Father Confessor (J McNee series Book 3)

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You often hear writers say, nowadays, that they love those moments in writing when the characters seem to come alive, and move the story onwards in a way different to the writer had been planning. Not Kafka — he often started his stories at the end and worked backwards. Falling Over is published by Infinity Plus and is out now. Ten stories of unease, fear and the weird. Find out more at Scattershot Writing. Leave a comment posted in Guests. Turns out , Miss Fury was the first female action hero created by a woman, beating Wonder Woman into print by over six months.

Drake also proved women could stand up to the best of the crooks , man or woman, when most of her female peers— even two decades later— were beholden to rescue by the men-in-tights running their four-colour show. Take that, Miss Jupiter.


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An elderly man is found hanging from a major East German-Russian pipeline in a secure sector. Suicide is swiftly ruled out by the presence of the eights knots around his neck and the shoelaces tied together; these are the hallmarks of a Stasi execution, one reserved for the worst kind of traitors. But the Stasi was overhauled years earlier and such behaviour is no longer in their make-up. Officially at least. As it turns out the case is actually too politicised for a quiet cover-up. A major gas deal is in the offing, one with wide reaching ramifications for the GDR and her position within Europe and they must be seen to be making every effort, prove that the dark days are behind them.

The initial murder is only a small part of Plan D. Urban has created a densely realised world, hugely atmospheric, grim and grinding, a city dominated by crumbling relics, but with hidden oases of decadence for the wealthy few. Wegener is the city personified, crumbling himself but persisting as people with more power conspire around him, laying one betrayal over another. Plan D is a highly accomplished debut, ambitious, complex and written with great flair.

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The region has huge potential for crime writers, grinding poverty sitting next to pockets of carefully protected wealth, with corruption rife and violence commonplace. Out of this seething melting pot debut author MD Villiers, a former Johannesburg native, has crafted a dark, complex and often moving novel. City of Blood opens with the seemingly motiveless stabbing of an elderly mango seller. He goes to comfort the woman and that simple act of kindness kicks off a chain of events which puts him at the heart of a bitter and bloody turf war.

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Gangster McCarthy Letswe has returned to Johannesburg after a forced exile and he wants his business back from the Nigerians who have muscled in during his absence. Siphiwe is an unwilling player in this web of intrigue; known to Letswe via a criminal cousin, being watched and threatened by the Nigerian who attacked the mango seller, and with the police pressurising him to speak up and help them catch the man. City of Blood is part crime novel, part coming of age story, and MD Villiers blends the elements very successfully, making it seem inevitable, even natural, that a decent young man like Siphiwe would become entangled with the violent power struggles of gangsters.

She writes with a clear, confident voice and the kind of forceful pacing which makes you whip through the pages. Leave a comment posted in Uncategorized. With Christmas approaching and snow blanketing the city Carrigan and Miller are called to a fire on a affluent west London square. Hidden among the houses, the centre of the blaze is tiny convent home to the Sisters of Suffering.

Records show that ten nuns were in residence at the time of the fire and once the smoke settles the search team discovers their corpses around the dining table in a room locked from inside.

Father Confessor (J. McNee 3)

A suspicion which solidifies when they crash into a wall of perfectly polite resistance from the diocese, who are reluctant to have church business made public. Unlike the Albanian gangsters who have taken an interest in the order and now have Carrigan and Miller in their sights. The Catholic church, with its labyrinthine protocols and myriad dirty secrets has been a boon for crime writers, with most following a predictable if outlandish formula, but Stav Sherez has neatly stepped away from those hoary tropes, exploring instead issues of Liberation Theology, workers activism and people trafficking, with a brutal, long buried history reaching across forty years to touch the present day.

Eleven Days is the second book to feature Carrigan and Miller and their personal stories are gradually developing. Eleven Days is out now. Leave a comment posted in Reviews , Uncategorized. His second novel, Runaway Town, featuring half-Romani P. We all think we know.

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Those of us with even better taste have all seen Back To The Future. I thought there were simple rules. First one sets up a simple status quo whatever you want, whatever you need… and has a happy ending. Second one breaks the status quo whatever you want, whatever you need… and has a depressing ending. The third one then brings everyone back together, has some dancing teddy bears, somebody invents a Frisbee, and everyone lives happily ever after. I also realised that The Empire Strikes Back is not a very good film.

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We all remember it as brilliant. Mostly because of one moment of Harrison Ford coolness, and also because it was the first time our childhood brains were split open by a downer ending. Incidentally, It also shows that Han Solo is a douche. The Two Towers takes this problem even further, as nothing of actual consequence happens in the film. It also shows up some structural problems that haunt the whole trilogy; the good guys keep winning. They win almost every battle in the three films. The ending of Old Gold had been an accident.

But if the first act in my trilogy had already raised the stakes of heartbreak and depression, what was I to do for the second story? There needed to be stakes. Things needed to happen. And I needed to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Everything that happens in Runaway Town is a consequence of actions in Old Gold. Each of the lies, punches and small betrayals from the first book are bearing down on my cast of characters by the time of the second one, and that has to be addressed. There are confrontations, bloodshed and revelations that need to be held off until book three, otherwise they would feel rushed.

Trying to find that balance between writing the middle act of a trilogy, and writing a story that had a self-contained arc, took my coffee obsession to a new level.

The needle kept going to far one way or the other; I was either putting in too much or too little. And that continued even after I handed it in to the publisher, where my editor suggested that I move a couple of revelations forward from book three into Runaway Town. The main trick was to go internal. It seems to me now —after handing in the manuscript for book 3- that the key to writing a trilogy is emotion. Fitting a story into the structure of a trilogy means we have to manipulate plot. There are always going to be plot twists and moments of physical drama that you want to hold off until the final act of the story, but book 2 is where you can wreck your characters emotionally.

I write crime and noir, so I deal in grief, deception and anger. Going internal meant ignoring the lies the writer tells to the reader, and focusing on the lies the characters tell themselves. Pulling the rug out from under. Show them that their precious status quo whatever you want, whatever you need… is a myth. To make him relive the memories he chooses to ignore.

We learn things about Eoin, Laura and Veronica that adds to the experience when re-reading Old Gold, but we also get the sense that the trilogy is not leading to a happy place in the next book. Above all, I hope I succeeded in giving people a story with Runaway Town. Important things happen to my characters in this book, and I did it without any Harrison Ford coolness. The first half of the book is a heartbreaking examination of how a disappearance affects those left behind, the wild swings between hope and fear, the accusations and recriminations which get thrown around between family members, and at the core of the story is the relationship between Mark and Nathan.

Closely observed, picking out the seemingly trivial routines and jokes which bond a father and son, achingly poignant in places, this is some of the best writing Johnstone has done and illustrates why he is so highly regarded. The second half of Gone Again, when the crime element of the book takes over, is more typical of his previous work, brisk, violent, whip through the pages stuff, and it builds to a perfectly satisfying end. Introducing half-Romani cop, turned underworld detective, Eoin Miller it combined a hardboiled sensibility with a fine tuned social conscience and signalled the arrival of a promising talent on the British noir scene.

So I had high expectations when the second instalment, Runaway Town, was released. Miller is between jobs, coaching aspiring young footballers under the watchful eye of his sort-of-boss Veronica Gaines, when she calls with a proposition and a fat wad of cash. She sends Miller to meet with a Catholic priest — not his usual clientele at all.

Several young girls have been raped and nobody wants an official investigation. Miller understands the urge to protect the girls from press attention and unsympathetic police, as well as the desire to have the man responsible properly punished, but as he begins to investigate he discovers that Donnelly, Salma and Gaines may have a more compelling reason to keep the police out of the matter. These are big themes but Stringer shows the effect at street level, taking us into fascists meeting rooms and slum housing, never letting the issues overshadow the terrible human cost.

Chris was kind enough to join me to discuss it…. Like all of the books in the series, it can be read as a standalone mystery, although for series fans, there are some fun developments in the relationship between Charlie and his best friend and literary agent, Victoria Newbury. The set-up this time is that something has been stolen from the British embassy in Berlin. There are four possible suspects and Charlie is hired to identify the guilty culprit and retrieve the item in question.

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I loved it! I also wanted to fool around with the tradition of Berlin-set espionage novels. A lot. Working towards achieving this authenticity means that I have to visit the cities I write about several times tough, I know… , read about them and their history, study maps etc. Imagining how a burglar would tackle a particular break-in or gain access to a tricky safe is one of my favourite things about writing the Good Thief novels.

Thank you for saying that. I think the humour really developed from thinking very hard about the character of Charlie and learning what his natural behavior and outlook would be. JT Lindroos produced a jacket design that perfectly sums up the feel of the book and Luca Veste helped out in numerous invaluable ways when it came to formatting and uploading the script.