My Fav Crime Thriller Writers.

MARTINA COLE

Not much more I can say only that for me she is the doyenne of crime capers set in London’s gangland. Her books follow the trials and tribulations of individuals and families dying to live the high life, the good life, the live-fast-and-die-tragically-young kind of life. Did you know that her books are the most popular requested reads in some of Britain’s prisons? Now there’s an endorsement. Her novels are unflinching and pull no punches with their expletives and cold violence. I’m hard pushed to name a favourite although ‘The Take’ was brilliant and its small screen adaptation did it more than enough justice.

LEE CHILD

The Jack Reacher series is just fantastic, and any budding thriller writer should read something by this superb author, but what I really like about Child is that just like his famous protagonist, he’s a rogue badass, especially when it comes to his thoughts on writing, and his debunking popular writing rules. I’m so glad that I read his  ThrillerFest session “Tell, Don’t Show: Why Writing Rules are Mostly Wrong,”  where he battled a few of the biggest writing myths out there, and explained what really keeps a reader reading until The End.   Child believes the average reader doesn’t care at all about telling, showing and all that stuff. He or she just wants something to latch onto, something to carry them through the book. By following too many “rules,” you can lose your readers. His been breaking them all, the literary ones that is, ever since.

KIMBERLEY CHAMBERS

Apparently it was a fortune-teller who told Chambers that she was destined to write a book. I’ve been to five and had no such luck!!! He writing is what you might call earthy and her style is colourful, spiky and high-octane, with plenty of thrills and spills. Her book ‘Billie Jo’ has been described as a wicked cocktail of “the Royle Family meets EastEnders, with a touch of Footballers’ Wives.” Yeah … I get that all right.

JESSIE KEANE

Keane knows all about swings and roundabouts in fortune, having been born rich but left poor when her family’s business went into liquidation. Her books are inspired by her own toxic upbringing.  If you want to know what persistence looks like then look no further. She went through 20 years of her manuscripts being rejected before striking lucky which just goes to show: all that plucky determination can pay off.  Her stories are fast-paced, and packed to the hilt with the dynamite concoction of the murder, infighting and treachery that will eventually blow up in their faces. I really enjoyed ‘Dirty Game’ that provided the first taste of the guts, glory and power-plays that have become her hallmark.

JOSEPH KANON

Kanon quit his career to go hiking in the deserts of the American south-west. While there, he became fascinated by the Manhattan Project, the creation of the atom bomb, which took place at the desert base of Los Alamos, New Mexico, a place so secret that it did not officially exist. The result was his award-winning debut novel of the same name. It’s so good I’ve read it three times … so far! Lee Child rates him as the contemporary thriller writer he most admires! Nuff said.

ROBERTA KRAY

Yes I know what you’re thinking and yes there’s a connection. That surname is no coincidence. Roberta Kray met Reggie Kray behind bars while working on the publicity for his film; a year later, they were wed. Her writing is edgy and uncomfortable to read, but with a knack for showing how the butterfly effects of petty crimes lead to a hurricane of devastation. I particularly enjoyed her portrayal of London’s underworld in ‘The Debt’ and I reckon you will too.

MANDASUE HELLER.

Writes in much the same vein as Martina Cole.  Her gritty books are set in and around the infamously shoddy housing development Hulme Crescent, which is where Heller herself lived for a decade. She writes graphic snapshots of abuse, prostitution and drugs. The central female characters are beset by dangers in this dog-eat-dog world. What it all really comes down to is the survival of the fittest. Her novel ‘The Club’ contains some scenes which are deeply unnerving. A book to be read through-your-fingers.

JAMES TWINING

If you want a damned good, traditional, commercial thriller in which a handsome, cleft-chinned hero with unusual gifts solves problems with the aid of an effortlessly beautiful FBI babe, then Twining is your man. In The Double Eagle, his hero Tom Kirk teamed up with an FBI agent Jennifer Browne to track down golden coins, stolen from Fort Knox. Brilliant!

JUNE HAMPSON

June Hampson’s books look as though they’re cut from the same cloth as all the rest. Their covers feature gimlet-eyed women entering fierce staring competitions with the reader. The author’s series are set in the not-so-sleepy ganglands of 1960’s Gosport and London. There is a heart of darkness at the core of these places, and in the people bring brutalized by their circumstances and choices. Hampson’s fiction atmospheric and evocative. It deserves an adult rating for the language, sex and violence within. ‘Trust Nobody’ waves a brilliant, deadly and territorial game of one-upmanship. It’s a really great book.