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Crime fiction’s best first paragraphs

Hammett, Chandler, and Simenon with 3 great ways to start a book If you have a lot of time to waste, you never judge a book by its cover. But don’t try telling me you don’t judge it by its first paragraph. What makes a great first paragraph? And which are the greatest? We all […]

Write about trauma to relieve the emotion

Memories turn into nightmares, until writing makes them something to be proud of While working on my second Palestinian crime novel, A Grave in Gaza, I sometimes wept as I wrote. I used to think that meant I was a damned good writer. Far be it from me to dispute that self-assessment, but now I […]

Fiction is closer to the ‘truth’ than journalism

Writing the truth by turning to fiction, instead of journalism Journalism is fiction. Don’t believe me? Open a newsmagazine and you’ll be expected to believe that a given Hollywood star is actually a nice man, that you can drive everywhere and not get fat provided you lay off fruit, and that the latest development in […]

Hammett’s writing evokes emotion through reality

How Hammett’s classic ‘The Maltese Falcon’ showed me what kind of writer to be As an undergraduate I studied English literature at Oxford University and I read all I could find of the sort of literary criticism which made novels seem like East German economic analysis. Three years later, I hadn’t learned a thing, except […]

A new Caravaggio cover

Brazilian edition of ‘A Name in Blood’ uses Matthew painting I always love to see what publishers do with the cover for my books in translation. My Brazilian publisher Novo Seculo really worked wonders with their version of my novel about the great Italian artist Caravaggio. Um Nome Escrito Em Sangue (which in English is […]