Cops Behaving Badly  

Category: Author Post



It’s that time of year again, when we frolic on the dark side, flirt with bad spirits and inexplicably spurn perfectly-functioning reverse digits to ‘bob’ for apples.

As I turn off the houselights, hide my confectionary and sit in the dark until it’s all over, it seems the perfect moment to celebrate those perennial anti-heroes of Hollywood: the bad ass cop.


In my novels Alone with the Dead and Dance with the Dead, main character Donal Lynch is a rookie cop propelled into the ‘dark side’ every time he encounters a freshly-murdered body. Like all the fiendishly-immoral, deviant characters in the list that follows, he doesn’t so much wrestle with his inner demons, as dust them down and take them out for a gloriously irreverent can-can before the bewildered faces of authority.




No.5 Captain McCluskey [Sterling Hayden]: The Godfather, 1972


Bent Irish mob patsy Captain McCluskey isn’t just irredeemably corrupt, he breaks Michael Corleone’s manly-but-tender jaw in an eye-watering fit of pique. What joy then when Al Pacino spoils his Italian lunch by despatching a slug into his great big Irish potato head before he even has the chance to order a Machiatto.


No.4 Captain Louis Renault [Claude Reins]: Casablanca, 1942

The police chief of the Vichy-controlled Moroccan capital cosies up to Nazis, inveigles young immigrant women into his bed and sends noble political refugees back to Europe and certain death.

But Renault, played with oily urbane charm by Reins, finds redemption and ‘beautiful friendship’ in the shape of Bogart’s crumpled, lovelorn but oh-so -manly reluctant hero.


No. 3 Bad Lieutenant [Harvey Keitel], 1992

Although the title somewhat gives it away, Keitel’s unnamed degenerate plumbs fresh depths of depravity during a routine traffic stop that will make you think twice about unwinding the window next time you’re pulled over. No amount of AA / RAC marketing could have sent so many motorists scampering out of the cinema to check on the functionality of their tail lights. At least he isn’t sporting his ‘Winston the wolf’ moustache in this one. Only he and de Niro can make facial hair look so sinister, or comedic [check out Mr Potato Head de Niro in Cop Land.


No.2 Captain Dudley Smith [James Cromwell]; LA Confidential, 1997

Forget about framing suspects, stealing drugs and whacking cops, Cromwell’s singular most=heinous crime in this classic has to be his Orish accent [why are bent cops always Irish?].


No.1 Gerry Boyle [Brendan Gleeson]: The Guard, 2011

He may pop drugs [albeit opportunistically], sleep with prostitutes, strike deals with IRA men and make racist comments… no, not the latest Tory Northern Ireland minister… but the anti-hero to top all others. Writer and all-round genius John Michael McDonagh and actor Brendan Gleeson deliver a true Irish Marlowe, a knight errant figure and soulful rebel who lives by an Homeric code of honour, albeit his own.




Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2014 – shortlists announced!

Category: News

It’s that time of year again Killer Readers… the time when the masters of intrigue, suspense, and murders most horrid are honoured in The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards, in association with the Crime Writers’ Association!

The shortlists have officially been announced and there has been a flurry of excitement here at Killer Reads as our brilliant author, Greg Iles, has been shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year, for his stunning novel Natchez Burning

We’re also extremely proud to announce that S. J. Parris’ breath-taking historical thriller, Treachery, has been selected for the Crime Thriller book club, so will be critiqued on-air AND that the one and only Dean Koontz will feature in the Crime Thriller Club’s ‘living legends’ section – a series of interviews with bestselling authors in the world of crime and thriller fiction.

The awards will be the culmination of a six-week Crime Thriller Club series, which starts on ITV3 on 15th September, so make sure you tune in. The winners will then be announced at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards on Friday 24th October at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

For full details, visit the Crime Thriller Awards website

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Exclusive Q&A with Alex Barclay

Category: News

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…

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