Autumn TV preview: Luke Delaney on why he loves Peaky Blinders

Category: News

Tonight is the first episode of series two of Peaky Blinders, and the Killer Reads team are pretty excited for it. Great characters, a bit of violence, a bit of hopeless love, a few explosions, a lot of shady operations – what’s not to like? But we’re not the only ones… Here’s Luke Delaney, author of The Toy Taker, on why he’s looking forward to tonight’s premiere…

Without doubt Peaky Blinders is one of the best shows that’s been on the TV for years. The cast is great (Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill were excellent in the first series), the production quality is first class and looks like a big budget Hollywood production, the music’s good, it’s mean, moody and whips along at a cracking pace with much intrigue and action – each episode developing the story nicely and never treading water.

And if that wasn’t enough it has the key elements to any good show, film or book – it’s a great story, based on a true criminal gang and their real-life exploits. True life is often so much more interesting than fiction and that’s certainly the case here. The other essential ingredient is of course the characters – all of whom are excellent in Blinders – layered and believable. You care about them!

Lastly, I love the fact it’s about Birmingham, albeit the Brum of the post WWI era – that gives it such a great look. I’ve always felt Birmingham was a much under-used location from a film/book p.o.v. It can be quite an intimidating city – huge and sprawling, with little of the large soft underbelly that somewhere like London has to gentrify it. Finally someone’s realized its potential as a film location and has reaped the benefits with the Blinders!

Will you be watching tonight?

Luke’s latest book, The Toy Taker, is out now


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



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


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




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

Luke Delaney answers your questions, part 2

Category: News

Last week, Luke answered some fan questions all about his background and history with the Met and CID. Today, he’s on the blog answering some of your questions about his writing. Read on to find out how he writes, what triggers his imagination, how his plots take shape and more…

The Keeper

1. Apart from your background with the Met and CID, what triggers your imagination to write your plots?

It could be anything – someone I see on a train, a holiday, something in the media, a dream. Anything. For example the idea for The Toy Taker, my third Corrigan book, came about when I caught my eldest boy hiding his younger brother’s favourite teddy close to bedtime. He was doing it to delay going to bed, but it gave me an evil idea that I knew would resonate strongly with all parents. My fourth book is inspired by the media coverage of the banking crisis and all the public discontent with ‘greedy bankers.’ My mind never switches off to ideas, hence I have a backlog to try and get through.

2. What is your writing routine?

A writing routine in basically something I dream of one day having. I’m insanely jealous of writers who get to sit in a lovely study and write all day and sometimes all night. I squeeze my writing in between looking after my three young children, wife, cats etc, so I really write whenever I get a chance – often just bursts of a few minutes here and a few minutes there – sometimes while I’m cooking dinner, sometimes walking around the house with a laptop or on a train on my way to a business meeting. You get the drift! No routine!

3. Are you ever surprised by your plots taking an unexpected route, or do you stick to a detailed outline?

I was with Cold Killing, because I wrote it off the cuff with no plan, so it constantly changed, which was fun, but difficult to keep up with. Now I plan them quite meticulously, an overall plan and then scene-by-scene, so if the plots going to change it changes at the planning stage, not the writing stage.

4. Are there any books/authors that have inspired you to write?

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, which I love. I read it as a young cop and it just felt spot on. I want to write books that stay with people as long as Red Dragon has with me.

5. If you were recommending your book to a friend – how would you describe it?

I’d say it was a fast paced thriller – a page-turner – but with a haunting, realistic backdrop, and challenging enough to make you think rather than just dispose of it when you’ve finished.

6. What would you like readers to take away from the experience of reading your novel?

A realization that there’s nothing fun or entertaining about violent death; and what a tough and undervalued job the police do – not to mention underpaid. The book’s entertainment lies in the story. The deaths are there as a wake-up call and a challenge to people who may have become anaesthetized to reality.

Cold Killing is out in paperback now and The Keeper publishes today in hardback!