Reading & Writing

Collecting Reprinted Stories


Readers always express surprise when they discover a writer has prolific output; it’s as if a good book should take a defined number of years to mature, but this is not the case at all. We each work at our own speed, according to what we can manage. Our normal lives still have to be […]

Crime Collectives: Why ‘Killer Men’ Wouldn’t Work

Killer Women

Crime fiction accounts for a third of all UK fiction sold, and the majority of its readers are women. As the crime festival season gets into gear this weekend, starting with Bristol Crimefest, a new collective of crime writers has formed called Killer Women. A vast swathe of novels fall into the mid-list category, where […]

Those Nominations In Full

Shortlisted Author collage

  Just a sounding-own-trumpet heads-up on the following news just in. ‘Bryant & May: The Bleeding Heart’ has now been nominated for; Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival Novel Of The Year Longlist Bristol Crimefest Last Laugh Award CWA Dagger In The Library Award And I’ve just been shortlisted for the Margery Allingham Short Story […]

Perry In Seraglio (Part 2 of 2)


This is the concluding part of one of my earliest short stories, the first part of which ran yesterday in the ‘Reading & Writing’ section of my blog. “Half a hit, that can’t do you any harm.” “Acid always leaves me wasted the next morning.” “So what are you rushing to get up for tomorrow, […]

Perry In Seraglio (Part 1 of 2)


As my missing books get digitised this year, I’ll be posting some short stories from them. This is one of my very first tales, taken from ‘City Jitters’. I haven’t read it in decades and have no idea if it’s absolutely terrible or just slightly terrible. Read it by all means, but you have been […]

My Treat


  Some writers have a fag and a brandy when they finish a book. To celebrate finishing my Christmas book ‘Bryant & May: London’s Glory’ on schedule I went out and spent the pitiful royalties it might possibly earn in advance, treating myself to something I’ve always wanted; a 1920 reporter’s typewriter. Each key shifts […]

Here Come The Sand Men

sand men

I’m really sorry about this but I seem to have another novel coming out this summer, just as you’re getting over the arrival of ‘The Burning Man’. To be fair, I’d been working on it for three years, and it underwent a massive revision after I got notes from a New York editor who’s a […]

What Are You Reading?


Whenever I’m out of London, I read more, partly because it’s quieter almost everywhere else, and because there are no interruptions. London is a ridiculously noisy city, from tannoyed announcements to sirens. I’m back in Barcelona writing a thriller, and as it’s a town that doesn’t raise its sleepy head before 10am there’s always time […]

Why There Are Fewer Original Novels…


Today’s column is a coalescence of several others I’ve been writing and thinking about for a while. It came to a head when I gave a speech at the Southbank Literary Festival about outsider status. I’d written before on the subject, but the speech introduced a number of outsiders from different centuries. The ultimates are […]

How Much Should Writers Expose about Themselves?


I’m currently doing a blog tour and finding it refreshing after years of doing regular press interviews. Instead of some poor exhausted journo trying to file ten stories in one day and not having had the time to even read your book jacket, let alone the book, I’m being asked intelligent and interesting questions by […]