It’s always a great thrill to receive a review on one of my books from a fellow author. This one came in a few days ago from US mystery author, Randy Overbeck. He emailed, opening with the words ‘I finished Fox Hunter and really loved it. Your best yet, I think.’
Here’s Randy’s review:
‘I’ve been a fan of thriller writer Zoë Sharp for years and have read several of her books, enjoying every one, especially the Charlie Fox series. Just to name a few, in First Drop, she took her readers on a dizzying roller coaster ride in the middle of an assassination attempt of a teen Charlie is guarding, and in Road Kill readers get strapped in for an electrifying ride atop a few sleek motorcycles when Charlie infiltrates a biker gang, almost becoming road kill herself in the process.
‘But in Fox Hunter, the latest in the series, Sharp has outdone herself. In this twelfth entry, Charlie Fox is sent on a mission to rescue—or apprehend—her old mentor and lover, Sean Meyer, who may have gone off the reservation and tortured and killed a man from their mutual past. A man Charlie has every reason to be glad is dead.
‘Her search takes her from the scorched landscapes of the Iraqi desert and up to the snowy mountains of Bulgaria. Along the way she encounters a Russian hit squad, an Iraqi teen raped and then disfigured and abandoned by her own family, black market antiquities smugglers and a former client, a major crime boss. One aspect that makes Ms. Sharp’s writing so sterling is her ability to transport the reader vividly to the settings of her narratives, whether it be the sights and smells of Disney World in First Drop or the twisting switchbacks of the Irish countryside in Road Kill.
‘In Fox Hunter, the scenes of the desert are real, I swear I could feel the hot sun and the grit of the sand in my face (and it was in the middle of a freezing January). Of course, my teeth practically chattered when I was riding alongside Charlie atop a snowmobile up the frozen slopes to a mountain fortress.
‘Did I mention that Charlie Fox is one tough broad? There’s a reason why Lee Child calls Charlie Fox a female Jack Reacher.
‘If you’ve not yet had a chance to discover this brilliant British writer, you’ve been missing some really great rides. And Fox Hunter would be a great place to start. But so would First Drop or Die Easy or Hard Knocks. You get the picture. By all means, if you want a thriller with a kick-ass heroine, add Zoë Sharp to your list of must reads.’
I’m delighted to be going back to the annual CRIMEFEST INTERNATIONAL CRIME FICTION CONVENTION— in Bristol, running from May 9th to 12th. This will be the eleventh year of the festival, described by The Guardian as one of the “best crime writing festivals around the world” and by The Independent as one of “the best 50 festivals in the UK” Praise indeed.
This year, CrimeFest has a new home at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, Bristol. I’m looking forward to it, as I do every year. John Harvey is one of the Featured Guest Authors, plus actor Ashley Jensen and the team behind the Agatha Raisin TV series. The Toastmaster at the Gala Dinner will be Robert Thorogood, creator of the TV series Death In Paradise.
The official programme has just been announced. I’m lucky enough to be on three panels this year. First of all, on Friday, May 10th, 13:40-14:30, I’m the Participating Moderator of ‘Contemporary Issues: Reflecting How We Live’, with Candy Denman, Paul Gitsham, Cara Hunter, Amanda Robson, Zoë Sharp (M).
Then on Saturday, May 11th, 11:20-12:10, I’m a panelist on ‘Ten Year Stretch: The CrimeFest Short Story Anthology’ with fellow contributors, Peter Guttridge, Caro Ramsay, Zoë Sharp, Michael Stanley (Stan Trollip), Kate Ellis (M).
And finally, on Sunday, May 12th, 09:30-10:20, I’m once again moderating ‘The Indie Alternative’ panel. This time the line-up is Beate Boeker, Adam Croft, Barry Faulkner, Lynn Florkiewicz, Zoë Sharp (M).
I hope you’ll join us there. I will, no doubt, be found in the bar on most evenings, so if you come along, please do say, “Hi!”
The annual Crime and Publishment three-day course has become a firm favourite for would-be crime authors. Organised by author and reviewer, Graham Smith and held at The Mill Forge in Gretna, the event has enjoyed considerable success. So far, ten attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts. Not to be sniffed at.
This will be the second time I’ve been invited by Graham to teach a couple of workshops. This year, they will be on the subject of Getting Your Fights Right. As the name suggests, they will focus on how to write convincing action and fight scenes.
My fellow MurderIsEverywhere blogger, Caro Ramsay, is also teaching at this year’s C&P. Caro is an osteopath as well as a top crime writer, so she will be explaining the joys of Breaking Bones For Fun. Between us, we should have a cracking time. (All puns intended.)
Crime and Publishment takes place this year from Friday, March 8 to Sunday, March 10. There’s a residential option, of course, so those staying at The Mill Forge have the chance to mix and chat with the authors and instructors away from the classroom. I’m really looking forward to taking part.
One of the most enthusiastic receptions I had last year to the new standalone crime thriller, DANCING ON THE GRAVE, was from the fabulous Noelle Holten otherwise known as CrimeBookJunkie. And I’m delighted to have been named as one of her Top Reads 2018.
Top Reads 2018 @nholten40 #crimefiction #thrillers #WhatToRead #CrimeBookJunkie
Well HOLY SH*TBALLS – what a year it has been for crime fiction! I seriously can’t believe how many fantastic books I had the pleasure of reading this year – some new authors, some old faves – but all were phenomenal for one reason or another. I’ve been so busy this year myself, with work, writing and trying to keep on top of blog tour reads, that I’ve decided to just post the pictures of all the fantabulous books that got under my skin and stuck with me.
You can search for the reviews via my blog, but trust me – they are all worth reading!
To read the whole of Noelle’s post about her Top Reads of 2018, visit CrimeBookJunkie.
Also, Noelle has her first crime thriller, DEAD INSIDE, coming out in May from Killer Reads/HarperCollins UK. Look out for it!
FOR THE SAKE OF THE GAME: STORIES INSPIRED BY THE SHERLOCK HOLMES CANON
Pegasus Crime, December 04 2018
‘A brand-new anthology of stories inspired by the Arthur Conan Doyle canon.
‘FOR THE SAKE OF THE GAME is the latest volume in the award-winning series from New York Times bestselling editors Laurie R King and Leslie S Klinger, with stories of Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson, and friends in a variety of eras and forms. King and Klinger have a simple formula: ask some of the world’s greatest writers—regardless of genre—to be inspired by the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle.
‘The results are surprising and joyous. Some tales are pastiches, featuring the recognizable figures of Holmes and Watson; others step away in time or place to describe characters and stories influenced by the Holmes world. Some of the authors spin whimsical tales of fancy; others tell hard-core thrillers or puzzling mysteries. One beloved author writes a song; two others craft a melancholy graphic tale of insectoid analysis.
‘This is not a volume for readers who crave a steady diet of stories about Holmes and Watson on Baker Street. Rather, it is for the generations of readers who were themselves inspired by the classic tales, and who are prepared to let their imaginations roam freely.
‘A sensational follow-up to ECHOES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (2016), IN THE COMPANY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (2014), and A STUDY IN SHERLOCK (2011).’
Featuring Stories by: Peter S Beagle, Rhys Bowen, Reed Farrel Coleman, Jamie Freveletti, Alan Gordon, Gregg Hurwitz, Toni LP Kelner, William Kotzwinkle and Joe Servello, Harley Jane Kozak, DP Lyle, Weston Ochse, Zoë Sharp, Duane Swierczynski, and F Paul Wilson.
“Laurie R. King and Leslie Klinger continue to breathe new life into Sherlockian tales.”—LitHub
“Entertaining. This volume contains something for every fan of the Baker Street sleuth.”—Publishers Weekly
My own contribution, Hounded, is a modern retelling of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, in which Holmes and Watson play their parts—but so does Charlie Fox!
To buy, see the Anthologies page.
How would you like to win a bundle of signed print books by five Northern crime writers? Grab copies of NO TIME TO DIE by Andrew Barrett, KISS OF DEATH by Paul Finch, CRASH by Keith Houghton, THE BLOW OUT by Bill Rogers, and DANCING ON THE GRAVE by Zoë Sharp.
The competition ends on December 11 at 7pm GMT, so enter today!
I have been invited to take part in Noir @ The Bar London ‘Chilled To The Marrow’, which takes place on Monday, October 22 from 7:00–10:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:00 p.m.) at The Urban Bar, 176 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BJ. The line-up is Susi Holliday, William Shaw, Mark Hill, Derek Farrell, Jay Stringer, JA Marley, Alex Caan, Barbara Nadel, Zoë Sharp, Liz (Elizabeth) Mundy, Caroline (Caz) Frear, Felicia Yap, and a Wildcard chosen on the night. It’s hosted by Nikki East. Entry is free.
If you haven’t come across Noir @ The Bar events, they’re short readings by crime authors, which take place in cool bars across the UK and across the Atlantic, with book giveaways to boot. They’re always a great way to hear work by authors you might not have come across before, as well as your favourites. If you’re in London on October 22, get yourself to Whitechapel and drink in a treat.
Nice review in Publishers Weekly for the new Sherlock Holmes anthology, FOR THE SAKE OF THE GAME. I have a Charlie Fox story included, which is my take on the HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, called ‘Hounded’.
For the Sake of the Game: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon
Female-led crime series: Charlie Fox – Interview with author Zoë Sharp
I’ve been interviewing authors who write female-led crime series, and starting us off is Zoë Sharp who writes the Charlie (Charlotte) Fox series.
Niki Mackay: Did you consciously decide to write a female-led series?
Zoë Sharp: Thanks so much for inviting me onto the blog, Niki! Did I consciously decide to write a female-led series? Yes, absolutely. The role of women in crime fiction has always fascinated me. They tend to be the victims—the ones having violence done to them rather than the ones perpetrating the violence. Writing a female main character who discovers she is capable of extremes of violence under the right circumstances, and following her journey, felt like a really interesting idea to explore.
NM: If so, why?
ZS: I loved to read thrillers growing up, but I was always frustrated by the female characters—they seemed to scream and fall over and require rescuing by the guys rather too much for my taste. I wanted to read about a woman who was more than capable of rescuing herself. Or, better still, someone the men would turn to when they needed rescuing. At that time, I couldn’t really find the kind of character I wanted to read about, so I decided I was going to have to write my own. Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox was the result. Paul Goat Allen in the Chicago Tribune described her as: “Ill-tempered, aggressive and borderline psychotic, Fox is also compassionate, introspective and highly principled: arguably one of the most enigmatic—and coolest—heroines in contemporary genre fiction.”
NM: How did the idea for your protagonist’s background come to you?
ZS: At the time I started writing about Charlie, back in the mid-1990s, the scandal of the hazing of trainees at the military barracks at Deepcut was just beginning to break. I’d heard all the arguments against women in the forces—and am still hearing them, to be honest—and Charlie’s background grew out of a combination of those elements. I wanted somebody who had the ability to kill, but who was denied an official outlet for that skill, as the army would have given her. Where does she go from there?
Fellow crime author and CrimeThrillerGirl blogger, Steph Broadribb recently invited me to answer questions about procrastination, writing in cafés, and the perils of cats.
#CRIMEWRITERSINCAFESPROCRASTINATING – ZOË SHARP TALKS PROCRASTINATION, WRITING ON THE MOVE AND THE PERILS OF CATS @AUTHORZOESHARP
“Today kick-ass thriller writer Zoë Sharp is joining me for Crime Writers In Cafés Procrastinating. As the title suggests, this feature is all about the lengths writers go to procrastinate when they should be writing, and how they (eventually) manage to win against the temptation of the path of procrastination to finish their books.
“I’m a huge fan of Zoe’s books, and super excited to grill her about procrastination, her writing habits and her latest book DANCING ON THE GRAVE.
“Welcome Zoë! So tell me all about your latest book—Dancing On The Grave?”
Zoë Sharp: “Basically, it’s my take on the Washington Sniper incident from a few years ago, but set in the English Lake District. If you want the slightly longer explanation, it’s an exploration of what it means in today’s culture to desperately want to be famous, regardless of what you want to be famous for. It’s about the way we treat our ex-military personnel when we’re finished with them. It’s about loyalty, betrayal, love, and revenge. Just the everyday story of country folk.”
“How long did Dancing On The Grave take to write?”
ZS: “Far too long. I actually finished the first version of this book eight years ago. It was just about to go out on submission when Derrick Bird went on the rampage in the west of Cumbria, shooting twelve people dead and injuring a further eleven before taking his own life. It wasn’t close to the storyline of my book, but at the same time it was too near the mark. The book was withdrawn from submission and I put it away for a long time. It was only recently I felt able to get it out and work on it again.”
“What’s your favourite writing/procrastination spot—home, café, bar, other?”
ZS: “Home, probably, although ‘home’ is something of a moveable feast at the moment. As I write this, I’m actually sitting in the kitchen of a house in the Aveyron valley in southern France, where I’m house and cat-sitting for the whole of the month. That’s always been the beauty of this job—the fact you can do it anywhere.
“Of course, the flip-side of that is that you can also fail to do it anywhere. I like to make pencil notes when I’m out and about, in cafés, usually, or waiting rooms, or wherever, and then type up my notes and expand on them when I get back to my desk. It doesn’t feel right to make notes at my desk. Here, I go and sit at the bottom of the garden, then it’s back to the kitchen table, or the one under an awning outside, to attempt to transcribe my scrawl onto my laptop.
“If I’m in the UK, there are always other jobs that call to me. I’m in the midst of a house renovation project, so there are a million other things to do that are particularly difficult to ignore when the weather’s good and you don’t know how long that state of affairs might continue. This is why there are fewer distractions in the winter. Except for the cats, of course. They love to sit on paper (particularly with muddy feet) or my lap. Or my keyboard. Or my hands. Maybe they’re the feline equivalent of literary critics?”
To read the rest of this entertaining interview, click here.