Posts Tagged "crime fiction"


‘The Ambassador’ shows how alt-historical fiction remakes reality I spoke about how I wrote The Ambassador, my alt-historical fiction about what might have happened if Israel had existed before the Holocaust, at London’s Jewish Book Week. It’s not always easy to be “real” when you talk about things in public. But I managed to cry a little during this talk. Which is perhaps because the subject...

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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 that it was fine to have a room you could take a girl to without having to sneak past your...

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Remember how it feels to feel bad, endure it positively, and write it down When something bad happens to a writer, the experience is great material for something bad happening to your characters. Remember the feelings, the way your mind processed it and the sensations of tension in your heart, your veins. Get it all down on paper and save it for when you need to give those emotions to a character. The experience can teach you how to...

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The story of a Stalin bloodline is truly chilling What? Not Enigma? Not The Ghost? Right, not Enigma. Definitely not The Ghost. In Archangel, Robert Harris brought together the parts that have made each of his other novels in some way remarkable. There’s a historical What-if mystery, an erudite figure at the center of the book, and a chilling final section filled with tension. A British historian travels to Russia for a conference....

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Child’s evocation of the Dakota winter shows how well he writes Lee Child is justly famous for creating a compelling main character in the loner Jack Reacher and for building plots that turn the pages for you — and fast. In 61 Hours Lee Child shows how well he can create an atmosphere and a location. The frozen tundra of Dakota is the setting and it’s almost a character in the plot. After I read 61 Hours I went back to some...

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