Ms Marsh Investigates... Grab This Book #bookblog

Today I’m inspecting Gordon McGhie, the man behind Grab This Book (

Hi Gordon, welcome to BritCrime. Tell me, what draws you to crime as a genre?

The Hardy BoysIt has always been crime! I grew up on the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and The Three Investigators. Graduated into Agatha Christie and worked my way through all of those (which took a year or so) and by that time I had a Saturday job in a bookshop so could chat to fellow bookworms and learn what the best books were. I just don’t like books where nice things happen – I need the good vs evil element.

Interesting, and I think a lot of people would agree with you – there’s nothing like a good baddie. So what gave you the impetus to start blogging?

It was BritCrime author Michael J Malone! Long before I even knew what a blogger was I was just the guy in the office that read all the books – I would recommend the best ones to my colleagues. The chap sitting behind me at work turned out to be a crime writer and he suggested I may like to attend a creative writing course with him. So I went along with Michael to a course and I had my eyes opened. It was a fascinating day (I got to hear Jenny Colgan speak and still rue the fact I didn’t know she was a Doctor Who fan and missed the chance to speak all things TARDIS with her). Sadly I realised that I just don’t have the skills to be a writer, but the day really sparked the urge to do something with my book addition! Ultimately my wife persuaded me to start my own blog. Books have taken over my house and I sometimes think she regrets egging me on.

Do you have a particular favourite sub-genre, such as psychological thrillers or police procedurals?

Honestly? No. If it is a good story I am hooked, I take it as it comes.

Who’s on your Must Read list? 

From the BritCrime team I make a point of looking out for the new books from Marnie Riches, Sarah Hilary and my favourite book of last year was by Ms Ava Marsh so I was very keen to read her newest book too. Also need to make a special mention for Paul Finch’s Heck novels and Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae books.

Am glowing, thank you! So do you have any pet peeves – overused tropes, clichéd characters, etc?

Last year I hated being told this was the new Gone Girl. This year I am reluctant to read the next The Girl on the Train. I really did not enjoy Gone Girl so passing me a new book and saying “It’s like that book you didn’t enjoy” was counterproductive. On the flipside I LOVED The Girl on the Train but I don’t want to read it again. I want a book to have its own voice.

Who is your favourite character from a crime novel, and why?

Guards Guards Terry Pratchett
Sam Vimes, of the Ankh Morpork City Watch. I loved the Terry Pratchett Discworld books. When Guards! Guards! was released I had my favourite series suddenly doing crime stories, I didn’t think it was going to get any better than that. Well until he released Night Watch a few years later. Am coming to terms with the fact Mr Pratchett is no longer with us. #Speakhisname

Yes, that was a sad day when he passed. Amazing man and an amazing writer. So what do you enjoy most about blogging?

If an author thanks me for writing a review that is very much appreciated. But I will never forget the thrill of seeing a quote from one of my reviews appear in a book for the very first time (thanks to Sarah Hilary for that).

Have you ever thought of turning your own hand to crime (writing, I mean!)

Yes – but I don’t have the skills.

Any advice for anyone thinking of starting a crime fiction blog?

I got some good feedback on my own blog not long after I started and that was to include links in your reviews that will connect to a site where the books can be bought. Also to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads not just on your own blog, and keep the books at the heart of what you are doing – don’t turn your blog into an ego trip.

Lastly, you’re hosting a fantasy crime fiction dinner party – who would you invite? Can be writers, other bloggers, whoever. Alive or dead!

If I invited fictional detectives it would be tempting fate and a murder may occur. Let me concentrate on their creators instead…
♠ Terry Pratchett would be my first guest, would be great to meet him again.
♠ JD Robb (Aka Nora Roberts). I love the Eve Dallas “In Death” books!
♠ John Connolly – met him in Glasgow at a signing event he did several years ago, could listen to him tell stories for hours.
♠ Dame Agatha – she taught me to look for the clues.
♠ Dan Slott. Since I was wee my two favourite heroes have been Spider-man and Doctor Who. Many years later they are still my favourite heroes. Dan Slott is the current author of the Amazing Spider-man (the flagship title) and he is also a massive Doctor Who fan.

Great list, Gordon! Make sure you invite me too. And many thanks for putting yourself under the microscope today. 

Grab This Book

Ava Marsh

Ava Marsh is the author of psychological thriller, Untouchable. Her second book, Exposure, is out now with Transworld.

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