CSI Southampton – October 24th

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Don’t worry crime fans, the festival season isn’t over yet!

CSI Southampton drops in next month and looks like a fantastic one day event for all enthusiasts of the genre. Well priced with some big names this looks like a brilliant way of ensuring your Autumn crime fiction fix.

As part of Southampton’s So To Speak Festival, here’s what they have to say about the event….

Where:- Northguild Lecture Theatre, Central Library, Civic Centre, S014 7LW

When:- Sat 24th October 10:00am – 5.00pm

Price: £18.00 (including £4 reduction in the price of a book) plus booking fee

Join us for CSI Southampton where the cream of crime fiction writers meet real life crime experts. The morning session kicks off with a panel where crime authors Pauline Rowson and Natasha Cooper will be debating with crime scene experts from Hampshire Police, Carolyn Lovell and Jane Aston just how crime fiction differs from crime fact. There will also be the chance for you to ask your questions of the panel and to have your fingerprints taken!
In the afternoon Peter Lovesey will discuss how a decent law abiding man can think up 200 ways of murdering people, followed by Jessie Keane and Sue Wilkins in discussion with Penny Legg on how they create their crime novels. There’ll be book signings and the chance to mingle with both crime authors and crime experts.

Latest New Crime Writing Weekend – Carlisle, June 2015

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cw_logo_bigFor those aspiring writers amongst you there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to creative writing events specifically aimed at writing Crime Fiction.

Recently launched, The City of Carlisle are holding their first ever crime writing weekend during June next year.   Over thirty top crime writers will be hosting events at The Old Fire Station, the city’s new arts centre, due to open in spring 2015.

So far there are fourteen events planned over the course of the three day weekend including

  • Cumbria – Cosy or Criminal?
  • Northern Noir
  • Historical Crime
  • The Murder Squad
  • Femmes Fatales
  • Get Forensics Down Here!
  • Female Detectives
  • Talking Sherlock
  • Dramatising Sherlock
  • Fact vs Fiction
  • Tartan Noir

Further details of the weekend, events, participating authors and help with accommodation if you fancy staying locally can all be found at crimeweekend.carlisle.city  Tickets to events are due to go on sale at the end of November.

Meet the detective who fuelled my obsession (a.k.a who did it for you?)

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From the age of nine I lived across the road from a public library.  As I grew up, it was where I spent most of my free hours devouring everything and anything I could.  Indeed by the age of thirteen I had pretty much depleted the entire children’s section.  Thankfully, the local council had a rule that once I reached that age I could access the adult section of the library (and indeed any others in their control), provided a written parental consent had been submitted in person by the parent.  My Mom understood my voracious appetite for books and as such was more than happy to do so.

That was when I discovered for the first time the age old delights of Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and many more.  I didn’t find them by chance, and neither did I find them by reputation.  I found them by a love of crime fiction.  A love I first felt blossom from a series of, now sadly out of print, books.  Books which I have seen go for four figures on certain auction sites that will remain nameless.

The man who truly fuelled my love of the genre was Nils-Olof Franzen, with his series of Agaton Sax books, whose English editions were illustrated by the fabulous Quentin Blake.  Of the  11 books in the Agaton Sax series, Franzen had 10 translated into English between 1965 & 1971, including amongst them, Agaton Sax and the League of Silent Exploders and Agaton Sax and the London Computer Plot.  The series was also featured several times on the BBC series Jackanory, and Agaton Sax and the Max Brothers became a four part animated series in 1972.

I mention this now, because today I got this, and although it’s been almost 30+ years since last read one of these stories, I have loved every minute of reading it.  It was as delightful piece of escapism today as it was way back then.  It’s still a great introduction to the crime genre and I’m sure the reason I have as much love for cosy crime fiction, as I do for the hard core thrillers, and well executed police procedurals, because it has a flair for it all.

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Agaton Sax and the Scotland Yard Mystery

In which AGATON SAX, Editor-in-Chief of the Bykoping Post and detective extraordinary, directs his amazing intelligence (and his editorial telescope) to the problem of who has stolen Scotland Yard’s Secret Code Register of Current Criminals … the infamous crew of the bad ship Esmeralda lose their soup … and the mysterious “Boss” gets a nasty shock to his system.

 

Now, own up, who did it for you?

Bloody Scotland Short Story Competition

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Today Bloody Scotland has announced the launch of this years short story competition.

The winner will receive £1,000, a bottle of Deanston Distillery Malt whisky and a weekend pass to this years festival, to be held in Stirling from September 19th – 21st.

The winning story will also be published as an ebook short by Bloody Scotland.

We invite writers to from anywhere in the world to demonstrate their skill in short-story writing by entering a story, for a chance to win a brilliant prize and be recognised as an exciting emerging talent in the crime genre.

We’re seeking exceptional crime short stories based on the theme of ‘ESCAPE’.  

Stories should be a maximum of 3,000 words and must be submitted by midnight on 31st July 2014. There is an entry fee of £10 to cover the administration of the competition.

A prestigious judging panel comprising representatives from the University of Stirling and crime writers Alex Gray, Craig Robertson and Gordon Brown, will judge the entries and announce a shortlist.  This shortlist will then be open for a public vote on the Bloody Scotland website

Further information on entering, including additional details for non UK entries can be found here

The Chase – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

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The Fox and the Hare are back and the chase is on!

The newest target for the FBI’s secret odd couple is Carter Grove, the ruthless leader of a private security company who has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, an artefact whose theft was covered up and one the Chinese now want back.

In order to avoid an international incident should the truth come to light, Nick and Kate must operate under the radar in order to steal the piece back. As the chase for the artifact moves rapidly around the globe from Washington DC, to Shanghai and even to the Highlands of Scotland the heat is on to prove no one can outsmart Fox and O’Hare.

The Chase is another glorious riot of a romp from Evanovich and Goldberg, that left me wondering exactly what it is I like most about these books.

I’m not sure if it is the spirit and fun of the “will they? won’t they?” (of course they will) relationship, the audacity of the cons they pull, the pure escapism of the plots, or the breakneck pace of the novel which caused me to delightedly tear through the book in a matter of hours. One thing I do know is that these books deliver pages and pages of fun.

With a cast of wacky, yet bizarrely believable characters, its cheeky style, range of humour, and fabulous sense of adventure I think that this is going to be another winning series for both Evanovich and Goldberg. Certainly from my point of view, as I for one am already looking forward to more impressive cons, thrilling takedowns and the next adventure from this deceptive duo.

The Heist – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

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Since it’s impossible to review a new book by Janet Evanovich without mentioning Stephanie Plum, I won’t bother to try, I will simply say that Kate O’Hare is about as un-Plum like as you can get, but she is a character that is just as much, if not more, fun and addictive.

The Hare and the Fox.

Kate O’Hare is a FBI agent who has made it her career to chase down notorious con artist Nicholas Fox.  She is smart, sassy, supremely capable, oh and also an ex Navy SEAL. (Cue some artistic license from the authors here, who note at the beginning of the book that there is no such thing as a female Navy SEAL, although there should be.)

Nicholas Fox is highly intelligent, handsome and charm personified.  All traits which have enabled him to become so succesful at his ‘cons’ and to evade capture for years, until now that is.

Now she’s got her man, but he doesn’t want to be caught and instead makes a deal with the FBI to work alongside O’Hare to capture a corrupt investment banker, as long as they don’t kill each other first.

The Book

One thing I did find was that given Lee Goldberg’s history in writing TV shows, I found myself often comparing the relationship between Fox and O’ Hare with various TV partnerships, of which the one that sprang to mind most often was the tempestuous relationship between Cybil Shephard and Bruce Willis in the 1980’s show Moonlighting

The Heist is an absolutely delightful book to pick up and read, with its fantastic verbal sparring, mad cap moments and emotionally charged relationship. Following the adventurous duo through exotic lands and pirate waters The Heist proves it is what all Evanovich books are….  The perfect piece of escapism from the everyday grind.

It is also a book you certainly won’t want to put down so when you sit down to read, make sure you are curled up in your favourite chair and plan to be there for a while.

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A Bonus Taster

Want more of an introduction to O’Hare and Fox? Long standing Evanovich fan who wants to see how this new pairing compares to Stephanie Plum? Never read an Evanovich or Goldberg book before? Just want more?

Then as a bonus addition to the series, grab your Kindle or Kindle App and download Pros and Cons, a short story prequel to The Heist.

It’s Dark & Stormy Down in Brighton

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Coming hot on the heels of CrimeFest and making sure you’ll be in the mood for Crime Story, it’s shaping up to be an A-May-zing May, with a second new Crime festival being announced in the last week, making for three weekends packed with all your crime fiction favourites.

Being launched as part of the larger Brighton Festival which runs from the 3rd to the 25th May, the Dark & Stormy Festival runs over three days from the 23rd to the 25th, and aims to bring you the best of all things crime related.

Dark & Stormy is a brand new UK crime festival, serving up a wicked selection of book, film, music & theatre events. We launch in May 2014, in partnership with Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, and Dukes at Komedia, to celebrate and promote this massively popular genre, bringing its fans, creators and stars together for one criminally good and unforgettable weekend.

Our aim is to appeal, not only to the legions of readers who keep crime writers at the top of the international bestseller lists, but also to the huge audiences who flock to watch The Killing and Breaking Bad on TV, Kick Ass and James Bond at the cinema, Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto on their PlayStations, and The Perfect Murder and Emil and the Detectives in the West End.

Sounds like another fantastic opportunity to celebrate crime fiction. So, grab your diaries and blot out this and the following weekends because there’s an unbelievable amount of criminal activity to be shared in.

CrimeFest – May 15th – 18th

Dark and Stormy – May 23rd  – 25th

and

Crime Story – May 31st – June 1st.