#BRYANTandMAY #LONDONSGLORY the tour, with Christopher Fowler

Standard

IMG_2282The latest instalment in Christopher Fowlers brilliant Bryant & May series is out now.  London’s Glory is a collection of eleven Bryant and May short stories, filling in gaps and covering cases mentioned in passing over the years.

In the spirit and brevity of a short story, when I got the chance to ask a few questions of Chris, I asked simply, about the genesis of Bryant & May, where in London fans could visit for a feel of the books, and what Bryant and May would think of book tours and blogging.  Here’s what he had to say.
CFowler2

Many years ago I fell in love with the Golden Age classic mysteries I found in the library, with their academic eccentricities and timeless view of an England that never really existed. There was just one problem; they badly needed an update because of outmoded attitudes to sex and race. I thought; wouldn’t it be interesting if you took the structure of the Golden Age mysteries and put them into our recognisable modern world?

If you’re going to describe the investigation of a crime, you might as well have fun with it. How does a writer create a detective? I started with a matchbox label that read “Bryant & May – England’s Glory”. That gave me their names, their nationality, and something vague and appealing, the sense of an institution with roots in London’s sooty past. London would be the third character; not the tourist city of guidebooks but the city of invisible societies, hidden parks and drunken theatricals, the increasingly endangered species I eagerly show to friends when they visit.

Every night, my detectives walk across Waterloo Bridge and share ideas, because a city’s skyline is best sensed along the edges of its river, and London’s has changed dramatically in less than a decade, with the broken spire of the Shard and the great ferris wheel of the London Eye lending it a raffish fairground feel.

By making Bryant & May old I could have them simultaneously behave like experienced adults and immature children. Bryant, I knew, came from Whitechapel and was academic, esoteric, eccentric, bad-tempered and myopic. He would wear a hearing aid and false teeth, and use a walking stick. A proud Luddite, he was antisocial, rude, miserable, erudite, bookish, while his John May was born in Vauxhall, taller, fitter, more charming, friendlier, a little more modern, techno-literate, and a bit of a ladies’ man. Their inevitable clash of working methods often causes cases to take wrong turns.

Then I threw every modern subject I could think of at them, from refugees to banking scandals, and let them sort out the dramas using old-fashioned (and vaguely illegal) methods. The result is, well, unusual!

The easiest locations to visit in the books are Waterloo Bridge, where the detectives walk most nights, and King’s Cross, where their unit is based, but in ‘The Victoria Vanishes’ there’s a list of all the pubs they visit in the books at the back. And all of the locations I use are real, so everything can be looked up and explored on Google maps!

I think John May would like blogging but Arthur Bryant would probably crash entire systems because he has a warped understanding of the internet!

12 Words with C.L. Taylor

Standard

31+dITNA4bL._UX250_When I was thinking about putting together this 12 word feature I put a shout out to my author friends on Facebook, and delightfully C.L Taylor was amongst the first to put her hand up in the air and say she’d give it a whirl.  Author of thrillers The Accident (released as Before I Wake in the US) and The Lie, here’s a big thank you from LifeOfCri.me for taking up the challenge, and in turn her fabulous response.

The Rules

Answers should be complete sentences, and completed in no more than 12 words (unless otherwise stated)

Contractions count. It’s = 2 words.

LOC: I really enjoyed reading your current novel The Lie, what can you tell us about it?

CLT: It’s about friends turning on each other, a cult and fear.

LOC: How would you describe your writing process?

CLT: I brainstorm, research, make notes, plot, write, edit and then polish.

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

CLT: That all writers hate their book at some point.

LOC: What’s the best book you’ve read this year? (not included in word count) and why?

CLT: The Widow by Fiona Barton, Written in a deceptively accessible style but with themes that resonate.

LOC: Describe your perfect day

CLT: Any day where I get a lie in is perfect (and rare).

LOC: What is the strangest sentence you have written/read this week (limit does not apply)

CLT: It’s one of mine – ‘The voice is coming from inside my head’.

and finally just for laughs…

LOC: You wake up to find yourself on stage in front of the judges of Britain’s Got Talent, with just an Accordion, a skipping rope, and a duck. What do you do?

CLT: Pretend the duck can tell jokes. Who stole the soap? Robber ducky!

20140508-174337.jpgwpid-screenshot_2015-03-26-17-40-16-1.png

#TeaWithLeigh

Standard

12049428_10153151341282844_2841710274308182234_n“The quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea is usually credited to Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 1800’s.”

Or so says the menu of Anna’s tea room, as I peruse its thick, heavy-set and gilded pages trying to make a decision.

You see last month I was a very fortunate (and very smiley) reviewer who was invited by No Exit Press to experience the delights of afternoon tea with accompanying champagne at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. There were several other reviewers and bloggers there along with Guest of Honour, author of the DI Geraldine Steel and DI Ian Peterson serial thrillers, Leigh Russell.

12038286_1081949831816322_5284549682262082134_n

Me with Leigh

We gathered initially in the Library where I presented Leigh with her very own “Blood Axe” (albeit a plastic one with no blood, although I did provide some red paint) and after a few fun photos

12009766_10153151340587844_8357229209679768100_n

Fellow reviewer Kirstie Long protecting her champagne from Leigh’s new Blood Axe

we were directed to our tables to order.

Tea was the first order of the day, and there were plenty to choose from, however as a person whose preference is “builders brew” that comes mainly from Yorkshire, I think I was a tad over ambitious in my selection, but in the spirit of adventure I had to try their Flowering Red Amaranth tea, just because it sounded so intriguing.image

After tea, some seat shuffling and a few more photo’s we were given a palate cleansing tropical fruit coupe, before being served with finger sandwiches, mini pastries and deliciously sweet desserts, before the final course of warmed plain or raisin scones with a selection of jams and clotted cream. All of which was absolutely gorgeous, and surprisingly more filling than you may think.

12002267_10153151340932844_2488087633072054506_n

Cakes, pastries and sandwiches

For four hours we laughed, ate, drank, (did I mention the champagne?) asked questions, talked books and reading, and Leigh’s upcoming releases. I had a fabulous time. In stark contrast to the dark themes of her regular #1 bestselling thrillers, Leigh is a delightfully sunny person to be around, is welcoming to all who enjoy reading, and supportive of those still aspiring publication. If you get chance to catch up with her at any of her regular book signings, or events (details of which can be found on the No Exit Press website) I highly recommend you do so.

 

 

 

image

DI Geraldine Steel 7 – Out Now in e-book & paperback

image

DI Ian Peterson 3 – Out now in e-book. Out in paperback 25th November

Nordicana 2015 – Coming Soon…

Standard

Moving from its previous February slot, Nordicana is set to return to London in June 2015.

22112_976766405675191_6888179291590708669_n

Here’s what Nordic Noir has to say about this years event…

From 6th-7th June 2015, fans with a criminal curiosity for provocative Nordic crime dramas will be flocking to the Troxy theatre in London for the 3rd Nordicana festival. The event promises a plethora of top talent – from internationally famed writers to the brightest stars of film and television that the Northern Lights have to offer. For the first time ever, Nordicana will also be recognising other top European shows influenced by the Nordic style.

The festival is designed to allow audiences the chance to explore the intoxicating realm of Nordic Noir and to get up close and personal, with an interactive collection of cultural activities to choose from.  A tantalising range of food, drink, design and culture combines the excitement of a cultural expo with the flair of a film and literary festival.

The evolution of the show continues in 2015 with a brand new team taking the concept into a fresh, revised format. All ticket holders will enjoy their own numbered seat for the day and can relax in-between talks and screenings.  We will have a focused set of events on one main stage across the entire weekend.

Head over to NordicNoir.tv to keep up with the latest developments

A Book A Day, End of month wrap….

Standard

One is for

image
One Kick by Chelsea Cain.  After six successful novels with her serial killer / detective duo, Cain is back with a new character and a new direction. Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America’s hearts when she was rescued five years later. Now, twenty-one, she finds herself unexpectedly entangled in a missing child case that will put her talents to the test. 

Two is for

image
Two For The Dough by Janet Evanovich.  The second in the now 25 book strong (including between-the-numbers novels) series featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.  Madcap capers, romantic entanglements and explosive adventures are packed into every single one.

Three is for

image

The Three by Sarah Lotz.  One of the best books I’ve read all year.

Four is for

image

Four of my favourites. Without returning to the Stephanie Plum series, I couldn’t find a book for four, so instead I picked four of my favourite books of the year so far. Dead Men’s Bones by James Oswald, The Girl On The Train by Paula HawkinsCrooked Herring by LC Tyler and The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler.

Five is for

image

Five by Ursula P Archer.  In which our author takes a popular hobby, gives it a macabre twist, and produces are thrilling game of cat and mouse.

A Book A Day, Sunday Wrap Up #4

Standard

T is For

image

Trouble In Mind by Jeffery Deaver.  When it comes to short stories, Deaver is the master of the evil twist.  Trouble In Mind  is his latest collection with the promise of more collections on the way in the none to distant future.

U is For

image

Ultimatum by Simon Kernick.  If you want a guaranteed one sitting, race against time thriller you can’t go wrong with anything from Kernick, and whilst there are serial characters involved, the majority of books can be enjoyed as standalone novels.

V is For

image

Vendetta by Dreda Say Mitchell.  Released on November 6th 2014, Vendetta sees a new direction for this award winning author.  Watch out for LifeOfCri.me’s participation in next months Vendetta blog tour.

W is For

image

Watch Me by James Carol After recently finishing the first Jefferson Winter novel Broken Dolls, I can’t wait to get stuck into Watch Me.  It’s also one of the books shortlisted for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club Award 2014.

X is For

image

XO by Jeffery Deaver (bet you didn’t think I’d find an X did you?)  The second Deaver of the week, XO is the third novel featuring Kathryn Dance as a lead following her introduction as a character in Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series, and it’s her best singular outing yet.

Y is For

image

You By Caroline Kepnes. A chilling account of unrelenting passion, and a perversely romantic thriller that’s more dangerously clever than any you’ve read before.

Z is For

image

Zoo by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge.  What A-Z of books wouldn’t be complete without a Patterson.  As for me, I’m known for not being a fan of his production line style publishing, but I can’t deny that his books are addictive reads.  That said, he needs to keep up that rate as my record for sitting and reading one of his books from beginning to end is 2hrs 27 minutes…..

Specsavers Crime Thriller Club 2014

Standard

image Tonight sees a second chance for anyone who missed us the first time round to see CrimeSquad.com editor Chris and I on TV competing in the final of the Specsavers Crime Thriller Club 2014 end of show quiz.

The show airs on ITV3 at 9pm BST.

Hope you enjoy…

A Book A Day, Sunday Wrap Up #3

Standard

M is For

image

Missing You by Harlan Coben, master of fast paced novels where the hidden pasts of ordinary people come back to haunt them with a killer twist at the end. Guaranteed thrillers.

N is For

image

Natural Causes by James Oswald.  First of the so far four strong Inspector McLean series, fabulous reads that keep getting better and better.  Carefully pictured here with what James calls a Heilan Coo cushion, because when he’s not writing he breeds these handsome cows.

O is For

image

On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle, if you like a good coffee and your crime a little cosier, head over to this coffee shop mystery series.

P is For

image

Payback by Kimberley Chambers.  Welcome to the East End of London, where even your family doesn’t always have your back…

Q is For

image

Quentin Bates.  Author of the Icelandic based novels featuring Officer Gunnhilder.  Frozen Out is the first in this series atmospheric, dark and intricately plotted masterpieces.

R is For

image

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason.  Another Icelandic based series, the 10th of Indridasons books to be translated into English sees us going back to the roots of my favourite damaged detective, Erlendur.

S is For

image

Sorrow Bound by David Mark. The third dark outing for DS Aector McAvoy.