Writers’ Advice: Go Niche Or Go Home

‘Nobody likes a good all-rounder.’ My English teacher once told that. It’s advice I’ve taken to heart. Over the years, my tastes have become ever more abstruse. Maybe yours have too. Perhaps I’m not the only author who has Gilbert & Sullivan, Steve Reichs, hi-BPM hard house and Count Arthur Strong on his playlist, but […]

Strange Times IV: Nothing Changes

And finally… Skin colour matters. It transpired that Tanzanian albinos were living in fear of their lives because people were seeking their body parts for witchcraft. There are over 200,000 albinos in the country, and with over 30 murders in 10 months, many were frightened they would be skinned alive and partially dismembered. Meanwhile, Southern […]

Strange Times III: The Ideal News Story

So the pattern started to become clear about what makes the perfect news story. In the Daily Mail’s own words, you need to create a sense of outrage and fearfulness, but it helps if the main perpetrator is incompetent. The Czech artist David Cerny was paid £350,000 to commission artworks forming a huge sculpture of […]

Strange Times II: The New Normal

In this morning’s press, six police officers gun down a sleeping black man in his car at a Taco Bell. There should be riots on the streets over this, but it’s too frequent a news item to gain traction. In the UK knife crime has reached a high, but exclusively among ethnic street gangs, and while […]

Strange Times 1: Here’s What You Missed

This morning’s round-up of bizarre Brexit stories include the ‘Leave’ voters who live in Spain but have just changed their minds upon discovering that their pets will have no passports. One said, ‘Oh, I’m definitely voting Stay now,’ seeming to assume that the binding nature of the democratic process is not applicable to them. And […]

Bryant & May’s London

The London of the first book is different to London now I’ve just started researching the 2020 Bryant & May novel, the final one in the series that I’m currently contracted to write for Random House. I have the basic outline, but will need to research its seven main locations, and intend to start doing […]

The Bedazzling Ms Bainbridge

It’s been a long time since a book has left me in such a mess as this. I cannot shake it from my head, and feel really saddened. Although I’ve long been a fan of Beryl Bainbridge, the Liverpudlian writer whose messy, boozy life was a world apart from her brilliant, wrenching books, I had […]

The Book That Was Not To Be Touched

My parents owned a forbidden book. I could see it from where I sat in the little reading chair they’d bought me, on the top shelf of the bookcase. It was massive brick with a heavy-looking matt blue cover. The title was printed in gold and was too small to read from down here, and […]

The Lonely Hour Arrives!

In Which Mr May Makes A Mistake And Mr Bryant Goes Into The Dark It’s Bryant & May’s 17th outing, not counting their graphic novel, and their longest novel. We’re in central London just after Christmas, in the present day, where the friendless and lonely are being picked off by a man with a plan. […]

Whatever Happened To Mr Temple?

I suspect there are a few readers out there who not only remember Francis Durbridge’s books but who can also whistle his theme tune, which was either ‘Coronation Scot’ by Vivian Ellis, or Rimski-Korsakov’s ‘Scheherezade’, depending on your age. The author and playwright was born in Hull in 1912 and died in 1998. His output […]