Category Archives: Crime News

Crime News: CrimeFest Bristol Giveaway

CrimeFest kicks off next week in Bristol, but this Saturday the city’s libraries will be giving away tons of free – yes, free – crime novels, including some by old friends of this blog, including Catherine Ryan Howard, GJ Minett and Robert Olen Butler.

I’m a busy man, you’ve got things to do, so let’s allow an official press release to inform us of the details without delay:

images.pngAs part of CrimeFest’s passion for promoting crime fiction, the UK’s biggest crime fiction convention has teamed up with publishers, including Headline and Orion, authors and Bristol Libraries to give away 1000 crime novels for free on Saturday, 14 May, one week ahead of the crime fiction festival. The organisers are donating to Bristol, a city that has hosted the UK’s biggest crime fiction convention for eight years. Thirteen publishers have generously donated books from over twenty authors to this crime fiction giveaway being hosted at six libraries around Bristol.

Bristol locals will be treated to advanced reader copies from bestselling authors like Megan Abbott – months before they hit the shops, as well as titles from highly acclaimed debut novelists Michelle Kirkby and BBC screenwriter Simon Booker. In addition, Allison & Busby are providing several classic titles from celebrated crime fiction writer Alexander Wilson.


The libraries taking part are:

  • Bristol Central Library, College Green BS13 5TL
  • Bedminster, St Peters Court, Bedminster, BS3 4AQ
  • Clifton Library, Princess Victoria St, BS8 4BX
  • Junction 3 Library, Baptist Mills, Easton, BS5 0FJ
  • Wick Road Library, Brislington, BS4 4HE
  • Southmead Library, Greystoke Roads, BS10 6AS

The authors and publishers taking part in the giveaway are:

  • Megan Abbott – You Will Know Me (Picador)
  • Stefan Anheim – Victim Without A Face (Head of Zeus)
  • Harry Bingham – This Thing Of Darkness (Orion)
  • A.P. McCoy – Narrowing The Field (Orion)
  • Michelle Birkby – The House At Baker Street (Pan)
  • Simon Booker – Without Trace (Twenty7)
  • G.J. Minett – The Hidden Legacy (Twenty7)
  • Robert Olen Butler – The Hot Country (No Exit Press)
  • R.M. Cartmel – The Charlemagne Connection (Crime Scene Books)
  • R.M. Cartmel – The Richebourg Affair (Crime Scene Books)
  • Michael Cayzer – 50 Miles From Anywhere (Crime Scene Books)
  • Rosie Claverton – Captcha Thief (Crime Scene Books)
  • Stephen Davis – The Tsar’s Banker (Crime Scene Books)
  • Nadia Dalbuono – The Few (Scribe)
  • E.M. Davey – Foretold By Thunder (Duckworth)
  • Catherine Ryan Howard – Distress Signals (Corvus)
  • Holly Seddon – Try Not To Breath (Corvus)
  • Anna Mazzola – The Unseeing (Headline)
  • Mark Mills – Where Dead Men Meet (Headline)
  • G.X. Todd – Defender (Headline)
  • Stuart Neville – So Say The Fallen (Harvill Secker)
  • Alexander Wilson – The Devil’s Cocktail (Allison & Busby)
  • Alexander Wilson – The Mystery Of Tunnel 51 (Allison & Busby)
  • Alexander Wilson – Wallace Of The Secret Service (Allison & Busby)

Peter James, Anne Holt, Ian Rankin and Hugh Fraser are among the top names set to speak at this year’s CrimeFest convention. Close to 500 attendees, including more than 150 authors, agents, publishers and crime fiction fans from across the globe, will descend on the city for a jam packed four days of 65 speaking events and panel discussions.

The CrimeFest programme includes a full schedule of panel events covering everything from a mock-trial debating the hotly contested conviction of Steven Avery in Making A Murderer, to panels discussing topics such as ‘Crimes Against Humanity: Terrorism, War and International Intrigue’ and ‘Deadly Dames: Women As Killers, Investigators And Victims’


Crime News… About Me.

Following tense discussions with the other Fellas on the Board, I’ve been given permission to devote a whole post solely about a matter of grave importance.


Big Vin took me aside after the Board Meeting and muttered darkly that I shouldn’t make a habit of it. Big Vin is as wide as he is tall, with a temperament that even his former colleagues in the Mexican Death Squads considered questionable, and is not a man to be crossed. I was quick to assure him that I would be succinct.

But speak about me, I shall. After all, it’s why we’re all here. It’s why I’m here, at least – you may have other reasons. All those fantastic reviews, all those great Intel interviews, all that filler stuff about telly and movies, it’s all been leading to this point in time, to this post.

Because the fact is, it looks like I’ve got me a book deal. I can announce that I’m going to be published – we’re talking Autumn, 2016 – at Sphere.

I mean, christ, Sphere, the imprint of Little, Brown.

It’s been announced in The Bookseller, so it must be true, right?

I remember many, many years ago when I was a nipper, curled up on the sofa, devouring in one sitting the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back, which was published even before the film – or, at least, before I got to see it. That was a Sphere book. I never forgot that, and now I know why.

This is all wildly exciting – for me. Perhaps for you… not so much. But I appreciate your politely asking what genre it is.


It’s a crime novel. And I can assure you, if you’re worried, that there are very few jokes in it. No funny ones, certainly. The prose, like my gums, is raw and slippery.

So that leaves us with a few decisions to make. You may have noticed that the number of posts on this site has declined over the last two or three weeks, and that will continue for the time being.

I’d very much like to continue doing the odd intel interview and suchlike, but I need to think very carefully about what to do next here. I could always pimp my book with a merciless machine-like efficiency, but we’d both get a bit bored of that pretty quickly.

However, it’s true to say I like what we’ve done with the place, me and you together, and I’m not willing to let it go without a fight. So let’s take a big breath, let’s practice our yoga mudras, and we’ll meet back here very soon.

Oh, and here’s that announcement in The Bookseller. I’ve got my own tag and everything.

TV Crime Log: Intruders, Missing, Awards

What to do, what to do…

Supersavers Crime Thriller Awards 2014The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards is on tonight. The culmination of six weeks or so of Crime Thriller Club, it’s hosted by our old friend Bradley Walsh. Because I think it’s fair to say we really don’t get to see enough of Bradley on the telly.

Among the awards up for grabs at the glamorous Grosvenor House Hotel are Daggers for the Best UK and International Crime Series, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Film, alongside prestigious Crime Writers’ Association awards, including Gold Dagger for the Best Crime Novel of the Year, and the New Blood Dagger for the Best First Novel.

Nominees for awards this year include Benedict Cumberbatch for BBC One’s Sherlock along with Matthew McConaughey for HBO’s True Detective in Best Actor. Brenda Blethyn for ITV’s Vera alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal for BBC Two’s The Honourable Woman and Anna Maxwell Martin for ITV’s The Bletchley Circle and BBC One’s Death Comes to Pemberley in Best Actress.

Filth, Cold In July and Dom Hemingway compete for the Film Dagger. The Bletchley Circle, Line of Duty and Happy Valley for the TV Dagger. Fargo and The Bridge for the International TV Dagger. And authors including Paul Mendelson, Robert Harris, Louise Penny, Greg Iles, A.S.A Harris and Ray Celestin for CWA Daggers.

The Awards are on from 9pm to 10.35pm on ITV3.

IntrudersHowever, if you need your fix of drama, there’s an intriguing new series called Intruders on BBC2 on at the same time. It’s produced by BBC America – and, I think, already recommissioned – and penned by X Files alumni Glen Morgan, based on Michael Marshall Smith’s novel of the same name.

The blurb is not quite what it seems:

Jack Whelan, a former LAPD cop with a troubled and violent history, finds the quiet, idyllic life he has crafted with his wife Amy, shattered when she vanishes.

Mysteries unfold when Amy vanishes on a business trip to Seattle and her cell phone is found abandoned in a taxi. Jack heads to Seattle to retrieve the phone and Amy, only to discover that she never checked in to her hotel. Meanwhile, Jack’s high school friend Gary begs for his help.

Nine year-old Madison starts having nightmares and behaving erratically after she sees a stranger on the beach.

Assassin Richard needs to stop a secret from leaking out, and will do so by any means possible.

The first two episodes, showing back-to-back from 9pm tonight, may be worth watching for the unlikely sight of John Simm playing a troubled LA cop. But if you like your thrillers with a sci-fi tinge, and can bear to be without your nightly dose of Bradley, it could be worth 90 minutes of your time.

The MissingThe Missing is a straight-down-the-middle crime thriller, in which James Nesbitt stars as a father obsessed with finding his abducted son.

The blurb doesn’t know when to quit:

Tony and Emily Hughes’ life changes forever when their five year-old son Oliver goes missing on a family holiday to France.

A huge manhunt led by Julien Baptiste, one of France’s finest detectives, is launched. The French police face an uphill struggle in their mission to find the young boy – Oliver seems to have disappeared into thin air. Tony and Emily are in a foreign land, they do not speak the language and do not understand the rules. As their desperation and profile of the case grows, Tony and Emily find themselves thrown into a media maelstrom, learning the hard way that not everyone they meet is willing to operate in their best interests.

Present day. Eight years on from Oliver’s disappearance and the fallout has resulted in the end of Tony and Emily’s marriage. Tony refuses to believe that Oliver is dead and doggedly continues his search to find his son. After years of searching, Tony is given new hope when a shred of evidence emerges. This reignites the interest of Julien Baptiste, the lead French detective at the time of the disappearance, who returns to Chalons Du Bois to try and finally get to the bottom of what happened to Oliver Hughes.

So the first of eight episodes — eight? — of The Missing starts on BBC1 tomorrow night at 9pm.

Good day to you.

Events News: Crimefest Award Results

CrimeFest Logo Thing

CrimeFest 2014 was delighted to announce the winners of its three award categories at the convention’s annual gala dinner this evening. The winners were:

The Audible Sounds Of Crime Award

WINNER – Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling, read by Robert Glenister (Hachette Audio)

The eDunnit Award for best crime fiction ebook

WINNER – Derek B. Miller, Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber)

The Goldsboro Last Laugh Award for best humorous crime novel category

WINNER – Derek B. Miller, Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber)

Both winners scoop the acclaimed prizes for their first crime novels, with Derek B. Miller winning two of the three awards for his genre-defying  hit novel Norwegian by Night.  

The ceremony took place at the Bristol Royal Marriott Hotel to mark the climax of a convention that saw nearly 500 crime fiction fans and authors come together to enjoy an extensive programme of panel discussions, signings and events. Highlights of this year’s convention included guest author appearances from Mark Billingham, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Simon Brett as well as panels featuring the likes of Ben Aaronovitch, Jasper Fforde, Nicci French, Lars Kepler and Peter James.

CrimeFest co-director Myles Allfrey says of the winners: ‘For these authors to win the awards perfectly reflects the ethos of CrimeFest, the convention that celebrates both new and established talent and everything in between. We are thrilled to have them as winners and we look forward to welcoming them to a future CrimeFest.’

For the full line-up of authors visit


Audible Sounds Of Crime Award                                                                                             

The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best crime audiobook first published in the UK in 2013 in both printed and audio formats, and available for download from, Britain’s largest provider of downloadable audiobooks. Courtesy of sponsor Audible UK, the winning author and audiobook reader share the £1,000 prize equally and each receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.


– Ben Aaronovitch for Broken Homes, read by Kobna Holdbrook-S​mith (Orion Audio

– John le Carré for A Delicate Truth, read by John le Carré (Penguin)

– Robert Galbraith for The Cuckoo’s Calling, read by Robert Glenister (Hachette Audio) WINNER

– Peter James for Dead Man’s Time, read by Daniel Weyman (Macmillan Audio)

– Peter May for The Chessmen, read by Peter Forbes (Quercus)

– James Oswald for Natural Causes, read by Ian Hanmore (Penguin)

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers for the longlist, and Audible UK listeners established the shortlist and the winning title.

eDunnit Award

The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the British Isles in 2013. The winning author receives £500 and a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.


– A.K. Benedict for The Beauty of Murder (Orion)

– Thomas H. Cook for Sandrine (Head of Zeus)

– Sara Gran for Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway (Faber and Faber)

– Elizabeth Haynes for Under a Silent Moon (Sphere)

– Val McDermid for Cross and Burn (Sphere)

– Derek B. Miller for Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber) WINNER

– Denise Mina for The Red Road (Orion)

– Thomas Mogford for Sign of the Cross (Bloomsbury)

– George Pelecanos for The Double (Orion)

– Anne Zouroudi for The Feast of Artemis (Bloomsbury)

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers for the longlist, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

Goldsboro Last Laugh Award                                                                                                     

The Goldsboro Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2013. The £500 prize is sponsored by Goldsboro Books, the UK’s largest specialist in first edition, signed books. The winner also receives a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.


– Colin Bateman for Fire and Brimstone (Headline)

– Alan Bradley for Speaking from Among the Bones (Orion)

– Colin Cotterill for The Axe Factor (Quercus)

– Shamini Flint for A Calamitous Chinese Killing (Little, Brown)

– Carl Hiaasen for Bad Monkey (Little, Brown)

– Suzette A. Hill for A Little Murder (Allison & Busby)

– Derek B. Miller for Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber) WINNER

– Teresa Solana for The Sound of One Hand Killing (Bitter Lemon Press)

Eligible titles were submitted by publishers for the longlist, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title.

Crime News: Horror, Polish, Dagger

Ask anyone to name a British horror production company and they’re going to say Hammer, right? But for nearly 20 years there was another company on the block, Amicus. Whereas Hammer excelled in its period horror, Amicus specialised in producing contemporary portmanteau movies, short scary stories bundled onto the same film reel, mainly because they were cheaper.

At 11.30am on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday – tomorrow – film historian Matthew Sweet presents one of his terrific screen documentaries, Houses of Horror, which looks at the creative rivalry between the two film companies during the Sixties and Seventies.

It’s curious how the blurb never appears in daylight:

It’s almost a given that the story of British horror movies belongs to Hammer films. The studio, with its lurid combination of sex and death, lashings of blood and gore, has given it a special stake in British hearts. It made over 200 films, such as Dracula and Curse Of Frankenstein with a recurring, legendary cast, including Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and its 2007 revival drew heavily on past mystique.

Hammer was the most successful British film company of all time but, throughout its heyday in the 60s and 70s, it did battle with a much smaller, poorer, creative, upstart rival – Amicus films. Amicus was a small British horror studio that pioneered the much loved ‘portmanteau’ picture, such as Tales Of The Crypt and Vault Of Horror – each movie a composite of four or five short stories, whose connection is revealed at the end.

Matthew explores the productive rivalry between the two contenders for the heart and soul of British horror, in a blood-curdling tale of low-budget, gore-spattered one-upmanship that’s full of chilling atmosphere and fun.

If you’re down London way on Thursday – yes, tomorrow – there’s a Polish Crime Night at Belgravia Books. Novelists William Brodrick, Mariusz Czubaj, Anya Lipska, and Joanna Jodełka will chat energetically about Polish crime fiction, which is becoming an increasingly popular territory for readers looking for the next big thing in the genre.

The session is chaired by journalist Rosie Goldsmith at Belgravia Books in Ebury Street, Victoria. The event at 7pm is free, but you have to rsvp, so remember to let them know you’re coming.

Some of you may not be able to attend that fine event because you’ll be busy making some last minute adjustments to your Debut Dagger entry. Every year the Crime Writers’ Association encourages unpublished authors with the award, the winner of which is announced at it annual awards dinner in the spring.

The deadline for this year’s competition is this Friday, the 31st. that’s one, no, two days away! Submissions must include the first 3,000 words – or fewer – of your novel, and a synopsis of the rest. The entry fee is £25. All the shortlisted authors will receive a professional assessment of their entries. You can get all the details right here. If your manuscript is sitting in front of you, waiting to transmit its awesomeness to the world, I bid you good luck.

Monday Crime News: Violent Art, Arjouni, Broadchurch

Three crimey-wimey events (sorry, guess what I watched this weekend) for you this week.  They all take place in Lundun Tarn, so hopefully you’re in the neighbourhood. If you’re not, then maybe you may want to top up the fuel-tank of that Lear Jet of yours.

The Violent Art is the title of a discussion – organized by the Crime Writes Assciation and Spoken Word – that looks at the knotty issue of violence in the genre.

S.J, Bolton will be there – I believe she’s Sharon Bolton, these days – and Diamond Dagger winning Andrew Taylor and MG Gardiner, who writes psychological crime novels. And, in the first of two appearances this week, critic Barry Forshaw, author of The Rough Guide To Crime Fiction and Nordic Noir, is the chair.

It starts at 7pm and takes place at Kings Place in King’s Cross. Tickets are available here.

And if you still haven’t got enough Barry, there’s this tomorrow night:

Brother Kemal Launch Invite

Mr. Forshaw’s on hosting duties once again for this celebration of the publication of the last book by Jakob Arjouni. Arjouni was the pseudonym of German novelist Jakob Bothe, who sadly lost a long fight against pancreatic cancer earlier in the year. Brother Kemal is the last of his novels featuring the Turkish-German detective Kemal Kayankaya.

Finally, if TV crime is more your thing there’s something for you on Thursday night. The Royal Television Society goes behind-the-scenes for Broadchurch: Anatomy Of A Hit.

Creator, writer, and executive producer Chris Chibnall is joined by leading actress Olivia Colman – oooh – co-executive producer and Chief Executive of Kudos, Jane Featherstone, and award-winning director James Strong, to discuss the success of the hit ITV show.

Tickets are available here, and the event takes place at 6.30pm on Thursday, November 28th, at the Cavendish Conference Centre in London’s glamorous W1.

A Lear jet, you say — lucky you.

Crime News: Exquisite, Dagger

Here’s your chance to get involved in a new crowd-sourced murder-mystery novel.

Every Monday at 11am, from June to August, a new chapter of Exquisite Corpse — or How Not To Kill Your Neighbours — will be uploaded to Twitter. All you have to do is fill in the details at @exquisitecopy or use #exquisitecopy.

All the different details and descriptions and whatnot will then be edited together by authors such as Simon Kernick, Matt Haig and Vanessa Gebbie.

Here’s Stella Duffy‘s first chapter…

Loughborough Junction: a local newsagent’s hasn’t opened its doors for days. The shopkeeper is missing. [Twitter: give us some descriptions – of the newsagent’s, the local area, and the shopkeeper (who is MALE)]. Rumour is rife.

Introducing Elizabeth (Beth) Lamb, local artist and our heroine [what does she look like? Quirks, interests, etc – the more detail the better].

Beth decides to look into the disappearance – she’s enterprising like that, and anyway where will everyone get their fags, booze and lottery tickets?

A local homeless man gives his theory on what happened [the wackier the better – why would you do away with a shopkeeper?].

Beth scans the window for clues about the shopkeeper’s life – everyone knows him but no one knows what he does when he’s not running the shop. [What’s in the shop? Feel free to send pictures as well as words.] And then:

A notice about dancing lessons at the local Anglican church in Brixton, with a hand-written note from someone suggesting they know each other – maybe intimately?? [Insert message here]Beth decides to go into Brixton to find out more.

The novel is part of the Southbank Centre‘s Festival of Neighbourhood, and will be published as an e-book later in the year. For more information, go here.

By the way, congratulations to the authors who have been named on the 2013 Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, which was announced on Friday. Every single author has been shortlisted before, and the list includes three winners.

So this year’s shortlist is:

The Heretics by Rory Clements (John Murray)
Pilgrim Soul by Gordon Ferris (Corvus)
The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson (Headline)
Dead Men and Broken Hearts by Craig Russell (Quercus)
The Twelfth Department by William Ryan (Mantle)
The Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor (HarperCollins)

If you were wondering, the definition of a historical novel for the purposes of this award is one set over 35 years ago. Tickets for the reception and CWA Gala Awards Dinner are already on sale – you can get them here.