Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival… It’s nearly here!!!

Category: News

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The biggest crime fiction festival in the WORLD kicks off tomorrow, and excitement levels are rising!

As I write this, and as you read it, some of the best & brightest authors in the land are making their way to Harrogate. Some from other lands too – Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls, is flying in from South Africa tomorrow, and will be joined on her panel South of the Equator by antipodeans Helen Fitzgerald & Michael Robotham. This one is taking place on Saturday at 3.30pm.

On Friday, Andrew Taylor (who has just been awarded the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger for an unprecedented third time!) is taking part in a discussion of Victorian Crime: Fact or Fiction, chaired by Sarah Pinborough at 12pm.

On Friday night at 10pm, Charles Cumming will chair a panel for Fleming Fans, featuring Sam Bourne (pseudonym for Jonathan Freedland), JJ Connolly and Gregg Hurwitz. Late night chat amongst Bond fans… sure to be a lark!

On Saturday night, lucky fans get the chance to mingle with their favourite authors at a celebratory themed James Bond Murder Mystery Dinner. It’s 007 Style in honour of the 60th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale. Charles Cumming and SJ Parris are among the author hosts.

Finishing up for HC on Sunday morning we have the legendary Stuart MacBride taking part in the intriguingly entitled panel Slaughtering the Sacred Cows, chaired by Mark Lawson at 10am. Some members of the audience may be blurry eyed, but have no fear, Stuart is worth the effort!

If you are planning to be at the festival at all, please do let us know – we’d love to catch up! For those who can’t make it this time, rest assured I’ll be tweeting live from the event to keep you in the loop.

The Killer Reads Team's Top Picks for 2013

Category: News

Wondering what to read this year? Look no further. The Killer Reads Team have put pen to paper to tell you what we’re most excited about publishing and reading in 2013.


Emad Akhtar, Assistant Editor for Crime and Thriller, says:

The books I’m most excited about publishing:

shining girlsThe Tower by Simon Toyne, marks the end of the Sancti trilogy, and will definitely be an event for all the people who have been following this story from Sanctus. You can read any of them on their own, to be honest – they are just amazing, slick, satisfying thrillers which take you to really unexpected places. I don’t think anyone’s quite doing what he’s doing with the genre; a really special mix of ancient themes and cutting-edge ideas.


And of course, The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. If you’ve been following any of the buzz building around this dark, hypnotic serial killer story, then you’ll know that this is one to put everything on hold for. Lauren is a really rare talent, who can bend her imagination to any genre, shaping and mashing-up stories into highly original novels which no-one else could write. I think she’ll win a lot of new fans this year with The Shining Girls, if the early reviews are anything to go by.


Both these books are out in April and if you don’t read at least one of them, I will hold you in contempt forever.

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Lauren Beukes: what it’s like to be at the centre of a high-stakes five-way literary auction

Category: News

This is what it’s like to be at the centre of a high-stakes five-way literary auction. It’s  The Twilight Zone.

©Casey Crafford

I’ve been watching a lot of the original series recently, ostensibly research because my character in the new novel gets night fears from one particular episode featuring Talky Tina, the murderous living doll. And, you know, I had to watch the rest of them to put it in context. But it’s exactly that, like stepping into another dimension, where everything is topsy turvy and beyond imagination. Because it’s really, really weird to have publishers wooing you.

Normally the writer is cast in the role of Jehovah’s Witness or Avon Lady, trying to impress the publisher or agent just enough to get inside the door, so you can launch into the full song and dance routine.

An auction, on the other hand, is a literary dating show; The Bachelorette of Letters. How ever will I choose from all these smart, witty, wonderful suitors phoning me to tell me how much they love the book? Swoon. Blush. Flutter fan made from previously rejected manuscripts coquettishly.

That same small, nasty part of me that snipes doubt at every sentence as I’m writing it, put forward the thought that it was some elaborate and vicious hoax by my agent, Oli Munson, hiring actors to play frankly unrealistically enthusiastic editors and put up fake websites that looked like The Bookseller with ridiculous soundbites about my novel, The Shining Girls, being “the book of the fair”. Nice try, agent guy.

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