Well … Bit more of an exciting week this week, that’s for sure. Not only did I celebrate surviving another full year of life, but it was time for Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate, the first one I’ve been to since 2019 because of the dreaded you know what. I’d like to say that I’ve taken loads of pictures (I haven’t) and that I’ve loads of exciting and witty anecdotes to share (also haven’t) but did have a lovely cream tea at Mama Doreen’s, bought loads of lovely books and listened to some fascinating panels, as well as having the chance to catch up with my lovely bookish friends. Lots of lovely, my lovelies, so all is good.
It was a very different festival this year in many ways, chief amongst them being that it was quieter than in 2019, largely, I’m sure, due to the ongoing issues of covid, cost of living and transport. Least said, soonest mended on all fronts I think. I spent perhaps a little less than normal, but still managed to come how with a vast quantity of books and a refreshed motivation. Mandie and I attended some really interesting panels that started a spark of inspiration for some ideas of my own thought long dead. Panels such as the Chortling Experts, Lynda La Plante and the Orion Incident Room with Paul Finch, Adam Simcox and John Sutherland, all really struck a chord with me, fitting perfectly with how I had viewed my character and their journey and the kind of story I wanted to portray if I was ever daft enough to write again. The one which really hit home was Chortling Experts when Emma Kavanagh spoke of the prevalence of Post Traumatic Growth rather than PTSD, and when John Sutherland spoke of wanting to understand why someone committed a crime as a means to preventing future crimes rather than a path to forgiveness. Definitely gave me food for thought …
This is my round about way of saying this will be one long old post as I bought a lot of books …
Start as you meant o go on, I say, and from the Orion Incident Room even on Friday morning I picked up four books – Paul Finch’s Never Seen Again, Crossing the Line and The Siege by John Sutherland and The Dying Squad by Adam Simcox. I was lucky enough to bag an invite out to lunch at the Ivy with Faber so celebrate the debut novel of Charlotte Vassell The Other Half which is out in January. It was a really nice event, Charlotte is lovely (so is her agent who I spent a lot of time talking books with) and having read the sampler, I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the book now too.
Friday afternoon was quietish, but we did go to the Michael Connelly panel in the evening. No signed books as I’ve never actually read a Bosch book (I know, I know) but I did buy Book One, The Black Echo on ebook. Looking forward to that eventual journey. We rounded off the night with the All Thriller no Filler panel and I picked up Dark Objects by Simon Toyne and the ebook of 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard.
Saturday it was a mix of panels. We started with The Country is Another Country where Will Dean quizzed, Ann Cleeves, Rosemary Shrager, Reverend Richard Coles and Tony Kent on their writing. Then , as the book was there and I was there, it seemed rude not to buy 1989 by Val McDermid (18 August), the second Allie Burns novel. Glad I did as I was reminded to get my order in for Dark Deeds Down Under, a collection of short stories edited by Craig Sisterson. Ebook bought, I’ll be ordering in hard copy from an Indie bookstore.
The afternoon panel was Chortling Experts and what a brilliant panel it was too. I bought myself a hard copy of Bad For Good by Graham Bartlett and an ebook copy of Emma Kavanagh’s How To Be Broken. I’d have bought more but I already have Sue Black’s books!
I already have The Furies by John Connolly on pre-order in both ebook and with Goldsboro books, but just couldn’t resist the opportunity to score an early, dedicated copy so bought another one. Mr C very happy as it keeps him in very good wine (apparently). And who can resists a Fulci Brothers tote bag?
Sunday was two most excellent panels, starting with Lynda La Plante. She had us all in stitches and I loved it. I already have all her books, just wish I had remembered to take them along with me. We ended up with Moments In Crime, with Ambrose Parry, Vaseem Khan, Abit Mukherjee, Leonora Nattrass and Robbie Morrison. I love Ambrose Parry and Vaseem Khan’s work (Vaseem’s next book is out next month and it’s brilliant), but will be looking up the other two as well now. Fascinating discussion on historical crime fiction.
Because I am a very lucky, and very happy womble, I picked up a few proof’s over the weekend too. The Short Straw is a new Holly Seddon title, out in July 2023 … Mandie bagged me a copy of Truly Darkly Deeply by Victoria Selman and the lovely Carla Kovach gifted me Her Dark Heart. I also got my paperback of The Redeemer by Victoria Goldman signed – very happy. And because she is fabulous and the kindest publisher on the block, the lovely Karen Sullivan gave me copies of Red As Blood by Lilja Sigurdardottir and The Moose Paradox by Antti Tuomainen. There may* have been some gratuitous cover stroking going on.
*There was a lot of gratuitous cover stroking going on
Obviously I’m addicted to books, so I also bought Tick Tock by Simon Mayo (18 August) – very interesting premise on that one – and my Berts Books Orenda Subscription package arrived containing The Daves Next Door by Will Carver and Night Shadows by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir. And I came home to a proof of The Secret of Elephants by Vasundra Tailor (1st September), courtesy of FMcM and Lake Union Publishing. Ooh, and I had an exciting package earlier in the week of some Six On Goldtop Hill notebooks to celebrate the paperback launch of The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett.
All of this Harrogate excitement, a touch too much cake (and a lot too much heat at the start of the week) means that my reading has been dire this week. Two books read only. I have a lot of reading to do if I want to catch up on Bosch in my lifetime …
Books I have read
A journey that took him to hell . . .
Having survived combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and been decorated with medals, Travis Devine mysteriously leaves the Army under a cloud of suspicion. And at thirty-two years old, he’s swapping fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda for a different kind of danger in the cut-throat world of high finance.
His daily commute on the 6.20 a.m. train into New York’s financial district, to his new job as an analyst at the minted powerhouse investment bank Cowl and Comely, takes him into a world where greed, power, jealousy and ambition result in the financial abuse of the masses and the enrichment of an elite few. But it is on this daily journey that he passes a house where he sees something that sounds alarm signals he cannot ignore.
A close friend of Devine’s, Sarah Ewes, is the first victim and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death at Cowl and Comely compel him to investigate further. As he digs deeper, he discovers strange coincidences and unnerving truths. As the deaths pile up, and the major players show their hands, he must question who he can trust and who he must fight.
She’s the perfect host. He’s the perfect victim.
Someone is hunting Connor. Alone, freezing, in the wilderness of Bodmin Moor, on an elite Special Forces training exercise, he’d be a fool to scorn the kindness of a local stranger. Wouldn’t he?
At first, Eilidh seems to be an impeccable host. She offers Connor food and a warm bed – he finds it nearly impossible to leave her charming farmhouse.
But the choice isn’t his to make.
There have been others before. None, though, as perfect as him.
Why would she let him leave?
A busy enough week of blogging. Recap below:
#Review – Meantime – Frankie Boyle
#Review – The Burning Men – Will Shindler
#Review – The Accomplice – Steve Cavanagh
#Review – All I Said Was True – Imran Mahmood
#Review – Night Shadows – Eva Björg Æigsdóttir
The week ahead is surprisingly low on tours but high on posts. Six posts planned, featuring seven reviews but only one tour – Mandie will be reviewing The Orphan’s Mother by Marion Kummerow on Friday.
That was my week in a nutshell. Hope you all had a lovely week. Thanks to everyone who made Harrogate a pleasure and so lovely meeting so many new faces and old friends. Now back to a full week of work (one of only a handful now until October – yay) and planning for a new team member next week. Pretty exciting really, especially as my next festival is just around the corner.
Have a lovely week all. In the meantime, here’s some cake …