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Why Lie? Lisa Hartley Tells the Truth

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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What lies under…

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).

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Whose eyes are they?

A gripping story that you need to read through to the end. Quickly. And an anti-heroine, who does have friends that you root for all the way and wish for her a better life than fate has given her so far.

Immersive story-telling.

A tortured heroine – and who can blame her? A (previous) life style that ended in an horrendous attack, and, from which, whilst clearly still suffering from PTSD, she has gradually put together a new life. And has some hope for her future. Until her past re-surfaces in a most awful manner.

 

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When the facts don’t add up

I found this story and writing style rather pedestrian.

2.5 stars.

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When defending your blood

Choices.

What do you do when you are a defence lawyer and won’t work for the Public Defender’s Office? Probably take whatever cases come your way? even when the client is a little or even extremely dodgy.

And you need to make your name so that higher paying cases come your way? Then a high profile case will be good for you – won’t it?

This was the first book I have read by this author and I liked her style. It is written in the first person, with enough dysfunction in the lawyer to enable her to make some really poor life choices, but yet still manage to win her cases. and there are very few indeed physical punch-ups. Her legal morals might well be a little on the shady side if her client benefits but unless she is caught activiely trangressing then it’s all good.

I liked the writing characterisation but found the secondary characters a little thin. Especially her associates.

I am however, very concerned about Sam’s health. She drinks a lot of tequila. Far too much coffee and other caffeine drinks. Enormous amounts of sugar and no vegetables or fruit that I can discern – just high fat and fried food. I am expecting one of the later books in the series to have her in hospital when her liver/kidneys or heart have given out!

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