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 […]

18 January 2012 0 Comments

Podcast: Crime Fiction Openings

As an award-winning crime writer, I’ve studied the greats of the genre and lectured about how they do what they do. Here I take my three favorite openings to crime novels — “Red Harvest” by Dashiell Hammett, “The Little Sister” by Raymond Chandler, and “The Saint-Fiacre Affair” by Georges Simenon — and examine what makes […]

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 […]

13 May 2010 0 Comments

‘Exotic’ crime fiction makes unpalatable places bearable

“Exotic” crime fiction has taken off in the last decade. People want to read about detectives in far-off places, even if they don’t want to wade through learned histories of those distant lands. Many of the biggest selling novels of the last decade have been “exotic crime.” You’ll find a detective novel set almost everywhere […]

2 March 2010 0 Comments

Gumshoe Review: THE FOURTH ASSASSIN ‘excellent’…and a list of crime fiction good, bad and pointless

Top crime fiction blog Gumshoe Review rates my new Palestinian crime novel THE FOURTH ASSASSIN very highly: “Rees does an excellent job of showing the pressures on the young Palestinians and describing the microcosm of one immigrant community within the U.S. The mystery also contains plenty of twist and turns.” Read Mel Jacobs’s full review. […]

12 February 2010 0 Comments

Why’s a Palestinian sleuth in Brooklyn?

I’ve been called the Dashiell Hammett of Palestine, the John Le Carre of the Middle East, the James Ellroy of…Palestine, the Graham Greene of Jerusalem, and the Georges Simenon of the Palestinian refugee camps. Depends which review you happen to have read. I’ve published three previous novels about Omar Yussef, my Palestinian schoolteacher/sleuth. Omar has […]

4 January 2007 0 Comments

San Francisco Chronicle: Rees the New Hammett

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Jerusalem correspondent Matthew Kalman profiles me in today’s edition of the paper. It’s a long article with lots of praise for the Omar Yussef Mysteries. It also compares me to one of my heroes, the great San Francisco crime writer Dashiell Hammett:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/01/04/DDGF6NBRN71.DTL

30 September 2006 0 Comments

Fiction and 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 the Middle East gives hope that things there will get […]

10 August 2006 0 Comments

Dashiell Hammett and really real mysteries

Writers have it all wrong. They think they need to learn about other writers. I studied English literature at Oxford University and I read all I could find of the sort of literary criticism which makes a novel seem like a piece of East German economic analysis. Three years later, I hadn’t learned a thing, […]