September 20, 20114:06 am
December 5, 20135:08 pm
We’re delighted to welcome Luca Veste to the blog today, to talk about the setting of his debut novel, Dead Gone. This tense, unpredictable crime novel – which is out today in eBook – will not only have you gripped, but will chill you to the bone!
When I started writing what would eventually become ‘Dead Gone’, there was only really one city I considered setting it within.
It’s a city I know well, having spent the majority of my childhood and young adult years there. My dad is originally from Toxteth (sadly most notably known for the riots of 1981) and my mum is from Speke, where the airport is (quick tip – don’t call it the John Lennon Airport around those parts…it’s Speke Airport!). As an adult, I lived on Scotland (or Scottie) Road, and in Norris Green (a much maligned and largely forgotten housing estate, which was in equal parts a scary and heart-warming place to live). Then, I married and ended up living on the Wirral. A short journey from Liverpool city centre, but vastly different from Liverpool proper. Almost nine years later and I still haven’t convinced her that we should move back to the city. I won’t give up easily.
For me, Liverpool is a city of endless paradoxes. You can spend ten minutes on one road and drive through a run-down housing estate, a new business complex of glass fronted buildings, and then end up in a leafy suburb of detached houses, all with guide prices of over a quarter of a million quid. The haves and the have-nots living side by side.
Not much has changed in that regard since the eighteenth century, when the shipping merchants, making dirty money from the slave trade built glorious mansions to live in, whilst the dock workers lived in squalor only minutes away. Things got worse during the nineteenth century, an influx of Irish and those from even further afield coming into the city and finding the streets paved with broken dreams and disease. Liverpool goes through ups and downs more often than most cities. Just as we built a base on the docks all those years ago (for a long period during the 1700s and 1800s, Liverpool had the largest number of millionaires outside London living within its limits), then suddenly find ourselves on the wrong side of the country when trade with Europe becomes de rigueur. Our famous football teams seem to take the same tack as well. The Liverpool and Everton teams of the eighties conquered all before them domestically (and the red half in Europe as well) before being left behind when the Premier League came into existence. Limited successes since then mirror the city itself.
Things are changing. I’ve noticed it most remarkably since Liverpool won the Capital of Culture bid in the early part of the 2000s. Fortunes seemed to change. New buildings were being built daily. Our skyline is in a constant state of flux, changing before our eyes. New regeneration projects springing up all around the city, reimagining the old housing estates and bringing hope, transformation, and finally, some double glazing.
There are four universities in the city, bringing in students from all over the country. Our dock history means we’ve always had a very mixed culture, but walking through the city centre (or ‘town’ as we call it) can bring that mix to the fore. You can listen for a long while to other people without hearing the famous scouse accent. The concrete paradise of Liverpool One shopping centre is a joy to behold for those with money to burn. Our finance and shipping companies work from the same old buildings, only with glossy new computers instead of whatever they used over 150 years ago (abacuses? I don’t know…I’m not a historian).
Writing Dead Gone was my attempt at showing a different side to the city. When you have the likes of local authors Kevin Sampson or Ed Chatterton cornering the market in those most often associated with crime in the city (the drugs trade and gang related activities) and doing sterling work, I wanted to do something different.
What Liverpool doesn’t have is serial killers. You have to go back almost 100 years to find our last one. It’s not something our police service has to investigate very often! So, the time seemed apt to bring something new to the city. Using a fictional version of one of our universities as a predominant setting allowed me to bring in the psychology element which is at the forefront of the novel.
When people ask me where I’m from, I inevitably say Liverpool, which always feels like somewhat of a small lie given I don’t live there anymore. I spend most days there, but when my head hits the pillow at night, a famous old river separates me from the city.
My heart is there always though. And one day, someday soon I hope, my wife will finally relent and I’ll be back there.
I don’t think it’ll be in Norris Green though…
December 4, 20132:26 pm
Because I can’t speak into microphones without them squealing like a kicked pig, I’m gonna take my beer to the edge of the stage, sit down, and we’ll start the session… First question to the lady in the fuzzy red hat. Ma’am?
‘Did Carson finally make Mobile’s Chief of Police so angry that Carson got fired?’
Thankfully, the Florida Center for Law Enforcement offered to make Carson a major investigator.
‘Wasn’t Carson a major investigator in Alabama?’
Only in the city of Mobile. As a specialist for the FCLE, Carson now has an entire state under his jurisdiction, 58,000 square miles of general weirdness.
Next question to the gent in the bowler hat. Sir?
‘In Mobile, Carson headed the Psychopathological and Sociopathological Investigative Team. Will he still go after the nastiest, most deranged criminals?’
It’s Florida, sir. He’ll have a wider variety to choose from.
Question to the lady in the blue bathrobe …
‘Does Carson have a new partner?’
He often pairs with Ignacio Ruben Manolo Gershwin, ‘Ziggy’ for short, thankfully.
‘What about Harry Nautilus?’
I have seen the future, ma’am, and it is sometimes dressed in neon-orange Aloha shirts, lime-green shorts and sky-blue sneakers.
‘Non-readers won’t understand that, will they?’
Not a word.
Next question to the fellow crouching behind the potted plant …
‘I- I liked Carson’s house on Dauphin Island. Wh-why would he leave such a peachy place?’
He found an even, uh, peachier place in the Florida Keys.
Next question to the woman atop the pony, but only if you don’t use the word ‘peachy.’
‘The house on Dauphin Island, Mr Kerley. Might I purchase it?’
Carson decided to keep the house, ma’am, and lease it to vacationers.
‘So he’ll still visit South Alabama?’
I’ll just say that all things are possible.
Next question to the young lady eating from the bag of chips …
‘How about Carson’s brother, Jeremy? I probably shouldn’t say this, but he’s my favorite character.’
I expect Jeremy to continue affecting events in his own special ways, ma’am.
‘Is Jeremy still hiding in Kentucky?’
Not presently. Rumour has it he’s off looking for that one special lady.
‘My goodness! Are you saying—’
Time for one final question. The fellow in the cream linen jacket who just came in the door. Do you have a … Wait, what are you doing here? Look at the sign: It’s the J. A. Kerley session.
‘So why are the questions about me and not you?’
‘I, uh …’
Kerley moves his mouth but no sounds emerge. The newcomer puts his hands in his pockets and rocks on his heels in amusement. The red-hatted woman tugs at his sleeve.
‘I don’t understand,’ she says. ‘Do you write him or does he write you?’
Carson Ryder thinks a moment. ‘It depends on the story, ma’am.’
The woman watches as Ryder turns and exits. Outside, under a floating blue sky, a large black man with a bulldozer-blade mustache is sitting in a vintage Volvo and whistling a tune by Louis Armstrong. Ryder laughs and jumps into the car.
Off they go.
December 2, 201310:49 am
Welcome to the 12 Crimes of Christmas, the Killer Christmas competition from the Killer Reads team!
As that (most wonderful) time of the year is upon us once more, we’re getting into the festive spirit and have a sack full of brilliant crime & thriller books to give away over the next 12 days.
Each day we’ll be posting an image on Twitter, along with a killer question. To be in with a chance of winning the prize of the day all you need to do is tweet the correct answer to @KillerReads, along with the hash tag #KRxmas. After 5pm each day we’ll reveal the correct answer and choose a winner at random out of all the correct entries. What could be simpler than that?!
AND the criminally festive cheer doesn’t quite end there, because as an extra bonus we have a brand new Kindle to give away! On the final day of the competition we’ll pick an additional name out of all of the correct entries over the whole 12 days – so the more days you enter the better chance you have of winning the grand prize.
The Killer Reads team
Competition Terms and Conditions
1. This competition is promoted by HarperCollins Publishers (“HarperCollins”), 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, London, W6 8JB.
2. This promotion is open to all UK residents except employees of HarperCollins (or their parent, subsidiaries or any affiliated companies) and their immediate families, who are not allowed to enter the competition.
3. Tweet @KillerReads with the answer to the daily question along with the hashtag #KRxmas to enter
4. Closing date for entries is 5pm each day. No entries received after this time will be accepted. No purchase necessary. Only one allowed per household.
5. The prizes are as follows:
Game, Buzz, Bubble, by Anders de la Motte
Signed copy of A Song for the Dying, by Stuart Macbride
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas and Curtain, by Agatha Christie
A set of 10 ‘Carson Ryder’ titles, by J. A. Kerley
Good People and Dead People, by Ewart Hutton
The Schemer, The Trap, and a signed copy of Payback by Kimberley Chambers, plus a Kimberley Chambers branded t-shirt
Innocence, plus a set of ‘Odd Thomas’ titles, by Dean Koontz
The City of Strangers and The City of Shadows, by Michael Russell
Dead Gone, by Luca Veste plus 2 tickets to his book launch on 16th January in London
The Sanctus trilogy, by Simon Toyne
Cold Killing, The Keeper and The Toy Taker, by Luke Delaney
A signed copy of The Shining Girls, a signed view master and a branded USB stick
Grand prize: An Amazon Kindle, a copy of all books listed above and a copy of City of the Lost, by Will Adams
6. The prizes are non-refundable, non-transferable and subject to availability. No guarantee is given as to the quality of the prize.
7. No cash or prize alternatives are available.
8. HarperCollins reserve the right in their reasonable discretion to substitute any prize with a prize of equal or greater value.
9. The winners of the competition will be drawn at random from all correct entries by HarperCollins and notified by email no later than the 20th December, 2013.
10. Any application containing incorrect, false or unreadable information will be rejected. Any applications made on behalf of or for another person or multiple entries will not be included in the competition.
11. HarperCollins’ decision as to who has won the competition shall be final.
12. To obtain the names of the prize winners after the closing date, please write to Katie Moss, HarperCollins Publishers, 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 8JB.
13. The entry instructions are part of the Terms and Conditions for this competition.
14. By entering the competition you are agreeing to accept these Terms and Conditions. Any breach of these Terms and Conditions by you will mean that your entry will not be valid, and you will not be allowed to enter this competition.
15. By entering this competition, you are agreeing that if you win your name and image may be used for the purpose of announcing the winner in any related publicity with HarperCollins, without additional payment or permission.
17. Under no circumstances will HarperCollins be responsible for any loss, damages, costs or expenses arising from or in any way connected with any errors, defects, interruptions, malfunctions or delays in the promotion of the competition or prize.
18. HarperCollins will not be responsible unless required by law, for any loss, changes, costs or expenses, which may arise in connection with this competition and HarperCollins can cancel or alter the competition at any stage.
19. Any dispute relating to the competition shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales and will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
November 26, 20134:00 pm
As you may know, to celebrate the paperback release of the final instalment in the fantastic SANCTUS trilogy we built a towering tower, using numerous copies of The Tower.
Five days and sixty-five guesses later, we can reveal that the number of books used to construct our tower was… 35!
Thank you so much to everyone who entered the competition. We had a fantastic response, but unfortunately we can only have 3 winners. We’re very pleased to announce that those winners are:
We’ll email you shortly to arrange to send out your signed hardback copy of The Tower AND a paperback copy.
Congratulations from the Killer Reads team!
AFTER THE RISE, COMES THE FALL…
November 22, 20133:08 pm
Calling all Homeland fans!
This season of Homeland has given us a LOT to think about – hopefully you’ve seen the reviews we’ve been posting each week on the latest episode. We haven’t heard enough about what you think of the series though, so we want to give you the opportunity to be a guest reviewer on our blog. And as if having your review featured on Killer Reads wasn’t enough, we also have three DVD box sets of Homeland series 1 & 2, plus three copies of the prequel novel Homeland: Carrie’s Run to give away!
For the chance to be a guest reviewer and win a Homeland box set and prequel novel then email a summary of your thoughts on the series so far – in just ONE sentence – to email@example.com. We’ll choose the best three to write us a full review on a future episode, which we’ll post on the Killer Reads website.
Entries close at 12pm on Friday 29th November, so get your summary sentences over to us before then for your chance to win!
The Killer Reads team
November 21, 20133:28 pm
So THE TOWER published in paperback today. A bittersweet moment, because it’s the final book in the fantastically amazing SANCTUS trilogy. It’s been such an exciting journey publishing Simon’s first series. We hope you’ve all enjoyed the ride, and thanks so much to the loyal fans who have supported Simon every step of the way (you know who you are!).
But for every end there is a new beginning. And we are absolutely thrilled to share with our Killer Readers the news that Simon has signed a brand new deal with HarperCollins. FOR FIVE BOOKS! The new series will centre around the mysterious character of Solomon Creed – a man with no memory of his identity or past life, who embarks on a journey to discover who he is and search for redemption over the course of five thrillers.
The first book will be released in 2015 – by which time we suspect the question on everyone’s lips will be… ‘WHO IS SOLOMON CREED?’
And here’s Simon, signing his life away…
Calling all thriller enthusiasts! The final instalment in Simon Toyne’s bestselling SANCTUS trilogy is released in paperback today.
To celebrate, we constructed a tower of Towers – and there are prizes to be won…
Guess how many books make up our tower below and you’ll be in with a chance to win not only a brand new paperback, but also a hardback edition of THE TOWER, signed by the author.
The competition closes at 12pm on 26th November, so write your guess in the Comments section below before then! We’ll choose the winners out of the correct answers at random next week.
UK entries only I’m afraid.
If you can’t wait that long to get your hands on a copy, it’s available to buy right now!
November 18, 20132:21 pm
Is it just me, or is Homeland properly back on form now? After a bit of a slow start to the series, the last three weeks have been absolutely cracking! Spoilers abound!
The theme of last night’s episode was basically ‘you CIA guys are pretty awful, aren’t you?’. They helped to cover for the murder of two innocent women after Javadi shot his daughter-in-law and then stabbed his ex-wife repeatedly in the face with a broken bottle (that was a horrendous scene). They then offered up Quinn as the murderer, as he’d been spotted outside by the neighbour’s CCTV camera, and basically told the cops they had to let him get away with a double homicide. Saul punched a suspect (Javadi) in the face. And then he then blackmailed Javadi and forced him to return to Iran to act as a spy for them, thus releasing a known terrorist back into the world.
Is this okay? Is this the way a government agency should act, even if they do have good intentions? Some of the characters don’t think so – Senator Lockhart, who is due to take over control of the CIA in 10 days time, is not a fan, preferring drones to human intelligence. The police inspector who Quinn confesses to says the memorable line ‘Have you ever done anything but make things worse?’ – so far, not so much. Quinn is ready to quit. Fara can’t quite believe that they are letting Javadi go when he’s caused so much evil. But Saul is resolved, and Carrie is always on Saul’s side, so she’s resolved too.
My favourite scene: Definitely when Saul locked Senator Lockhart in a meeting room and then switched off the lights. I need one of those remote controls in my life. Having a disagreement with someone? Press A to lock them in and B to plunge them into darkness.
My second favourite scene: When Dana left home. I’m really hoping that this means a Dana-free Homeland future, but I have a feeling we haven’t heard the end of her…
Questions: So many, as always. But one in particular: does anyone else think Dar Adal is seriously suspicious? One minute he’s hating on Saul and dobbing him in to the Senator, then next he’s all chummy with Saul again, enjoying a scotch to celebrate locking Lockhart into a room. He was anti-Carrie for ages, now he seems okay with her again. It feels like he’s always on the periphery, spying on people. I mean, I guess technically his job is ‘Spy’ but still. It’s suspect.
- Katie, HarperFiction
November 13, 20139:34 am
‘This, Hastings, will be my last case. It will be, too, my most interesting case. – and my most interesting criminal.’
Today marks an historic day for television and the end of an era – it is Hercule Poirot’s swansong in the ITV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Curtain.
Written in the 1940s during World War II, Curtain was locked in a vault and was not to see the light of day for over 30 years. After the publication of Elephants Can Remember and Postern of Fate, Christie became aware that she would no longer be able to continue writing. And so, in 1975 upon her authorization Curtain was removed from the bank vault and published by Collins Crime Club in September that year. It was the last novel that Christie would see published in her lifetime, as she was to die the following January.
Curtain sees Poirot and his old friend Hastings reunited for the first time since Dumb Witness, in the very house in which they first met. Both bear the ravages of time, Hastings is widowed and Poirot is wheelchair bound through suffering from arthritis. However, Poirot’s famous little grey cells are yet to desert him, and he declares that one of the guests staying at Styles is a five-time murderer.
After 25 years of playing the part of Poirot, David Suchet has said goodbye to the character we all know and love – and I suggest you prepare to also, it may be a teary one (it will be for me, anyway!)
Curtain airs this Wednesday, 8pm on ITV and is followed at 10:35pm by Being Poirot, in which David investigates the enduring appeal of the detective and reveals what it has been like to play the world-famous sleuth.
Goodbye, cher ami…
- Natasha, HarperFiction
October 31, 201312:17 pm
Happy Halloween Killer Readers! In the spirit (no pun intended!) of today we started discussing the books that have scared us the most. Take a look at our picks below, and let us know in the comments what the scariest book you’ve ever read is!
Without a doubt, the scariest book I’ve read this year is Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. Exploring an abusive relationship from the inside, Haynes has created a superb psychological thriller which had me gasping and biting my nails on the tube. And unlike so many serial killer thrillers, the story felt so real. With domestic violence still such a common occurrence in this country (according to Refuge, 25% of women in the UK will experience it at some point in their lives), the idea of accidentally letting a man like Lee charm his psychotic way into your life doesn’t seem so far-fetched, which makes it all the more terrifying.
- Katie S, HarperFiction
Stephen King’s It – I read this as a kid, and just thinking back on it makes me shiver at my desk. Absolutely, spine-tinglingly terrifying.
- Kate, HarperFiction
I’m a big fan of J A Kerley’s Carson Ryder series. Carson is a homicide detective who specializes in particularly twisted crimes. In the latest instalment (publishing in December) he has only just started a new job in Miami when he’s called to a particularly bizarre crime scene – a concrete pillar full of human remains, the final, agonized expressions of the victims clearly visible. As Carson begins to unravel the mystery behind this grisly object, we are also drawn into the story of the courageous young illegal immigrant who is set to be the next victim. Her tale is truly horrifying, and what she goes through in the denouement of the novel would certainly count as one of my worst nightmares…
- Sarah, HarperFiction
My scary read for tonight is most definitely Stuart MacBride’s Halfhead. It’s set in the near-future in Glasgow following the outbreak of a deadly virus which killed millions. When you discover why the book is called Halfhead you will realise why it has made it to the top spot above my other Halloween favourite, Stephen King. It is a distinctly creepy look into a potential future which will keep you awake long into the night.
- Laura, Blue Door Books
I may be an avid Killer Reader but I have been known to be a bit of a wimp when it comes to killer thrillers, so it doesn’t take much to get me hiding behind a pillow! I do love a suspenseful psychological thriller though and the scariest book I’ve read recently has to be The Book of You by Claire Kendal, which publishes next year. The book follows Clarissa, who finds herself the focus of unwanted (and intense) affections from her colleague, Rafe. He won’t take no for an answer and his behaviour becomes increasingly obsessive and terrifying. I found this book really creepy because it was so realistic – it had me looking behind my shoulder as I walked down the street. It’s very gripping and I couldn’t put it down because I desperately had to reach the end to check whether Clarissa was going to be ok!
- Katie M, HarperFiction
October 29, 201311:23 am
We’re already four episodes in to the new series of Homeland – what are your thoughts so far? Here’s our review of the latest episode. As always, beware of spoilers!
Did anyone else feel majorly hustled after the revelation at the end of this episode??! After weeks of thinking Carrie had completely lost it, and that Saul had thrown her to the sharks, turns out that it was all a ruse to get her close to Javadi. But at what personal cost? From what she said to Saul, she was pushed to the absolute limits of her sanity in the psych ward. I didn’t really like the way Saul just kind of fobbed that comment off.
I thought it was a good twist, in classic Homeland style of old. But was it convincing… really?
In other sub-plot happenings, Dana breaks her boyfriend out of the home and they go on the run. Then it turns out that her boyfriend is possibly a psychopathic killer. Seriously?? SOOO over this painfully boring story arc. Pleeeeease let them wrap it up snappily.
Also, we are starting to get hints about why Brody is in Caracas, as Saul and Fara trace the money laundering. Could be promising. Watch this space.
- Kate, HarperFiction
October 28, 201311:43 am
We are so excited about this trilogy of books, published in December. Set in Stockholm, they follow Henrik ‘HP’ Pettersson, who finds a mobile phone on a train which changes his life forever…
The phone invites him to play a Game – he takes a small risk, and gets a reward. With a secret group of people egging him on, he soon finds himself embarking on increasingly dangerous missions to get even bigger thrills.
But when his Police Detective sister is dragged into the action, HP faces a challenge he never expected. Can he outwit The Game before it’s too late, or will The Game play him?
But don’t just listen to us – here’s author Anders de la Motte talking about the books…
A free extended sampler of the book will be available from next week! If you want to get your teeth into this gripping thriller, pre-order it right here!