A Day at Edinburgh International Book Festival (Day 1 of 2). @edbookfest @Lin_Anderson @antti_tuomainen @russeldMcLean @FrankRGardner @StuartMacBride @thestephmerritt @OrendaBooks

So today I went to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, as you can tell from the above picture I took the train, which gave me some time to enjoy the gorgeous Scottish countryside and get some reading done. I had a packed day (well afternoon and evening!) and had coincidentally booked the same events as the lovely Louise from The Scotsman who I bumped into not long after arriving. This meant that I was able t spend the day with someone I knew, as we had met previously at a book launch, and not wander around myself looking like a lost soul!  I had a brilliant time with Louise, it’s been a while since I could properly talk books with someone else, so to do it for a few hours was heaven. 

Anyway, we were kicking off the day with the Lin Anderson and Antti Tuomainen event and happily bumped into Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books, Michael J Malone and the event chair Russel D MacLean before the event started so spent some time talking with them before the event itself. 

There was a good crowd in The Spiegeltent for the event and I don’t think anyone left disappointed. I know I took the picture below when Lin Anderson was being introduced but can’t remember exactly what was being said at this point. However, going by her expression it was definitely amusing which set the scene for the hour to follow.

The event was a mixture of serious parts and humour, beginning with Antti’s observations on how our reality is currently stranger than fiction, Lin’s explanation of sleep paralysis and a discussion of keeping forensic information up to date as technology progresses. Both authors read from their newest works, Sins of the Dead and Palm Beach, Finland (Antti’s book is not out just yet but can be pre-ordered now or if you’re lucky you can buy a copy at the festival, if there are any left!).  The beginning of Sins of the Dead is intriguing, quite different from what I had expected and unusual but also creepy and gripping, I for one was enthralled. In stark contrast the beginning of Palm Beach, Finland had everyone laughing, I ended up in tears because it was so funny, but at the same time it is dark and slightly creepy too. If you want crime fiction that is completely different from your usual read this is definitely worth considering.

After a very brief recovery from a most entertaining hour it was time to immediately join the queue for the next event, Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, who has written a few books including a new thriller, Ultimatum which is out now. Everyone who regularly watches BBC news will be aware who Frank Gardner is from seeing him on there which is how I knew of him. What I didn’t know, however, was how funny he is. He entertained a huge audience with stories from Cairo, Columbia, Iran and other countries that he has visited. He is clearly very knowledgeable and was able to give a picture of countries, like Iran, which is so different from the one we get from the news and political commentary that exists at the moment. Until I saw the festival programme I had no idea he had written any fiction books (or any books for that matter) but when I saw his name there I was intrigued and, as someone who wants to expand their reading I thought this event would be a good one to add to my crime heavy bundle and I was not disappointed. Predictably the questions at the end of the event turned towards asking him what he thought would happen in various countries, such as Yemen, and he answered them well and in the best way he could. After all, although he has a lot of knowledge and experience, even he can’t predict the future. 

After this it was time for a quick bite to eat before ny last event of the day which was Stuart MacBride, hosted by Stephanie Merritt. I have to say this is the first book event I’ve been to where the author has stood up and sang to the audience, he even made Stephanie Merritt join in too which she did rather well. It was quite different from the other events of the day. There was a lot of discussion of writing, editors, other people’s opinion on crime fiction to highlight just a few. It was most entertaining and I have to say Stephanie Merritt did a fantastic job of managing Stuart MacBride (and yes, I think managing is the right word to use!). I enjoyed myself so much I bought the first book in the Logan McRae series, a series I have been contemplating trying for a while now, and have come home with a new, shiny, signed book to add to ny ever growing to-read pile. 

I’m back at the festival on Friday when I have a packed day seeing Susie Orbach, Alison Weir, New Passages: Scotland and India and Matt Haig.  

Advertisements

#BlogTour #Review : Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone  @OrendaBooks @doug_johnstone @annecater #FaultLines

I am thrilled today to be taking part in the blog tour for Fault Lines. Many thanks to Orenda and Anne Cater for having me on this tour.

Blurb:  In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, in which a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery. 

On a clandestine trip to The Inch – the new volcanic island – to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body. Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done… 


My Review: I have to admit that this is the first book by Doug Jonstone that I’ve though it won’t be the last. I’m also going to admit that it took me a wee while to get into this book. I’m really busy at the moment and whether it’s connected to that or not I don’t know. However I kept going becase what I was reading was very intiguing and then, all of a sudden I was hooked, one tiny thing changed the feel of the of the story and that was all it took. 

I found it an interesting concept, a volcano in the Firth of Forth, particularly as I lived near the river for over 20 years. I think, for me, because I am so familiar with how the river looks I had trouble imagining it differently but that’s something that became less difficult as the story went on. I know some people won’t have that problem but if you do, persevere, it’ll be worth it. 

I liked, to varying degrees, the characters in the story but Surtsey was particularly interesting. I felt as if I experienced everything she did, she got annoyed and so did I, something happened that scared her and I got jumpy at the slightest sound. I love having that experience when reading. An author who can write such immerse prose is clearly one with great skill and that is borne out in my experience with this novel. 

Being told from the perspective of a character that is not police or crime related makes it a bit different from the conventional crime fiction novel but that difference works in its favour. This is a book that will appeal to those who like mystery and suspense, the crime itself is almost irrelevant, it’s what happens after, the consequences of various actions which the story focuses on. 

Now I’m off to check out more of Doug Johnstone’s writing so I can add it to my to-read list!


About the author:

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His seventh novel, The Jump, was published by Faber & Faber in August 2015. Gone Again (2013) was an Amazon bestseller and Hit & Run (2012) and was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. Smokeheads (2011) was nominated for the Crimefest Last Laugh Award. Before that Doug published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008). His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

In September 2014 Doug took up the position of Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Doug was writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. Doug is currently also working on a number of screenplays for film and television. He is also a mentor and manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released two solo EPs, Keep it Afloat and I Did It Deliberately.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars.

He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

#BlogTour #Review : We Were The Salt Of The Sea by Roxanne Bouchard @OrendaBooks @annecater

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for letting me part of this blog tour. 

We Were The Salt Of The Sea blog tour banner

Blurb:  As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. 

On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky… Both a dark and consuming crime thriller and a lyrical, poetic ode to the sea, We Were the Salt of the Sea is a stunning, page-turning novel, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

We Were The Salt Of The Sea book cover

Review:  I’m going to be completely honest here and say that I struggled with this book the whole way through and, upon reflection, I feel like I was one of the tourists described in it, someone who comes, rushes around and leaves without ever slowing down and appreciating the area properly. 

It’s not because it’s a translation, I’ve read plenty of those and never had any issues, what I think was my problem was that I just couldn’t get into the style of writing. I’ve had a look at some of the other reviews from this tour so far and a few mention that it took time for them to get used to the writing and after that they fell in love with the book and I believe that is why I didn’t, I never got used to the writing style. It was something that simply didn’t work for me.

However, before you start to think I’m being negative here, I’m not. Even though I struggled with it I still became immersed in the story, the writing brings alive the characters and the sea, which is almost a character in itself and an integral part of the story. There’s a scene where Catherine, sits down with the lovely and intriguing Cyrille, and watches the sea while they talk and I could not only visualise the scene easily but I could hear the waves ebbing and flowing as they talked.  

I’m a very visual reader, as I read (in any format) I see the story as a movie in my head, I always have done. For books I don’t enjoy at all, the movie stutters and comes through in bits and pieces. For books I enjoy it flows like any film you watch at the cinema or on tv, seamlessly.  Although I didn’t get this book in the way others have, that film in my head flowed seamlessly, hence why I could see the waves, the boats coming in with their morning catch, the characters themselves, everything even down to the coffees and scrambled eggs.  That for me is the sign of a good story, one that is well told, has a good amount of description and characters that are rounded rather than flat.  

Despite the fact that this story didn’t quite work for me I can understand why others are giving it glowing reviews and calling it one of the best books of 2018.  It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, no book ever is, but I would still urge people to give it a go.  You might be like me and not quite get it, but you might be like others who’ve read and loved it.  Quite a few people have fallen in love with this book and I can completely understand why that is, I’m just sad that I’m not one of them.

Author bio:   Ten years or so ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. We Were the Salt of the Sea is her fifth novel, and her first to be translated into English. She lives in Quebec. 

#BlogTour #Guest Post : Killed by Thomas Enger.  @OrendaBooks @EngerThomas @annecater #Killed #HenningJuul

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today.  As I’ve not yet had the chance to read any of the previous Henning Juul books I decided that making the final book my first read wasn’t a good idea.  Therefore, instead of a review I have a guest post from Thomas Enger for you, in which he discusses research or not researching before you begin to write.  It’s a very interesting post and I hope you enjoy reading it. 


Blurb:  Crime  reporter  Henning  Juul  thought  his  life  was  over when his young  son  was  murdered.  But  that  was only  the  beginning… 

Determined  to  find  his  son’s  killer,  Henning  doggedly  follows  an increasingly  dangerous  trail,  where dark  hands  from  the  past emerge  to  threaten  everything.  His  ex-wife  Nora  is  pregnant  with another man’s  child,  his  sister  Trine  is  implicated  in  the  fire  that killed  his  son  and,  with  everyone  he  thought  he could  trust seemingly  hiding  something,  Henning  has  nothing  to  lose  … except  his  own  life. Packed  with  tension  and  unexpected  twists, Killed  is  the  long-awaited  finale  of  one  of  the  darkest,  most chilling and emotive series you may ever read. Someone will be killed. But who? 

To research or not to (or how to) – that is the question

by Thomas Enger

A question I often get from pupils doing a paper or whenever I’m participating on panels/festivals here or there (mostly there), is the topic of research. How you do you do your research, when do you do it (before, during or after the first draft?) or sometimes I’m even asked if I do any research at all. First, let me just very clearly state that I’m not a doctor. I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m not a carpenter. I’m not a weather man. I’m not a politician. I’m not a teacher (at least not anymore, I did have a four-month sting as a gymnastics teacher back when I was 21). I’m not hit man. I’m not a hit woman, or a woman, for that matter. I’m not a butcher (although that can sometimes be argued…). I’m not a secretary for a shady lawyer, either. I’m not a real estate agent, would you believe it. I’m not a 74-year old woman or an astronaut. You get where I’m going with this. So if I’m ever going to make any sense at all in the books that I’m writing, a certain element of research has to apply.

That means I go online and search for stuff or places. I talk to people. I e-mail them. Ask all kinds of stupid questions, just to get an inkling for the topic or just to see if there is something in that specific line of work that I can use (to my advantage). I also travel quite a lot, and take pictures of the places that I’m writing about, just to make sure that I get everything right. Not that it has to be, I’m writing fiction, so I can easily manufacture a bridge or a lake here or there, if I want to or the story requires it. But it adds to the story’s credibility if I can keep myself within some form of reality. When it comes to medical issues, for instance, that is especially imperative. I can’t invent new ways to perform open heart surgery (a closed one, for instance, would look weird) or treat a cancer patient with anti-histamines and still proclaim with a certain level of authority that those little blue pills somehow made the patient cancer-free. Things that people can google themselves and double-check, need to be accurate, or at least very close to it.

When I get ideas for a book, the instinct in me tells me to start writing right away, as the idea is fresh and fun and free from friction. But what I’ve learned over the years is to give myself enough time and space, or patience, as some might call it, to develop a feel for the story first before I dive into the material. That means giving the story a preliminary cast, and when I do that, research always place a small part. If I need a janitor in there somewhere, I might research that profession a little bit. Bad example, but it would be good to know a little bit about what it’s actually like to be a female in a very male dominant part of, say, politics. Like in the Ministry of Defence, for instance. Then I would try to talk to someone with that kind of experience or background, and see if there are specifics in her everyday life that I can use.

If I know that the story is going to involve drug trafficking or problems related to immigration, then it’s always good to know some details of how things really work in the society I’m portraying before I start to create a story around that topic. For me, the characters always come before the topic, so that was a bad example, too. But you know what I mean. I hope.

I don’t want to over-do the research, though. I want to leave a lot up to my own imagination, and sometimes I just write and do the research after. I can write a scene exactly the way I want it to play, and then go back and see if a gun actually could spit out 22 bullets per second, or if I have to make do with 3. Again, not the best of examples, but I’ve found that research sometimes can be limiting to what I want to write. It certainly might limit my options, so the best thing, for me, at least, is to have a certain feel for the terrain before I put my boots on, so to speak, and then go wherever I want in that terrain, hopefully without getting my feet too wet. That was a better example, right? A decent analogy, at least?

But don’t take my, uhm, word for it. Every author has his or her own path or methodology, and it’s always a matter of trying and figuring out what works for you. If it doesn’t, then try a different angle the next time around.

What I’ve found to be quite amazing over the last eight or nine years (that’s how long I’ve been doing this professionally) is how incredibly forthcoming people are when I approach them, looking for help (first aid). They are so eager to help in any way they can, and for that I am eternally grateful.


Author bio: 

Thomas  Enger  (b.  1973)  is  a  former  journalist.  He  made  his  debut  with  the crime  novel  Burned  (Skinndød) in  2010, which  became  an  international sensation  before  publication.  Burned  is  the  first  in  a  series  of  5  books  about the  journalist  Henning  Juul,  which  delves  into  the  depths  of  Oslo’s  underbelly, skewering  the  corridors  of  dirty  politics  and  nailing  the  fast-moving  world  of 24-hour  news.  Rights  to  the  series  have  been  sold  to  26  countries  to  date.  In 2013  Enger  published  his  first  book  for  young  adults,  a  dark  fantasy  thriller called  The  Evil  Legacy, for  which  he  won  the  U-prize  (best  book  Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo. 

#Review #BlogTour : Hydra by Matt Wesolowski #hydra #sixstories

I am beyond thrilled today to be taking part in this blog tour. I have a review for you so read on and find out what I thought……….. 

Blurb:   One  cold  November  night  in  2014,  in  a  small  town  in  the  northwest  of  England,  21-year-old  Arla  Macleod bludgeoned  her  mother,  stepfather  and  younger  sister  to  death  with  a  hammer,  in  an  unprovoked  attack known  as  the  Macleod  Massacre.  Now  incarcerated  at  a  medium-security  mental-health  institution,  Arla  will speak  to  no  one  but  Scott  King,  an  investigative  journalist,  whose  Six  Stories  podcasts  have  become  an internet  sensation. 

King  finds  himself  immersed  in  an  increasingly  complex  case,  interviewing  five  key  witnesses  and  Arla  herself, as  he  questions  whether  Arla’s  responsibility  for  the  massacre  was  as  diminished  as  her  legal  team  made  out. As  he  unpicks  the  stories,  he  finds  himself  thrust  into  a  world  of  deadly  forbidden  ‘games’,  online  trolls,  and the  mysterious  black-eyed  kids,  whose  presence  seems  to  extend  far  beyond  the  delusions  of  a murderess…  Dark,  chilling  and  gripping,  Hydra  is  both  a  classic  murder  mystery  and  an  up-to-the-minute, startling thriller that shines light in places you may never, ever want to see again.

My Rating: 5/5

Review:  I’ve rated this 5/5 but for this book that seems inadequate, maybe 8/5 or more would be better.  I missed the first book, Six Stories,  when it was coming out but was aware of the reviews and comments surrounding it so when I had the chance to be involved in the blog tour for this book I jumped on it. 

The best word I can use to describe this book is Wow! I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it and I’ve been reading a long time. I’ve read quite a few book that had me hooked and engrossed so that’s not new but what this one did was get me not only hooked and engrossed but totally sucked in. The world disappeared. I didn’t rush through reading each page but at the same time even a seconds hesitation getting to the next page was too long.  I needed to know what happened next, what was going to be said or done. It’s like waiting for the dvd of a film you loved at the cinema or a favourite authors new book. You buy one copy but that’s not enough, you need 2, no 5, no maybe 10 will be enough. Maybe. 

I’m rambling I think but that’s as good a description I can give as to how I felt reading this book. I started off a bit confused, I admit, because I was expecting a slightly more conventional start but on page 2 I realised what was happening and the confusion disappeared.  The murder of  a family by a family member is always an appalling, and in some ways, fascinating crime because there is always the question of why they did it.  In this story we get insight from Arla Macleod, accused of killing her family.  We also get information from other people and the thoughts and comments throughout of Scott King, the creator of the Six Stories podcasts.  

While the story from Arla and the others is fascinating there is also an underlying creepiness to it.  I’m not going to spoil things but let’s just say I was a bit more careful in checking my doors and windows at night while reading, and huddled into my sofa as much as I could to feel safe. I don’t read horror stories and I’m not sure I’d class this as one but it definitely plays with your emotions and simultaneously makes you want to throw it to the farthest corner of the room and keep reading to find out what happens next. Obviously I never threw mine, I don’t want to break my kindle, but there were times when I wanted to hide it or put it away so that I could escape what I was reading and feel safe while at the same time not been able to tear myself away from it. 

This is genuinely an astonishingly brilliant book, definitely one you should read. It works perfectly as a stand alone, not having read Six Stories is not a hindrance. Though having said that I will be reading it once I have sufficiently recovered from reading this.  I think I need a lie down now, maybe I’ll keep the lights on though, just in case……… 

Author bio: 

Matt  Wesolowski  is  from  Newcastle-Upon-Tyne  in  the  UK.  He  is  an  English  tutor  for  young people  in  care.  Matt  started  his  writing  career  in  horror,  and  his  short  horror  fiction  has been  published  in  numerous  UK-  and  US-based  anthologies  such  as  Midnight  Movie Creature  Feature,  Selfies  from  the  End  of  the  World,  Cold  Iron  and  many  more.  His  novella, The  Black  Land, a  horror  set  on  the  Northumberland  coast, was  published  in  2013. Matt was  a  winner  of  the  Pitch  Perfect  competition  at  Bloody  Scotland  Crime  Writing  Festival  in 2015.  His  debut  thriller,  Six  Stories, was  an  Amazon  bestseller  in  the  USA,  Canada,  the  UK and  Australia,  and  a  WHSmith  Fresh  Talent  pick,  and  film  rights  were  sold  to  a  major Hollywood studio.

Blog Tour Review: Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson. @ragnarjo @orendabooks

I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Whiteout today. I’ve read most of the Ari Thór series and loved it so there was no way I was going to miss out on taking part in this. 

Blurb:  Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the old house on the remote rocky outcrop? 

With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and the secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.

Review:  Ragnar Jonasson is very skilled at weaving stories that keep you reading and this one is no different.  The mysterious death of a young woman and the subsequent discovery that her mother and sister died the same way throws up many questions for Ari Thór and the investigation. The scene is set before that when we meet all of the characters and learn a little about them before the death occurs. The characters themselves come across as a little odd, probably through years of living somewhere so isolated, but once the police investigation begins we begin to see how suspicion and questions affect them all. Due to the remoteness of the location there are only five characters and therefore, if it was murder, five suspects. This means we get an interesting insight into the psychological impact on each person of the unexplained death and the police looking at what happened to the victim’s family, 25 years earlier.  

Despite the fact that there appears to be only two houses in the area and plenty of open spaces the story gives a very distinct  feeling of claustrophobia.  Most of the characters live in the same house with others able to visit easily which makes it feel as if they cannot escape each other which, of course, only adds to the increasing tension as the investigation continues and people get more irate or fed up of the police being involved. 

It has echoes of locked room mysteries and stories such as Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, where all of the characters are confined to a small island and cannot escape while people keep dying around them.  The tension that this confinement creates is fascinating, as is the effects that the ongoing police presence has and that is what makes this story one that you keep reading and are reluctant to put down. Every opportunity I had I was picking up this book, wanting to find out what happened next. 

If you’re already a fan of Ari Thór you won’t be disappointed and if you love locked room mysteries or slow burn psychological stories then this is definitely the book for you.  


Author bio:

Ragnar Jónasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 18 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

Blog Tour Review: CWA Anthology of Short Stories, edited by Martin Edwards. @Orendabooks #blogtour #review

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for this book today. I have to give my thanks to the publisher for letting me have a copy of the book to review for this tour. 

Blurb:  Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.


Contributions from:
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick

Review:   I don’t usually review short stories but when I saw this collection I knew I wanted to read and review it, partly because I wanted something different to read and partly because I have yet to read works by some of the authors so it was a good chance for me to discover some new authors. 

Given this is a collection of stories I wasn’t sure how to approach it so I decided to jump in and start with Ragnar Jonasson, a writer I am very familiar with. His story is only 2 pages long but packs quite a punch. There’s so much packed into those 2 pages that I’m still not sure how he managed it. 

I then chose authors that I have wanted to read for a while but not had the chance yet.  First up was C.L. Taylor with a tale set in Thailand. I admit reading this one I was quite confused at first, which I think was deliberate, but then the smoke cleared and that Ohhhhh moment happened when I realised exactly what was happening. After that I read Ann Cleeves who wrote about an author at a book festival. This one was a story that intrigued from the first few words and twisted around so well that I was left gaping at the end. Both stories were absolute perfection in only a few pages. 

My last read so far was by Christine Poulson, another author new to me. She wove her tale using only receipts which was definitely a first for me.  It was so imaginative and definitely one I will read again just to appreciate the brilliance of the construction. 

This is one of those books that you can easily dip in and out of. I found it ideal for reading on my breaks at work because of the length of the stories. The contributions list reads like a Who’s Who of crime fiction so if you want to discover some new authors this is an ideal way of doing it.  I am going to thoroughly enjoy picking tales at random over the next few weeks. Definitely a must read!