Enter the Author as Detective

The Sentence is Death
Detective Daniel Hawthorne 2
Anthony Horowitz
crime fiction, thriller, suspense,
Century
November 29, 2018
400

This is the first of Anthony Horowitz’s novels about detectives that I’ve read. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The concept of putting the real author into imaginary scenes, some of which are based on semi-fact, and including autobiographical details was fascinating. And made the whole story so much more believable.

I found it however, to be slightly confusing in that it was set in 2015 but had just come out in 2018, but understood that writing about real events that happened to the author were better if viewed in the past rather than as his current life.

I am even tempted to go and see if this road and house – Heron’s Wake – do exist and look like they are described in the story. And it would be nice to find out if the production of the TV show really did have problems in London with filming, but there are limits to just how much I will do to verify authenticity. And I have been caving in the past so the descriptions of the pot holing system were very realistic for me. Confession time though. It made my fear of confined places very much worse – especially the crawling on your stomach in water aspects!

I liked the style of writing. At first read it is prosaic yet the characters, including his own as portrayed, come through clearly. the descriptions are spare but clear and sufficient and fluent.

The only criticism I have is the constant mention of the children’s series of books. OK Anthony. We know you are perhaps better known to a certain set of readers for the Alex Rider books, and perhaps you want others to know about them, but… mention once or twice but no more, please!

I did particularly like this though:

[a] good definition of creative writing is to unlock doors and take the reader through to the other side.

 

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The creepy man

The Smiling Man Book Cover The Smiling Man
(Aiden Waits)
Jospeh Knox
Crime, Thriller & Mystery, Police Procedurals
DoubleDay
8 March 2018

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift: an endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends.

Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to the Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead.

And he is smiling.

The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth have been filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…

But even as Waits pieces together this stranger’s identity, someone is sifting through the shards of his own.

When mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats start to escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move.

And to discover who the smiling man really is, he must first confront himself.

A strange and somewhat disturbing tale of the man found in a hotel room with a smile on his face. Investigated by yet another of these dysfunctional detectives who is yet very bright and very good at finding the criminal, we find all sorts of interesting facts about this murdered man, as the story continues.

The story is dark and not uplifting but also compelling and whilst I can’t say reading it was enjoyable, I was determined to find out what had happened to the man. I did not warm to any of the characters and thus would not necessarily read more about this detective. But the story line was good as was the writing style, so I may yet be convinced by this author…

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Why Lie? Lisa Hartley Tells the Truth

Tell No Lies Book Cover Tell No Lies
Lisa Hartley
crime, detectives, mystery, thrillers, female sleuths
Canelo
19th February 2018

Now they’re coming after Caelan’s team…

A tortured body is found in a basement. Drug dealing and people smuggling is on the rise. Then police start going missing.

There seems to be no connection between the crimes, but Detective Caelan Small senses something isn’t right.

Plunged into a new investigation, lives are on the line. And in the web of gangs, brothels and nerve-shattering undercover work, Caelan must get to the truth – or be killed trying.

And then there’s Nicky...

Utterly gripping, written with searing tension and remarkable dexterity, Tell No Lies is a blistering crime novel for fans of Angela Marsons, Rebecca Bradley and Faith Martin.

An Interview with Lisa Hartley

New Book: Tell No Lies

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I usually have an idea at the back of my mind for a while – maybe a couple of weeks? It might be the main theme of the book, maybe part of a sub plot, or even a minor scene that will set up major events later on. I don’t really have a notebook or make a list to choose a theme from. I tend to start writing before I make any concrete decisions about topics and wait to see where the story goes.

 How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

Much of the research I do for this series is based on locations, or how a character can get from one part of London to another, and how long it might take them. For this book, I spoke to my partner who grew up in one of the areas mentioned. Because I don’t really plot before I start writing, I tend to do the research as I write, and as necessary.

 What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

Generally: newspaper articles, interviews. Google maps (and street view). I also use relevant books such as Blackstone’s Senior Investigating Officer’s Handbook for my series featuring CID officer. For this book: mainly Google maps, and the Transport for London website to plan Tube journeys. I also read articles about people trafficking, accounts of drug use and talktofrank.com.

 What do you read when you are ill in bed?

It would depend how ill I was feeling. Probably a book I’ve read before, so it’s familiar and a comfort. Maybe an Agatha Christie?

 What is your favourite genre?

It has to be crime, doesn’t it? But I love historical fiction too, and of course historical crime fiction…

 If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

There are loads, and more every month. Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, C.J. Sansom, Toby Clements, S.D. Sykes, Ann Cleeves, Abir Mukherjee, Jane Harper, Nicci French, David Jackson, Alex Barclay, Joseph Knox, Sara Paretsky, Rachel Howzell Hall, and so many more I can’t think of at the moment. Sue Grafton and Helen Cadbury are two writers whose work I’m really going to miss.

Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

It’s probably predictable for a crime writer to say Agatha Christie, but I’m going to. The first “grown up” book I read after the Famous Five and Secret Seven was an Agatha Christie, and I’ve been hooked on the genre ever since. Christie had the knack of conjuring up a character within a few short sentences or even less, and Poirot and Miss Marple are wonderful creations. Her books are short, but if you want an easy read and a clever plot, they deliver every time.

Author Bio:
Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. She is currently working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel, as well as a new series with Canelo.

Twitter: @rainedonparade

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Looking for Perfection

A Perfect Death Book Cover A Perfect Death
DI Luc Callanach
Helen Fields
crime, detectives, mystery, thrillers, female sleuths
Avon / HQ
January 22, 2018
448

'Without doubt, this is one of the best detective series I have read.' Woman's Way Magazine Your new addiction starts here: get hooked on the #1 bestselling series. Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and M.J. Arlidge. There's no easy way to die... Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible - engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it's too late. But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task...

A spooky and sinister tale about a murderer who is very individualistic. He is looking to provide the Perfect Death for his victims and each attempt brings him closer to his aim. And each victim is chosen for very specific reasons that make sense to him but not necessarily – at least in the beginning – to the police targetted with his capture.

The setting, Edinburgh, adds to the atmosphere as we start on Arthur’s Mount – which is credited with a lot of spooky happenings.

I  thought the portrayal of the police especially Callanach were good and having read Helen Fields before, I was not disappointed.

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The Moor is a cold and lonely place to die

On Laughton Moor Book Cover On Laughton Moor
Dect. Sgt. Catherine Bishop #1
Lisa Hartley
crime, detectives, mystery, thrillers, female sleuths
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
(11 Feb. 2015)

Detective Sergeant Catherine Bishop has an enigmatic new boss, Detective Inspector Jonathan Knight. How he will adapt to life in Lincolnshire after years in the Met is anyone's guess. When the body of a well known local thug is discovered, an intriguing message found on his battered corpse raises unwelcome questions. Is DS Bishop herself being accused of the grisly murder, or does the message point to a more sinister secret? As the body count grows higher, Bishop and Knight find themselves in a race against time to discover the identity of a merciless, faceless killer whose motivation is a mystery.

Great reading as a police procedural demonstrating just how difficult it can be to solve murders that initially seem random, or where the link is buried deep in the past.

By the final chapter I had guessed who the murderer was though.

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