Daily Archives: December 24, 2017

Review of 2017: Neil White

*Ne-il, Ne-il, Ne-il, Nei-il…*

Ahem, sorry. Following on from Mr Broadfoot, Mr White joins us to review his year. I’ve had the pleasure on hosting both Neils at Noir at the Bar Harrogate this year so it’s a delight to have them on the blog today.

My thanks to Neil for sharing his year with us. Come back tomorrow for a gift (or three) from me.

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2017?
The release of my most recent book, From The Shadows. It felt like a long time coming after the delays in the publication of my last book with my previous publisher. It felt so good to have the new series up and running and in the shops.

And how about a favourite moment from 2017 generally?
Personally, I had some great fun. The festivals were as great as ever, Crimefest and Harrogate, and 2017 felt like it was a fun year. More of the same please.

Favourite book in 2017?
All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker. It was another great book by a fantastic writer. He is also, rather annoyingly, a good bloke, witty and engaging. I could grow to hate him.

Favourite film in 2017?
Can I cheat and pick a TV series? Thought so. Godless, a seven-part western on Netflix. I thought everything was great about it. The visuals, the story, the acting, the scenery.

Favourite song of the year?
I’ve got into country and western a lot more this year, and I confess to liking some of the cheesier stuff, the pickup truck country music. It’s not from this year, but I’ve been playing this song a lot more when I go on my late night Youtube hunts, and it’s Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker. Lyrically it’s very good, but also very singalong

Any downsides for you in 2017?
The only bad experience I can think of is a trip to Stockholm in June, when I headed out for a three-day bender, er, sorry, cultural experience, with an old friend. Unfortunately, my friend had to pull out at the very last minute, so I went anyway, wandered up and down Stockholm for the afternoon, sulked, and got the first plane home.

More widely, the turn taken by social media has been a downside, where Twitter has become just somewhere to avoid. I think the world as a whole would be a better place without it.

Are you making resolutions for 2018?
To keep doing what I’m doing and have as much fun as I did in 2017.

What are you hoping for from 2018?
To be able to answer the same question this time next year.

Review of 2017: Neil Broadfoot

Hold onto your (Santa) hats, we have a double bill to celebrate Christmas Eve. Today we have Ne-il [Broadfoot], Ne-il [White] – sorry, I’m a little giddy thanks to the magic of the season (or maybe the Baileys).

Anyway, our first Ne-il (sorry) is Mr Broadfoot – one of my many crime writing buddies. 

I’m raising a glass of Baileys to you, Mr B!

Vic x


Favourite memory professionally:
It’s been a great year professionally, from signing a new three-book deal with Constable to going to Harrogate for the first time (and reading at Noir at the Bar!) seeing the first translation of my first book, Falling Fast. I’m not sure how professional it is, but my standout moment of the year was the Four Blokes In Search of a Plot panel at Bloody Scotland. It was the first time Douglas (Skelton), Mark (Leggatt), Gordon (Brown) and I had tried out the new format for the panel, where the crowd give us a name and a murder weapon and we try to write a story in 100 word chunks while the other three discuss all things crime with the audience. I was cataclysmically hung over after the infamous Bloody Scotland night at the Curly Coo the night before, but somehow the panel, like the rest of Bloody Scotland, worked. We were the last panel of the weekend yet we still got an audience of more than 60 people, they were totally up for it and it was a great laugh. And sitting there, with a tea cosy on my head, I remember thinking how lucky I am to be part of this brilliant community of writers and readers.

Favourite book:
It’s been another incredibly strong year for crime fiction, with some brilliant work being produced. It’s almost impossible to choose a stand-out from the crowd, but there are a couple that stick in the memory. Craig Russell’s The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid, which was shortlisted for the McIllvanney Prize at Bloody Scotland, was a masterclass in immersive, compelling writing that transports you back to 50s Glasgow and all the dangers and moral ambiguity that lurk there.  Slow on the uptake, but I finally got round to reading Stuart Neville’s The Twelve and was blown away by Fegan and the demons that haunt him. Writing as Haylen Beck, Neville’s Here and Gone was a white-knuckle, read-it-in-one shot of pure adrenaline you can’t miss.

Looking ahead, I’ve been lucky enough to get sneak peeks of two of next year’s biggest books. Luca Veste’s The Bone Keeper is just brilliant – but maybe not one to read late at night. With a real sense of menace bleeding from the pages, this is a serial killer thriller that will linger long after the last page. Meanwhile, his partner in podcast crime, Steve Cavanagh, has produced a masterclass in tight, tense storytelling with Thirteen. With a (serial) killer hook and perfect delivery, his latest adventure with New York defence lawyer Eddie Flynn is the book that will send his career into the stratosphere.

Favourite song:
If I don’t say You’re Welcome from the film Moana, my three-year-old will kill me. She’s obsessed with that song and duets with me when she can. And yes, it is an ear worm and no; I don’t want to talk about it. *Hums what can I say except…*

Downsides:
Life is a series of ups and downs, but you have to keep looking up. One big downside of this year was losing my beagle, Sam. He’d been with me since he was a pup; saw me through marriage, two kids and seeing my lifelong dream of being published come true. Then one day he went off his food, went to the vet and was gone. It’s a cliché, but dogs really are man’s best friend, and I still miss the Old Man – and his snoring from the cushion next to me as I write.

Resolutions:
I need to get rid of my book belly! When I’m writing, I can’t train, my brain can’t cope with running the different mental soundtracks of being physically fit and thinking about plots, characters etc at the same time, so the physical activity and healthy eating gives way to sitting in my chair and endless biscuits when I’m on a book. But now that No-Man’s Land is done (save edits) it’s back to the gym for me!

Hopes for 2018:
The first book in my new Stirling-set series, No-Man’s Land, is due out in September, and I hope everyone enjoys reading about Connor Fraser as much as I enjoyed writing about him. I’m also looking forward to getting back onto the road with the other three blokes for more fun and mayhem, so I hope the crowds enjoy the shows as much as we do.

Away from books, I hope the world comes to its senses a little. There’s a growing feeling that everything is building to a crescendo, from the tweeter-in-chief to the cliff edge of Brexit, and I hope cooler heads can prevail over the megaphone diplomacy and bigotry-as-patriotism crap we’re seeing now.