My Adventures at Crime Fest 2017

In May, I went to Crime Fest with a lot of other fellow bloggers, crime authors, aspiring writers and avid readers. This was my second time attending Crime Fest and it didn’t disappoint. I spent a fabulous four whole days in Bristol and even went down a little earlier on the Wednesday evening and goes what? I found myself walking into Waterstones and purchasing a new book before the main event.

Over the weekend I didn’t sleep very much as I was too busy talking to lots of new and old friends at the bar as well as attending quite a few of the panels and live tweeted along with my fellow bloggers Joy Kluver, Victoria Goldman, Jen Lucas and Sharon Wilden.

So I’m going to give you all a snapshot of what went on over the four days I was there.

Day One:

I attended the Forensic Crime Scene Excursion which I had been looking forward to for weeks. This was held at The University of the West of England in a special crime scene house which is used to train Forensic science students and police officers.

When we arrived the scene was set – all we had to do was solve the murder which had been committed upstairs.

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This is not a real person – although it did look very lifelike!

A Forensic technician was on hand to answer any questions we had and helped us to work how the murder was committed – I learnt a lot about blood splatter and how different substances are tested at a crime scene which was just brilliant.

After spending a lot of time in the two ‘crime rooms’ upstairs we then spent some time in the ‘lab’ and was shown how to test for blood, saliva and finger marks among other things.

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After the crime scene we travelled back to the hotel in time for the first panels of the day to kick off, I attended the first Debut Panel

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Debut Panel with Mary Torjussen, Steph Broadribb, David Coubrough, Lucy V Hay and Karen Robinson

As well as a session on Keeping Secrets and Telling Lies with Andrea Carter, Rod Reynolds, Lucy Dawson and Julia Crouch.

 

I spent the remainder of the evening catching up with people in the bar and crashed out at about midnight.

Day Two:

This was a day filled with so many great panels, I managed five in total which were all brilliant!

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The appeal of Serial Killers Panel with Helen Fields, James Carol, Paul Finch, Leigh Russell and Mark Roberts

This panel discussed how obsessed and fascinated as readers we have become with serial killers as we are fascinated with the darker side of ourselves. Of course I had to buy some of these books!

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Partners in Crime Panel with Sarah Ward, Luca Veste, Sarah Hilary, Ann Randall and Stav Sherez

I really enjoyed this panel and learnt a lot about series characters and the modern police duo.

I then went to a spotlight session with Sam Carrington who discussed how working in a prison with a mixture of different offenders inspired her writing.

After lunch I went to panel which debating whether we need happy endings in crime fiction.

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Happy endings do we need them? With Caro Ramsey, Kati Hiekkapelto, Kjell Ola Dahl, Steve Mosby and Kevin Wignall.

 

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Parenting 101: Protagonists with commitments with Quentin Bates, Steph Broadribb, J.M Gulvin, Mary-Jane Riley and Sanjida Kay

At the CWA awards ceremony I was super pleased as two of my fellow colleagues, from the City University course I’m studying, was long listed for the CWA Debut Daggers competition so it was celebrations all round!

Day Three:

This was a tough day for me and a few of my fellow bloggers – exhaustion was starting to set in and I only managed three panels this day as well as a nap. I think all the late nights was catching up with me.

 

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The modern police procedural with Elizabeth Haynes, Fergus McNeill, Alison Bruce, Valentina Giambanco and Sharon Bolton

My first panel of this day was hilarious, the moderator Alison Bruce asked ‘ice-breaker’ questions to the rest of the panel like have you ever committed a crime? Or if they’ve ever been in any fights.

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Good vs Bad in Crime Fiction with Kevin Wignall, Torkil Damhaug, M.R.Hall, Martin Edwards and Chris Ewan.

There were laughs a plenty at this panel, if you’ve ever heard Kevin Wignall moderate a panel you know he will ask random children questions to the other panel members along the way. I think my favourite was ‘if you could only time travel once would you go backwards or forwards?’ Food for thought…

I then listened to Barry Forshaw interview Anthony Horowitz which was just fascinating!

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I then went for some birthday celebrations for Fran Dorricott with my lovely friends before chatting in the bar until the early evening and trying out some of Vicki Goldman’s Toffee Vodka.

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I was even part of the bar selfie in the evening although I have no idea why I’m leaning?!

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Day Four:

I went home quite early but still managed to squeeze in a great panel in the morning before setting off home for London laden with lots of new books!!

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London as Location with Jane Casey, Tara Moore, Christopher Fowler, Alison Joseph and Shelia Bugler

 

I loved Crime Fest and next year they celebrate their 10th Anniversary – I will definitely be heading back for this.

And my Crime Fest blog post wouldn’t be complete without adding in this hilarious picture of Rod Reynolds trying to make myself, Amanda Jennings and Karen Sullivan look serious!

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Big thanks to everyone I chatted to and hung out with at Crime Fest – you made it one of the best yet! If you ever get a chance to go to Crime Fest I would really recommend it.

 

*Blog Tour* Need You Dead by Peter James

I’m super excited to be a part of Peter James’ official blog tour for Need You Dead where I’ll be sharing Peter’s dream dinner party along with all the book details. #LoveRoyGrace

Need You Dead. HB. High Res Jacket.jpgFirst up is the Blurb: 

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape her marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, even those you consider closest to you may not be who they say they are, and a chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything.

When the body of a woman is found in the bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first, it looks like an open and shut case but Grace is hesitant as ever to make assumptions and as the investigation lengthens so does the list of men with motives for killing Lorna.

As well as dealing with one of his most mysterious cases yet, Grace must cope with an unexpected new addition to the family. His existence may have only just been discovered following the death of Grace’s ex-wife, but ten-year-old Bruno is moving to Brighton to live with his Dad.

As the case unfolds, with each possible conclusion as tantalisingly plausible as the next, a sudden turn of events reveals the case to be more sinister than Grace could ever imagine.

Need You Dead, the thirteenth in the award-winning DS Roy Grace series by Peter James, is out 18th May (Macmillan, £20.00) and can be purchased here.

 

 Now over to Peter James for his Dream Dinner Party

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This is a tough one! Aside from my close family and friends here is my ten in no particular order…

Oscar Wilde – for his entertaining company

Lucretia Borgia – for being one of the most evil women who ever lived

Graham Greene – for writing the book that made me want to be a writer

Peter Cooke – for being one of the funniest people ever

David Attenborough – because of my wife’s fascination for wildlife

Winston Churchill – someone I have always greatly admired

Arthur Conan Doyle – because Sherlock Holmes was always a big inspiration to me

May West – because she would be fun

Dorothy Parker – for all her witty sayings

W C Fields – I love his curmudgeonly attitude to almost everything such as ‘How do you like children, Mr Fields?’ To which he replied ‘Fried’

Some fab choices here!

A little Research…

Dedicated to authenticity, Peter bases his books upon real life experiences he has witnessed through shadowing the Sussex Police.

In Need You Dead, he focuses on domestic violence and, in particular, a case in which the police are called out to a tearful woman reporting that her live-in boyfriend had pushed dog faeces into her mouth. Peter was invited in to hear the woman’s story.

Peter also studied the increasing number of internet crimes that are now outweighing the number of thefts and burglaries that take place.

 

About the Author:

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PETER JAMES is one of the UK’s most treasured crime and thriller novelists. His Roy Grace detective novels have sold over 18 million copies worldwide in total. The series is now published in 37 territories.  Peter’s first non-fiction title ‘Death Comes Knocking’ written in association with Graham Bartlett, Head of Sussex Police was published in July 2016, scoring Peter a hat trick of titles in the Sunday Times charts within a month.

Peter’s novella, ‘The Perfect Murder’ (2010) was adapted into a play called The Perfect Murder which did its first, smash hit tour starring Les Dennis in 2014. This was followed by the play of Dead Simple in 2015, starring Tina Hobley and Jamie Lomas which was an equally big success during its 6-month nationwide run. Not Dead Enough, the third of Peter’s books to be translated to stage, is currently touring the UK to critical acclaim, starring Shane Ritchie as Roy Grace and Laura Whitmore as Cleo Morey.

Peter, an established film producer, was educated at Charterhouse then at film school. He has produced numerous films, including The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino. He has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brighton in recognition of his services to literature and the community, is Patron of Neighbourhood Watch nationwide, Patron of Crimestoppers in Sussex, Patron of Brighton & HoveSamaritans, and Patron of Relate, among many other charitable posts he holds.  Peter has been two-times Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association and has won many literary awards, including the publicly voted ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards People’s Bestseller Dagger and he was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize.  As popular internationally as in the UK, he won the US Barry Award, for Best British Crime Novel in 2012.  Last year, 2015, he was voted by WH Smith readers as The Best Crime Author of All Time. 

Born and brought up in Brighton, Peter divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill, London and Sussex. Peter is available for interviews and to write features.

Find out more about Peter James at www.panmacmillan.com and Peter’s website www.peterjames.com and follow him on:

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/peterjames.roygrace

Twitter. http://twitter.com/peterjamesuk

Instagram: https://instagram.com/peterjamesuk

YouTube: You can subscribe for free here: www.peterjames.com/YouTube

Don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous stops on this epic blog tour!

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Blog Tour: The Search by Howard Linskey

For today’s post I’m super excited to host the next stop on The Search blog tour, penned by Howard Linskey and published by Michael Joseph, Penguin. As always don’t forget to check out all the other fab books on this tour!

First up it’s the Blurb:

9780718180362Someone knows where the bodies are buried…

Little Susan Verity went missing during the heatwave of 1976. An unprecedented amount of police resource went into finding her, but to no avail. Until now.

Convicted serial killer Adrian Wicklow was always the prime suspect. In the past, he’s repeatedly lied to the police about where Susan’s body is buried – playing a sick game from behind bars. 

But this time, he says, he’ll tell the truth. Because Adrian Wicklow is dying.

Detective Ian Bradshaw works with investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney to find the body. However, this is Wicklow’s life’s work. Would a murderer on death’s door give up his last secret so easily…?

This is a story which centres around the investigation into the disappearance of a child in 1976. In 1976, six children went out to play but only five returned, little Susan Verity disappeared without a trace. Andrew Winklow, the prime suspect and convicted child killer who originally confused to her murder later retracted his confession. Now on the 20th anniversary of her disappearance, DS Ian Bradshaw is tasked with her case to try to uncover what really happened, because Adrian Winklow is dying and time is running out to discover the truth once and for all.

Wow! This story just grabbed my attention from the very beginning which opened with the creepy words of Adrian Winklow, and as the narrative unfolded kept me glued to the page.

This story is set in both the past, 1976, and the present day which in this case is 1996. The author does a fantastic job of interweaving both of these timelines into the main plot with both timelines revealing little clues along the way while still keeping up the pace and mystery.

What I really liked about this novel was the fact that the main narrative focused on an interesting cold case which managed to retain the strong sense of a life and death situation and fast-paced action which comes from novels with a ‘present day’ serial killer.

I adored the creepy, disturbing character of Adrian who even when he is at death’s door still manages to plays games with everyone. I’m not sure what really says about me but I do love a good villain!

I also really liked the main characters of DS Ian Bradshaw and journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton who he turns to for help, to try and unpick the truth from a serial killer’s twisted and clever mind. I was also interested in their dynamic relationships which are just at the heart of this novel and I suspect the series. The author’s writing style just made me feel very invested in these characters and sympathetic – I really cared about what happened to them.

I have never read any of Howard Linskey’s previous books but I will certainly be picking them up now after reading The Search because this was such a fascinating and brilliant read.

This is a fabulous fast-paced and twisty page-turner which is a must for the avid crime-reader.

Big thanks to Jenny Platt and Michael Joseph Books for my advanced review copy.

You can purchase this book from Amazon here.

Or from Waterstones here.

To find out more about Howard Linskey follow him on Twitter at @HowardLinskey.

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Chiller Review: The One by John Marrs

As today marks the paperback publication of The One by John Marrs (hooray) I thought I would repost my original review. #MatchYourDNA

The Blurb:

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

51sLGvpEYQL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_One simple mouth swab is all it takes. One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for. 

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Review:

Oh My – This was such a superb read which had me on the edge of my seat most of the time with all it’s twists and surprises I just didn’t see coming. It is definitely a psychological thriller with a difference.

The One tells the story of five characters who have all taken the Match Your DNA test, but what turns out as a simple DNA swab which millions of other have done previously, quickly turns into something more sinister. Something more shocking than they could ever have imagined.

  • Nick is content with his fiance Sally, or so he thinks, right up until the point she begs him to take the test. But what could possibly go wrong  when he is matched with a straight man?
  • Ellie is a successful businesswoman, closed off from the world but then she is matched. Can she open her heart? And what could go wrong when she does?
  • Jade is matched with a man halfway across the world, but does she have the guts to leave everything behind to meet the love of her life?
  • Mandy is ecstatic when she discovers she has been matched to the man of her dreams, after her past relationships but then she starts looking him up online…
  • Christopher is a psychopath who is so wrapped up in his own project that when he meets his match he is unaware of the effect she will truly have on him.

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I loved how the author superbly weaves each of the character’s story, giving equal weight to each one while ending each chapter with a smallish-cliffhanger, leaving me as the reader needing to read more. It was one of those books where because of the short chapters you could keep reading another and another, although because I did just that one morning it forced me to literally run to work.

It was a book which really built the tension up from the word go with the author trickling surprise after surprise until you thought you couldn’t take anymore, well until the author wacked me with yet another corker of a twist about halfway through – turning the story completely on it’s head.

I just loved every minute of this book which had me literally gasping out loud with the many surprises and twists I couldn’t keep up with! I’m still not sure whose story was the most disturbing which makes it all the better.

This was a novel so full of high drama which made for a fantastic read! I would recommend for all lovers of psychological crime.

Big thanks to Stephenie Naulls and Ebury Publishing for my ARC.

The One is out in paperback today and you can you get your hands on it from Amazon here

Or from Waterstones here.

To find out more about John Marrs follow him on Twitter at @johnmarrs1

I wonder, would you take the test? I’m not quite sure if I would anymore…