Happy Christmas! #BritCrime

BritCrime Christmas Party
Happy Christmas!
Posted by BritCrime Authors on Friday, December 18, 2015
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Christmas Party. Congratulations to our three Golden Ticket-holders, Linda H, Mary P and Kay S.

Cally Taylor sent signed copies of THE ACCIDENT and THE LIE to one lucky winner on the night:  Dawn-Carol T.

Helen Cadbury asked party-goers to post their best cracker joke. The one that made her laugh the most won a signed copy of  BONES IN THE NEST. Congratulations to Mary P. Her winning joke:

Q) What do you call a bunch of chess players bragging about their games in a hotel lobby?
A) Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.

Thanks for joining us. Thanks for all your support this year. See you in 2016.

COVER REVEAL: An Unfamiliar Murder by Jane Isaac
An Unfamiliar Murder by Jane Isaac
This is Jane's debut novel which was originally published in the US in 2012 and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards’ in 2013. After regaining her rights last summer she is self-publishing the title on the 1st of March 2016.

Arriving home from a routine day at work, Anna Cottrell has no idea that her life is about to change forever. But discovering the stabbed body of a stranger in her flat, then becoming prime suspect in a murder inquiry is only the beginning. Her persistent claims of innocence start to crumble when new evidence links her irrevocably with the victim...

Leading her first murder investigation, DCI Helen Lavery unravels a trail of deception, family secrets and betrayal. When people close to the Cottrell family start to disappear, Lavery is forced into a race against time. Can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?

For more about the book - and about Jane - please visit

BritCrime Giveaway: And the winners are... @CrimeFilesBooks

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Christmas Party over at BritCrime Mansions on Sunday. It was frantic and fun, and there were lots of giveaways and prizes on the night. Here are the names of the three Golden Ticket-Holders who will each receive a mystery parcel with a NEW RELEASE crime or thriller book every month for the next six months! Thanks to our friends at Crime Files for sponsoring this generous prize.

And the winners are...
And the winners are... Posted this last night. Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Christmas Party. There were lots of winners on the night. Here are the names of our Golden Ticket-Holders.
Posted by BritCrime Authors on Monday, December 14, 2015

Dark Brilliance: Agatha Christie and Poisonous Plants

Agatha Christie

Daniel Pembrey and Helen Smith will be taking part in Dark Brilliance on Tuesday 2nd February 2016 at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London with Rebecca Chance and Kathryn Harkup.

Tickets are £15 including a glass of wine, 6-8pm. Book tickets here.

Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London. The Garden served as a site for the growing of plants used in medicines as well as an outdoor classroom for correct identification by the Society’s apprentice apothecaries and physicians. It also served as a base for the Society’s barge which enabled their global ‘herborizing’ expeditions. Correct plant identification was of course incredibly important to ensure that a selected plant would cure a patient and not the opposite.

January 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s death, and considering that only Shakespeare and the Bible can claim to have more books in circulation than her, there will be a number of events across the country to mark this. Agatha Christie was a trained apothecary, and using her knowledge of the plants that could kill or cure, she took inspiration for the poisons used in many of her murder mysteries.

Christie lived near the Garden in the 1930s and 1940s and it is very likely that she was in fact a visitor. So, it seems only fitting that a discussion of her works and the use of poisons as the murder weapon should take place at the Physic Garden.

Join us for an evening of lively discussion and debate with an expert panel of speakers featuring the following authors and poisons specialists:

Rebecca Chance is the writer of Sunday Times best-selling glamorous thrillers and crime novels. An Agatha Christie obsessive with an in-depth knowledge of her novels and short stories, Rebecca has contributed an appreciation of Endless Night to the award-winning anthology Books to Die For and written a Christie-inspired short story set on the Orient Express for the New York Times magazine.

Kathryn Harkup is a trained chemist and freelance science communicator who delivers talks and workshops on the quirky side of science. Kathryn’s book A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie was published by Bloomsbury in September 2015.

Daniel Pembrey is a local crime writer and Friend of Chelsea Physic Garden. He has written murder mysteries set in various atmospheric locations, including Amsterdam and Tanzania. His Dutch detective series The Harbour Master will be published by No Exit Press in 2016.

Helen Smith is a British novelist who lives in London. Her first two books, Alison Wonderland and Being Light, followed the adventures of a London detective agency. Her most recent books, The Emily Castles Mysteries, are comedies featuring an amateur sleuth.

More about the event here.

BritCrime Christmas Party Replay #Blab

Thanks for joining us on Facebook and Blab tonight. You can watch the replay of the Blab below.

We were joined on Blab by Rebecca Bradley, Stephen Dunne, Elizabeth Haynes, Jane Isaac, Fergus McNeill, Marnie Riches, Alexandra Sokoloff, Helen Smith.

You can watch previous Blab sessions hosted on Helen Smith's personal account here.

We will be doing more of these next year. 

Booktrail Crime Fiction Awards 2015

The 2015 Crime Awards have been announced over at The Booktrail, a really wonderful site with detailed information about locations in featured books, including maps and photos.

"We write about books with a strong place or setting. We’ve been to Canada, Asia, deep into the Amazon Rainforest, walked around the streets of dystopian London and travelled the world with Phileas Fog – all via books!"

You can visit The Booktrail to find out which books are currently featured on the site (more are added every week) - and learn which BritCrime authors have been selected for the 2015 Crime Awards, including the book that gets the award for "that punch in the stomach feeling" and more!

BritCrime FREE Online Christmas Party, Sunday 13 December: Get Here If You Can

BritCrime Christmas Party: Get Here If You Can
BritCrime Christmas Party: Get Here If You Can
Posted by BritCrime Authors on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sunday 13 December,
Free online Christmas Party
On Facebook 6:30pm UK time, 1:30pm EST
On Blab 7:30pm UK time, 2:30pm EST

Stealing Hollywood: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors #amwriting

Stealing Hollywood
BritCrime author Helen Cadbury talks about Stealing Hollywood
Posted by BritCrime Authors on Thursday, September 3, 2015
Rebecca Bradley, Helen Cadbury, Marnie Riches, Helen Smith discuss Stealing Hollywood by Alexandra Sokoloff.
More from us on Blab.

Stealing Hollywood
Stealing Hollywood by Alexandra Sokoloff
Are you finally committed to writing that novel or screenplay, but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author, but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? You CAN write better books and scripts—by learning from the movies. Screenwriting is based on a simple (and powerful) structure that you already know from watching so many movies and television shows in your lifetime. And it's a structure that your reader or audience unconsciously expects, and is crucial for you to deliver. 

In this textbook of the internationally acclaimed SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS workshop, award-winning author/screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff will show you how to jump-start your plot and bring your characters and scenes vibrantly alive on the page by watching your favorite movies and learning from the storytelling tricks of great filmmakers

The secret to becoming an award-winning writer?

Show us your award, Marnie
The secret to becoming an award-winning writer? "Writing, writing, writing..."
Posted by BritCrime Authors on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Rebecca Bradley, Helen Cadbury, Marnie Riches, Helen Smith
More from us on Blab.

#BritCrime Christmas Party Golden Ticket Giveaway

Join us for a free online Christmas party, Sunday 13 December 2015
Join us on Facebook 6:30pm UK, 1:30pm EST 
Join us on Blab 7:30pm UK. 2:30pm EST

Dress code: Fabulous!
Wear your Christmas party hat

Three golden ticket-holders will receive a mystery parcel every month for six months, 
with a new release crime fiction book in it.

Includes new work by Stephen King and other award-winning, bestselling writers.

Visit this link to get on the guest list:

Generously sponsored by our friends at Crime Files.

BritCrime Authors Best Books of 2015 - Part 2

by SJI Holliday

Are you itching to hear more brilliant book recommendations from your favourite BritCrime authors? Well you're in luck - here's the second part of our 'books of the year' - and you can read the first part here.

Quentin Bates

♠ The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
♠ Old Flames by John Lawton
♠ Three Minutes of Silence by Georgi Vladimov

 The Wicked GirlsThe Wicked Girls is populated by some truly vile characters and reeks of deception, lies and badly-kept secrets as the past comes to call. It’s a thoroughly unsettling read, full of surprises and it draws you into the shadowy world of a shabby fairground, a seaside resort that has seen better days and two women who are inexorably drawn together as they share a terrible childhood secret. It’s one of those books that stays with you for days after you’ve read the last page and begs the question: Should seedy seaside noir be a genre of its own?


Mel Sherratt

♠ The Lie by CL Taylor
♠ Evil Games by Angela Marsons
♠ Daughter by Jane Shemilt Lie had me turning the pages so quickly. I felt like I was in the group of main characters. I could sense their horror, feel their pain, smell their filth, share their dread. I absolutely loved its dark, grungy feel, and it’s story of toxic friendships. I literally couldn’t put down until I had finished it.


Helen Cadbury

♠ Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
♠ Little Egypt by Lesley Glaister
♠ CafĂ© Assassin by Michael Stewart

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual is a funny and straightforward way to think about what we eat. If you feel inundated by advice on diet and your health, Pollan is a breath of fresh air. Rules such as ‘eat nothing your grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food’ make complete sense when you look at the ingredients on the packaging of so much processed food. Fresh, mainly plant-based, food is what’s good for you and you don’t need to be faddy or fasting to make it easy to remember decisions that will improve your shopping and cooking habits. There are no banned substances, just a reminder that some things were always meant for treats, not every day. Food is fuel. Writers need fuel. This is an excellent book for writers and everyone else.


Alexandra Sokoloff

♠ Half the Sky by Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn
♠ Those We Left Behind by Stuart Neville
♠ Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer
Half the Sky is nonfiction about the worst crimes in the world. This 2009 expose and rallying cry against global sex trafficking, gender-based violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and other atrocities is a book everyone should read every year, until every one of these horrors has been eradicated. The book has effective, practical actions that can be taken in minutes, and is essential reading for crime authors who use the arena of sex trafficking and want to do justice to the topic – and to the victims.


Luca Veste

♠ What Remains by Tim Weaver
♠ I Know Who Did It by Steve Mosby
♠ The Death House by Sarah Pinborough Remains, Weaver's sixth novel, follows missing persons investigator David Raker as he investigates the murders which have consumed the life of a former Met detective Colm Healy. What at first seems standard fare, suddenly takes a very different turn. What transpires, is a story full of suspense, flair, and horrifying twists. It contains one of the best moments in crime fiction I've read in a long time, and is filled with extraordinary writing and plotting, Tim Weaver is fast becoming one of my favourite crime fiction writers.


M.J. McGrath

♠ The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
♠ The Abrupt Physics of Dying Paul E Hardisty
♠ Fire Damage by Kate Medina

Sound of things fallingThe Sound of Things Falling is set in Colombia in 2009 and it opens with the hunting down of Pablo Escobar's hippo. What else can I say? It was published a while ago, but a visit to the Medellin Crime Festival in Colombia introduced me to this masterpiece.


Please join us for our free online Christmas Party at BritCrime Mansions, Sunday 13th December, 6:30 pm UK time, 1:30pm EST.

There will be three golden ticket-holders among the guests. Sign up here for a chance to win.

Join us on Facebook from 6:30pm on Sunday for a chat over a glass of virtual mulled wine. Find us here.

At 7:30pm UK time, 2:30pm EST a few of us will be live on Blab. Find us here.

BritCrime Authors Best Books of 2015 - Part 1

By SJI Holliday

After reading various 'book of the year' articles, we thought it made sense for us to share our BritCrime authors' favourites with you. What have crime writers been reading this year? You might be surprised! To shake things up a bit, these are not all books published this year, they're just books we've read this year... and they're not all crime - fancy that.

Nick Quantrill

♠ How to be Brave by Louise Beech
♠ Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty
♠ Living on the Volcano by Michael Calvin.

 How to be braveHow to be Brave is a love letter to the power of stories. It’s about a mother whose teenage daughter is struggling to come to terms with being diagnosed with diabetes. The deal is that if she accepts her injections, they’ll share the diary of her great-grandfather’s incredible survival tale on a drifting raft in World War Two. I really didn’t expect it to be to my taste, but it blew me away.


S.J.I. Holliday

♠ Untouchable by Ava Marsh
♠ Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
♠ A Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Untouchable is a sexy, pacy thriller with an incredibly compelling protagonist - Stella/Grace, a helpline worker by day, a high-class escort by night. Why has has she chosen this path in life, when she clearly has friends and family who wish that she hadn't? She gets embroiled in the worst kind of hedonism with the worst kind of people, but there is a vulnerability there too - coming both from her, and from many of the lonely types she meets. This novel is beautifully written - it is captivating, gritty and intelligent. I couldn't get it out of my head.


Helen Smith

♠ The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
♠ The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
♠ Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan

 The Book of Strange New ThingsThe Book of Strange New Things is a moving book about loss. An English missionary travels to a faraway planet that has been settled by people from earth. His job is to keep the indigenous population happy by talking to them about the Bible. His separation from his wife, who is still on earth, leads to a gradual estrangement. It’s an extraordinary book - one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Partway through reading it, I realised the author’s wife was dying as he wrote it, which gave it an added, almost unbearable poignancy.


Marnie Riches

♠ The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul Hardisty
♠ To Rise at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
♠ The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

 The Abrupt Physics of DyingThe Abrupt Physics of Dying has all the things I might look for in a thriller - a truly international plot set in Yemen about an environmental disaster; a conspiracy within heavy industry; political turmoil and corruption. Hardisty’s prose has a lyrical quality to it. His descriptions of the harsh Yemen landscape are vivid. His main character, Claymore Straker is a godless, fallible South African ex-soldier. Clay’s reflections on the devout Muslim beliefs of the Yemeni characters constitute intelligent soul-searching. There is even a love story at the book’s heart. But The Abrupt Physics of Dying, for all its literary finesse and environmentally aware politics, never loses pace. It’s gripping. It’s violent. It’s a bloody exciting read.


Michael J. Malone

♠ The Death House by Sarah Pinborough
♠ The Cartel by Don Winslow
 The Death House♠ Canary by Duane Swierczynski

The Death House is an exercise in how less can be so much more. Children are taken from their parents in this strange world and left in a sanatorium till the strange sickness they carry kills them. Yet even in this most bleak of places, love can flourish. Made me cry. Need I say more?


C.L. Taylor

♠ Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer
♠ A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
♠ First One Missing by Tammy Cohen

Rubbernecker won the Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year at the Harrogate Crime Festival in 2014. I can't remember the last time I liked a character as much as I liked Patrick, or found a character so fascinating. I loved the setting - a dissection class and a neurological ward - and I was desperate for Patrick to solve the mystery of number 19's death. It was a gripping, darkly humorous and fascinating book that gave me serious writer envy.


What were your favourite books this year? Tell us in the comments!

Come back tomorrow for Part 2.