A Crime in My Stockings #10: Aidan Thorn

rivalsonsAnd last but very much not least in my little Christmas feature, here’s Aidan Thorn on the book he’d like in his stocking. Aidan is a firm fixture on the Brit-Grit scene and like me he cut his noir-writing teeth at Byker Books. His novel ‘Rival Sons‘, about the ripples that spread when a man returns home, is available now.

“Just one book for Christmas? That’s not a Christmas I recognise, there are so many I want this year. It’s been a great 12 months from the small press publishers again and so my list includes a good number of books this year. But, if I was to ask for just one it would have to be Matt Phillips’ ‘You Must Have a Death Wish‘ from the incredible Fahrenheit 13. Matt Phillips is my favourite writer; his ‘Know me from Smoke’ is my favourite book, everything Matt writes is brilliant, and the release of his latest book has me very excited.”

And that’s it from my little Christmas feature this year. Thanks so much to all the authors who took the time out from busy schedules to help make it such fun. I’ll be back in the new year but until then I hope everyone has a fantastic break and finds lots of new crime books to enjoy!

A Crime in My Stockings #9: Noelle Holten

deadinsideNoelle is well known to many crime writers for her tireless work promoting their books and she’s recently had her own first crime novel, Dead Inside, published. With so many books to choose from, which one would she have in her stocking on Christmas morning? Here’s what she says:

“I am in quite a fortunate position where I am often sent books or if I want I book, I can buy it – but if I had to choose a book to wake up to on Christmas morning? It would have to be Steph Broadribb’s DEEP DARK NIGHT. Published by Orenda, this is the latest in the Lori Anderson series and out in ebook on January 5th. I love this series – Lori Anderson is one #kickass female protagonist and each story gets better as the series progresses.”

A Crime in My Stockings #8: Jackie Baldwin

Avenge-the-DeadJackie Baldwin writes twisty crime thrillers set in the darker corners of her native Scotland, and her new book ‘Avenge the Dead’ is due for publication in February 2020. Here’s what she would choose for her own Christmas stocking, and why:

“Due to the title of this feature, Tess, I thought I’d better read the small print…just in case!

It’s always tortuous having to pick just one book from so many wonderful reads but the stand out title for me is ‘The Holiday’ by T.M. Logan. Four best friends holiday together in a luxury villa with their husbands and children. What could possibly go wrong? A lot. It is clear from the first page that something bad is going to happen. Kate suspects that one of her best friends is betraying her by having an affair with her husband. She just doesn’t know which one?

The tension cranks up relentlessly and doesn’t let go until the shattering climax. Meals were burnt and washing piled up because I simply could not put this book down. It possessed me from start to finish. In fact it might be a little dangerous to have it in my stocking as I have a huge Christmas dinner to cook!

A Crime in My Stockings #7: Matt Phillips

deathwishNext to the (Christmas) party is noir writer Matt Phillips, whose latest book You Must Have a Death Wish, about a hustler-turned-hitman (and with an eye-catchingly macabre cover), is published by crime specialists Fahrenheit 13.  Here’s Matt’s own choice of Christmas pressie:

“Well, this is a hell of a question. Here’s my answer: Earlier this year I read a brilliant short novel called Man Standing Behind. It’s written by a guy named Pablo D’Stair and published by All Due Respect Books. I gotta say––this is the best book I’ve read all year. And it just so happens that the genius publisher at ADR––writer/editor Chris Rhatigan––acquired five more books from D’Stair, and they’re coming out next year. So, if I could have one book in my Christmas stocking, it’d be the first book in the Trevor English series by Pablo D’Stair, This Letter from Norman Court.

Are you listening, Santa? I hope so…”

A Crime in My Stockings #6: Margot Kinberg

downfallThe next contributor to my little Christmas quiz is queen of crime Margot Kinberg. Not of committing it, I hasten to add, but of reading, reviewing, writing and just generally knowing about crime fiction. You can find Margot’s latest book, ‘Downfall’, on Kindle here. And here’s the book she picked:

“There are so many good crime novels out there that it’s very hard to choose just one. But, let’s not get greedy; any crime fiction fan knows where greed tends to lead… If I could have just one crime novel this holiday season, I think I would choose J.M. Green’s Good Money.

There are a few reasons I’d want that one in particular. One is that it features an interesting protagonist. Stella Hardy is a middle-aged social worker – one of ‘the rest of us.’ She has her own past, but that doesn’t stop her wanting justice when one of her clients is murdered. Her character has some depth, and I like that in a protagonist. Another reason is the setting. The story takes place in Melbourne, which I’ve always wanted to visit (I will get there someday), and where a lot of other great crime novels take place. The final reason I want to read this is that it was recommended to me by a friend who’s since passed. She never steered me wrong, and I only wish I’d read this while she was alive, so we could talk about it. I’d like to remember her by reading it now.

So there you have it: my ‘wish list’ novel. Thanks again for including me in this very special feature!

A Crime in My Stockings #5: Graham Wynd

LOVE-IS-A-GRIFT-Front-web-190x300I’m dashing in from the midst of Christmas preparations (wot, more shopping? surely not) to post the latest stocking-filler crime suggestion, this time from master of noir Graham Wynd. Graham’s latest book ‘Love is a Grift‘, a collection of noir stories featuring the ultimate femme fatale, is available from Fox Spirit Books.

“When the Krampus leaves me a gift under the Yule tree, I hope it may be the completed-just-before-she-passed historical crime novel by Toni Morrison. It tells the tale of a family of grifters, inspired by the example of the Cercle Harmonique to take up Spiritualism, but employing it in a more profitable direction — that is to say, larcenous. Their plans to fleece people as part of roving carnival circuit in the midwest take an unexpected turn when the youngest of the family, Shalimar, turns out to have a genuine gift. She sees dead people in a country still reeling from the carnage of the Civil War. When some spiritualist suffragettes from New York get involved, that’s when things really go wild. They don’t have a ghost of a chance.

I may have only dreamed this book. So I guess I will console myself with watching the adaptation of Megan Abbott’s DARE ME and tapping my foot waiting for Paul D. Brazill’s MAN OF THE WORLD in April. But I have a big TBR pile to sort me until then.”

A Crime in My Stockings #4: Tess Makovesky

GT v5Don’t worry, there are still plenty of other authors to feature on this little series, but I thought perhaps it was time I put my money where my mouth is. So here’s my own reply – and if you fancy having a look at my noir romp ‘Gravy Train‘ while you’re at it then thank you!

The book I’d most like in my Christmas stocking is a brand new noir novel from Joel Lane, because I absolutely love his ‘From Blue to Black’ and because it would mean he was here and writing books again. Sadly that isn’t going to happen (he died in 2013) so I have to choose a real, genuine, actual book instead. Since I really enjoyed ‘The Chalk Man’ by C J Tudor recently, I’m going for ‘The Hiding Place’ by the same author – it sounds every bit as good.

A Crime in My Stockings #3: Beau Johnson

betterhateBeau provides endless support for other crime writers, and seems to get less credit for it than he ought to! He writes noir stories that are on the blacker edge of dark, and you can find a collection of them in his book ‘A Better Kind of Hate‘.

Here’s what he said about the book he’d like to find in his Christmas stocking:

“Can I pick just one, that’s the question. If I must, I must. Having just finished reading S.A Cosby’s MY DARKEST PRAYER I will have to go with Shawn for the win. A high octane, unstoppable juggernaut of a tale with a voice I’m sure I will hear for years. So yeah, if I had to pick just one book, that’d be it. Go forth, seek out, and give someone the gift of greatness this year. Fun will be had!”

A Crime in My Stockings #2: Graham Smith

fearlakesThe second in my series where authors choose the one book they’d like in their Christmas stocking this year, and it’s the turn of Graham Smith. Graham writes crime novels that are mostly set in the English Lake District and his latest, ‘Fear in the Lakes‘, is no exception. Here’s what Graham chose, and I must admit I’m intrigued by his description…

“I am going to choose ‘The Accident Man’ by Tom Cain. The first in his Sam Carver series, The Accident Man is by far the best conspiracy theory I’ve ever read and tells the story of a hitman paid to take out a target travelling through a Parisian tunnel in a black Mercedes. I’ve read the entire series and I still think about the events depicted in the final book.”

A Crime in my Stockings #1: Nick Kolakowski

Drum roll please… because as promised, it’s time for my Christmas season of book recommendations to begin. A week or so ago I asked a whole bunch of fellow authors one simple question: if you could have just ONE crime book in your Christmas stocking this year, what would it be, and why? And a bunch of fellow authors have come up with some fascinating replies.

doomsdayFirst on the list is Nick Kolakowski. Nick’s own book ‘Maxine Unleashes Doomsday‘ is currently available from Down & Out Books (and was reviewed by me on Goodreads a few weeks ago).

“What book would I want in my Christmas stocking? That’s the very definition of a difficult question, but looking at my current bookshelf gives me an answer. I have a very old copy of Hammett’s “Red Harvest” on my shelf, and it’s truly undergone the ravages of multiple re-reads: dogeared pages, a softened spine, and a cover that’s seen better days (it’s the Black Lizard edition). In a magical world, I’d find a first edition copy, pristine, with Hammett’s signature scrawled on the inside. That’d be one heck of a gift.”

Sorry – and watch out for the stockings!

It’s been an absolute age since I wrote anything on here. Partly that’s due to Real Life getting in the way – we’ve had major surgery on the house, plus a family bereavement to deal with. Partly it’s due to dissatisfaction with my writing. I finished the first draft of a new book earlier in the year and disliked it so much that it made me rather despondent, and I’ve been avoiding things ever since!

So, sorry for the long silence, but hopefully normal service will now be resumed. And to kick things off again, here’s some advance news on something I’ll have coming to the blog in December. Called A Crime in My Stockings, it will feature a whole bunch of crime and noir authors talking about the one crime book they’d like to receive in their Christmas stocking – and why.

The answers are flooding in as we speak and I’ll be publishing them throughout the coming month, so do stay tuned to see who turns up and what books they’ll be recommending. It’s sure to be entertaining!