3-for-2 on Crime & Thriller at Kobo

Category: Books

Last week on Facebook we shared our first round of picks from the Kobo Crime Sale on this month. Are you ready for the second offense? From now through October 21st, you can get three eBooks for the price of two. Another nail in the coffin as to why autumn is the best season for crime and thriller fare!

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The Tower by Simon Toyne
Buried Angels by Camilla Lackberg
The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne
The Chosen One by Sam Bourne
The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
One Mile Under by Andrew Gross
The Silent Boy by Andrew Taylor
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

For the full sale, click here!

Do let us know which set of three you pick up either in a comment or by tweeting us @KillerReads. We’re curious to know what you’ve picked!

Plot, plot, plot #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

There’s a great little story (probably apocryphal) about an American screenwriter, who told his family that when he died, he wanted this epitaph chiselled into his gravestone: At Last, A Plot.

Why does the anecdote resonate, especially with anyone who has tried to write fiction, especially thrillers? Because, after a few years in the business, you realise the fierce truth: in the end it all comes down to plot. To narrative. To Story. Plotting is to writing as melody is to music: find a good tune and you can sit back and reap the royalties. But good tunes are rare, and so are good plots. Hence the bittersweet yearning of that screenwriter’s epitaph.

Put it that way and the fundamental importance of plot seems obvious. Yet it took me several years, heck, several decades, of writing largely unplotted (and fairly unsellable) literary fiction before I realised that I needed, first of all, a good solid story. Then I should concentrate on the other stuff: characters, locations, nice sentences.

My epiphany came in two stages. First I read Robert McCrum’s excellent biography of P G Wodehouse, in which he revealed that Wodehouse would spend months agonising over a plot, and then, when that job was done, Wodehouse could write the book itself in three weeks. Reading Wodehouse’s comic masterpieces it is not obvious, at first glance, that they are carefully plotted; but dig deeper, and you see that of course they are. Beneath the effortless comic prose the plot is working away, unseen – like brilliant yet silent machinery. Without those plots Wodehouse’s novels would be just a series of gags, and not half as readable.

My second revelation came when I read The Da Vinci Code  – and really enjoyed it. I had foolishly expected, given its reputation, to find the dialogue stilted and the prose trite and the love interest ludicrous, and yes, those accusations were halfway true – but they also didn’t matter.

Fifty pages into the book I couldn’t care less about the unbrilliant prose style because I was entirely hooked on the story. Dan Brown was reeling me in, with his chapter-ending cliffhangers, his curious and diverting puzzles, and all those devious narrative twists. Sure, The Da Vinci Code is not War and Peace or Ulysses, but it does not aim to be: what it aims to be is a damn good story, well told, which it is. Hence its success.

And that success, born of good storytelling, did not come easy: Dan Brown took infinite pains to get his plot right, even hanging himself upside down, in the doorway of his study, when he was trying to disentangle some glitch in his narrative (apparently the rush of blood to the head assisted the process).

Ever since these twin insights, as a novelist I’ve always tried to nail the plot, first of all, when writing a thriller. Whether I have succeeded is for others to decide, but I know one thing. I really don’t want my epitaph to be: At Last, A Plot.

Blog by S K Tremayne

@thomasknox

Latest book: The Ice Twins

A MOTHER’S WORST NIGHTMARE!

Category: Team piece

Mother’s Day is just a couple of days away and you know us at Killer Reads, we love to put a bit of a killer spin on events such as this! So we’ve pulled together a list of books we’ve read that come under the theme of ‘A Mother’s Worst Nightmare’!

If you’ve ever felt bad for forgetting to buy a card or flowers on Mother’s day, after reading these books you can at least rest assured that compared to these fictional children you were positively angelic!

 

I have a bit of an irrational fear of identical twins. I put it entirely down to seeing The Shining at a young age, and have met a few sets of identical twins during my lifetime, always perfectly lovely people. I don’t want you think I am anti-twin. But the idea of two people being so entirely similar – some twins even share fingerprints – still kind of freaks me out. So I think the concept behind The Ice Twins, out early next year, was always going to terrify me. Sarah is the mother of identical twins, Kirstie and Lydia, faces her absolute nightmare when Lydia dies in a tragic accident. Desperate in their grief, she, her husband and their remaining little girl decide to move to his family home on a remote Scottish island to gather their strength again as a family. But right before they move, her daughter asks her why, for so many months, she’s been calling her by the wrong name. She isn’t Kirstie, but Lydia. Kirstie is the one who really died that day. Sarah doesn’t know what to do or think – is her daughter having a breakdown, or did they really bury the wrong twin? They move to the island, so remote and far away, and… well, let’s just say it’s not happy for anyone. Terrifying. Can’t wait for this one to be released…

– Katie, HarperFiction

 

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From the day he was born, Addison Goodheart has struck fear and loathing in the hearts of anyone who sees him. Even his own mother. Imagine looking into your baby’s eyes and feeling nothing but hatred and disgust. Imagine always fighting the urge to cast out your own child, for reasons neither you nor he can explain. It is a parent’s first instinct to protect their children, so what could be scarier than wanting to do the very opposite of that?  For that reason, Innocence by Dean Koontz makes it to the top of my list.

– Lucy, HarperFiction

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Psychopathic kids score pretty highly on my list of mothers’ worst nightmares. For that reason I’m picking Buried Angels by Camilla Lackberg, though I can’t say why for fear of ruining the twist! You’ll just have to read it to find out…

– Katie, HarperFiction

 

 

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My pick for a novel that expresses a mother’s worst nightmare is The Toy Taker by Luke Delaney, in which a series of children disappear. Not from a playground, or while staying at a friends’ house, or on a school trip, but from what should be the sanctuary of their own homes, in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping, and the house is (supposedly) safely locked up. Just when you think your child is at their most protected turns out in this story to be when they are at their most vulnerable. The gradual revelation of how and why the perpetrator manages to achieve this without anyone hearing a sound, and without leaving any evidence, makes for a truly riveting read.

– Sarah, HarperFiction