Monthly Archives: March 2022

Bryant & May Are Stepping Out Into The City

When it came to positioning the next Bryant & May book, I and the Transworld team faced a dilemma; ‘Bryant & May’s Peculiar London’ is neither a novel nor a collection of short stories, but it has all of the characters you’d expect in a B&M adventure. Nor was it a guide book. Its contents […]

The Hollywood Horror Show Reaches A Timely End

The 2022 Academy Awards mark the close of an era – not because of slappable Will Smith’s career imploding but for an entirely different reason. It’s the first time a streaming service has won Best Picture, erasing the line between TV and film for good. The passable ‘Coda’ ticked the indie/disability boxes this year while […]

Dysfiction! (Dysfunctional Families In Fiction)

Of course the question should really be, ‘Whose family in fiction is not dysfunctional?’ Conflict drives a story, and so much of that begins at home. The subject offers rich pickings for authors and you can always bring things to a head with an uncomfortable revelation. Family conflict is there in most crime fiction, although […]

He Built It, They Came

The 20th century was a century of movement. Aldous Huxley once wrote, ‘Now that we can travel easily, we spend our lives traveling.’  The pendulum began to swing back during the pandemic, when many realised that a large proportion of their journeys were unnecessary, and it had been moving against the petrol engine for some […]

Back To The Seventies!

There’s a good reason why everyone keeps comparing our present situation with that of the seventies. The Sunday Times recently reminded me about the 1973 oil shock, when the Opec nations turned off the oil supply in response to Israel’s Yom Kippur war. Already reeling from economy-crippling battles with the unions, governed by a high […]

Awards For Play-It-Safe Times

Journalists ran a popularity check on this year’s British Academy nominations, and found that the films least popular with the public were most popular with film critics; it was ever thus. What’s different this year is the depth of conservatism expressed by the award wins. A very Home Counties cowboy film to lead the pack. […]

What Gives A Story ‘Stickability’?

What makes a scene from a book, a film or a play stick in the mind? It’s a question writers wrestle with constantly. Often it’s a case of the ‘sevens’; when you’re seven years old everything is exciting and new, and any old rubbish stays with you forever. I’m horrified at how often the things […]

Stick A Fish In It

Surrealism is back with a vengeance in the UK at the moment; the only possible response to times of upheaval etc etc., but how much of it is any good? Surrealism has always been the art student’s first port of call. It’s easy to produce – just put a woman in a room with a […]

Quickly Got Old

It started out as a rather good European graphic novel, Sandcastle, written by Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters. It’s uncomfortable and unnerving, and was taken by an American director to make as a film. Unfortunately that director was M Night Shyamalan, whose career, with the best will in the world, can be called ‘patchy’. Too […]

What Comes Next

The state of play, as of March 3, is that my new thriller ‘Hot Water’ is out, although I still haven’t seen a copy of it. Next up is ‘Bryant & May’s Peculiar London’, being launched on July 14, which I’m shortly to start line-editing. The finished cover is by Max Schindler, the Bryant & […]