May First Monday Crime @1stMondayCrime @deboc77 @vandasymon @MarkBillingham @LWilsonCrime Chris Carter

This week I’m taking over from Joy Kluver who usually writes up on First Monday Crime on her brilliant blog. For those of you who are interested in coming to the next one, the next event will be on Monday, 3rd June 2019.

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Photo courtesy of Victoria Goldman

This week on Tuesday, 7th May a crowd of crime fiction lovers headed down to City University, London to hear, Deborah O’Connor, Vanda Symon, Mark Billingham and Chris Carter be interviewed by Laura Wilson. Laura was a brilliant moderator, and often her questions and comments drew a lot of laughter from the audience.

She started off by asking the panel about the inspiration behind their latest book.

Mark was first to kick off, his latest novel in the Tom Thorne series is Their Little Secret.

He started thinking about the idea for his latest book when he heard a woman telling an extraordinary lie on the radio, while he was making toast one morning. He then started investigating con men and wondered what would happen if you put these two ideas together.

Chris’s latest book Hunting Evil features a character who he first wrote about in An Evil Mind. It was his publisher who persuaded him to write a book where Lucien comes back as he was such a twisted individual and the only killer who his detective, Robert Hunter, has ever been frightened of. This is what makes his latest book different to his previous novels as the detectives know who the killer is straight away.

The Dangerous Kind: The most unsettling thriller of the year by [O'Connor, Deborah]

Deborah said her inspiration for The Dangerous Kind came from a collision of several ideas. Deborah also works as a TV producer, and she met a woman who she was trying to build a TV show around. It was revealed to Deborah that the police have a list of potentially dangerous people who may murder someone one day in the future. A few years later when different scandals, which had been covered up came about, and the rise of true crime podcasts, it made her ask the question, how can you arrest someone before they commit the crime? Chris jumped in here and said in America the police can contact people and let them know they are watching them if they think they will commit a crime one day.

The Ringmaster (Sam Shephard) by [Symon, Vanda]

Vanda Symon has always been fascinated by circuses. In her latest book, she wanted to play on how circus people, especially from a travelling circus, can be easy targets, and how a criminal can use them to create a diversion for the police to follow. Laura Wilson said she was relieved Vanda didn’t go down the evil clown route and Vanda agreed, clowns are just creepy. In the second book, Vanda takes Sam away from the small town for the purpose of character stretching. Sam is ambitious, and she wants to reach the top of her profession, but she wasn’t going to achieve that stuck in the town where she was in the first book.

Another question from Laura for Mark and Chris was had they ever taken their character back in time or if they would ever consider doing it.

Mark revealed that he hadn’t planned to release a new Thorne novel for the 20th anniversary next year, but now he’s writing a prequel to Sleepyhead, the first book in his series. He said it is a joy writing without using modern technology and going back to good old fashioned police methods to solve a case. So look out for this book next year if you’re a fan of the Thorne novels.

Chris Carter said he would never go back in time with Robert Hunter for a book, but he has written a short forty-page story which does feature Hunter as a younger man. He much prefers writing in the present.

When asked by Laura if he would ever write anything other than a police procedural, Chris said the only thing he would consider would be a cookbook, as he’s a great cook or a conspiracy novel.

Photo courtesy of Joy Kluver

When asked about suspense, Mark says you have to give the reader characters they care about. Laura went on to say that in Deborah’s book we, the reader, know that things aren’t going anywhere good for her character, Rowena, but it works for the book. Deborah says when she’s reading a novel she holds onto the hope that something bad isn’t going to happen to the characters and this is what makes book page-turners.

Another interesting topic which was discussed was the twist. One point raised by Laura was if it had reached a stage where a twist is necessary in the contract between the writer and the reader. Deborah said that there was a time when a book depended on a big twist, but she didn’t want The Dangerous Kind to hang on the twist. One book she recommends which had a twist which completely surprised her was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.

Mark wishes that publishers didn’t advertise a twist on the cover of the book. He also said that you only need one good twist rather than lots of different ones throughout the book.

Vanda says that you’ve got to do a twist in a way that doesn’t totally blindside the reader, they should be able to see it coming if they look hard enough and that it’s all about signposting. She said readers are treated intelligently and they don’t want to disappoint them with a twist that doesn’t make sense to the book.

Chris believes that if a reader feels satisfied with a twist, then that is what will get them talking about your book, and this is what will create a bestseller.

Laura then opened questions out to the audience.

One question asked was, name one thing you particularly enjoyed about writing your latest crime novel.

The one thing which the panellists seemed to agree on unanimously was the research they undertook which was the most enjoyable part for them.

Vanda spent time sampling the culinary delights of Dunedin, where her novel is set, and she also got to go and visit a travelling circus and got to step inside the caravans.

Mark said he always enjoys finishing a book. He enjoyed the promotion he was doing for his last book while writing Their Little Secrets. He also said writing the novel isn’t enjoyable and that he always feels that he’s forgotten how to write when he comes to writing the next one. He said it should get harder as you’re trying to write a better book than the last.

 

And that’s a wrap on this month’s First Monday. If you are interested in coming along to the June panel more details about who will be attending will be announced shortly. And if you are interested in purchasing the books featured in this post, you can do so by clicking on the following links.

Their Little Secret

Hunting Evil

The Dangerous Kind

The Ringmaster

First Monday Crime May @1stMondayCrime

First Monday Crime is back at City University, London in just a few days. This time the most important thing to remember is that it is on a Tuesday because of the Bank Holiday the day before. The date is Tuesday, 7th May and it is at the usual time of 18.30 p.m. So let’s take a look at the line-up for this month.

Deborah O’Connor, author of The Dangerous Kind

The Dangerous Kind: The most unsettling thriller of the year by [O'Connor, Deborah]

Perfect for fans of Anatomy of A Scandal and Belinda Bauer, The Dangerous Kind is a dark and gripping thriller that asks us all: how well do you really know the people you trust?

One in 100 of us is a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. We all know them: these charmers, liars and manipulators. The ones who send prickles up the back of our neck. 

These people hide in plain sight. They can be teachers, doctors, lawyers, holding positions of trust, of power. 

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family.

I read this a few weeks ago and I’ll be sharing my full review as part of the blog tour later this month. The Dangerous Kind is very readable, tense and exciting and it will make you very eager to find out how everything comes together. It’s one of those books that you can just sink so quickly into. I loved it.

Vanda Symon, author of The Ringmaster

The Ringmaster (Sam Shephard Book 2) by [Symon, Vanda]

Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand

Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the deaths are linked to a visiting circus…

Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…

Rich with atmosphere, humour and a dark, shocking plot, The Ringmaster marks the return of passionate, headstrong police officer, Sam Shephard, in the next instalment of Vanda Symon’s bestselling series.

You can read my full review of The Ringmaster by clicking here.

Mark Billingham, author of Their Little Secret 

Sarah thinks of herself as a normal single mum. It’s what she wants others to think of her. But the truth is, she needs something new, something thrilling.

Meanwhile, DI Tom Thorne is investigating a woman’s suicide, convinced she was driven to do it by a man who preys on vulnerable women.

A man who is about to change Sarah’s life.

Chris Carter, author of Hunting Evil 

‘Every story one day comes to an end.’
As roommates, they met for the first time in college. Two of the brightest minds ever to graduate from Stamford Psychology University.
As adversaries, they met again in Quantico, Virginia. Robert Hunter had become the head of the LAPD’s Ultra Violent Crimes Unit. Lucien Folter had become the most prolific and dangerous serial killer the FBI had ever encountered.
 
Now, after spending three and a half years locked in solitary confinement, Lucien has finally managed to break free. And he’s angry.
 
For the past three and a half years, Lucien has thought of nothing else but vengeance.
The person responsible for locking him away has to pay, he has to suffer.
That person … is Robert Hunter.
And now it is finally time to execute the plan.

You can read my full review of Hunting Evil by clicking here.

 

The panel is being moderated by Laura Wilson who’s latest book is The Other Woman, she also reviews crime fiction for The Guardian. To read my review of her latest book, you can click here.

Tickets are absolutely FREE, but please reserve your space by clicking on the link below just so that the organisers have an idea of how many people are coming. Afterwards we’ll be heading to the Blacksmith and Toffemaker nearby for a drink. Books will be available to buy on the night and the authors will be signing copies. The nearest tube stations are Farringdon and Angel. If you would like to find out more about First Monday Crime and keep up to date, you can also follow them on Twitter @1stMondayCrime.

Reserve your space.