woken up on stage in front of the judges of Britain’s Got Talent, with only an ironing board, a box of matches and an armadillo. What do you do?

PF: Warm the armadillo’s feet (through the board), to check out his moves.

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…

The Breaking of Liam Glass – Charles Harris

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Charles Harris is an international award-winning writer-director and a highly-respected script consultant, writing and directing for cinema, television and theatre. He is also a best-selling non-fiction author with titles including A Complete Screenwriting Course, Police Slang, and Jaws in Space. Several of his short stories have been published, with two shortlisted for awards.
Charles has a black belt in Aikido and teaches police, security personnel and the public, self-defence against street violence, including knife attacks.
He has a wife and two cats who live with him in North London and two sons who don’t.

Today as part of the LifeOfCri.me Theakston’s Crime countdown he’s writing talking to us about the inspiration for his book.

At the start of my new novel, The Breaking of Liam Glass, Jason Crowthorne, a keen young journalist, about to lose his job on a local paper, comes across a teenage footballer, stabbed and hospitalised in a coma.

Believing he’s found a way to save his career, he pitches his story to a tabloid. Unfortunately, the tabloid wants more of a celebrity hook – a hook Jason doesn’t know if he can provide. But maybe he can tweak it a little…

And so he’s led, step by step, into the dark and dangerous world of fake news.

Where does inspiration come from?

When I started Liam Glass, seven years ago, I wasn’t actually looking to write a novel, let alone a crime-satire.

At the time, there was a general election in full swing and the level of political debate was reaching a new low. Politicians repeated slogans until you wanted to tear your ears off. Newspapers either parroted the party line or were confused and ineffectual.

We didn’t yet use the phrase “fake news” but there was definitely a lot of it around.

At the same time, there was serious, real news, not least a spate of tragically fatal stabbings here in North London, almost all involving innocent young men who were in the “wrong” place.

I recalled a time I spent in Portugal, writing the screenplays for two feature films. Portugal endured the longest fascist dictatorship of any European country in the last century – forty-eight years – from 1926 to 1974.

But one of the most important causes of the collapse of democracy in the first place was the fact that nobody could rely on the newspapers to tell them the truth.

The next piece of the jigsaw, unexpectedly, turned out to be a short story I’d written many years before. It told of a teenage boy who was attacked and left in a coma and the effect on his single mother, who contrived more and more desperate plans to get him to wake up. The story, ‘Cash Card’, was short-listed for an award, but I hadn’t thought about it since.

But I needed one more piece to make the novel work – and that fell into place when my comatose teenager was joined by a young local journalist, stuck in his job and desperate to work on Fleet Street, whatever it took.

Into my young, frustrated journalist, who was to become Jason Crowthorne, I poured my own conflicted feelings and frustrations – as writer, certainly, but also as a reader of news.

I’ve always admired British tabloid newspapers, even as I’ve watched their actions with deep suspicion.

It’s easy to hate their easy cynicism and looseness with the truth, but there’s also something attractive about the red-tops’ energy and audacity. On a good day, a tabloid can mount a vibrant campaign to improve public life in a way that the broadsheets simply can’t match.

Near the end of my novel, two otherwise cynical editors on my fictional tabloid (The Post) reminisce about the great campaigns of the past – “obesity and body image, postcode health, MPs for sale, rip-off trains, graduates who couldn’t spell.” They have much to be proud of.

I spent some days at the Daily Mirror researching Liam Glass in their massive open-plan newsroom, and was struck by the sight of enormous blow-up front-pages around the walls, each commemorating a memorable headline. Often these were major campaigns.

Of course, not everything that the tabloids have done has been so admirable – from phone hacking to bribery to doorstepping the innocent.

On the one hand, Jason is a figure of satire – ready to sell his soul, if only he can find a Fleet Street editor to buy. On the other hand, Jason is truly horrified by this apparently unstoppable flow of knife crimes and wants to do something about it.

And if in the process it helps his career, what’s the problem?

Jason’s problem is that he suspects that Liam may well have a celebrity connection, secretly fathered by a major premiership footballer. But he can’t prove it. How far will he go, how much is he prepared to trick, cheat and finagle to get that front page?

I had to write the novel to find out. And as I wrote, part of me was shocked at what he turned out to be capable of doing. Yet part of me loved his breath-taking effrontery, his naive yet beguiling way of crashing through walls that I would have never dared do.

I found myself wanting him to succeed, somehow to overcome each new disaster, despite all the darker, more corrupt, people around him.

When I first spoke to my (then) agent about Liam Glass and how topical it seemed, he warned me that novels don’t chase topicality. However, it seems that some themes stay topical, and will probably remain so for much longer.

And now today, seven years later, we have another fractious election, with probably yet another to come, with newspapers content to peddle fake news and knife crime on the rise. How things change!

 

Teenage footballer Liam Glass is stabbed on an estate next to London’s Regents Park and, with an eye to the main chance, journalist Jason Crowthorne sets out to make the most of the story and build a crusade against teenage knife-crime.

In the following 24 hours, Jason creates his campaign, hiding a scoop from rival journalists and avoiding arrest. But other powerful figures are determined to exploit the boy’s story as much as they can, and they have fewer scruples! 

www.thebreakingofliamglass.com

12 Words with Lucy Cameron

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Lucy Cameron was born in London and having lived in South Wales, Liverpool, York and Nottingham, currently lives in a shed in her Dad’s garden in Scotland where she wears thermals for warmth and writes by candlelight.  Her debut novel Night Is Watching is published by Caffeine Nights and is available to buy now.

Today, as part of the LifeOfCri.me Harrogate countdown she’s taking on our 12 word challenge.

 

Rules

All answers must be complete sentences and completed in no more than 12 words

Contractions Count.  It’s = 2 words

LOC: You’ve recently released your debut novel Night Is Watching, what can you tell us about it?

LC: It is a dark horror tale set in reality and the mind.

LOC: How would you describe your writing process?

LC: Wordy rambling first drafts heavily edited.

LOC: How would you describe getting your first book deal?

LC: Without a doubt the most spectacular moment of my life so far.

LOC: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your writing career so far?

LC: Believe in yourself, you can be as good as everyone else.

LOC: What words of wisdom do you have for aspiring authors?

LC: Keep going even when it is really tough, you will get there

LOC: What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?

LC: Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

LOC: Why?

LC: The best end twist to a book I have ever read.

and finally just for laughs..

LOC: Thanks to the author Leigh Russell you’ve just woken up on stage in front of the judges of Britain’s Got Talent, with only A Stick of Celery, a Panda and a Top Hat.  What do you do?

LC: Tickle the panda with the celery stick whilst wearing the top hat.


Can You Feel Your Blood Drain…

Couples are being slaughtered in their homes; women drained of blood, men violently beaten. There are no clues to track the killer, no explanation as to why an increasing amount of blood is being removed from the crime scenes.

Detective Sergeant Rhys Morgan is seconded to the ‘Couples Killer’ investigation. Tormented by vivid nightmares, he hasn’t slept soundly for weeks becoming convinced a creature from these nightmares poses a threat to him and his family. His behaviour becomes increasingly erratic causing his bosses to wonder if he’s the right man for the job.

As clues to the killer’s identity are uncovered, the line between what is real and what cannot be starts to blur and Rhys discovers the answer to catching the killer and exorcizing his own demons, may be as irrational as he fears.

Orenda Books – LOVE AUDIO WEEK – The Other Twin by L V Hay

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When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well- heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth …

You’ll be wanting to hit the 2x button on this one!

Let’s start how we mean to go on. The Other Twin is a great read.

I’m a regular listener to audio books, and usually listen to them as they were intended, as if my parents were reading them to me as I went to bed at night, but occasionally, and in a good way, I get impatient.  My natural reading speed is far quicker, and when I find myself gripped by a book I want to know the whole story as soon as I can so I found myself speeding up the reading of The Other Twin, because I just had to know….

It’s a fascinating listen about an estranged family, who do ultimately love and care for each other, but have far too many secrets from each other.  It’s also  full of twists that will lead you eagerly up the wrong alley as you try and figure out what really happened to India. It is at times, sad, reflective, hurtful, sexy (yes there’s sex), open, honest and truthful about our ‘hidden’ lives.

It’s also a great reflection on highlighting the  things we keep from family whether out of love oro fear, and shows how easy it is to hide our identities and be hurtful and hateful of people in the world of the social media, as we hide behind the “safety”of a screen names and anonymising blog posts.

I was really captivated by this debut novel and do urge you to grab hold of a copy, in the meantime if you tweet this post , you coud be in with a chance of winning one of three copies of the audiobook from audible.

And while you’re at it, make sure you check out some of the other fab titles in the #LoveAudio week from Orenda books