Introducing the first six books on the Killer Reads list!

Category: Book club

Drumroll please… We are thrilled to announce the first acquisitions for the Killer Reads digital-first list! In order of publication:

MINDSIGHT, by Chris Curran

Publication date: 19th Feb 2015

Five years ago, Clare killed her family. She has no memory of the car accident, but there is no refuting the evidence of drugs in her system. She has accepted her guilt, and served her time. Now, released from prison, she tries to find out the full truth of what happened on that fateful night. Probing into the past, however, turns out to be dangerous exercise, threatening not only Clare’s sanity, but ultimately her life…

This is an utterly compelling, gut-wrenching story – beautifully told, and with shocking twists that leave you gasping for breath. Perfect for fans of The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty and Before We Met, by Lucie Whitehouse.  Click here to find out more.

 

TUESDAY FALLING, by S. Williams

Publication date: 5th March 2015

Tuesday has suffered extreme cruelty at the hands of men, and now she is seeking vengeance. A force to be reckoned with, she lives beneath the streets of London in the hidden network of forgotten tunnels that honeycomb the city – and this is her preferred hunting ground.

When Tuesday is connected to a series of brutal attacks on gang members, DCI Loss takes on the investigation. A burned-out detective still suffering the devastating effects of the unsolved murder of his daughter three years earlier, the case starts to hit close to home. Because soon Loss will discover that Tuesday could hold the key to uncovering the truth about what happened to his daughter…

A refreshingly original and relentless thriller that will grip you by the throat and refuse to let go.  Click here to find out more.

 

THE LAKE, by Sheena Lambert

Publication date: 19th March 2015

September 1975. After a dry, hot summer, a body is discovered in the receding waters of a manmade lake, and for Peggy Casey, 23-year-old landlady of The Angler’s Rest, nothing will ever be the same.

Detective Sergeant Frank Ryan is dispatched from Dublin, and his arrival casts an uneasy spotlight on the damaged history of the valley. Over the course of the weekend, Detective Ryan’s investigation will not only uncover the terrible truth behind the dead woman’s fate, but will also expose the Casey family’s deepest secrets. Secrets never meant to be revealed.

A brilliantly gripping murder mystery, with a compelling family drama at its heart. Perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves, Jane Casey and Elly Griffiths.

 

AN ACT OF MERCY, by J. J. Durham

Publication date: 2nd April 2015

London 1850.  A city of contrasts.  Of scientific marvels, poverty, disease and death.  When Detective Sergeant Harry Pilgrim (one of London’s first police detectives) discovers the corpse of a woman in a Hackney cab, the case seems straightforward – until the only suspect is found murdered in his cell.  Pilgrim is hindered in his investigation by his own dark past – a dead son and a missing wife – and also by the well-meaning interference of Charles Dickens, who is serialising Pilgrim’s adventures in his journal ‘Household Words’. The case turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse.  But who is the cat and who the mouse?

A thrilling tale of murder and intrigue in Victorian London. Perfect for fans of Ripper Street and The Mangle Street Murders.

 

SOMEONE OUT THERE, by Catherine Hunt

Publication date: 14th May 2015

Laura Maxwell appears to have it all – perfect career, perfect husband, perfect life. But how well do you really know the people around you? All it takes is one tiny crack to shatter the whole façade.

A series of accidents causes Laura to believe that someone out there is deliberately targeting her, trying to harm her. The fear starts to pervade every part of her life, affecting her work and her marriage. Increasingly, she feels that no one believes her story, and she must face down her attacker alone.

A story of obsession, revenge and deceit, of a woman caught up in terrifying circumstances. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, and Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes.

 

ACOUSTIC SHADOWS, by Patrick Kendrick

Publication date: 11th June 2015

Erica Weisz, a new substitute teacher in the small town of Frosthaven, Florida has a dangerous secret. When two gunmen attack the school where she works, it becomes impossible to keep the truth buried. She is in the witness protection program and the man who is meant to be protecting her has sold her out. Wounded and running for her life she must learn to trust the only person who can help her, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Justin Thiery. But Thiery has his own personal demons to overcome if he is to save Erica and find redemption for himself.

A thriller that will take you on a heart-pounding, pulse-racing rollercoaster ride. This will suit fans of Harlan Coben, Lee Child, and Michael Connelly.

 

Sophie Hannah talks about Agatha Christie’s influence on her writing

Category: Book club

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This month’s Killer Reads Book of the Month is the first Poirot mystery, THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES.

You can join the debate on GoodReads here: http://bit.ly/1wWAv3F

When my agent first suggested to me that I ought to write a new Hercule Poirot novel for Agatha Christie’s publishers, I knew two things straight away: that this might be the most exciting creative challenge I could ever undertake, and that I would not want to write a continuation novel for any other writer, not even one that I loved.  I’ve always been a huge fan of Iris Murdoch, for example, but to try to write a novel featuring one of her characters wouldn’t have worked for me at all.  It would have been too contrived.  I’d have felt like an actor playing one half of a pantomime horse, out of synch with the other half and in an ill-fitting costume.

The idea of writing a Poirot novel did not feel like that at all – which, if you think about it, is rather odd.  Why didn’t it?  Why did it feel so natural and possible?  I think it’s because Agatha Christie’s influence is such an integral part of my writerly DNA, and always has been.  She was my main influence, and the writer who made me fall in love with mysteries.  I discovered her early – at twelve – and I’d read every word she’d published by the time I was fourteen.  I was hooked.  And a pattern had been firmly set up in my mind, the blueprint for what I believed an ideal detective story ought to be: an intriguing, structurally ambitious mystery – far more interesting and puzzling than simply ‘Here’s a corpse – who killed it?’; a super-clever detective who reliably and brilliantly solves every last puzzle at the end; an abundance of clues, indecipherable when we first encounter them, but making perfect sense once we’ve heard the detective’s explanation; the apparently impossible being shown to be possible; the combination of a fun, hooky read with psychological insight and an awareness of the depths of darkness in every human psyche.

When I set out to write crime fiction, I didn’t think to myself, ‘I’m going to model myself on Agatha Christie’ or ‘I am going to be a crime writer in the Christie tradition’.  Nevertheless, the Queen of Crime’s example must have been strong in my mind, because I wrote mystery novel after mystery novel that opened with what I thought of as ‘an Agatha-ish beginning’.  What I meant by this was: something so puzzling appears to be happening that readers cannot begin to speculate what might be going on, and fear that the only way the idea can be made to work is by resorting to the supernatural.  So, in my novel The Dead Lie Down (which is called The Other Half Lives in England), a man confesses to the murder of a woman who isn’t dead.  No matter how hard the police try to convince him that he can’t possibly have killed her because, look, there she is, alive and well and claiming never to have heard of him, this man continues to insist that she can’t possibly be still alive, because he killed her – yes, that very same woman – several years earlier.  My novel Kind of Cruel starts with a woman arrested for murder because she uttered the words ‘Kind, Cruel, Kind of Cruel’ in a confidential hypnotherapy session and those same words were the only clue found at the scene of a brutal murder – but how could detectives have known that the heroine said these words to her therapist in a private therapy session overheard by nobody?

The trick is to show, slowly and logically, how what appears to be impossible is in fact eminently possible.  Agatha Christie pulls it off brilliantly in Sleeping Murder, Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, Sparkling Cyanide and many other of her novels, and I try to do it in the crime fiction that I write.  I didn’t realise until I was asked to write a new Hercule Poirot novel that, from my very first attempt at crime fiction when I was a teenager, I had been trying to write like Agatha Christie in so many ways.  Being asked to do so openly and officially, and taking up that challenge, felt like a sort of literary coming out of the closet – a closet full of old paperback editions of Agatha Christie novels, the ones I collected as a teenager.  After coming out of it, I wanted to crawl back in and reread all those wonderful books!

Follow Christie on @queenofcrime and Sophie @sophiehannahCB1

 

November’s Killer Reads Book Club title is…

Category: Book club

We’re very excited that the next book in the Killer Reads book club is the very first Agatha Christie Poirot novel: The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

This is an absolute classic, and we can’t wait for everyone to get stuck in.

Want to win a copy? Register here for your chance to win!

Watch Estates Publisher David Brawn talking about the book, and telling some stories you might not know about how it came to be…