Events Alert: Urban Noir Showcase with Arne Dahl, Eva Dolan & Stuart Neville – 23-25 November, Scotland

Exciting news – Harvill Secker have partnered up with Book Week Scotland to bring the Urban Noir Showcase tour to Scotland with crime writers Arne Dahl, Eva Dolan and Stuart Neville appearing at a number of events from 23 – 25 November 2015.

These three fabulous authors will discuss the contemporary anxieties they explore in their works of urban crime fiction, share their inspirations, reveal their writing secrets and answer questions from the audience.

Here’s the details …


Events Alert: Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival, Stirling on 11 – 13 September 2015


This week the marks the official launch of the 2015 Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival. The wonderful event runs this year from 11-13 September in the historic Scottish town of Stirling and is fast becoming one of the top crime writing festivals.

The fabulous programme, announced this week, features exclusive appearances from Martina Cole and Linwood Barclay, and a brilliant range of events from interviews to panel sessions with best selling authors including Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Ann Cleeves, Arne Dahl and over 50 other authors.

There’s also some great evening entertainment including ‘Whose Crime is it Anyway?’ with Hardeep Singh Kohli, Christopher Brookmyre, Kevin Wignall and Caro Ramsey, ‘Crime at the Coo’ – an evening of readings, poems, stories and songs hosted by Craig Robertson – and the gala dinner where the fourth annual Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year Award will announced. On Sunday lunchtime, there’ll be the return of the infamous Scottish vs English All-Crime-Writers football game, with the English team hoping to settle some of last year’s scores!

The festival will also celebrate Agatha Christie’s 125th anniversary with an spellbinding event looking at the grande dame of crime fiction’s obsession with poisons. Dr Kathryn Harkup, author of the book A is for Arsenic, and Christie expert Ragnar Jonasson, who has been Christie’s Icelandic translator since he was seventeen, will discuss the art of chemistry Christie used to kill the vast majority of her ‘victims’.

For those looking to write crime fiction there’s the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Masterclass – a full day of workshops including ‘The Craft of Crime Writing’ with Denise Mina, ‘Self-Editing for Crime Writers’ with Allan Guthrie, and ‘Screenwriting for Crime Writers’ with Alexandra Sokoloff. And for those ready to pitch their novel, there’s the popular ‘Pitch Perfect’ session where a line-up of unpublished authors get the chance to ‘live pitch’ to a panel of industry experts.

I’ve been to this fantastic festival twice before and I’ve already booked my tickets for this year. Always a super-friendly festival, and with such an amazing star-studded programme, Bloody Scotland 2015 is going to be tremendous.

To find out more about this wonderful festival pop on over to their website at

And be sure to follow them on Twitter @BloodyScotland for all the latest updates

CTG Reviews: Bad Blood by Arne Dahl

Bad Blood cover image

Bad Blood cover image

What the blurb says: “Detective Paul Hjelm and his team receive an urgent call from America. A murderer whose methods bear a frightening resemblance to a serial killer the FBI believed long dead is apparently on his way to Sweden.

For years the FBI hunted the so-called ‘Kentucky Killer’, their agents haunted by the terrible injuries he inflicted on his victims through his signature device: a weapon that squeezed the vocal cords shut.

Has he now somehow returned from beyond the grave to torture a new generation, or do they have a copycat on their hands?”

Arne Dahl is an award-winning Swedish crime novelist. Bad Blood is the second book in his Intercrime series and picks up a year after the first left off. The ‘A-Unit’ – a special unit within the National Criminal Police founded to handle violent crimes of an international nature – has had a quiet 12 months, but that is all set to change after an academic on his way to Sweden is found tortured and murdered at JKF Airport, New York City. Someone took his place on the flight, and the American police believe that person is the ‘Kentucky Killer’.

Detective Paul Hjelm and A-Unit attempt to prevent entry at Swedish immigration, but their plans backfire, and the serial killer enters the country. It’s not long before the body count begins to rise.

The story combines police procedure with twists, turns and double-backs to keep the intrigue level high and the mystery surrounding the killer’s identity deepening. As Detective Paul Hjelm and the team investigate, they realise that they need to learn more about the Kentucky Killer’s history in order to try and crack the case. This leads to the team splitting up, with two detectives flying to America and the rest of the team following up the murders in Sweden. This double strand investigation allows the reader to follow the trail of evidence in both countries, and lets you really get to know each member of the A-Unit team and their own particular methods of policing.

But it’s not just the investigation that keeps you reading, the relationships between the characters – not least Detective Paul Hjelm and his colleague Kerstin Holm, who are partnered up on the trip to America and working closely together for the first time since their brief affair – are interwoven and integral to the decisions they make, and the consequences they have for the case.

As the investigation gathers pace in Sweden and America it’s clear that only by working together will they be able to solve the case and put a halt to the killings.

A highly atmospheric and engrossing read.

Highly recommended.


[Many thanks to Harvill Secker for my copy of Bad Blood]