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.

New Festival! Welcome to the calendar Crime Story

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Not content with announcing a fabulous competition for aspiring Northern crime writers last week, New Writing North in conjunction with Northumbria University has just launched CrimeStory, a new crime fiction festival to run at their campus in the heart of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

CrimeStory will run over the weekend of Saturday 31st May & Sunday 1st June 2014, and in the manner of all the best crime fiction, it comes with a delicious twist on the usual festival idea.

The weekend will focus on a fictional murder that we’ve commissioned from best-selling crime novelist Ann Cleeves in which a woman finds her foster-son dead in a locked room, a blood-splattered picture of an enigmatic woman on the wall and the dubious landlord nowhere to be found. The killer? Well, that’s up to the Crime Story participants

Crime Story will take place on 31 May-1 June and a host of top crime writers, criminologists, lawyers, police and forensics experts will walk attendees through the investigation, trial and punishment of the crime. There will be opportunities to participate in the digital autopsy of a computer, find out about ‘life inside’ from Guardian columnist Erwin James or listen to novelist Louise Welsh talking to former Observer crime fiction critic Peter Guttridge.

If it shapes up to be as interactive as it sounds, it will certainly be a welcome addition to the crime calendar.

 “In Crime Story writers will have the chance to find out from experts and practitioners how the criminal justice system really works. A young man has been found dead in his flat.  What happens next is down to the authors, academics and forensic scientists who’ll be exploring the scene.  CRIME STORY will be great opportunity for the writers of crime fiction to meet the experts who work in and research this field.”

– Ann Cleeves

Early Bird booking rates of £99 for adults, with a £10 discount for students are available until the 14th March. You can book your tickets here

Competitions abound

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February has been a good month for aspiring crime writers with two competitions being launched in the last two weeks.

Live in the North of England?   Then this just might be the competition for you…

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Moth Publishing is looking for the next big thing in crime fiction.

This year Moth are looking not just for a full length novel, but also short stories to feature in a ‘Northern Crime’ anthology.

The winning novels will be published in print and as ebooks in 2015. The winning writers will receive a standard publishing contract, a £1,000 advance, and support to editorially develop their work. They will also enjoy a marketing and PR campaign to support the publication of their books. Short story winners will get £100 and their story published in the very first Northern Crime short story anthology.

Entry fees for the competition are: £25 for the novels and £10 for short stories.

The competition opened on February 10th and closes on the 29th August 2014.

Full details on how to enter, including a map showing where in the UK you must live in order to be classified as a Northern Writer, can be found on their website.  You can also find Moth Publishing on Twitter at @MothPublishing

If you don’t happen to live in the catchment area for that one, then have a look at Criminal Lines, the competition being run by AM Heath Literary Agents in conjunction with The Writers Workshop.

The competition is open to unagented, debut authors, born or resident in the UK and Ireland and comes with a £1,000 cash prize. Here’s what they’re looking for….

If you’ve written a perfect murder, a psychological nail-biter, or a gripping procedural, why not enter it for the prize? We’re looking for anything that will chill or thrill, with characters we can’t walk away from.

You can enter any kind of crime, suspense or thriller novel for the prize, with the proviso that any material previously submitted to AM Heath is ineligible. Your novel doesn’t have to be finished but the synopsis does need to show you have a clear vision for the book. Self-published authors are welcome to enter.

More information on the prize available, and full details on how to enter can be found on the AM Heath blog post here.  The competition opened on February 17th and closes at Midnight on the 5th May 2014.

Updates on this competition can be found on Twitter by following @Criminal_Lines or following the hashtag #Criminal_Lines

Finally, if that has ignited your competitive streak and inspired your imagination, but you are unsure where to start, don’t forget there is still time to sign up for Crime & Publishment at The Mill Forge Hotel, on the outskirts of Gretna Green.  Crime & Publishment is a fantastic creative writing weekend retreat designed for budding crime fiction authors of all levels and runs from 7th – 9th March 2014.

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@CrimeandPublish

Crime and Publishment is what you need…

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Just finished NaNoWriMo?

Embarking on your novel and need some expert advice?

Still got that trunk novel under your bed you feel like digging out but you’re not sure what to do next?

Want some expert advice and an opportunity to pitch to an agent?

You can find the answers to all your questions and more available here….

C&P

Crime & Publishment is a two day course for writers, by writers, agents and industry insiders and will be held at The Mill Forge hotel, just outside Gretna Green from March 7th – 9th 2014.

They are also running a competition to win a complete package to attend the weekend.  To enter all you need to do is submit your 2,000 word short crime story or the first 2,000 words of your opening chapter.

You can find all the details you need here.

I was around at the Mill for Crime and Publishment last year and can guarantee you will have a have a fabulous weekend, with great opportunities to learn, improve and network in a relaxed encouraging and informative atmosphere. Above all that it will be fun.

So if you want to win that weekend get your writing caps on because the competition closes on the 31st December, and if you don’t win, just book it up, because it’s an experience you will never forget.