|The town of Peculiar – somewhere in the Ozarks, is solely inhabited by shifters – every size and shape. From squirrel to wolf although the latter normally keep to their own packs. A population of 1000 with another 1000 living in the woods that surround it but very widely spread – some homesteads have 40 acres! The law says that no humans can live in the town as every full moon they go crazy and forget their human side.
Integrators – ie those who want to live with humans, go to other towns.
This a 6 books series of short novels but longer than novellas, with 2 female characters who are key to all the books even when not the main character.
There is a lot of romance in these books, and always some crime and often a grisly murder or 2 – take the Little Piggy serial killer who takes the small toe from each of his victims.
The general nosiness of small towns and the special ability of the only vegetarian in town, who also runs the only vegetarian cafe (think wolves – just how much fruit will they eat?), Sunny who is a human and psychic (and her friend Chavvah). Sunny has introduced the town to Jackfruit – which I had not heard of before, but is a large fruit that in its unripe state resembles meat to look at and in texture, but takes on any flavour you add.
Light but fun reading if you like your crime with a dash of paranormal, which makes an enjoyable change for me from the very serious psychological crime stories I frequently read.
Series books in order:
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.
Whilst I did quite enjoy this book especially the characters of some of the teenagers – the girl with creative mind and tattoos of her little creatures that kept her sane and operative under very dire circumstances. However, I found the other teenagers a bit wooden.
What irritated me though, is the current fad for this genre of having the female detectives to be very angst driven and this story takes this to the extreme. Whilst use of the angst is made in the story I am sure this was not the only way it could be written. This downgrades this book to a 4 star.
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.
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.
Here David archer tried a different format and a different type of hero – a heroine.
This is the story of Cassie who uses her dreadful injury for good.
Having been a burns victim myself, and also being female, I got Cassie but not her portrayal. for my mind, Archer cannot successfully write for a female character and certainly not her true reaction to such an injury.
Yes, she will have spent time in therapy – a year he says, physical and psychological, but I know myself, from a lesser injury that a year is not long enough. The therapy, physical at any rate takes much longer.
I also found that he contradicts himself saying initially that they couldn’t graft and then he says that they did.
So my theory of this author stands. He can’t write a female character that I can believe in. (Nb I have read a complete series of his with a male hero).