What do you consider the most important element of a book? What aspect is the most influential when deciding if you enjoyed a book or not? For me, it is the main character. I do not necessarily have to like the main character but I have to find them intriguing. With Into The Night, I will be completely honest. I did not like its protagonist Detective Gemma Woodstock, but I found her very interesting. Into The Night presented me with a new experience, a lead character I did not care for but with an exciting and original central mystery, I found myself glued to the book.Read More
There is an old saying,“ People are like tea bags. If you want to know what they are made of stick them in hot water.” I believe this saying applies to the good and bad characteristics which emerge when people are in a difficult or challenging situation. With respect to Inhuman Resources, Pierre Lemaitre’s latest English translation, readers discover a character pushed to the brink by unemployment, fear of poverty, and the need to regain his dignity.Read More
A small town is one of my favorite settings for a story of crime fiction. Readers can almost always look forward to recognizable and endearing characters. This was my expectation when I started River Bodies. While some of my expectations were met, many were not. I was introduced to an interesting main character, but the plot lacked intrigue and mystery.Read More
When reading the synopsis of a potential new read, there are certain words and phrases which almost guarantee I will love the book. With phrases like, former psychiatric home, witches, suspicious villagers; I instantly knew The Lingering was my kind of read.Read More
Ragnar Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series is one of my favorite series of all time. With each new installment I am transported to Iceland to reconnect with characters who have become old friends. Everything I love about The Dark Iceland series can also be found in The Darkness - vivid descriptions of beautiful yet treacherous landscapes, a simmering mystery, and an endearing protagonist.Read More
Sharon J Bolton was born and brought up in Lancashire, the eldest of three daughters. As a child, she dreamed of becoming an actress and a dancer, studying ballet, tap and jazz from a young age and reading drama at Loughborough University.
The first book of the Reykjavik Noir trilogy, Snare was an eye opener for me. It is the first crime fiction book I read which focused on the illegal drug trade. I was a bit hesitant, but I am so glad I gave it a chance. Sometimes I do forget there is much more to crime fiction than just murder. Snare and Trap portray a dark world with characters as cunning and evil as those in any murder mystery.Read More
Have you ever read a book by a “new to you” author and immediately add every book by this author to your list of must reads? This is what I did after reading The Craftsman. The Craftsman is the story of a small town with disturbing secrets and the formidable woman who will stop at nothing to expose these secrets. Readers in the mood for an enthralling and spooky read just in time for the Halloween season, should add The Craftsman to their list of must readsRead More
I have read three of Malone’s previous books. What I noticed about all three is how the story starts right away. There is no build up, no setting the scene, the story begins with the first word. This immediately makes me sit up and pay close attention afraid to miss any details. After He Died is no exception, Malone’s straight forward approach to writing will grip readers from the very start and will leave them shocked and a little disturbed but in the best way possible.Read More
Caz Frear grew up in Coventry, England and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true. She has a degree in History & Politics, which she’s put to enormous use over the years by working as a waitress, a shop assistant, a retail merchandiser and, for the past twelve years, a headhunter. When she’s not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at Arsenal football matches on the TV or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about. Follow her on Twitter at @CazziF
MM: Sweet Little Lies was an awesome read. It had the perfect combination of grit and heart which kept me glued to the book. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for my blog Murder and Moore.
CF: Great - thank you! And thanks again for all your support xx
MM: What authors have inspired you?
CF: So many, but the two that always spring to mind are Tana French and Lynda La Plante. They’re actually quite an interesting combination in that they are very different writers but in my opinion they’re the best at what they do. Lynda La Plante is a phenomenal storyteller. Her plots are so intricate and well-executed and her books are incredibly well-paced – classic ‘one more chapter’ novels. Over the years, I’ve used her novels like textbooks, always asking myself “How would Lynda handle this?” when I’ve hit a particularly tricky plot knot! Tana French on the other hand is the queen of prose and characterization. She’s also not afraid to write unlikable characters or ambiguous endings, which I love.
MM: What are you currently reading?
CF: I’m utterly enthralled by Alafair Burke’s The Wife at the moment. I’m on a US book tour and actually dying to get onto the next flight so I can dive back in. The dialogue is fantastic and the small details/anecdotes give such flavor to the overall story. I’m about half-way through and I have no idea which way it’s going to go.
I also recently finished Skin Deep by the amazing Liz Nugent. It’s about an Irish woman passing herself off as an English socialite on the French Riviera and the story opens with the line - ‘I wondered when rigor mortis would set in, or if it already had.’ Because of this, it’s not your classic ‘whodunnt?’ Instead the reasons why she’s ‘dunnit’ become the mystery. I can’t recommend it enough.
MM: I recently read an article by Ann Cleeves. She stated she never planned to start a series when she wrote the first Jimmy Perez book. It was supposed to be a standalone. Did you know from the start that Sweet Little Lies was just the beginning for Cat? How did you come to that decision?
CF: I LOVE Ann Cleeves and yet I didn’t know that fact! I always wanted Cat to become a series character and had several ideas about what path her journey could take. However, you never know how a character is going to be received so I feel so lucky that she’s living to fight another day (or another novel, I should say!) I deliberately made her a relatively young police officer so there would be scope for her to grow, personally and professionally.
MM: What sets Cat apart from other detectives in crime fiction is her age. I think she may be the youngest detective I have read. What was behind your decision to introduce Cat at the age of 26?
CF:Ah, I might have just answered this one! However, there was another reason. I knew that I wanted to write about someone at the lower levels of the police force as frankly, they are the people who do most of the investigative work. Certainly in the UK, it’s actually quite rare for a Detective Inspector or Detective Chief Inspector to interview witnesses/suspects, take statements etc (even though this is often portrayed on TV) and the truth is that like most industries, the further you go up the ladder, the more your role becomes about management, admin, spreadsheets etc. I wanted to feature someone who was constantly out in the field and this was far more likely to be someone at Cat’s Detective Constable level.
Also, because of some of the decisions Cat makes, I wanted the reader to cut her a tiny bit of slack! Obviously she’s a grown woman in a very responsible position, but I remember being twenty-six and my decision-making skills perhaps weren’t as honed as they are now. The old saying that ‘you live and learn’ is particularly apt here and Cat is finding this out on a daily basis.
MM: Cat and her father, Michael, have a strained relationship. Why did you choose for Cat to have the strained relationship with her father rather than her mother?
CF: Sweet Little Lies was definitely influenced in a small way by Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn). I absolutely loved the toxic relationship between Camille and her mother and I guess I was trying to turn this on it’s head a little! I also think the relationship between a father and daughter is often the more complicated one. In the main (although I definitely accept there are exceptions), daughters tend to idolize their fathers so to go from thinking your father is a superhero to suspecting him of murder would be a huge psychological burden – or in other words, it has great dramatic potential!
MM: If you were to cast the movie version of Sweet Little Lies which actress would play Cat Kinsella?
CF: Tricky one but I’m going to say the British actress, Juno Temple. She’s such a fantastic character actress and while she can turn her hand to anything, she really excels at quirky and troubled. I’ve no doubt at all that she’d do Cat justice!
MM: What does the future hold for Cat Kinsella?
CF: Book 2 comes out next July (2019). It’s called STONE COLD HEART and it features Cat and the rest of the MIT4 team investigating a brand new case but with the events of Sweet Little Lies still casting their shadow. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers by saying anything specific about what the future holds for Cat but it’s complicated, let’s just say that!
Gilly Macmillan is one of my favorite authors. I enjoy her books so much that I find it very hard to pick a favorite. Macmillan consistently creates unique and riveting tales of lies, betrayals, long held secrets, and death. In I Know You Know, Macmillan portrays the long reaching and long lasting affects of crime for not only the victims, but everyone within a community.Read More
As an avid reader of crime fiction I am often asked “ Do you get tired of reading about death and gore?” Why not try reading something less dark?” I consistently answer no to both questions. However I will admit that sometimes I am in the mood for something a little lighter, especially after an intense and dark read. Whenever I have reached my maximum capacity of gore and blood, I turn to the latest English translation of the Sandhamn mystery series.Read More
I absolutely love crime fiction books which take place in the world of academia, especially a boarding school. There is something about the isolation, the limited amount of freedom the students have and the implied loneliness I assume they must feel. To me a boarding school is the ideal setting for closed door mystery. She Was The Quiet One plays perfectly upon the gloomy and underlined sadness of a boarding school; giving readers a gripping, crafty, and murky read.Read More
Pieces of Her is the first book by Karin Slaughter I have read. While browsing in bookstores or online, I would always see her name and books pop up. For some reason I never gave her books a try. When the opportunity to read Slaughter’s latest release presented itself, I decided to finally see what all the fuss was about. To say I now understand the hype would be an understatement. Pieces of Her is an intense, captivating story of young woman thrust into a dangerous unplanned journey of self discovery.
It is very rare for a book to bring a tear to my eye. When reading crime fiction my default emotions are usually fear, anger, and shock. I typically shy away from any book with a sad or tear jerking element, however Tear Me Apart managed to keep me intrigued until the end. Tear Me Apart is a story of strength, courage, and forgiveness with a well measured balance of emotions and thrills.Read More
Just when I thought I had read every possible variation of the troubled detective, I meet Detective Constable Cat Kinsella, formally known as Catrina McBride. Frear has created a character which stays true to the standard damaged detective I have grown to love. However there is something about Cat which sets her apart. The urge to find out what makes her different is what will keep readers glued to Sweet Little LiesRead More
The story of a woman trapped in a mentally and physically abusive relationship is not new. We have seen this story play out in books and movies. Usually these stories end with the woman killing her abuser or the abuser killing her then moving onto to his next victim. What makes Always With You original are the circumstances which lead to the main character's dangerous situation. Unfortunately the story does not live up to its potential.Read More
Earlier this year I read The Old You by Louise Voss. In my review I stated the book was special, it made readers really think about what they would do if they were in the lead character’s position. Our House is in this same special category. Our House will challenge readers to evaluate what is really important and what they would do if those things were threatened.Read More
I will never cease to be amazed by the many facets of crime fiction. I have said this before but because of Shannan Kirk’s latest novel In the Vines, the statement bares repeating. In the Vines is a captivating and mesmerizing read full of flair which will appeal to fans of crime fiction who are looking for a different type of crime fiction read.Read More
Over the past three months, I have read and listened to mostly police procedurals and serial killer thrillers. I had another serial killer thriller scheduled as my next read, but I was starting to feel a little burned out. I could feel a reading slump approaching. I decided to shake things up a little bit with a psychological thriller; I am so glad I did. The Boy at the Door was just what I needed. The Boy at the Door is a mind blowing, twisty tale of a woman who will stop at absolutely nothing to hang on to the things she holds most dear.Read More