CRIME WRITING MONTH

Waterstone's Brighton 21 June 2012

It was fun talking crime fact and fiction with ELLY GRIFFITHS at Waterstone's last night. I've only read one of her books - her most recent - but they're right up my street - forensic archaeologist digging up all kinds of stuff in bleak Norfolk marshes.

We covered a lot of ground and had a few laughs in the course of our chat and the audience came up with some interesting questions. The most interesting, which is difficult to answer, is why Brighton is such a great setting for crime fiction.

JUDGE FOR THE JOHN CREASEY DAGGER

NEW BLOOD AWARD

It's a while since I've been a Crime Writers' Association Judge. I spent four years doing the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger from its inception then a further three doing the International Dagger. After that, zilch for about six years. Who knows the inner workings of the CWA? But now I'm about to start as a judge for the John Creasey, the Dagger for the Best First Novel - also known as the New Blood award. Looking forward to it.

PETER JAMES LAUNCH

THE GRAND HOTEL, BRIGHTON

Peter James’s book launch in the Grand is a glamorous affair. He has close links with the local police so there are a score of police cadets lining the route from hotel entrance to launch room.

One sign of his well-deserved best-sellerdom is that London-centric folk have come down here. Half of his agency seem to be here, a number of nice folk from Midas PR and a raft of people from his publishers.

Then there are the 500 or so locals.

It's a great event and Peter's success is well-deserved. I've had to stop reading his Brighton series as my own develops because I don't want to be influenced (even though his are massively more successful and I could probably learn a thing or two). But I know they're top-notch.

THE THING ITSELF in CRIMETIME & SHOTS

7 June 2012

A piece I did for my friend Barry Forshaw's online crime magazine, CrimeTime is now up on the site at:

www.crimetime.co.uk/mag/index.php/showarticle/2894/

MIKE RIPLEY'S Getting Away With Murder column in SHOTS magazine also has a piece about the new novel.

www.shotsmag.co.uk/column_view.aspx?COLUMNIST_ID=1

THE THING ITSELF

OUT NOW - OR NEARLY...

The third of my BRIGHTON TRILOGY is now officially out - in some places but not others. Amazon has sold out even before publication - which is both good and bad. I'm about to embark on the publicity blitz for the UK. The US will follow in a couple of months.

KEANU REEVES AS JACK REACHER

LEE CHILD INTERVIEW, BRISTOL CRIMEFEST

My first question for LEE CHILD at our In Conversation at last week's Bristol CrimeFest consisted of two words: "TOM CRUISE?"

There has, of course, been an outcry among fans of the oversized JACK REACHER that he is to be played in the new film, ONE SHOT, by TOM CRUISE, who some regard as undersized.

Personally, I disagree (not on his height, on the fact I think he'll be great in the part), but, frankly those outraged fans have got off light.

Lee told a full house that KEANU REEVES had been very keen to play the part but the film company wasn't sure he could play intelligent.

GEORGE CLOONEY had also expressed interest in the part - telephoning Lee when Lee was travelling on a busy local train from Manchester.

The interview was great fun - Lee was on good form. There are photos and a video of Lee talking about the film posted on to my Facebook Wall by Ali Karim.[I'm writing that as if I know what it means.}

CRIMINAL MASTERMIND 2012 - C'EST MOI!

BRISTOL CRIMEFEST, 27 MAY

Two years ago, taking part in this climax to CrimeFest I shot ahead on my special subject and earned gasps from the audience for my abysmal general crime fiction knowledge. What was the big deal? I was only the Observer's crime fiction critic.

Anyway, this year - my special subject Richard Stark's Parker novels - I won. I am now officially CRIMEFEST CRIMINAL MASTERMIND 2012. I'd like to say I scintillated but - no offence to my fellow panellists - actually I was marginally the least worst. And my victory might also have had something to do with the quizmaster - the indefatigable MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI - taking into account it was my birthday.

I'll be back next year to defend my title - then I can go to sit at the back again.

BEST LITERATURE EVENT AWARD - PATRICK HAMILTON EVENT

BRIGHTON FESTIVAL MAY 2012

Although the event I chaired on PATRICK HAMILTON, featuring LAURA WILSON and his biographer, NIGEL JONES, was part of the main Brighton Festival, it won BEST LITERATURE EVENT at the BRIGHTON FRINGE/THE LATEST AWARDS CEREMONY. It was an event that really clicked. If only they could all be so good...

MARIELLA & THE SKY BOOK SHOW

17 MAY 2012

It was fun to do the Sky Book Show to talk about the Brighton trilogy. We recorded it at the Old Market Arts Centre in Hove the afternoon after my Patrick Hamilton event in Brighton. The live audience were in good humour and JAMES RUNCIE, promoting his debut cosy crime novel, was most affable.

MARIELLA FROSTRUP was the consummate pro. She only met us a couple of minutes before the show went up but was well-briefed and seemingly unflappable.

Problem is, I've now got a taste for that kind of stuff...

BRITISH NOIR CELEBRATED...

11 MAY, SALLIS BENNEY THEATRE, BRIGHTON

..specifically Patrick Hamilton's "Hangover Square", a seminal work of British Noir. Or maybe British Seedy? Anyway, the highly intelligent and acutely funny LAURA WILSON engaged in a terrific conversation with Hamilton biographer, NIGEL JONES, (ditto intelligence and humour) as part of the Brighton Festival on Friday 11 May. Although "Hangover Square" is sub-titled "A Novel Of Earls Court" and has been claimed by Iain Sinclair and others as a great London novel it has a strong Brighton resonance - and Hamilton himself, born in Keymer, just up the road, had strong Brighton connections. (Graham "Brighton Rock" Greene thought Hamilton's "West Pier", the first of his Gorse trilogy, the best book ever written about Brighton.)

The packed event was linked to an interesting art installation in the Phoenix Gallery in which several rooms featured in the novel are recreated. Most tantalising? A glimpse through a pane of glass in a door of the bathroom where Bone, the protagonist of the novel, killed Netta, the woman who so cynically led him on. See it if you can.

There is a photo (by Nigel Bailey) at www.shotc.co.uk showing Nigel Jones in full flow, Laura Wilson ready to respond and me just enjoying the show.

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