The Last Cut, But A Great New Series

20170613_205420One of my formative memories in my fledgling writing career was at Bloody Scotland in September 2014, when, bumbling and in awe, I asked Danielle Ramsay to sign a paperback for me. I proceeded to go beetroot red as I pulled out more and more dog-eared books for her to sign, while she was a pillar of patience. She asked me what I did, and when I replied sheepishly that I had just got a literary agent, she was so bubbly and encouraging that long after the book festival was over, I would seek her out for advice and direction whenever I needed some.

Proving once again the now-ironclad adage that people in crime literature are just lovely, she was so effusive, thoughtful and helpful, and westill drop each other a line readily. She is one of the nicest people in the book world I’ve met, and one of the most important voices in my career so far. Her words meant the world to me at the time, and the books she signed for me are treasured. She was one of the first people I told when I signed my own book deal at the end of 2016.

And… she’s got a new book out! The Last Cut is the start of a brand new series (segueing from the brilliant Jack Brady series – check them out pronto too), and is her best and bravest book to date. I urge anyone who even has a passing interest in crime novels to check it out without delay. She tackles and analyses all manner of issues surrounding abuse and its effects, drawn remarkably from her own experiences – which makes the book for me even more of a triumph. It’s a breaking of chains, a catharsis, a confrontation – and Danielle explains it far better here than I could ever paraphrase:

http://wwwshotsmagcouk.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/danielle-ramsay-says-write-what-you-know.html

The book follows DS Harri Jacobs, recently transferred from the Met police to Newcastle. She is still piecing her life together after a terrible assault a year ago, the after effects of which threaten to bubble to the surface – as bodies start to appear around Newcastle, and it becomes clear that a new dangerous killer is stalking the young women of the city and is subjecting them to abysmal horrors. Harri’s past and present intertwine in a constantly surprising plot that will have your skin crawling and your fingers peeling the pages.

My gratitude to and admiration of Danielle is a constant given – it just so happens that she writes great books too! The Last Cut comes hugely recommended, and you can grab it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LZUGJTW/

 

Well, I’m emotionally battered today. Was up until about midnight with Danielle Ramsay’s Blind Alley, which was awesome. I’m so invested in the characters of her series that the ending had me snagged and desperate, and now I’m basking in some peculiar post-traumatic afterglow – the very hallmark of a cracking yarn.

Moved straight on to The Cry, by Helen Fitzgerald, which was recommended to me by a lady you described herself as being so hooked she read it in 7 hours straight. And she wasn’t wrong… and the emotional siege continues! This is hard-hitting, twisting, and very challenging – not in terms of the read, because it is a very fast-moving and accessible book, but the subject matter is really something. All I know is I’ve got another good one on my hands.

Just started Vanishing Point by Danielle Ramsay, the second in the DCI Jack Brady series. I was lucky enough to meet Danielle recently, after hearing her speak at Bloody Scotland, and she was lovely, plus hearing her speak about her influences, books and characters was just fascinating. If this is anything like her debut novel, Broken Silence, I’ll be through it like a scolded whippet.

Reflections on Bloody Scotland 2014 (*spoiler alert* It was GREAT)

Hey folks! Got back late last night after an enthralling weekend Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival, and am jiggered to the bone. Had such an interesting, fascinating and fun time, and will definitely be going back. In fact, if it was on again next weekend, I’d be checking hotel availability pronto – it was that good.

Why? A number of things, but the standout feature was the warmth of the event. It was downright friendly! First thing I did on arrival was check out the Festival Bookshop (another triumph, albeit one that is more guiltily-enjoyed and wallet-draining), but before going in, I popped my head around the corner of the room next door. I didn’t know it was the green room, but kind of worked it out pretty quickly when I saw actual authors in there. My legs jellied just like when I bumped into John Barnes in Toys’R’Us in Warrington, 1990. But every author I had the privilege of meeting was extremely friendly, down-to-earth, chatty, warm and seemed delighted to be there. This led to some fascinating conversations, and has sent me home as a new resident of cloud 9.

And as for the events themselves? Superb. I was lucky enough to attend the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award dinner, and it was a special evening, with excellent food, great company and – yes, you guessed it – a very friendly atmosphere. Not to mention some cracking whiskey. A love for crime fiction was apparent in everyone I spoke to, and it provided a basis for good conversation. At the dinner I was extremely lucky to be seated near the lovely Alexandra Sokoloff, whose book The Harrowing is one that I had enjoyed very much a few years previously. She was so generous with her time, and spoke at length with myself (over a glass of Deanston, naturally). I’ll always be grateful for the kindness she showed me, and the advice she imparted.

I enjoyed immensely hearing the authors speak at the events about their own works and the stories behind their own journeys as novelists, and especially enjoyed hearing from Nele Neuhaus, Danielle Ramsay, Ragnar Jonasson, Quentin Bates and Yrsa Sigurdardottir. It felt a bit like a masterclass at times, with nuggets of information raining readily. After each session I was dizzy with adrenaline and left invigorated, and now have so much to think about and look back upon with interest.

A special mention must go to the city of Stirling and Scotland as a whole. It was a pleasure and an honour to be enshrined in one of Scotland’s iconic cities with some of the most dazzling domestic and international writers. I couldn’t recommend the festival highly enough, and thank everyone involved, from the authors, who were so generous with their time, to the organisers, whose evident commitment behind the scenes led to a throughly enjoyable time.

I will definitely be back – in fact, how are you fixed for next week?

Admittedly it took me a couple of chapters to get into this, but I think a lot of that was down to diving from one style into a completely different one without much time in between at all – but now I am there, I am hooked. Gripping stuff, played out by a host of interesting, fully-formed characters.

Going to Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival this weekend, and getting very excited about it! Going to attend a number of talks and events at the fest, but I’m especially looking forward to hearing Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Danielle Ramsay, Nele Neuhaus, and Quentin Bates. I’ll post some updates from the festival floors itself, and see who I can get a chat with!