Kimberley Chambers on her explosive new thriller, Life of Crime

Category: Author Post

More commonly known as The Queen of Gangland Crime Fiction, #1 Sunday Times bestseller Kimberley Chambers has written a brand new standalone novel, Life of CrimeMeet Jason Rampling – he will do anything to give him and his family a better start in life and slowly but surely steps into a Life of Crime. Packed full of gripping tension, shocking twists and witty East End banter, this is Kimberley Chambers at her best. But while we know all about her characters, what about the woman who created them? Here, Kimberley Chambers tells us about New Year’s Resolutions, writing, and vodka…

 

It’s that time of year again when we all look to the New Year as a clean slate- do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

 

I want to get to the gym more like I used to. I’ve been working to deadlines recently to get Life of Crime ready for publication, and so have been staying up late working, which has meant I have less time for the gym than I’d like. I also want to cut down on the booze, drink more water, eat healthier but I say that every January and by February I’ve forgotten…

 

You are well known for the authenticity and rawness of your crime novels. How do you go about researching them?

 

The storyline always comes from my imagination but, if I need any police procedural information, I’m friendly with an ex-copper who always proves very helpful.  I won’t tell you how I met him but you might be able to guess..!

 

My main method of research and how I bring colour into my books is through the TV, news and music of the era I’m writing about. The further I go back in time the more flavour I can bring in terms of cultural markers such as TV, music and fashion. My favourite periods to write in are the 60s, 70s and 80s – I just love the music and the fashion of those decades. And, of course, the world wasn’t as politically correct back then, so my characters can reflect that.

 

Life of Crime is a standalone novel- what prompted you to move away from the Butler family, that are the running theme throughout your previous novels?

 

Although I like writing series like the Butlers, I found it refreshing to get my teeth into a new story and I’m really pleased with the characters I’ve created in this novel. We’ve got a mixture of nasty, nice, dysfunctional and even a shoplifting Nan. Although my books are down to earth, and can be quite violent, I like to bring a bit of humour in too, which I think comes through in Life of Crime.

 

What do you most enjoy about being a writer? Did you know that this was what you wanted to be?

 

What I like most about this job is that I can keep warm indoors, instead of freezing my lils off as I did for years when working on Roman Road market.  I completely love being a full-time writer. Of course, I have my moments of wanting to throw my writing pad across the room, but I feel blessed to have this career, I really do.  My books have got to number one, I’ve eaten in fine restaurants and gone to glamourous parties – I could never have even dreamt that this would be my life when I grew up.

 

On a more practical front, you can also choose your own hours, which the dogs love as I can take them around the park whenever they want. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, so I tend to work in the evenings and burn the midnight oil. I actually write every book by hand so, while it’s not the quickest method, it means that I can work anywhere.

 

And, finally, what book have you read recently that you’ve thought was particularly good?

 

I’ve just read Women in the Window by AJ Finn and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn’t put it down!

 

Life of Crime is out on 11th January and available to pre-order now.

 

Pre-order Life of Crime on Amazon.

 

Like Kimberley Chambers on Facebook.

Collins Crime Club November picks

Category: Uncategorized

The Detective Club returns with our November Crime Club picks, starting with one of the earliest and most original psychological crime novels which is now impossible to find secondhand: Nightmare by Lynn Brock (such a fantastically creepy cover!). In this unique novel, a young novelist sets about taking murderous revenge having been driven to madness by the cruelty of a small group of people…

Simon Whalley is an unsuccessful novelist who is gradually going to pieces under the strain of successive setbacks. Brooding over his troubles, and driven to despair by the cruelty of his neighbours, he decides to take his revenge in the only way he knows how – by planning to murder them . . .

In the 1920s and 30s Lynn Brock wrote the very popular ‘Colonel Gore’ mysteries, winning praise from fans and critics including Dorothy L. Sayers and T. S. Eliot. In 1932, however, Brock adopted a new kind of narrative, a ‘psychological thriller’ in the vein of Francis Iles’ recent sensation, Malice Aforethought.

This novel has been hailed as one of the most remarkable books that Collins ever published’, the unconventional and doom-laden Nightmare gives a disturbing portrayal of what it might take to turn a normal man into a cold-blooded murderer.

Nightmare is out now!

 

Our second October choice is Design for Murder by Francis Durbridge.

In print for the first time since 1951, Design for Murder is the long-lost novelisation of the radio serial ‘Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair’.

The Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard visits retired Detective Lionel Wyatt with the chilling news that an old adversary they never caught has struck again, strangling an innocent girl. Wyatt is reluctant to return to police work, but then another body is found – this time at his own home, with a personal message: ‘With the compliments of Mr Rossiter’.

This was Francis Durbridge’s longest serial and contains all the best elements of the thrilling radio episodes but, in a newtwist, he renamed the main characters! Reprinted for the first time in over 60 years and with the addition of the exclusive 1946 Radio Times short story, ‘Paul Temple’s White Christmas’ – this is one you won’t want to miss!

Design for Murder is out now!

 

Finally, we give you The Rynox Mystery by Philip MacDonald – a classic Golden Age crime novel, and the first time Philips wrote a crime novel without a detective!

An engrossing murder mystery set in the business world, Rynox is a subtle and exciting novel by one of the greatest masters of the mystery story.

‘Rynox’ is at that point where one injudicious move, one failure of judgement, one coincidental piece of bad luck will wreck it. So why would anyone send more than a million pounds in one-pound notes to Mr Salisbury of the Naval, Military and Cosmopolitan Assurance Corporation? Who would shoot F.X. Benedik, the senior partner of the firm, through the head in his study? And where is the choleric Mr Marsh, who had an appointment with F.X. on the night of his death? Rynox is on the edge of big things. But the edge of big things is a narrow edge. And narrow edges are slippery . . .

Design for Murder came out on 30th November!

 

Follow the Killer Reads blog to keep up to speed with our best classic crime picks every month.

Extract from The Perfect Neighbours

Category: Extract

In anticipation of the release of The Perfect Neighbours on 15th December, we have an exclusive early look at the first chapter for you! Get ready for the most gripping psychological thriller you’ll read this year…

 

1.

Sunday, 19 December

The spotlight is set into the ceiling so prisoners can’t get at it. Helen’s head hurts from the glare but she doesn’t shield her eyes. The moment she closes them, the images will flood back. Jagged photos in a digital picture frame, moving upwards and sideways, repeating and holding. She doesn’t know which one will torment her first. If she’s lucky, it’s the child’s cello, on its back, neck broken, blood smeared around the sound holes.

But it could be the blood-cherry cheesecake. Or the matted, pink-black belly fur of the dead dog. Or the gaping crew-neck sweater oozing its obscene innards onto the parquet floor. Or Gary.

She sits on the edge of the bed, her arms cradling her knees. If she could focus on the cello, the rest might fade. She must grab the sticky instrument; drag it into view; admire the thickening stains on the polished wood; remember the small, expert hand that once pressed against the fingerboard; and strain to hear the soothing sound of his playing. But it won’t be enough to block out the other images. Seventeen days so far and nothing has dimmed.

She stands up and paces the floor, her joints grating from lack of exercise. They let her walk in the yard at the back of the police station, but the snow piled at the fence reminded her of the cell so she asked to go back in. White room. White loo in the corner, no seat or lid. The only stab of colour is the green button by the door. She presses it.

“Please, sit yourself. Your lawyer will visit you in a little time,” the desk sergeant tells her through the intercom.

No point in arguing; it’s doubtful his English is up to it and, even after eight months in the country, she’s still another expat Brit who can’t be bothered to learn German.

She flops onto the bed. The mattress smells like Marigold gloves. Washing-up, Gary doing the drying. But another view of Gary invades – folded ankles, empty expression, crimson shoulder. She fights the vision and tries to see Gary at their kitchen sink. Tries to make him smile. Make him speak. She curls up, exhausted by the effort.

The door bolts deactivate but she stays foetal. It’s the lawyer, Karola. The ruddy-faced neighbour who keeps spaniels in her back garden and waves at her on Mondays when they put their dustbins out. She’s Frau Barton to her now, the only bilingual German-trained lawyer the school can find at short notice. These days she’s more used to picking up dog poo than counselling women charged with murder.

Helen rolls towards the wall.

“Why didn’t you mention Sascha Jakobsen?” Karola asks.

The name shoots through Helen. She says nothing.

“He’s told the police that you were with him at the outdoor pool in Dortmannhausen.”

Helen sits up. “He said that?”

“The police searched the frozen pool site again. You’d better tell me everything,” Karola says, perching on the bed. Dark trouser suit, darker soul.

Helen draws her legs up, away from her. “There’s nothing to tell.”

“How long have you known Jakobsen?”

Why ask when she knows the answer? The school is a goldfish bowl and they both swim in it. Karola Barton knows every bit of her business. All the neighbours do, all the neighbours that are still alive.

Helen says: “It wasn’t like that.”

Karola stands up. The crease of her trousers is plumb-line vertical. “What was it like, Mrs Taylor?”

 

The Perfect Neighbours is out on eBook on 15th December 2017. Pre-order now!