Once a year members of the Crime Writers’ Association get together, drink, chat, drink, eat, drink, laugh, drink and learn at our annual conference. This year we were in Lake Windermere over the last weekend of April ready for a packed programme of speakers.
Friday night saw CWA members embarking on a ferry for a cruise around Lake Winderemere armed with bottles of fizz to keep our spirits up when the weather turned drizzly in the first five minutes followed by heavy rain and actual hail at one point.
On Saturday we were treated to talks from esteemed speakers including Martin Edwards and Barry Kernon.
Mari Hannah and Peter James
The highlight of the whole weekend is always the gala dinner and it is great for everyone just to relax before the next round of speakers on the Sunday morning.
Of course, being writers, many of the attendees have already blogged about the weekend so I will leave it to them to tell the full story.
Kate Ellis @kateellisauthor
Russell James @getRussellJames
Mari Hannah @mariwriter
Thanks to the wonderful Diane Janes for organising the weekend.
Lie Still is a potent blast of twenty first century Southern Gothic. Julia Heaberlin brings a poet’s craft and conviction to her storytelling, and the characters which populate her fictional Texan town of Clairmont pulse with believable emotions and jealousies.
When pregnant Emily Page and her husband Mike leave New York City, so Mike can take up his job as sheriff, they are looking forwards to building a new life together. But it soon becomes clear that Emily’s past is catching up with her. The victim of a brutal date rape when she was at college, Emily has struggled to rebuild her fragile confidence. Secrets are reaching boiling pointing under the brittle surface of her new Texan community. The well-bred ladies of the town compete to join Caroline Warwick’s club, but her vetting procedures and initiation ceremonies include the worst kinds of bullying. Instead of supporting each other, the women check out the success or failure of their acquaintances’ latest plastic surgery and the depth of their spray tans. Many of the women Emily meets are at cracking point, desperate to join Caroline’s clique and climb the social ladder. But when Caroline goes missing it emerges that she was a victim, as well as a bully. The anonymous phone calls and letters which Emily has received since she was raped reach a new level of intimidation, and she and her husband realise that her life is in danger. As Emily gets to know members of the Texan elite and tries to find out what has happened to Caroline, she sees that the events of her past are linked to Caroline’s fate. The story builds to an exciting crescendo as Emily traces Caroline’s roots back to a much less salubrious neighbourhood in Kentucky, and comes face to face with the nightmares which have haunted her for years.
Julia Heaberlin excels at depicting the characters and dialects of the Texan community where she grew up. She offers a wry spin on the culture depicted in the legendary soap opera, Dallas, through the eyes of a well-drawn New York outsider. One of the most compelling aspects of this novel is the social realism which lies just below the glitzy surface. The book takes an unflinching look at sexual politics, and at a culture where an undergraduate who has just been date raped is told to go home and forget about it, because it can’t be proved. Heaberlin is also deft in showing us the vestiges of racism which exist in Clairmont, where Hispanic immigrants are rarely able to find well-paid employment or be welcomed as equals by their white neighbours.
Lie Still provides a pacey and convincing storyline, and the feisty character of Emily Page is appealing in her unwillingness to allow herself to become a victim. But one of the great pleasures of this novel is the style and glitter of Heaberlin’s writing style. She has captured the raw and dangerous Texan sunshine and sprinkled it liberally across the pages of her highly accomplished second thriller.
LIE STILL, by Julia Heaberlin, Faber and Faber, £7.99, Publication due in July 2013, reviewed by Kate Rhodes
The Crime Writers’ Association and Crime Readers’ Association are currently gearing up to National Crime Writing Month, which will start at the end of May, and will see special crime events up and down the UK as well as a re-launch of this website and our newsletter.
But no matter what we have simmering away the CRA are never ones to miss an opportunity to celebrate the best in crime so we are pleased to announce another give-away to our lovely readers.
Evonne Wareham is published by award winning independent publisher Choc Lit. Her debut novel, Never Coming Home, won the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ prize for 2012. Her second book, Out of Sight Out of Mind, features a scientist who reads minds and a down-and-out who can’t remember his own name.
We have two signed copies of Never Coming Home to give away. For your chance to win one of these you just need to follow the Crime Writers’ Association in at least one of the following ways. You can ‘like’ the CWA Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter (@the_cwa)
Each method counts as one entry, so that’s two potential chance to be the winner. We are using rafflecopter to run this giveaway but if you have any problems do use the comment feature on this page.
We will only post to UK addresses for this competition so please do not enter if you are further flung than this.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
London as a city has a dark and criminal past – and a new book provides the definitive guide to the capital’s crimes.
From Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street and Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel to the East End of the Krays and the white-collar crooks of the City, London has played silent witness to countless crimes both real and imagined. In print and on screen the city has exported its criminal heritage to the world, becoming a global capital of wrongdoing. Yet there has never been a guide to its darker points of interest – until now.
Traversing centuries of villainy, Kris and Nina Hollington’s Criminal London explores the more scandalous moments of the city’s story, revealing the many reminders that remain of a rich criminal history. From the 700-year old seat of justice at the Guildhall, to the noose that still hangs at the back of a Wapping pub, as well as the world’s smallest police station, the scenes of infamous murders and notorious felons’ favourite watering holes, the book guides readers to a host of locations from the capital’s rich history of law and order. With three original walks and over 100 sights to see, this is a sightseeing guide for the intrepid traveller in the capital of crime.
Read extracts from the book:
Criminal London 1-The London Vampire
Criminal London 4The Murder Bag
Criminal London: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Capital of Crime is published on the 21st March by Aurum Press. We have three copies to give away to CRA readers – just sign up to our newsletter, or tweet/re-tweet us/share us on Facebook to enter. Closes 1 April.
From 29 March, the BFI in London will be showing a tribute to John Boorman’s crime classic, Point Blank. CRA readers can now win a free pair of tickets the the film.
John Boorman’s American debut remains a landmark crime movie, mixing fast-paced, hard-hitting Hollywood action with European stylistic experimentation and cool, existential enquiry to lastingly intoxicating effect. Heading up a slew of actors who can only be described as ‘iconic’, Lee Marvin is cast to career-best perfection as Walker, an old-school gangster left to die in Alcatraz after an otherwise successful heist. Like some anachronistic avenging angel, he returns to seek out those who betrayed him and retrieve his share of the loot from the outwardly respectable, strangely faceless ‘Organisation’. But does Walker belong, can he still function in this world?
Bringing a sharp outsider’s eye – and Philip Lathrop’s superb Scope compositions – to the strikingly angular cityscapes of Los Angeles and San Francisco, Boorman also deployed a teasingly fragmented chronology, innovative sound design and careful colour schemes to create a consistently surprising, acerbically witty and gripping narrative that finally constitutes a vengeful dream of vain desires. Though there have been subsequent adaptations of Donald Westlake’s The Hunter, this terse masterpiece remains by far the best, and still feels extraordinarily, exhilaratingly modern.
To win one pair of tickets simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with CRIME in the subject header by 25 March.