This time it’s personal!

So Fell Runner is out soon, and this one means a lot to me. For sure, all my books are personal, but this one takes me back to another time and place that is pretty important in the grand scheme of things. If you’ve got a minute, and if you’re interested, I’ll explain – be warned, it has something to do with marshmallows.

Way back in 1997, after graduating from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, with a degree in Outdoor Education, I got my first real job – full time – as an outdoor instructor at an outdoor centre hidden in the forests of the Cairngorms National Park. It wasn’t my first time in the Highlands of Scotland, but it was the first time I was going to live there. The scenery is – like they say – breathtaking, and I fell in love, but not just with the place, I fell in love with Jane – a crazy Dane who I shared a log cabin with. Now, it took a long time before our friendship became a relationship and we eloped in Glasgow, and I’ll spare you the details, but I will add that Jane taught me to catch and throw.

Yeah, I know, you’re wondering about that, but imagine not yet being romantically involved, and no TV, Internet, and a spate of bad weather … we played tennis in the kitchen with marshmallows and wooden spoons. It takes some skill, let me tell you. But it was a diversion, as was the time I spent on the mountain as a reindeer herder…

Yes, I did that too, and it’s all getting very weird all of a sudden.

Isn’t it?

Let me get back on point and wrap this up.

Fell Runner is a short – 70 page(ish) – crime story set in the Cairngorms during a race from Braemar to Aviemore. Aviemore was where Jane and I recharged between courses, and to escape the midges in the forest. We also needed more marshmallows! The story introduces the character of Freja Hansen, a Scottish-born Danish police detective who lives in Sønderborg, Denmark. The action takes place in the Lairig Ghru, with the “middle bit” in the Corrour Bothy. It’s all fiction, of course, but there should be plenty to get the heart pounding when the weather turns nasty, and the killer moves in…

Fell Runner is the introduction to a crime series bridging the gap between Scandinoir and Scottish Crime Fiction. There’s a whole series in the works, and I’ll be drawing on local knowledge of both areas to spin a few tales of murder and mayhem in both countries.

If you’re curious, you can pick up Fell Runner at a low pre-order price on Amazon.

USAUKCanada and Australia

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to my marshmallows!

Serial Dancer

Recently, I challenged myself to write a story built around cars and car chases, and I’m really happy with the way Pulp Driver turned out. The next challenge is dancing – the ballet kind. Of course, I couldn’t leave it at that, so there is a serious jag of vengeance/vigilantism/murder involved. Here’s the opening, while the ebook and paperback are available on Amazon.

 

DANISH DESIGN

PART 1

“Moth, be a butterfly,” the dance instructor said, “spread your wings.”

Milla Moth stretched, fingers poised, her arm moving as she lifted her chin, dipped her wrist, extended her slender fingers as the instructor pinched Milla’s elbow, pressed her hip, slapped at her bottom, studied her knee.

“Almost,” the instructor said. “Practice.” And then she was gone, walking her stiff walk to the stereo, pressing the skip button, backwards. The music started again, and the young apprentices of the Royal Danish Ballet School sighed as they slipped their bodies into the start position to stretch, poise and dip once again, and again, until it was dark outside, and they could just see the reflection of the lamps in the street sparkling the window in the corridor, outside studio four.

It was still raining when Milla lowered her arms for the last time, plucking at her leotard, the material damp and grainy between her fingertips as she lifted it from her abdomen. She glanced at her roommate, Scarlett, then crossed the short distance of the dance floor to embrace her. They pressed their foreheads together, breathed on sweat-streaked cheeks, and Milla said, “Done for today, baby.”

“Yes,” Scarlett said. She broke off and tapped Milla on the hip. “You’re cooking.”

“Again?”

“It’s Wednesday, again.”

“Fine.” Milla padded over to her cloth bags and her exercise tube. She sat down, leaned her back against the mirror, and unlaced her ballet shoes. She took a moment to study the black nail on her left foot, wondering when it might fall off, if she should pull it. The other girls said not to. Milla left it alone. She slipped her down-filled booties over her feet, stood up, and gathered her outfits, carrying them by the clothes hangers as she lifted her bags and followed the wake of weary dancers out of the studio and into the corridor. She recognised Scarlett’s cry as the door swung shut behind her.

[…]

Available from Amazon

USAUKCanada and Australia

Arctic Noir: The Danes

I’m still processing what I learned, who I met, and what I experienced at the Horsens Crime Festival. However, of the many authors I met, there are two in particular that I must mention, as we write within the same genre that could be described as Arctic Noir.

I listened to Nina von Staffeldt talk on the stage on Sunday. It was clear that she has a lot of experience of and a lot of love for Greenland, the country, and, not least, its people. I can relate. Nina talked about the ordinary Greenlander, not the stereotype one hears about in the media. She has made a point of writing about strong Greenlandic characters, and I fully applaud her doing so, and look forward to reading her books Frozen Evidence and The Black Angel featuring the character of Sika Haslund. The books are currently only available in Danish – as is her website. But do have a look, and watch out for the English translation – I am sure it will be in the works.

After Nina’s talk, I had the chance to meet her, and took the opportunity to give her a copy of Seven Graves, One Winter. Now I am waiting on her books from the library. I’ll be sure to write more when I read them.

I’ll be back with another short post about Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, who I was also fortunate to chat to at the festival. When Yrsa sells books, I sell books, and I had the chance to thank her for that… and give her a copy of my book.

You see the pattern here, don’t you? Talk to someone, give them a book.

Gonna need some more books!

Sifting through Blood

Constable (ret.) David Maratse can be a bit of a problem, and I thought I would take a moment to explain.

While Maratse does feature in the Arctic thriller The Ice Star, he also has his own series – two, in fact.

The Greenland Crime series, of which Blood Floe is book 2, are full-length crime novels.

The Arctic Shorts, of which The Last Flight is the fourth story in the series, are short stories set prior to the events in the Greenland Crime series. They are typically 15,000 words or a little over 50 pages each. The Arctic Shorts are crime with a Jack London-like feel. You’ve been warned. 😉

Both Blood Floe and The Last Flight are available for pre-order on Amazon.

Blood Floe USA, UK, Canada, and Australia

The Last Flight USAUKCanada and Australia

I hope that helps.

Small Time Criminal

There’s a star-studded cast …  and me. I have booked a coffee table stand at the Crime Festival in Horsens on the 17th and 18th March. There’s a lot of big crime writers coming. Lots of Scandinavians. Lots of Americans. Lots of Brits. And … me. When I contacted the organisers a while ago, they were kind enough to present the whole palette of options available. “Great,” I said. “And do you have anything smaller?”

I believe strongly in the old adage of fake it til you make it, and this small time crime writer is faking it all the way to Horsens this year. We’ll see what happens. Until then, be sure to check out the programme – and, if you’re looking for me … just keep scrolling to the very end.

The Festival looks really exciting, with loads of presentations, talks, book signings – the works. There should also be plenty for English readers this year. So, if you happen to be in the area, or are travelling to Denmark for the festival itself, please say “hi”, I’d love to meet you.

Oh, and if that’s not enough, the venue is the old State Prison!

Danish Design

Meet Milla Moth – twenty-something,  shy, sensitive, serial killer. When her best friend is humiliated online, Milla takes a break from her studies and discovers a new talent – murder.

Why Milla?

Why now?

The idea of Milla and a New Adult story has been growing for a while, ever since I saw La La Land, and fell completely for the whole damn thing. Yes, I know, it’s not violent, there’s singing, dancing, and … what do you know? It’s brilliant. It works. And I want some of whatever it is, so… Milla.

And just like that, another short story is born, and a series, because shy Milla is acquiring a taste for what she can do with a pair of pliers, a hammer, an adjustable spanner… Oh, and did I mention, she dances?

Look out for Milla on Amazon USA, UK, Canada and Australia, but in the meantime, here’s a scene from La La Land that has nothing to do with Milla and her Danish Design.

#onehour2kill