Why female crime writers write the most violent novels

Posted on | Thursday, July 19, 2012 | No Comments

It's hard for me to read the works of celebrated writers such as Val McDermid and Mo Hayder not because their novels are boring, far from it. Rather, I have difficulty stomaching the graphic violence present in their books, particularly McDermid's Tony Hill novels. The TV series "Wire in The Blood" (based on the Tony Hill novels) captured me from day one and I decided to try reading one of the novels. But the violence and bloodshed proved too much for me and I never finished the book. 

I've often wondered why women writers relish such violence (I keep violence to a minimal in my own stories), what draws them so to the gruesome and macabre? Or perhaps I need to "get used to it" (have yet to attack Stieg Larsson's trilogy, which I hear is pretty graphic as well)? 

The Daily Mail has a piece today which sheds some light on why women writers are so fond of violence. Read it here.

How To Write Crime Fiction

Posted on | Monday, June 25, 2012 | No Comments

Ahh, it's the age of the Internet. News moves faster than the speed of light. Yesterday you were here, today you might be gone. Thankfully, despite its short shelf life the Internet also makes the best news 'sticky' in cyberspace. While bored and finding nothing better to do today, I found several nuggets of advice on how to write crime fiction. Here's the link for my fellow writers still 'bleeding' at their computers (I should know, I'm one of them!): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/books-life/6167904/How-to-write...-Crime-Fiction.html

Family Ties (Chapter Seven)

Posted on | Sunday, February 26, 2012 | No Comments

Chapter Seven

"Ruben, please understand. It happened years before I met your father. I got pregnant during my last year at college. Nathan's father dropped me when I told him I was carrying his child. My parents sent me away to a home for single mothers and talked me into giving up the baby. I didn't have money or anywhere to go, so I gave in," his mother explained, eyes welling up with tears at the memory.

"Nathan didn't end up in a good home. His adopted father beat him and his mother. His adopted mother was struck with cancer last year, which was when he learned he was adopted. After she died, he moved here to look for me and took a job as a gardener to be close to me," she added, stroking the unconscious man's hair.

"How did Uncle find out?" Seth interrupted.

"He must have suspected the moment he saw Nathan, the resemblance to my father was too strong. He remarked this to me one day when we were alone in the house. I told him everything. He was furious, he said he was going to fire Nathan and divorce me. I couldn't let that happen," she said, her expression hardening.

"Mother, don't say another word," Ruben said quickly.

"Ruben, she has already confessed. She must have slipped the poisoned coffee powder in on Wednesday morning after breakfast, just before her sister picked her up. Am I not right, Aunty?" Seth asked.

"You'll never prove it," his aunt smiled smugly at him. "Your uncle was cremated and even if he wasn't, the poison is untraceable."

Seth looked at her grimly. "On the contrary Aunty, you and Nathan are going away for a long time." He unbuttoned his bloody shirt, revealing a tape recorder attached to a wire and tiny microphone taped to his chest. 

His aunt looked on in shock. She ran over to Ruben and held on to him. "Ruben, son, you mustn't believe him, I didn't mean for this to happen. I didn't know what else to do," she pleaded.

Tears streamed down Ruben's cheeks. "You had Nathan beat and tie us up in here like animals. How can I ever trust your words? Come mother, the police are waiting outside," he said gently, stroking her hair. 


Family Ties (Chapter Six)

Posted on | Monday, February 13, 2012 | No Comments

Chapter Six 

“Where are we?” Seth croaked. His throat felt parched and swollen.
“We’re in Father’s study. Someone ambushed me when I arrived home from work. The last thing I remember seeing was the living room carpet. I woke up and saw you here,” Ruben explained.
“It’s Nathan, I’m sure of it,” Seth said. “He must have your mother captive somewhere in the house. We need to get ourselves untied fast, or he’ll get away with this.”
Ruben shook his head. “How? I don’t have a knife or anything else to cut the ropes with.”
Seth tried to lift his head again and winced. “I think I might have a concussion. You will have to do it. There’s a pocket inside my jacket, I have a Swiss army knife in there. Use your teeth,” he said.
Ruben shuffled over to Seth and got the knife out after a few minutes. Holding the knife between his teeth, he freed Seth’s hands and then his own. They disentangled themselves and chucked the ropes aside.
Ruben started towards the door. “We have to get to mother; she may still be alive.”
Seth held him back. “Wait, he might be armed. We need some sort of weapon if we’re going out there,” he urged.
Ruben nodded. He picked up a tall lamp on a small table near him. Seth grabbed a wooden umbrella that stood in a corner of the room. He hid behind the cupboard by the door while Ruben lay in wait behind the door.
After what seemed like hours, the doorknob finally creaked. As the door opened, Ruben rushed forward and swung the lamp at the man who entered the room, catching him squarely in the face. Seth heard a woman shriek as Nathan collapsed noiselessly on the carpeted floor.
His aunt pushed roughly past him and Ruben and rushed to Nathan’s side. “Oh, my son! What have you done to him?” she screeched at Ruben.
Ruben stared at her in bewilderment. “Mother! What do you mean?” The lamp fell to the floor with a loud thud. He took a step towards his mother.
“Stay back, you ungrateful boy!” she screamed at him. “This is all your fault!” she spat at Seth.
Seth eyed her coolly. “Tell him, Aunty. He deserves to know the truth.”
She said nothing but continued glaring at him.
“Mother, what is Seth talking about? Ruben said, his expression pained.
“Yes, Aunty. Why don’t you tell him that Nathan is his half-brother and that you both conspired to kill Uncle Vikram,” Seth said grimly.
“Ruben, call an ambulance before anything happens to Nathan,” his aunt said, ignoring Seth.
“Not before you tell me the truth. Is what Seth said true?” Ruben asked, a harsh edge to his voice.
“Yes, Nathan is your brother but we didn’t kill your father. How can you take the word of an ingrate nephew who never visited his uncle when he was alive?” she said reproachfully, tears spilling down her cheeks.
Ruben looked doubtfully at Seth. “Have you any proof?”
“I’m sorry you had to find out this way, Ruben. I didn’t realize it myself until I saw your parents’ wedding photograph,” Seth said.
“What do you mean?”
Seth removed the photo from the wall. “From the first time I saw Nathan, I’ve been asking myself why he looked so familiar. It was only when I saw this picture that I realized that he’s the spitting image of your maternal grandfather,” he explained.
Ruben scrutinized the photograph and stared at Nathan. His face paled.
“So it is true! You and Nathan killed Father,” he looked angrily at his mother.

Family Ties (Chapter Five)

Posted on | Thursday, February 9, 2012 | No Comments

Chapter Five 

“Then we have to assume that someone else broke in and poisoned the coffee powder between the time you left for your sister’s and when uncle passed away. It could have been on Wednesday, because he had his morning cuppa and was fine all day, according to his friends,” Seth said.
His aunt rubbed her forehead wearily. “I still don’t understand why anyone would want to kill Vikram. He had his faults, but he was a good husband and father,” she said sadly.
Seth’s lips set in a grim line. “I’ll find the person who did this , Aunty. Now, we have a few minutes before Nathan arrives. Take him to the kitchen and start teaching him. You have to get a confession out of him, it’s the only way,” he urged.
“But what do I say?” His aunt looked nervous.
“When you’ve given him some work to do, ask him what he and uncle were talking about the evening before uncle died. That should get him talking,” Seth said.
A knock on the front door ended their conversation. Seth went into the study and left the door ajar, while his aunt greeted their visitor. He heard muffled voices, which grew more coherent as they neared the study.
“I made a mess of it,” a deep male voice said. Seth peered from behind the door. It was Nathan.
“Don’t worry, you will do better next time,” Seth’s aunt said soothingly.
An odd feeling came over Seth as he looked at Nathan’s downcast face. Why was he so familiar?

Seth heard two chairs being pulled out in the kitchen and the sound of pages being flipped. Nathan had opened his books; it was only a matter of minutes before his aunt got the man talking.
“What do I do in the meantime?” Seth muttered to himself in the dark, feeling a little foolish for not thinking things through. What if Nathan clammed up? His aunt had a small recorder he’d given her but what if she forgot to turn it on?
He pushed the thoughts away and concentrated on his surroundings. Perhaps there was something he had missed, a clue yet to be discovered. He removed his pocket flashlight and shone it around the room.
He checked the desk first. The empty envelope and letter opener were still there, exactly where they’d been before. The desk however, was spotless. His aunt had likely cleaned up.

His flashlight shone on a large framed photograph on the wall behind the desk. It was a family photograph, taken at his aunt and uncle’s wedding. Seth’s expression softened as he took in the smiling faces of his parents and the rest of the family.
His gaze fell on a familiar face in the photo. He drew in sharp intake of breath as realization struck him. Suddenly it all made sense. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as he realized too late that he was not alone in the room.
“Seth! Seth, wake up!” A familiar voiced hissed in his ear.
The voice grew louder, more insistent. “Seth, we have to get out of here!”
The fog lifted a fraction, but the ringing in his ears wouldn’t stop. Seth tried to move but a sharp pain in his left temple stopped him. He leaned back against what felt like the back of a chair and groaned.
He forced his eyes open, wincing against the pain. He was still in the study, but the lights were on. Something warm and wet trickled down his left temple. He tried to free his hands but they were bound tightly behind the chair with rope. His ankles were also tied together.
“Are you all right?” With great effort, Seth lifted his head to look at the speaker. Next to him, also bound to a chair, was Ruben. His lip was cut and his right eye was swollen.

World's First Crime Writing MA Launched

Posted on | Saturday, January 28, 2012 | No Comments

According to The Guardian, London's City University has launched the first crime writing MA due to popular student demand. Authors are currently being approached [to be tutors], with the novelists Martyn Waites and Barry Forshaw already signed up, says the newspaper.

Read the rest of the story here.

10 Interesting Facts About Stieg Larsson

Posted on | Thursday, January 26, 2012 | No Comments

Did you know that Stieg Larsson's original name was Stig and that he had little formal education? How about that he started out as a graphic artist? SecondAct has these facts and more in a hugely entertaining and informative article on the late author. Check it out here.

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