Noir At The Bar – Harrogate

Standard

Originally started in Philadelphia, by Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders, and with chapters in major cities across America, Noir At The Bar has been working its way slowly southwards in the UK and finally made its Harrogate debut this year. As an informal opener to the festival, a large crowd gathered at Hales Bar, to see and hear some fabulous crime writers reading short stories, and novel extracts in a relaxed, fun and friend filled environment.

Noelle Holten is the name behind the CrimeBookJunkie book blog, as was here beginning her first Harrogate journey.

Ann Bloxwich and LP Mennock, plug their recently release anthology, Happily Never After.  A collection of crime short stories written by attendees to Crime & Publishment, the yearly crime-writing workshop held in Gretna Green, the home of British weddings

Penguin publishing sensation, and top Fife farmer James Oswald.  Check out his Inspector McClean series.

Graham Smith, the man behind Crime & Publishment and author of Snatched from Home calmly entertains the masses.  Stay tuned to Life Of Crime for more information on his upcoming releases.

Louise Mangos proudly showing off her prize, after winning Graham’s book giveaway.

The delightful Russell McClean, smiling because I haven’t had a chance to try and bump him off this year (it’s a long story…)

Eileen Wharton and KA Richardson, a pair of debut divas this year, check out Eileen’s Blanket of Blood, or Kerry’s I’ve Been Watching You and With Deadly Intent 

The delightful Col Bury, author of My Kind Of Justice, and the man behind our Harrogate piece last year, looking far more relaxed after finishing off his reading!

If these pictures have whet your appetite somewhat, than don’t fret!  Noir At The Bar will be back at Harrogate next year.  If you can’t wait that long then check out it’s latest UK outing on 7th September, as Noir At The Bar NE showcases at The Town Wall, Pink Lane, Newcastle.

The ubiquitous end of year wrap up.

Standard

Well that’s 2014 over, and what an amazing year that was!

CF14-Reportage-42

Picture by Fenris Oswin – Fenris.co.uk

Of course the highlight for me will always be my now fiancé proposing to me at the end of a panel during this years Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate. He couldn’t have chosen a more fitting venue and I will be eternally grateful to the 2014 festival chair Steve Mosby, and the rest of the festival planning committee for helping to make this happen.

Not only that but, I’ve also got the good fortune of being able to re-live the moment whenever I want, as the download of the panel itself (In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream) is available to buy from the festival website and the recording has his proposal (although not my squeaked out answer) on the end of it. That £3 purchase was definitely one of my best of the year!

Fn-Scott-Jo-03

Picture by Fenris Oswin – Fenris.co.uk

That was closely followed by appearing with friend and crimesquad.com editor Chris Simmons on this year’s ITV3 Specsavers Crime Thriller Club TV show. Not only did we have two fabulous days out in ‘that London’, meeting new and interesting people, catching up with author friends and laughing with Bradley Walsh, we also WON.

Closer to home it’s been great for me to see this blog really start to increase its traffic (I’m still hoping to break that magic 1,000 followers before the end of the year – sitting at 976 as I write) and getting the opportunity to participate in the blog tours of some brilliant crime reads…

wpid-screenshot_2014-10-21-11-12-03-1.pngBlood Dimmed jacketV Coverwpid-screenshot_2014-10-25-02-49-51-1.png

Then of course there were also these fabulous books

 

20140527-165933-61173231.jpgLand Of Shadows – Rachel Howzell Hall

I have read several highly accomplished debut novels this year, but this is one that sticks in my mind.  Homicide Detective Elouise Norton is someone I’m keen to hear more about. Tough and driven, yet at times insecure.  With a fascinating setting on the ever changing border of a gentrifying Los Angeles, it’s a great debut.

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-11-00-59-25-1.pngThe Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins  

“To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.

Just goes to show”

 Not published until Jan 15th 2015, I am jealous that so many of you have such a fabulous book yet to read and experience.  I urge you all to grab it as soon as it comes out, as I guarantee it’s going to cause quite a stir.

V CoverVendetta – Dreda Say Mitchell 

In a distinct change of direction to the race against time thriller, Mitchell has produced a gripping read, with cracking characters, storylines and a great deal of style this series could really see her giving Simon Kernick a run for his money.

wpid-2014_07_25_08.24.01.png Dead Men’s Bones – James Oswald

The fourth and latest of Oswald’s books featuring Detective Inspector Tony McLean. With its supernatural twists on the standard police procedural, this is one series that just gets better and better with Dead Men’s Bones proving to be the best yet.

wpid-screenshot_2014-12-27-19-55-13-1.png
The Killer Next Door – Alex Marwood

Dark, chilling and impeccably plotted, it’s an interesting insight into the secrets that lurk behind closed doors, how little notice we all take of the world around us and asks the question just how well do we ever really know our friends and neighbours? 

These few aside there a are plenty more delightful, intriguing and thrilling books out there, and many of those that are currently featuring on an awful lot of top 10 lists this year are staring at me mournfully from my on the verge of collapse to be read pile.  I’m looking forward to being able to sit down and catch up with just a few of them over the coming months.

My end of year tally for books read came to a grand total of 123 missing out by more that I would have liked, on beating last years total of 130, so I’ll be going all out to exceed both of these numbers next year.

Here’s looking forward to and wishing you all a fabulous, book filled 2015.

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 #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.

Dagger In The Library Long List Announced

Standard

Dagger-in-the-Library-300x320

And the nominees are…….

MC Beaton (Constable & Robinson)
Tony Black (Black and White Publishing)
Sharon Bolton (Transworld Publishers)
Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
Mari Hannah (Pan)
James Oswald (Michael Joseph)
Phil Rickman (Corvus)
Leigh Russell (No Exit Press)
Mel Sherratt (Thomas & Mercer)
Neil White (Sphere)

 

1,384 people voted for 636 different authors, resulting in a huge variety of crime writing styles being highlighted this year.  I know who I would like to see picking up the award this year.  How about you?