Tag: crime thriller

#BrackenIsBack… and then some

The second part of our Ben Bracken news comes with the announcement that my great publishers Endeavour Media have given the go-ahead for another Ben Bracken thriller, due Summer 2019. I’m absolutely delighted by this news, and elated to be bringing more Ben Bracken to readers.

THE PENNY BLACK will see Ben Bracken in exile, only for his new home to fall victim to a siege only he can prevent. It’s another action-packed instalment set in the quiet river systems of the Norfolk Broads, a setting more used to the booming of bitterns than gunfire.

But… we aren’t stopping there. Far from it, because we’ve got another surprise in store.

Till Morning Is Nigh

Bracken will be back again at Christmas 2019, with another series instalment in TILL MORNING IS NIGH. That’s right, two Ben Bracken novels are coming in 2019.

TILL MORNING IS NIGH sees Bracken return to Manchester with a poisoned chalice, faced with resolving a high-profile kidnapping under the twinkling fairy lights of the holiday season.

I’ve had a blast putting these together, and can’t wait to unleash them on readers this year. Speaking of my readers, thanks so much to all of you – for reading and reviewing, for supporting and sharing the news and updates, thank you all so much. Eternally grateful – and huge thanks as always to Endeavour Media, the entire team there, and my agent Linda Langton.

Cheers all, and, as Samuel L Jackson famously said in JURASSIC PARK, ‘hold onto your butts’.

A new name, a new look…

Behind the scenes, the cogs have been whirring for some time on what’s coming next in my writing career, and after a great deal of discussion, I can happily report the answer to this will be: A LOT.

The news and plans will be dripped through as things are confirmed, but myself and my super publishers Endeavour Media are going to release the first bit of news this week, then the next the week after.

So this week, I’m thrilled to be able to confirm that Ben Bracken is coming back, and not only that, but he’s coming back with a whole new look – not just for future books, but for the whole series. So that means A Wanted Man and Morte Point are going to look a little different on shelves…

Boom, goes the dynamite. I’m absolutely delighted with this dynamic and exciting look for the series, and these covers are in place right away in the marketplace. You can check them out in the wild here and here! This will be reflected in paperbacks from the next print run.

For those paying attention, you’ll notice something else too is different… my name. That’s right, after some deliberation, I’ll now be writing as Rob Parker, as opposed to Robert.

I feel like now is a good time to change, and a good time to make a step forward – plus the giant literary career of a certain Robert B Parker will always be there, and I can now sidestep that a touch! This change is pretty small, but took some persuading of me – but then I realised that everyone I’ve met in the industry knows me as Rob anyway! This makes things much simpler.

Huge thanks to my agent Linda Langton, and everyone at Endeavour Media, especially Rufus Cuthbert and James Faktor. Thanks for the support, hope you dig the new look, and tune in same time next week on 15th March for the next instalment of Bracken news – which is a biggie…

REVIEW: ‘Run And Hide’ by Alan McDermott

DlMdiUJW0AEV-hQI’d been a fan of Alan McDermott’s work for some time, having got hooked on the high-octane, pure thrills of his excellent Tom Gray series – so when I was afforded the opportunity of an early read of his new book, Run and Hide, I leapt at the chance.

This is the first book of an all new series featuring Eva Driscoll, an ex-operative for the US government, who plummets headlong into the shady conspiratorial world at the top of the American power structures. Simply, her brother is dead, and she wants to know why – and avenge him.

She is a marvellous creation – a leather-clad, highly-trained, woman-of-mass-destruction with guts, grit and smarts. The plot that she uncovers, and the circumstances under which her brother’s death was arranged, I found both enthralling and highly topical, with the nature and responsibility of power one of the key issues explored.

The book moves along breathlessly, yanking the reader with a firm grip, as forces circle on Eva and her cohorts. I got the firm sense that McDermott is not just creating a world for his characters to maraud through, but expanding on the wider literary world he has created, with the welcome return of certain characters from his other works.

As we progress to the kind of conclusion most blockbuster movies wouldn’t have the chutzpah to even attempt, I found myself asking broader questions of myself and my own feelings on the question of taking orders and executing them without asking for an explanation – and what the effects of your instructed actions can have in the long term. I thought of the power distant hands carry, keeping clean while the dirty work is done at a comfortable distance, and what the costs of this are. In the modern political climate, it was without doubt a thought-provoking read.

In summary, Run and Hide, is full-throttle, topically-prescient entertainment of the highest order. Driscoll is a new creation that will have you rooting for her without question or pause, and will earn a great number of fans, old and new – and I’m personally delighted to see that the follow up, Seek and Destroy, is coming November 14th… because after that ending, I need to find out what happens and sharpish.

Run and Hide is published by Thomas and Mercer and is available here:

http://amzn.eu/j9pHHri

Writing From Your Gut – Guest Post For Lori’s Reading Corner

Writing From Your Gut – originally published at Lori’s Reading Corner on 27th July 2017

You need to have guts to be a writer, even right from the start. When you first sit down to write a story, it can be quite daunting. There are millions of books out there, telling you exactly how you should do it, ranging from how you should lay things out, to what pens you should be using, to what word processor is the best. You end up with a bucket-full of decisions to make before you even get to the actual important bit – the story.

But then comes more decisions, more and more books about what story decisions to make, what structures your story should adhere to, what direction your character needs to go. You can be so bogged down in the whole fear of the thing that you can forget the sheer joy of what you are doing. You are creating. You are making something. You are letting your mind build something that only you can decide how it will end.

But how can you make the right decisions and just enjoy the moment? Well, chances are, you’ve already got a fair idea.

Every single day we inhale fiction of some kind, whether it be in the books we love so dearly, the TV shows we binge on Netflix, or even that daft little story behind Candy Crush Saga. And the end result of this is, whether we like it or not, that we get a sort of schooling in drama, in terms of what works and what doesn’t. We develop an ear for it, just through immersing ourselves in it.

So, when you sit down to write your story, just go for it. Don’t be bound by formula or fear of doing something different. Write what feels right to you, and more often than not, if it feels right it usually is right.

I used to get so hung up on whether my characters and situations were too hokey, too contrived, too silly. I used to worry about making decisions for my characters, and whether their dialogue was corny. But then I learned to trust my gut and see what came out at the other end.

When I sit to write, I have the barest skeleton of where I’m going, but absolutely no roadmap. I set up a scenario, and usually have an idea for a scene I want to get to – but no initial thought of how to bridge the two. Then I start writing, let the words flow and the characters develop, and before long the story is making decisions for me, the characters are deciding what they should be doing organically, and you’re away. So much of the time, if you write from your heart and gut, I’m convinced that:

1. you will have a great time.
2. you will write something that in some sense works.

The important thing is to do it. Just let the shackles go, trust your instincts, write your story and go for it.

Forget fear.

Once you’ve got those words on the page, those chapters all done, nobody can take that from you. You did it! Chances are, it won’t be perfect – but you’ve still got your story. You can change things any time you like, but what you can’t change is a story that doesn’t exist. You can’t polish something that just plain isn’t there. But you do have something you can work with.

It’s OK to have a detailed plan, but’s also OK to not have one, and it’s OK to wing it. But whatever way you approach it, just go for it. Write, have fun, enjoy the sheer happiness of creating something and be proud of what you’ve achieved when you’ve written it. And when you look back at what you did, I bet you sit there and say ‘you know, some of this ain’t half bad’. And that’s a start. You can work with that.

Trust yourself. Deep down, even though you might not feel it, you’ve got a fair idea of what you’re doing. Those guts you showed to write in the first place? Listen to them.

The Dry and its amazing claustrophobic openness…

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I grabbed The Dry by Jane Harper on a whim, having seen that beautiful jacket and read half a line of the synopsis. I think I’d clicked BUY NOW before I’d even realised I’d done so. I’m a huge sucker for atmospherics, mysteries, fascinating locations and dark backstories. So me and The Dry hit it off immediately.

What I didn’t know however, was that the book has been lauded internationally for some time – I actually only found out that it was very popular indeed when I was in my local Waterstones and there were stacks of them all over the place. And immediately on opening the book, I could see what the fuss was about.

It was enthralling from the very first line, demanding to be read further. It is an expert example of the sort of thriller I love. The town of Kiewarra is as much a character as any human in the book, and I’ve never read something that is so wide open, so barren, so vast and subject to the elements, yet feels so darn claustrophobic. It’s somehow a choking void, a massive suffocating vacuum. It is a marvellous feat, and this atmosphere infuses the tragic, serpentine tale of what really happened to the Hadler family with such wrought tension and urgency that it was genuinely hard not to read it in a single, equally urgent, sitting.

Hugely recommended, and delighted to hear there’s a follow-up incoming!

The Last Cut, But A Great New Series

20170613_205420One of my formative memories in my fledgling writing career was at Bloody Scotland in September 2014, when, bumbling and in awe, I asked Danielle Ramsay to sign a paperback for me. I proceeded to go beetroot red as I pulled out more and more dog-eared books for her to sign, while she was a pillar of patience. She asked me what I did, and when I replied sheepishly that I had just got a literary agent, she was so bubbly and encouraging that long after the book festival was over, I would seek her out for advice and direction whenever I needed some.

Proving once again the now-ironclad adage that people in crime literature are just lovely, she was so effusive, thoughtful and helpful, and westill drop each other a line readily. She is one of the nicest people in the book world I’ve met, and one of the most important voices in my career so far. Her words meant the world to me at the time, and the books she signed for me are treasured. She was one of the first people I told when I signed my own book deal at the end of 2016.

And… she’s got a new book out! The Last Cut is the start of a brand new series (segueing from the brilliant Jack Brady series – check them out pronto too), and is her best and bravest book to date. I urge anyone who even has a passing interest in crime novels to check it out without delay. She tackles and analyses all manner of issues surrounding abuse and its effects, drawn remarkably from her own experiences – which makes the book for me even more of a triumph. It’s a breaking of chains, a catharsis, a confrontation – and Danielle explains it far better here than I could ever paraphrase:

http://wwwshotsmagcouk.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/danielle-ramsay-says-write-what-you-know.html

The book follows DS Harri Jacobs, recently transferred from the Met police to Newcastle. She is still piecing her life together after a terrible assault a year ago, the after effects of which threaten to bubble to the surface – as bodies start to appear around Newcastle, and it becomes clear that a new dangerous killer is stalking the young women of the city and is subjecting them to abysmal horrors. Harri’s past and present intertwine in a constantly surprising plot that will have your skin crawling and your fingers peeling the pages.

My gratitude to and admiration of Danielle is a constant given – it just so happens that she writes great books too! The Last Cut comes hugely recommended, and you can grab it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LZUGJTW/

 

A Wanted Man – FREE TODAY!

‘A Wanted Man’, is FREE today!

A Wanted Man
‘A fantastic read with brilliant characters… A perfect ending… did not see that coming. 5 stars’

‘one of the best books out the hundred I’ve read this year so far’

‘A great read from start to finish – highly recommended’

To grab your copy, head on over to Amazon – thanks always for your support!

A Wanted Man – published!

It’s with great delight that I can share the news that A Wanted Man, my debut novel, has been published by Endeavour Press. You can grab it here!

A Wanted Man is, simply put, the story of a soldier who was discarded, but still has more to give. I kept asking myself what it would feel like to give everything for your country, only to come back to find everything was different – including yourself. What would happen if you only have training for things that are of no use at all in regular civilian life? What do you do when you’ve grown up while fighting wars abroad, only for the fighting to end and you’re not needed anymore? When I posed these questions to myself, the character of Ben Bracken began to form in my answers.

When I was 17, I wrote a screenplay that was about a criminal gang in Manchester, UK, near where I still live today. It was profoundly formulaic, and followed similar tropes seen in countless movies over the years. I loved a good crime yarn, and wanted to write one – that was my simple motivation. But as I got older, I mulled over this screenplay time and time again, realising that something was missing. It was only when my own friends and acquaintances started to come back from Afghanistan, and I spoke with them about their experiences, did the penny drop. Their collective states, each varied, inspired me hugely, both in terms of my admiration for them, and creatively as well.

And then I thought about dropping an ex-soldier into that old crime screenplay I’d written. The possibilities suddenly seemed endless, and I was away. The creative process organically seemed to turn the project into a novel, as I started from fresh. Before long I was flying and in 8 weeks, I’d written the first draft.

That was late 2013, and since then I have grown immeasurably, both personally and in terms of my writing, and it’s with immense pride that A Wanted Man finds readers today. I really hope you enjoy it. I had a blast writing it, and there’s plenty more to come from Ben Bracken, mark my words.

Old Faithful

Nice recent family sunshine holiday enhanced by enjoying a favourite author’s standalone work. 

The thing with CJ Box is that he’s so reliable that I don’t even see it as expenditure when I order his books – I know it’s going to be what I’m after. It’s a happiness investment. 

This was a cracker, with a plot/characters that could be from next year’s biggest movie blockbuster.