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CRIME WRITERS' & READERS' thread.....everyone welcome...

edited September 2008 in - Reading
Crime fiction seems to be the genre where I feel most at home (I'm not a criminal!) and produce my best stuff, and I know there's quite a few others out there who've mentioned crime writing in other threads, so I thought it may be pertinent to have a thread dedicated to the subject.

A friend of mine, called Matt Hilton, has recently clinched a five book deal worth approximately £million with Hodder, and his first book, 'Dead Men's Dust,' is out next June. So, although some people still frown upon this subject (apparently), it's still one of the most popular genres around.

My favourite novelist at the moment is the 'pacey' Simon Kernick (this will probably change next June!).
Tell us your favourite(s) and what your personal aspirations are and feel free to clarify any problems you have while writing, as I'm sure there's enough like-minded writers on here to move each other closer to our dreams!


  • I didn't realise there were so many of you!
  • Okay, then just to inject some life into this thread...Has anyone ever seen a crime show on telly?
  • How about heard someone talk about crime?
  • Know anyone who knows someone who has spoken about crime?
  • Ok, this thread is also open to anyone who lives in an area where a crime has been committed!
  • Okay - back to basics...anyone who can spell the word 'crime.'

    Any takers?
  • Congrats to your friend! Crime/thriller writing is near impossible to crack into (I should know, have a pile of rejection letters saying this is really good - but no).

    Crime fiction is THE bestselling genre followed closely by romance. Apparently the literary snobs look down on it, but when it's done well it has the scope to probe the darkest corners of human nature.

    My favourite authors are Ian Rankin and Val Mcdermid. I'm currently reading Die For Me by Karen Rose (but that might go out the window next Saturday when the third Eragon book is published.)

    As for personal aspiration, I would like my readers to be hooked from first word to last. Although I tend to write more psychological thrillers than classic mysteries, because I am far more interested in motive. One of my reviews on YWO was 'I never thought of a killer being just as scared as the victim before' so I was well chuffed with that - mission accomplished!
  • Dorothy reads crime (esp. Mark Billingham) sure she'll be around soon!
  • And, by some strange coincidence, my name's appear on Mark Billingham's site when I've Googled it.
  • Gosh thats a pretty fab deal! I'll have some of that.

    ColB i think its a great idea to have a thread.

    I could do with some tips on layering sub plots. So far i've got all the obvious people issues sorted out but i was thinking it seems alittle shallow. I wanted to throw the trail away from the murderer by creating more characters with motives. Has any one got some advice for me on how to construct it and what authors are good at the moment, as in france i dont get to browse the bookshelves!
  • Stirling, unbeknown to you, you have just prevented a crime I was going to commit!!!!!

    Moving swiftly on...congrats on your accomlishment. I'm currently looking at books by the both the authors you mentioned staring down at me from my vast collection. Will give 'em a go based on your recomendation.

    I should have added that I've read Martina Cole's stuff and it just didn't ring true for me, but she's coining it in so the masses are buying it.
  • That's a difficult one!

    Okay, so you're more for the trad. mysteries then? Is it cosy or hard boiled? If things feel a little shallow, I would recommend making things a bit more psychological.

    Motives are hard, it took me a long time to find mine. It just happened while watching an episode of Wire In The Blood (resulting from a sub plot) and I started thinking what would happen if a father wanted revenge for his son's murder by a known paedophile? What would happen if a judge had let that paedophile walk free from court, despite being found guilty? How would he take revenge? How could he truly get revenge for losing his son?

    My best advice is let you imagination go wild!

    I'm trying to think of authors who write the kind of 'Midsommer Murder' storylines, and I'm failing! I'm about to go for a shift at Oxfam (bookstore), I'll take a look for you (be back about 5-6pm)
  • Amanda,

    Read 'Scene and Structure' by Jack M Bickham. This will point you in the right direction. After I'd read it I felt compelled to write him a thank you letter, but when I looked him up, I found that he had passed on.

    Or you may want to read something specific to subplots, but they are covered in many 'How to' writing books. But you can't beat just writing what you think and things will develop from there.
  • [quote=Stirling]Dorothy reads crime (esp. Mark Billingham)[/quote]

    Does Dorothy know about the creme de la crime competition being judged by Mark Billingham. Surely she would be interested?

    Col. B could u help me with my query on my new discussion? About poisoning story I am doing
  • I don't like Martina Cole (and Dorothy has opinons too!).

    I would recommed Val McDermid's 'Killing The Shadows' (crime writers getting killed off in the manner that they have killed characters in their books.) I'm also hoping to go an author event with McDermid on Thursday.

    I would like to try a Mark Billingham, but don't know where to start. Any recommendations?
  • Robin,
    I'm just off to work, but will check it out tonight.
    Catch you all later.
  • Thanks, don't work too hard
  • Stirling - I read 'Sleepy Head' - very good.
  • Also 'Buried' was decent, too. I think that was one of his - no time to check - gonna be late....see ya!
  • We seem to have quite a few crime writers based in Nottingham, many unpublished, but of published ones have to mention John Harvey, who moves around quite a bit but has lived in Nottingham a number of times. He spoke to our writers group about three or four years ago- really nice bloke. He read us an extract from the novel he was writing at the time.
    Stephen Booth, he's in Derbyshire. He did a talk about six years ago. He worked on a newspaper previously.

    Though it is not my genre, I enjoy watching crime stuff- though don't like the too gory stuff- Val McDermid is not my idea of viewing pleasure.
  • Friday, 12th September, ITV 9pm - Wire in the Blood. First of eight (tonight's is a two-parter, if you see what I mean). Sounds gruesome.
  • She is quite gory - but she does the best psychological twists. I'll be watching tonight, but I really miss Hermoine Norris.

    Also, A Place of Execution is due to be televised.
  • oooh, my name scattered throughout the thread ... I don't write crime fiction, so I can't enter any competitions. No time to do that anyway ... I just read the stuff.
    I am late getting to TB this morning, due to disasters at work, the accounts/despatch girl has been fired. Guess who got lumbered with the job, on top of the job. I have spent the morning clearing and tidying an office, so I can find things, looking for instructions on how to use the credit card terminal then learning to use said credit card terminal, packing orders ... I am a bit weary and already doped up with migraine medication. I will get there. Going off for lunch shortly, a break, then back to start over again, orders to be logged on, an order to be tracked down, learn how to close down the credit card terminal at the end of the day's banking ... to quote an American friend, will someone tell me when I am having fun ...
  • Hope your migraine clears soon, Dorothy.
  • I did not see you had a migraine...get better soon
  • Enjoy lunch, and hope the migraine doesn't get any worse.
  • thank you, people. Lunch 'alone' helped, chance to read, to be quiet. I am back at work (obviously!) and getting on top of everything. Partner is co operating, talking about a flat screen so I have the monitor nearer me than it is at the moment (difficult seeing numbers on the database at a distance) and sorting the office out. We will cope. I would rather do the job myself, in truth, then I know what is being done. But it means a lot more work in the immediate future. The website goes automatic shortly, that will cut down a tremendous amount of credit card work and consequent problems when they don't go through, the customer will have to sort it at point of purchase when the automatic bit kicks in.
  • c-r-i-m-e...crime!
  • On a more serious note I am a crime fan and have dabbled in the genre...obviously nowhere near the £million mark but it would be nice!!
  • I am glad you are better...if flat screen helps...go for it!! I used to suffer migraines (admittedly only minor ones in comparison to others I have heard of) and they are horrible!!
  • I enjoy reading crime but I haven't written any...and I'm not sure if I'd be all that good at it anyway...but you never know
  • I think the worst thing about being a crime writer is that you lose some of the enjoyment because you read it a little too critically.
  • I get annoyed when people say they look down on crime writing. In my opinion it doesn't matter what the genre is as long as the book is well written. I love good crime writing and I love good thrillers too. Sometimes I'm not too sure what the difference is between the two. Your friend must be over the moon, Col.B!
  • I love crime writing. I even read Joe R Lansdale whose books women aren't supposed to like.
  • [quote=caro]In my opinion it doesn't matter what the genre is as long as the book is well written.[/quote]

    And that is the important point that so often gets forgotten- whatever genre.
  • Just got back from work. Some good comments on here. Interesting to know what people think.

    Matt is obviously well chuffed and extremely busy now, but also very level-headed about the whole thing. If you or anyone else wants to know more about his story (& stories) follow this link...

  • Aah. I remember reading about him in WN months back. His agent is LLB isn't it? Always pleased to see northerners doing well.

    Not my kind of crime novel, congrats to him anyway.
  • I had a look at his site. His books sound interesting . Is Hunter going to be the new Jack Reacher?:)
  • Stirling,
    Yep, the agent's wife found his manuscript on the slushpile and loved it (why did the agent miss it though? He mustn't look at them all, I guess).

    Amazingly Lee Child heard about Matt's success and actually phoned him! Matt was gobsmacked apparently. Mr Child is writing a brief 'recommendation' (or mini-review) on the first book's cover I believe. And, yes, Joe Hunter sounds like a character who could have a long lifespan.
  • LLB is also our James Barrington's agent - small world!
  • Oh, I didn't know that. Hmm...interesting.
  • I think James was signed when the agency was just starting out, but they are REALLY good. Top of my dream agent list actually.
  • Ditto...looks like there's a large queue!
  • Congrats to your friend...

    Im just reading Michael Robotham 'Shatter' at the moment which I think won an crime thriller award. Karen Rose seems to be another favourite of mine too.

    I did start out by writing a few paragrpahs of crime writing. I was trying to work out how I would injure a certain character in one of the paragraphs but after a really bad day I just chucked the poor girl in the machine and she ended up dead!!!!

    I am a nice person really!!!!
  • sounds like it ... but a good way to dispose of a character!
  • If it was a washing machine - perhaps you should have put it on 'quick-wash!'
  • Suzi, Just checked out Robotham (I'd never heard of him) and notice he's from Oz; sounds good though. Had a quick look at Karen Rose's website, too (never heard of her either!) and she's American. Do you not read British based stuff? Simon Kernick would be a good place to start.
  • Wasn't he lucky that Bonomi's wife had a look at the slushpile? It's really scary to think that the ms might never have got noticed. I think that also happened to another author, can't remember her name, whose ms got dumped in a waste paper basket and got picked up by the editor's secretary.
  • I tried Simon Kernick's Relentless and only read a few chapters - I'm the same I'm afraid, I much prefer American writers to British ones.

    Suzi, when you've finished reading Shatter I would love to hear your thoughts. I felt it was a bit obvious, by page 200 I was thinking 'I know where this is going' so I flipped to the back, and yep that was exactly where it was going. I'm starting to read Karen Rose, unfortunately my copy of Brisingr is due to arrive Sat morning!
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