16 February 2012 0 Comments

In Crime Fiction, Be Not Afraid

I just wrote an article for The Jerusalem Report about “What Israelis Fear Most.” Surprisingly, I found that Israelis didn’t fear being murdered by a psychopath or caught up in a case of mistaken identity which leads to them getting into car chases with the FBI on their tails. Surprisingly, that is, if you read […]

2 February 2012 2 Comments

Daniel Silva’s Funny Buggers

Any writer knows that things can go wrong sometimes. Characters start to get wooden. Scenes won’t come alive. But the slipperiest dilemma of all –– because it’s the one least likely to be obvious when you’re re-reading the manuscript –– is when certain words turn out to have unintended consequences. A fine example of this […]

25 January 2012 0 Comments

Podcast: Finding Truly Real Fiction

Writers usually decide to be writers before they know what they might write about. In my case, a journey from teenage isolation in Britain to the violence of the Middle East led me to the elements of my fiction which could be true — not just based on reality, but in the sense that they […]

29 December 2011 0 Comments

Crime Fiction’s Best First Paragraphs: 3

Georges Simenon wrote “L’Affaire Saint Fiacre” (“Maigret Goes Home”) in 1932. It’s one of the first of the 103 novels involved Inspector Jules Maigret. You can tell from books like this that the writer was a bit of a bastard. And we ought to be grateful for that. The opening of “Saint Fiacre” (I’m going […]

22 December 2011 2 Comments

The Best First Paragraphs in Crime Fiction: Part 2

I’m writing this in a plain office in the corner of a building that was described by the realtor as “exclusive,” though it doesn’t exclude despondent ultra-Orthodox Jews panhandling for cash, plumbers who break all the pipes you hadn’t called them to fix, or the cheerful lady who lets her dog pee in the elevator. […]

15 December 2011 0 Comments

The Best First Paragraphs in Crime Fiction: Part 1

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 have favorites, some of which have become clichéd –– as happens to […]

1 December 2011 0 Comments

Re-reading Ray

I happened to read a few crappy books in a row of late. So I did what I always do when I can’t afford for the next book I get into to disappoint: I re-read a Raymond Chandler. I picked “The Long Goodbye” off the shelf, because it’s my favorite. From the very first page, […]

30 November 2011 0 Comments

Creating a Sense of Imperial Vienna

The blog Page 69 Test asks writers to look at page 69 of their books and demonstrate if/how it’s representative of the entire work. I did this for my new novel MOZART’S LAST ARIA. Meanwhile, the book gets a fabulous review on Life is Short, Read Fast: “A powerful story with mystery, romance and amazing […]

18 November 2011 0 Comments

Road to Here: Mozart novel ‘must-read’

The excellent and influential US literary blog The Road to Here has a great review of my new novel MOZART’S LAST ARIA. “Squirrelqueen” writes: If you love a good mystery the Mozart’s Last Aria is a must-read. I recommend this book to everyone.”

17 November 2011 6 Comments

Renko Rules

This is a crime fiction blog. So we ought to shoot straight. Here it is: there are lots of crappy detective novels out there. Which is why I say thank God for Arkady Renko. The hero of Martin Cruz Smith’s excellent series set in the Soviet Union and, later, Russia (with stops in Cuba, Ukraine, […]