Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (Har...

Tomorrow I’ll take a train north from London to the idyllic town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire for the annual festival affectionally known as Harrogate. (The full name, Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, includes the name of the long-time sponsor, Theakston Brewing Company, and one of their signature beverages, Old Peculier ale.) Like any crime fiction gathering, Harrogate has elements that make each year unique as well as characteristics that keep readers flocking back year after year. Venue Unlike Bouchercon or Left Coast Crime, Harrogate takes place at the Old Swan Hotel each year. In addition to being a gorgeous venue, the...

Crime Wave Heads to Harrogate

It’s one of the biggest celebrations of the crime genre in the world. The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival begins on Thursday 20 July featuring a veritable Who’s Who of crime authors. The Festival runs until Sunday at the Old Swan Hotel. Special Guests this year  include Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Peter May, Stuart MacBride, Joseph Finder, Arne Dahl, Kathy Reichs, Brenda Blethyn, Robson Green and James Runcie. There’ll also be a special one-off event with comedian Sarah Millican with authors Mark Billingham, Lee Child and Val McDermid. Organisers, Harrogate International Festivals, say the crime wave has taken over...

Behind the Book: Eating Dinner With Ninjas

When I started writing Betrayal at Iga, I knew the story would take my protagonists, ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo, away from their usual stomping grounds in 16th century Kyoto and into the mountainous province of Iga—historical home of the infamous Iga ninja ryu. Although my protagonist, Hiro, is fictitious, the Iga ninja clan was very real. The ninjas of Iga were spies and assassins, trained not only in killing but in various methods of espionage. During the 16th century, the clan was run by Hattori Hanzō—also called “Devil Hanzō”—a brilliant (and ruthless) leader and one of Japan’s most famous historical...

Q&A with Daniel Cole

RAGDOLL is one of the year’s most talked-about debut novels, and with good reason. Author Daniel Cole was good enough to answer some questions for us… You were a paramedic before (while?) writing RAGDOLL. Was there a particular policeperson you encountered who inspired Wolf? I can’t say that there was. Wolf is just a combination of all my favourite heroes/anti heroes rolled into one, but then grounded by the trivias of everyday life as well. He’s part Captain Mal Reynolds, part Sawyer from Lost. There’s some Martin Riggs from Lethal Weapon in there and a dash of Indy along with countless others and yet, you could still imagine...

Behind the Book: The Satanic Mechanic

The second book in my Tannie (Auntie) Maria murder mystery series is The Satanic Mechanic. Central to the story is a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) counseling group, run by a man known as the satanic mechanic. South Africa is fertile ground for trauma and healing. I had the joy and the pain of being part of the South African anti-apartheid struggle. Marches, singing, teargas, shooting, prison, assassinations, a State of Emergency (in which the state could detain anyone indefinitely) were my rite of passage from youth to adulthood. I visited detainees and their families, counseled torture victims, interviewed abused women, danced in...