Rewind, recap: weekly roundup w/e 21/05/17. Part 2 – Crime Fest and Beyond

So. Anyone daft enough to read my ramblings will know I have been at CrimeFest again this past week. It’s somewhat of a bittersweet moment for me as I have both good and bad memories from last year. The good was all the wonderful panels I went to and the bookspiration it gave me which, in turn, led to this blog. I’ll let you decide if that was a good thing or not 😉

This year was pretty well the same but I think also took a positive turn. I suffer from major problems with anxiety, mild depression and major self doubt. If you could see my nails right now (what is left of them) you would see the stress even attending the event has put me under and combined with pressures at work I am in danger of chewing my own fingers off. I won’t go over old ground and there are two posts up from the weekend which will give you an insight into what happened and why. Needless to say, thanks to the intervention and patience of some very wonderful people, Vicki Goldman-Gilbert, Joy Kluver, Sharon Wilder and Katherine Sunderland, I survived the weekend and had a really good time getting out of my room in the evenings. I should also say thanks to Chris Curran, Anne Coates, Sam Carrington, Bernie Steadman, Matt Johnson and Karen Sullivan who are all equally lovely and were so wonderful to talk to over the weekend. It really made a difference to me so thank you. It’s those little moments that matter and help me take a step forward.

Now if, by any small chance, anyone from work is reading this, they will wonder what the heck I am going on about as I have a reputation at work for being quite fierce, straight talking and being the kind of person who takes no prisoners. I have a rule book at work. I know how to play that game and I don’t have to worry about being friends, although I do have people there that I consider good friends as well as colleagues. But even that does not come naturally to me and walking into a room full of people I don’t know gives me kittens. I have to psyche myself up to make phone calls and if I could avoid meetings I would, not just because they are incredibly dull, but because I cannot begin to understand why anyone would actually want to engage my opinion. So yes. Even there I am just acting. It is not the real me and if people who worked for me saw that, I wouldn’t be half so scary.

So… panic attacks, crying fests and paranoia aside, I attended some brilliant panels. I’d love to say that I have some witty, insightful and highly detailed notes to share with you but in truth I was so engaged in listening that I just didn’t take any. I just let myself get absorbed in what was going on and that was enough. What panels did I attend? Well, quite a lot as it happens.


Fresh Blood featuring: Steph Broadribb, Mary Torjussen, David Couborough and Lucy V Hay. Mod: Karen Robinson

What are you hiding? The dark side of human nature featuring: Johana Gustawsson, Doug Johnstone, Jørn Lier Horst, Luke McCallin. Mod: Stanley Trollip.


How many deaths? The appeal of serial killers in crime fiction featuring: James Carol, Helen Fields, Mark Roberts, Leigh Russell. Mod: Paul Finch. Who is your favourite serial killer?


Ticking Clocks. A race against time featuring C.J.Box, Adam Hamdy, Marnie Riches, Zoë Sharp. Mod: M.R. Hall. The importance of creating pace in fiction.


Sam Carrington: When murderer becomes muse (she’s so lovely) talking about her time working for the prison service and some of the dangerous criminals she interacted with. Scary stuff. Sam’s one brave lady!


Genre Jumping: Crossing Boundaries featuring: Ray Clark, Sarah Pinborough, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, G.X. Todd. Mod: David Penny. Is a killer cross genre twist cheating the audience? And who is the greatest cross genre writer of them all?


You Are Not Alone: Giving your protagonist family and friends featuring: Louise Beech, Thomas Enger, Gunnar Staalesen, C.L.Taylor. Mod: Lucy V Hay. How family and friends form a key theme and plotting device in fiction.


Proving Yourself: When your protagonist goes that extra mile featuring: Johana Gustawsson, Kate London, Caro Ramsey, David Young. Mod: Jane Casey. 

Journalists: Characters who tell stories for a living featuring: Anne Coates, Walter Lucias, Antti Tuomainen, Matt Wesolowski. Mod: Rod Reynolds. Got to be cruel to be kind. Do these writers enjoy torturing Journalists?



A little bit creepy: Scaring your reader to death featuring: Kate Ellis, Kate Griffin, Tom Harper, Sarah Pinborough. Mod: Elly Griffiths. Can you really blend genres or should crime writing be pure? Sarah Pinborough says respects the rules of crime fiction and anything goes.


Mavericks, Misfits and Miscreants featuring: Stefan Ahnhem, Hugh Fraser, Ragnar Jónasson, Melanie Raabe. Mod: Mason Cross. How many mavericks can you have in one story? As many as you like apparently. And is Ragnar poised to crush Ari Thor who is ‘only one line away from death’?


How do you choose where the facts end and the fiction starts featuring: Paul Hardisty, Thomas Mogford, Linda Stratmann, Robert Thorogood. Mod: Tom Harper. Discussing how far a writer goes to protect fact in their fiction. Robert Thorogood is the self confessed fraud here as he just makes everything up to fit his story.


(Got a post panel book signing Hardisty hug after this one which I consider a bonus! 😉 )

Escaping the shadows of the past: When your protagonist can’t forget featuring: Katerina Diamond, Thomas Enger, Ragnar Jónasson, Simon Toyne. Mod: Elizabeth Haynes. Simon Toyne feeling very out of place with a protagonist who just can’t remember…



Capital Crimes. London as location featuring: Sheila Bugler, Jane Casey, Alison Joseph, Tara Moore. Mod: Christopher Fowler. Discussing the role of London as setting and why it is so popular with crime writers.

The Ice Queens Cometh: Iceland’s Queens of Crime featuring: Jónina Leósdóttir, Solveig Pálsdóttir, Lilja Sigurðadóttir, Yrsa Sigurðadóttir. Mod: Barry Forshaw. Discussing the rise in popularity of Icelandic fiction


Some absolutely brilliant panels and I’d love to tell you what they were all about and provide an amazing report of my three days but that would require me taking notes. Which as I said earlier I didn’t. So I can’t lol.

The panels were great though and it was wonderful to hear the authors’ thoughts on their subjects, their characters and changes in society in general and the impact this has on writing in the modern era. And despite all my self induced trauma, I do think I’ll be going back next year. It’s the 10th anniversary year so would be rude not to.


I was relatively restrained with book buying whilst there and only picked up these little pretties.

The bottom three book were from the goody bag and Mindsight was a gift from Chris Curran which I can’t wait to get reading. I’m also super excited to have a full set of signed Paul Hardisty books now. So pretty 🙂

I have a list as long as my arm of books I now want to buy as a result of attending Crime Fest but I am trying to resist. I have bought some books though because I couldn’t resist. Before Crime Fest I purchased A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis. During Crime Fest I purchased Run and Pendulum by Adam Hamdy, and pre-ordered Yesterday by Felicia Yap, Snare by Lilja Sigurðadóttir and The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen.

Netgalley wise I picked up a couple of arcs: All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker and The Last Cut by Danielle Ramsey.


Books I have read

TOT coverThe Other Twin by Lucy V Hay

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years.

Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana?

Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well- heeled families,

The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth …

I really quite enjoyed this one. Although it started off almost as a family drama looking at the impact of suicide upon those left behind it is so much more than that with many varied layers. It is released in paperback on July 3rd and you can pre-order here.


And that was it… I did start reading one book and have half listened to an audio which I shall try and finish today but with everything going on since Wednesday I just haven’t had the time or the inclination. I’m sure you can understand and I fully intend for normal service to resume next week. Early doors trip to London for a training course on Thursday so I will get valuable audio time again then.

Full week on the blog though despite having only one tour on Sunday.

Review: Running Blind by M.J. Arlidge

Book Love – Effie Kammenou

Review: Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge

Bittersweet symphony of my life… stuff and nonsense and why I suck at life…

Guest Review: Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan

Jen watch… my adventures in Crime (Fest)

#BookLove – Sarah Hardy

#BlogTour: Review – Hunting The Hangman


Just the one tour again on Sunday with The Revelation Room by Mark Tilbury. The rest is a mixture of reviews and book love, this time with Jan Harvey and Christine Webber. I also have a bit of a special post and giveaway tomorrow so please come and take a look.

Blog Tour

So. Have a wonderfully booky week folks. I shall be a lot less stressed I think. Well, probably not but it’s work stress and I can handle it. I will be reading again though so watch out books, I’m coming to get you.

Peace, love and bookish thoughts.




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