The fourth gripping thriller in the Georgina McKenzie series.
Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?
Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?
Hi ! As you can guess by the title I am taking part in a blog tour today! The Girl Who Had No Fear by Marnie Riches is a gripping thriller! I haven’t read it yet but from the blurb it sounds AMAZING!
The author Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester, aptly within sight of the dreaming spires of Strangeways prison. Able to speak five different languages, she gained a Masters degree in Modern & Medieval Dutch and German from Cambridge University. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. In her spare time, she likes to run, mainly to offset the wine and fine food she consumes with great enthusiasm.
I have a wonderful guest post from Marine so enjoy!
Top 5 crime fiction recommendations for aspiring writers by Marnie Riches
There are many skills you need to master in order to become a publishable author of crime fiction. The first and most important is your storytelling ability. There are professional writers out there who write beautifully from a technical perspective but who can’t tell a full length story for toffee. Such writers tend towards careers as ghost-writers, copywriters and perhaps journalism, where their wonderful polished prose can be appreciated in short-form and where the bones of the story are already set out for them. These are skilled individuals and much to be admired. But being able to write does not automatically qualify you to tell a cracking story. Along with the sea of four and five star reviews, some of the most commercially successful crime authors get a raft of one stars, where their grammar and vocabulary is lambasted. But what the one star reviewers fail to recognise, but what the millions of dedicated fans know, is that those authors are masterful storytellers. The beauty of the prose is less important than the pacey way in which an intriguing plot unfolds or the colourful characters that are brought to life on the page with realistic dialogue.
The best novel I can recommend for overall storytelling ability is the one that most good crime writers will recommend – The Silence of the Lambs. It has everything. Good voice. Fast pace. Insane plot. Memorable characters. Everything. Read it over and over. Learn from it. That’s how I eventually got The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die into a state where it was a clean, ready-to-publish manuscript. I examined Thomas Harris’ text – a well-thumbed copy I’ve had for over 20 years – and I honed my manuscript until it approached that level of slick style and entertaining readability. Simple as that.
The next skill you must acquire and master is the ability to plot like a boss. Literary fiction has a tendency to wander. Crime fiction is different. Your plot must be unusual enough to stand out in a crowded market place. Writing a psychological thriller? What makes yours different from so many others where the female lead falls prey to a nefarious character, hiding among her nearest and dearest? Writing a police procedural? Why are your coppers and bad guys special? Get your plot unique, twisty, tight and moving at a blistering pace.
The king of plotting is Jo Nesbo. Read The Snowman and The Leopard and see what I mean. I defy you to get bored. I defy you to think his baddy’s misdemeanours are just more of the same old, same old. I defy you to find fault with the way the story moves forward with blistering cinematic clarity. I analysed his novel, Headhunters very carefully when I was writing my debut because there is absolutely no fat on Nesbo’s standalone novel. It represents the gold standard in plotting. It was made into a film for a reason – the story is intricate, unusual and fits together like a clever jigsaw puzzle. Make yours like this!
Your characters should leap from the pages of your novel and almost throttle you with their immediacy, believability and appeal. They might be baddies or goodies, but we have to believe in them. And for god’s sake, make them different! Don’t be boring. Be daring! And make their dialogue crackle with wit, humour and authenticity. Do your research! Listen to how people speak. Tell us what your hero or murderer is like through their behaviour or dropping descriptive detail in bit by bit so that the reader won’t notice it. Don’t say, “Fred West was a short, stocky man with dark curly hair and a donkey jacket, who liked killing women.” or I’ll find you and batter you for being lazy. Exposition kills a novel, so avoid it. The book I recommend for amazing characterisation and dialogue is actually Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. It’s years since I last read it but I’ll always remember it. His authorial voice is incredible – I’ve not come across another one quite as distinctive since. But his dialogue in particular fizzes with realism, grit and excitement and his characters are quirky, loveable and memorable. Read it and learn!
Finally, if you fancy yourself as a crime-writer, you’ll need a damned good ending. I suggest you read Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. I read this some years ago and perhaps for the first time ever, I haven’t been disappointed by a reveal. I simply didn’t see it coming and it shocked the hell out of me. Don’t get me wrong. Shriver’s prose is anything but easy-going if you’re only accustomed to reading only very commercial, easy-reads – the sort you’d devour on a sun-lounger on hols. She’s a literary fiction author who happens to have written a damn good crime novel. The book is unusual, her characterisation, as with all Shriver’s novels, is spot on. Kevin is a wonderful character, and boy do we feel for his mother, Eva Katchadourian. The myth of idealised motherhood is beautifully dissected in the book’s pages. But it’s that twist that bites. Read it. Stick with it. See what I mean. You should have seen the real shocker coming but you didn’t, did you?! That’s the way a good crime novel should work. Without a good twist or reveal, and without good turning points in the right places, you’ve not got a good crime novel. It’s that simple.
And my novels? Well, I’ve been writing for over ten years now and I’ve still got a lot to learn. The Girl Who Had No Fear might be the best of the George McKenzie series, simply because it’s the fourth one, and practice makes perfect. Maybe my new series about Manchester’s criminal underworld – starting with Born Bad, which launches March 2017 – will be even better. I hope so. I’ll keep grafting.
Remember that you can always improve. Strive to be as good as the best! And good luck!