What The Crime Warp is about:

We are a group of avid crime readers and aspiring crime fiction writers. We met at Harrogate Crime Writers' Festival and decided to work together to share our enthusiasm for the genre in the form of book reviews, author interviews, quizzes & Trivia and of course some samples of our own writing.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Book Review: Dead Line by Chris Ewan – a pacey thriller with some interesting publicity to recommend it

Chris Ewan has a good writing pedigree – he’s won awards for his The Good Thief’s Guide to… series, plus a first novel award for his standalone novel Safe House.

Dead Line is set in Marseilles and centres on Daniel Trent, a hostage negotiator who finds his fiancĂ© has gone missing.  Trent is convinced that Jerome Moreau, a dodgy character if there ever was one, is responsible, so decides to take the law into his own hands.  His plan is to kidnap Moreau and by using some unorthodox persuasion techniques, find out where Aimee is.  The only problem with this cunning plan is that Moreau himself is kidnapped, leaving Trent no choice but to find and rescue Moreau to be able to find and rescue Aimee.

Dead Line is a fast and pacey thriller, with a good plot that keeps you hooked to the end.  A number of high profile authors such as Ann Cleeves and Simon Kernick have already written very favourable reviews of this novel.  So, rather than me saying more, I’ve decided to enlist the power of the Interweb.  Here are two links that should help you decide whether to try this book.  The first, a short publicity film for Dead Line:

This second clip is Chris Ewan himself at the 2013 Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival talking about the crime genre, writing and the importance of characters and location:

Happy reading.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Easter Bunny Boilers: 8 thrillers for the Easter Holidays

The 'Bunny Boiler' psychological thriller often has jealousy or envy at it's heart. These emotions  provoke dramatically  unhinged behaviour leaving the viewer or reader astounded by what the human mind can make happen.   During Easter  I thought an alternative to cute Easter bunnies was in order - Well we are The Crime Warp aren't we? So here you have my top eight 'Bunny Boilers' in no particular order.
1/ Fatal Attraction
The play is currently at
The Theatre Royal Haymarket
This film/play was perhaps the first of it's kind, with an actual 'Bunny Boiler' scene in it.  
On Amazon the DVD is £3.25 or
  £12.75 for Blueray
A single sexual indiscretion with a woman who becomes unhinged by jealousy and targets his family with increasing violence when he refuses to continue the dalliance had me on the edge of my seat throughout.
Couldn't bear to put a real bunny being boiled.
 I'm not that warped

The iconic scene of the much loved family pet rabbit being boiled was the horrific psychological hook that set up the tension for what was to follow.

2/Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Buy on Amazon Kindle £2.98
PB on Amazon £3.85
This book has already been reviewed by Jackie on the blog so I'm not going to go into it in any detail. Basically Gone Girl is an enigmatic psychological thriller involving a husband and wife.  It has many breathtaking and thrilling twists and turns and the motive is jealousy. 
Ben Affleck /Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Release Date Oct 2014

Also, the film version starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike is to be released in October 2014

Chelsea Cain
 3/The Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain
Buy on Amazon Kindle ££3.59
Amazon PB £5.59

Gretchen Lowell, Chelsea Cain's beautiful but deadly female psychologist psychopath has featured in the blog before (Criminal Reads for Valentines Day 2013).  
Amazon Kindle £3.59
Amazon PB £6.39

Buy on Amazon Kindle£2.99
PB £13.09
With each Gretchen Lowell book I find myself more intrigued by the psychological link between her and Detective Archie Sheridan, despite all she's put him through.  Gretchen is one serious contender for 'Bunny Boiler' of the year
 4/Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier  
1938 edition of Rebecca.
1 used available on Amazon
£6.28 for New PB on Amazon
Daphne Du Maurier
 When I first read Rebecca I was initially lulled into a false sense of security by Du Maurier's gentle writing.  Then, quite quickly that slow gentle tone took on a brooding and threatening aura as the story unfolded.  The sense of unease that pervades Mrs De Winter tries to unravel the mystery of  her new home Manderley(which in itself takes on the role of a character so oppressive is it's aura), her aloof husband and his previous wife Rebecca is aminous.    
Laurence Olivier and
Joan Fontaine in the
Original 'Rebecca' Film
Alfred Hitchcock

Which makes it fitting that the king of suspense Alfred Hitchcock was first to dramatize Rebecca in 1940.
 1940 DVD available on Amazon £4.50
1997 DVD      "           "      "       £3.80 
Interestingly Rebecca has been dramatised as a musical on Broadway - not sure how that grabs me.
John Lutz

Amazon Kindle £0.84 !!
PB £7.11
  5/ Single White Female by John Lutz  
When Alli advertises for a new flatmate she gets much more than she expects.  Her new flatmate Hendra Carlson seems perfect until she becomes obsessively  envious of Alli and begins to take over her life.   
Amazon DVD £4.85
This one's very high up on the 'Bunny Boiler' radar: - thrilling and scary whether you read it or watch the 1992 film version of it starring Bridget Fonda.
6/ Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
Amazon Kindle £3.49
Amazon PB £3.86
SJ Watson
SJ Watson, graduate of the Faber Academy Writing School   and author of Before I go to Sleep was featured on the Richard and Judy Book awards.  This is  his first novel and it takes the psychological thriller to another dimension.  

Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth
in Before I go To Sleep
Release Date 2014
Every night Christine goes to bed knowing that by the morning her memories will have disappeared and she will have no recollection of those she loves or even what she did the previous day.  When a Psychologist manages to contact her and begins treating her secretly we are drawn into her world where nothing is as it seems - possibly not even her husband.    Beautifully crafted, wonderfully brooding and full of twists.  It is due out on film starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth sometime in 2014. 
7/ The Hand That Rocks The Cradle 
Amazon DVD £4.81
 Starring Rebecca De Mornay and Annabella Sciorra this 1992 film is as scary as they come.  A young mother inadvertently employs a psycopathic, bereaved woman who has recently lost her own child to become her nanny.  
One of the most 'Bunny Boiler' type scene's for me was when the nanny breast feeds the baby who then rejects her real mother's milk. At that point I felt terror right down to my tummy. The other more vilent thriler scenes although scary lacked the symbolism of that one scene.  After all the full quote reads "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" or in this instance the family.
8/Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
Elizabeth Haynes
Amazon Kindle £2.99
Amazon PB £5.59
This is Haynes first novel and is a tense sinister thriller about domestic violence in the same vein as the film Sleeping With The Enemy starring Julia Roberts.  Catherine escapes from an abusive relationship and after four years begins to believe she may be safe from her abuser... as we all suspect that is not the case.  This is a 
powerful novel illustrating sensitively the long term effects of abusive relationships and that escaping the reationship is oly the beginning.  Haynes begins with a powerful scene and I'm sure like me you will frequently flip back to the prologue as you read the book.  A chilling read of bunny boiling standards.  I've also heard that it's being made into a film sometime this year- can't wait to compare the two.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Book Review: Bryant & May and The Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler – number 11 in a series following the witty and quirky detectives Bryant and May and the continuing work of The Peculiar Crimes Unit

The latest Bryant & May novel starts with a memo from the hapless Raymond Land, Chief of the Peculiar Crimes Unit to his team, to help them adjust to the realities of their new masters, the City of London Police.  If you’re not sure about the whether to read the book, just start with the memo and that should be enough to help you decide.  

The Peculiar Crimes unit receives a new case – a dead man apparently rising from the grave.  If that’s not peculiar enough, one of the two witnesses Romaine Curtis is killed soon after in a deliberate hit and run.  As the investigation ramps up a second case begins when Bryant is asked to investigate the disappearance of the ravens from the Tower of London.  Despite all the security at the Tower, the ravens are well and truly gone – with all that means for the future of the realm.

All is not plain sailing as Land is forced to reprioritise by his new superior Orion Banks, whose paucity of knowledge abut policing is dwarfed by her incomprehensible management speak and MBA babble.  When Bryant is listening to Banks he is convinced his hearing aid isn’t working – “I can see your lips move but all I can hear is rubbish”.  The pressure is on for results, so Bryant makes contact with magicians, resurrectionists and other esoteric characters whose knowledge and advice he needs to solve the case.  As more bodies are dug up and other murders happen, Bryant finally tracks down the links between these events to solve these peculiar crimes, with a realistic and believable resolution.

I found this novel delightfully quirky.  It’s a fabulous blend of oddity and light hearted fun mixed with serious and unsettling crimes. You can be giggling at the characters, the office politics and the weird people that Bryant meets, but then be brought up short by the reality of another murder.  I thought Bryant a great character – a deeply thoughtful, elderly, messy, pipe smoking technophobe and well matched by his seeming opposite, May.  I also loved the way Fowler uses language so vividly and his research into the weird and wonderful aspects of London life past and present, which brings a genuine richness to the novel.

This isn’t a book I’d normally read because of the esoteric and slightly supernatural themes, but Fowler somehow makes them both believable and fun.  I’m genuinely glad I read this book and will be looking out for the next Bryant & May novel.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Flash Fiction: TICK TOCK by Liz Mistry

Tick Tock

The clock struck midnight.  James fell to the floor still holding his gift.  With an arthritic finger he prodded the body beside him. 
"Is this all you think I'm worth after all these years loyal service?"
Grimacing he shook the gift .  Then, he laughed.
"It's come in handy tonight mind you."  and he threw the bloody carriage clock to the floor.  He stood up, carefully wiped his damp hands down his trousers frowning slightly at the faint stain.  Then, he looked down at his ex boss and saluted before saying
"No hard feelings then Midnight?"

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Look out for these! – March’s recommendations are a little more daring than usual – a mystery by a Korean author, the first of a new series set in Paris and an ebook with three million downloads now in print

I do get and read a lot of books and wondered whether I play it too safe in what I choose to read and what I recommend on The Crime Warp.  I decided that I should be a little more adventurous so I started looking at a number of less obvious novels by authors that aren’t in the mainstream, and chose three books with something special that attracted me to them.  So, this month’s trio is a little more unusual, but I think, like me, you’ll be pleased if you read any of these.  I hope that at least one of these books ends up on your “to try” list

The Investigation by Jung-Myung Lee – Set in Fukuoka prison in 1944, Watanabe, a young prison guard is charged with finding the killer of fellow guard Sugyama.  Although a confession from a prisoner appears to resolve the case, Watanabe continues to investigate and starts to uncover what has been happening in the prison, a place of unspeakable violence and brutality that few inmates manage to survive.  Although originally written in Korean, Lee’s style and the power of the poetry and writing at the heart of the book shine through.  This isn’t just a mystery, but a memoir of people’s struggle not to succumb to circumstances where all humanity seems to have been lost.

The Lying Down Room by Anna Jaquiery (published 10 April) – In a hot and oppressive Paris August, Chief Inspector Serge Morel is called to a seemingly unusual death.  An old woman is lying in a bed, laid out as if asleep.  However officer Abdelkadar astutely notices that all the bedsheets are neatly and tightly tucked in – impossible for the dead woman to have done.  It’s murder.  So starts Morel’s first case.  He hunts down the clues whilst juggling with the effect of his father’s advancing senility and the reappearance of his former love Mathilde.  As more deaths follow, Morel finds that the answers are not just in the past in France, but far away in Soviet Russia.

The One You Love by Paul Pilkington – Emma Holden is at her hen night with her best friend Lizzzy and a crowd of fun loving friends.  Dressed as cowgirls, they’re having a great time making the most of Emma’s last days as a single woman.  A call from Emma’s brother Will leads them back to the flat Emma shares with her fiancĂ© Dan, to find Dan’ brother Richard bludgeoned, bloody and unconscious with Dan nowhere to be found.  With Richard in a coma and Dan missing, all fingers seem to point to Dan as the attacker.  But when crime scene photo’s appear in the newspapers, Emma realises it’s her past that has led to the events of the deadly present.  This novel was originally published as an ebook, which received more than three million downloads.  Now available in print, but presently (21 March 2014) on Kindle at only £2.48.

That’s it for my recommendations this month.  Please do leave comments on these books – I’d like to know what you think of my choices this month and, as always, keep an eye out on the blog for more in depth reviews of books I’ve read and lots more.  Happy reading!


Saturday, 22 March 2014

QUIZ: Win 1 x PB copy of Diana Souhami's Murder At Wrotham Hill and 1 x HB copy of Corban Addison's The Garden Of Burning Sand

Use The Picture Clues to Name The Crime Novel and Match to its Author

Karin Slaughter   Stuart MacBride  Denise Mina 
Robin Hardy  Malorie Blackman  Thomas Harris  
Ian Rankin   Stieg Larsson    Reginald Hill  Agatha Christie
5 Words

3 Words

5 Words


3 Words


4 Words


                                              1 Word

6 Words


3 Words 


5 Words
3 Words

Answers to: lizmistrythecrimewarpblog@yahoo.co.uk by 27th March 9 PM