Seeing as Alex Barclay’s new Ren Bryce thriller Blood Loss has just been released in the UK, we decided to ask her the questions you’re all dying to know the answers to. So here’s the first of what I hope will be many a Q&A session with our brilliant authors. Keep reading to find out how a working day in the life of Alex plays out, where she gets her ideas from and what she loves to read and watch…
What sparked your interest in crime writing specifically?
It was more that I was struck with an idea for an opening scene: a surveillance operation in New York and what, at first, appears to be the successful resolution of a child abduction. It was so vivid to me, it still is, and I just felt compelled to write it. I thought it would be a screenplay, but once I had written it, I knew it would be a novel. I’ve been reading crime ever since I was fourteen, so it was no surprise that I would have criminal intent…
As we are leading up to Halloween I decided it was the prime opportunity to ask the Killer Reads team what books they have each recently read that gave them nightmares. Being a group that love thrillers, crime and anything that means you spend the next week leaving the lights on just so you can sleep, they all proceeded to pull at least one book out of their bag that had given them the heebie jeebies.
So we thought we would share them with you so that you, like us, can start preparing your scare-o-meters for the ever looming fright night…
Chosen by Emad Akhtar
Blacklands is a story that unsettled me for a long time – it’s an unusually absorbing and affecting story. This is partly because Blacklands, as Belinda Bauer says in her afterword, ‘was never intended to be a crime novel’. It began as a way of exploring ‘the impact of crimes such as Avery’s, how they affect people for years, lifetimes – maybe even generations’.
Colorado is where people go to disappear.
It was a throwaway remark from a detective friend, but as soon as I heard it, I knew I wanted to hide a killer there. I planned to give Colorado a special guest appearance in a New York-based novel. Instead, I created a whole new series, with a new heroine, FBI Special Agent Ren Bryce, working for a violent crime squad based in Denver. Colorado deserved a starring role. What I needed next was a small-town crime scene. And it was then that I discovered what came to be one of my favourite places in the world: Breckenridge, a small and beautiful resort town ninety miles west of Denver.
I love a big crime in a small place, and with Blood Runs Cold, the first Ren Bryce novel, the body of an FBI agent is found close to Breckenridge on a snow-covered mountain called Quandary Peak.