His novels have been adapted into a four-part drama for BBC1 – here the author reveals why his thrillers are the real deal.
By Mark Lawson
Tuesday 11 July 2017
The problem with novelists, says Mark Billingham, is that “as a rule, they tend not to play well with others. You spend a year on your own writing a book. So it’s difficult suddenly to be thrown in a room with loads of other people.”
But the bestselling crime writer is, in three senses, coming out to play at the moment. He spent time on the set and in the editing suite of In the Dark, a four-part adaptation of two of his novels featuring DS Helen Weeks, a young detective who investigates a child murder while heavily pregnant. The day after we meet at his north London home, he’s off to Liverpool to start a promotional tour for Love like Blood, his 14th novel featuring London homicide detective DI Tom Thorne, and, while there, he has scheduled the first rehearsal for a summer tour with his rock band, the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.
A torchlight procession is to open this year’s Scottish festival of crime writing, Bloody Scotland.
The procession for the annual festival will lead down from Stirling Castle to the nearby Albert Halls venue, where the author Ian Rankin will talk about 30 years of his most famous character, Inspector Rebus.
Another 30 year anniversary will also be celebrated at the festival, it has announced, with the event marking three decades of crime novels by Val McDermid.
The festival will once again also stage the McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime book of the Year, which will also be announced at Stirling Castle, and will run from September 8 to 10.
Michael Connelly, Tana French, and Fiona Barton headline the nominees for the Strand Critics Awards and Clive Cussler receives the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Recognizing excellence in the field of mystery fiction, the Critics Awards were judged by a select group of book critics and journalists from news venues such as The Associated Press, NPR, TIME, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and several other daily papers.
This will mark the fifth best-novel nomination for Tana French (The Trespasser) and the fourth nomination for Michael Connelly (The Wrong Side of Goodbye).
• You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown and Company)
• The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown and Company)
• The Trespasser by Tana French (Viking)
• What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (William Morrow)
• Out of Bounds by Val McDermid (Atlantic Monthly Press)
• The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (Gallery)
Best Debut Novel:
• The Widow by Fiona Barton (NAL)
• IQ by Joe Ide (Mulholland)
• The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell (Touchstone)
• A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt (Sourcebooks Landmark)
• The Homeplace by Kevin Wolf (Minotaur)
• The Lost Girls by Heather Young (William Morrow)
“It’s nice to see some new faces in our best-novel list, such as Val, Alison, and Ruth,” said Andrew F. Gulli, the managing editor of The Strand. “And, 2016 also was the year where several debuts really hit it out of the park.”
Past recipients of the Critics Awards include Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, Richard Price, Megan Abbott, George Pelecanos, Joseph Finder, Lauren Beukes, and William Landay.
Nine out of twelve nominees were female authors. “We’re happy that women have dominated the list of nominees this year and we hope that that trend will continue for a very long time,” said Gulli.
Clive Cussler was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In a career spanning forty-two years and over sixty novels, Cussler has a firm reputation among hundreds of millions of fans as the grandmaster of the adventure thriller. Not only are his works a constant presence on the New York Times Best Sellers list, but they have earned him comparisons to Alistair MacLean and Ian Fleming.
The awards will be presented at an invitation-only cocktail party in New York City, hosted by The Strand on July 12, 2017.