Tag Archives: crime

Ian Rankin – Hide & Seek

30 Sep

Before I start, I just want to say I absolutely love Ian Rankin, so this is totally biased.

Rebus by far is my favourite Detective. He has so many foibles, can at times come across as a bumbling idiot, yet he is brilliant. The more I read, the more in awe of Rankin’s writing I become. I just wish I had read the books in order.

Each book has its main story, each book stands alone. Yet, just like with many of the great detective novels, there is an ongoing story about the detective himself.

This novel starts with ethe discovery of a body in an Edinburgh squat, to many it would seem an open and shut suicide case, but not Rebus. Digging deep into the murky undertones of the city, Rebus discovers a much more sinister and sleazy layer than even he could ever imagine.

As I have already said, I love Rankin’s writing so for me to say I couldn’t put the book down probably doesn’t surprise you. All I will say, don’t make the same mistake as me. If you havent read any of the Rebus series, start at the begiining. You wont regret it.

Sharing my WIP – my timeline

3 Jul

I have just finished creating a timeline for my current WIP. It is, along with many other writing stages, something I have never felt the need to complete before. Maybe that is because I have never felt the need to do so before – maybe that is why I have always been left with a gap in my writing?

Before I go any further I must briefly explain my stages that I have completed already.

Step 1.

So naturally the first step is coming up with the idea. As the first stages of this WIP was part of a university assignment, I felt a pressure to get cracking immediately. As a result I wasted four months just trying to hash together an idea around a strong scene in my mind. When another scene eventually came to me, the one that inspired this WIP, I quickly scrapped the past four months work and wrote the first three chapters in an hour.

Step 2.

Oh I did this in step 1. My rule for step 2 is to try writing the first chapter/scene as is your wish. If it trickles from the fingertips then you are onto a winner. If by the second paragraph you are struggling, try re-examining step 1, or at the very least take some more thinking time.

Step 3.

Think about your idea. How can it develop? Is there a big enough idea for a novel, or will a short story be better suited?

Having completed the first three steps, I started to write further chapters, so many of my characters were itching to get onto the page, and the ideas were bursting, that I couldn’t afford to lose time thinking and planning. I am now ready to write chapter thirteen (I have shuffled my chapters about already and started chopping uh-oh), so now it is time to start my planning in full.

I should mention that in between all of this, I have already written a synopsis. To do that, I created a chapter plan. This involved highlighting in a few lines, the main event in each chapter.

The timeline I have now created has followed the plot through the first twelve chapters. Using the notebook on my iPad, I have written what happens on each day of the week, alongside questions each chapter is making me ask, as well as changes I can already see need to be made. Why mention my iPad I hear you ask. Well, I can have the pages open to refer to as I am typing, and maintain it as I add my additional text. Previously I have always used a pad and pen to keep little notes, but they always get messy. I like the tidiness of this option.

Already from looking at these notes I can see a major flaw in my work. Initially I wanted the complete crime (yep, it is a crime novel) to be solved within the space of a week. The rate I am going, it will be more like a month. This may not be a problem, and may end up working  well in the long run. I will only know further on down the line, but it is good to be aware of these things.

My next planning stages are my character bibles, my location plan and research into my chosen crime. Each of these I intend to give full posts on how I have chosen to do these steps. Each will be more in-depth than I have ever completed before, hopefully, it will pay off.

But don’t be thinking I have dived right in without having considered these steps already. I have written a 500 word description on each character, I just want to visualise these more. I have also re visited the town in which the novel is set, and taken photos. The crime itself is quite easy, my research is just to make sure I have no errors – nothing could be more fatal than glaring errors in your chosen crime.

So that is where I am at with my WIP. How about you?

Point of Origin – Patricia Cornwell

5 Jan

Once again, Dr Kay Scarpetta, chief medical examiner finds herself at the centre of brutal murders. This time, involving fires starting in a bathroom with an unidentified accelerant.

Swiftly it soon becomes apparent that these murders are linked to Kay’s niece Lucy, and her crazy ex-girlfriend. As a result, Lucy, Kay, Marino and Benton are all at risk.

As with all Cornwell’s novels this is gripping and hooks your attention. Yes it becomes cliché when you are familiar with the work, but it can be forgiven because of the clever writing and plotting. The characterization also leaves you with a sense that these are your friends. You don’t want them to come to harm so to read on is a must.

My only negative is I find the technical details of post modern procedures a drag. They are an integral part of the plot. They are Kay Scarpetta. However, a little less wouldn’t do any harm in my opinion.

As with all of Cornwell’s work, read it.

Warner 1999

Charlie – Lesley Pearse

23 Aug

Charlie is sixteen when her father mysteriously disappears and she is left with her Mum, an apparently selfish, yet party loving woman. Yet there is more, Mum is suffering from depression. With their privileged life style it is unclear what is making her so unhappy.

Shortly after Charlies fathers disappearance, her mother is brutally attacked. Although alive, her Mum has lost all will to fight back, and wallows in her misery. At the same time, Charlie discovers that the family are bankrupt, before too long, a dark family secret begins to leak.

As the story follows Charlie fight for survival, along with her need to find out the truth, the reader follows Charlie as she learns who to trust. Unexpected twists, you want to scream at the book in the hope that Charlie won’t walk into the traps that are inevitably there.

A good page turner, ideal for a lazy day.

Penguin Books 2003

First published 1998


Post-Mortem – Patricia Cornwell

20 Aug

Hanging on every word, this had me turning pages like no other book in some time.

Dr Kay Scarpetta, chief medical examiner is awoken by a call on friday evening; a woman has been brutally murdered. The fourth victim with more to follow, the hunt is on to track down the killer. As we are taken on a trip of suspicion, we are subjected to details of these murders, both at the murder scene, and on the table in the morgue.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable, suspense hugging thriller. Graphic details, mingled with tight emotions; at times i found myself unable to read fast enough.

Yes, at times, it slipped. Did we need the relationship of the medical examiner with her niece? Yes, I wanted more in the hope that a unlikley relationship may blossom….but maybe it was so close to perfection that it just needed some tweaks.

Read this book, really, you’ll love it!

Warner bros 1992

First published 1990


The Library of Shadows – Mikkel Birkegaard

19 Jul

I hate the way people feel the need to analyse literature. Oh the author was thinking this, the symbolic meaning….whatever!

Sorry that may offend many people. Actually I don’t care. Can the idea that it’s just a good story not be enough?

Right, it could be. Well what about the idea that each book gains strength when its read, each copy, not each story. The more thumbed the pages, the better. Extreme yes, but Birkegaard explores this with such intense strength that you can believe it.

What about the potential of the power that a reader, or those that listen can empower the text further?

No, I have not lost it. I am aware that this is fiction. Fantastic fiction at that. The idea that somehow a book has more to it many of us can identify with, why else do some texts stop you from being able to put them down?

To say more about this bestseller would be to ruin it for all. I know you want a breakdown of the story. To be honest, the blurb on the back does not justify the need to read this, and I am happy to say I couldn’t do it justice. However, if you don’t have a passion for books, don’t bother, I doubt you’d get it.

My suggestion: Make sure you have plenty of free time.

First Published 2007
Published by Random House Group 2009