Saturday, 25 July 2015

Angels and Others

The collected short stories of Shots’ very own ‘Ripster’ have now been unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Published by Telos, Angels and Others contains thirteen short stories  (1988-2015), six of which feature Mike Ripley’s most famous creation – Fitzroy Maclean Angel – including a brand new one, plus the (unfilmed) script of his 1994 novel Angels in Arms.

Twice winner of the CWA’s ‘Last Laugh’ Award for comedy crime and described by The Times  as “England’s funniest crime writer”, Ripley authored 15 ‘Angel’ books before  going straight and trying his hand at historical fiction and novels which continued the adventures of Margery Allingham’s Golden Age detective Albert Campion. His latest novel, Mr Campion’s Fox, is published by Severn House whilst his Angel books are being republished by Telos, with Angel in the House appearing in August.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Partners in Crime: How not to kill Your Collaborator

We’ve been collaborating for several years now, and people (especially other writers) constantly ask us how we’ve managed to write five novels together without killing each other. It’s a good question. Our collaboration began as all good things do, after one too many beers, and we wrote our first novel, the satirical horror The Mall, with the purest of motives: for fun and to see if we could. Our latest novel, Under Ground, is a whodunnit (and whydunnit) set in a luxury survival bunker – the kind of place rich, paranoid, apocalypse preppers invest in on the off chance that things really do fall apart. And when the spectre of disaster looms in the form of an ebola-style plague, our characters discover that far from fleeing to a safe location, they’re sharing their underground sanctuary with a psychopath. Out of all the novels we’ve written, this one should have tested the limits of our relationship, as its success depended on a far more rigid plot structure than we’re used to employing. But we made it through, and although it sounds smug, we somehow did it without so much as a hissy fit.

With this in mind, here are our top five tips to avoid literary bloodshed when co-authoring a crime novel:

1. Choose the right collaborator
This is an obvious tip, but we know of several writing partnerships that have imploded due to personality clashes or work ethic differences. On paper, our partnership shouldn’t have worked: one of us is a literary author; the other is the South African literature scene’s trashy cousin. Luckily, we’re both fairly laid-back, and never sulk or badmouth each other (at least to each other’s faces), and it helps that like most authors we’re seething monsters of self-doubt, so ego is kept to a minimum.

2. Set a deadline
 Knowing there’s someone waiting for your chapter is a great way to keep procrastination at a minimum, which in our case involves Googling food porn (Louis), or car porn (Sarah). As we share a fear of missing deadlines, we tend to work quickly with an average first-draft chapter turnaround time of three or four days, which is tight enough to keep panic and adrenaline at just the right level to ensure the words keep flowing.  There’s nothing better than seeing your partner’s chapter zinging into the inbox and finding they’ve written something unexpected that might take the story in a new direction. In the early days, when we wrote our first novel, The Mall, we had a great deal of fun writing each other’s characters into tricky corner – a literary version of exquisite corpse.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff
The last thing you want is a co-writer who’s going to have a conniption every time you misplace a comma. You have to be prepared to show your co-author your first draft in all its clunky glory, which for most writers is the equivalent of walking naked through a mall. We still sometimes write long caveats when sending a chapter to the other, but we’re getting less precious about this these days, because we know we’ll tidy everything up when the time comes.
4. Play to each other’s strengths
We’re lucky, our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out: One of us is great at sex scenes; the other one would rather sandpaper her eyes. One is skilled at atmosphere and description; the other gets her kicks plotting and world building. One of us hates backstory, the other loves it.  It also helps when it comes to publicity: One of us is terrific at social media, while the other is an antisocial old fart; one doesn’t mind writing online content and guest blogs, whereas it’s not the forte of the other. Another bonus is that we’re currently in two different continents, which means that we can literally be in two places at once and field twice as many interview requests.

5. Honesty is the best policy
It may sound harsh, but neither of us bothers with compliment sandwiches anymore when giving feedback. We may have fragile egos, but the writing comes first. The number of rewrites on Under Ground went into the double figures, and by the end of it we both felt like we’d been locked in an underground bunker with a psychopath. But it was worth it (we hope).

S.L Grey are Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg. You can find more about the writing on their website.  You can also follow them on Twitter @SarahLotz1 and @louisgreenberg.  They can also be found on Facebook.

Under Ground

THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE ...The Sanctum is a luxurious, self-sustaining survival condominium situated underground. It's a plush bolt-hole for the rich and paranoid - a place where they can wait out the apocalypse in style. When a devastating super-flu virus hits, several families race to reach The Sanctum. All have their own motivations for entering. All are hiding secrets. But when the door locks and someone dies, they realise the greatest threat to their survival may not be above ground - it may already be inside ....

Under Ground is by and is published by Pan Macmillan (£12.99)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015


So far, with a global embargo in place, very few details of the much-anticipated return of Lisbeth Salander have been revealed.

Now MacLehose Press is releasing key details of the plot to whet the appetite of the 15 million readers in the U.K. who bought the trilogy.

She is the girl with the dragon tattoo: Lisbeth Salander,
uncompromising misfit, genius hacker.

He is the crusading journalist: Mikael Blomkvist,
dedicated to exposing corruption and abuse.

They have not been in touch for some time.

Then Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder. Warned that his life is in danger, but more concerned for his son’s well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story – and it is a terrifying one. Säpo, Sweden’s security police, have offered him protection, but what Balder hopes for is to preserve his life’s work ‒ by going public.

More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder’s world-leading advances in Artificial Intelligence, is news that the professor had been working with a superhacker, a girl with a dragon tattoo.
Salander is busy with an agenda of her own. Using her old codename Wasp, she has been trying to hack into the American National Security Agency - a lunacy driven by vengeance, and fraught with every possible consequence.

Like Balder, she is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters who call themselves the Spiders. The violent unscrupulousness of this criminal conspiracy will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team ‒ and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves. 

The adrenaline-charged, brilliantly intricate and utterly absorbing narrative of The Girl in the Spider’s Web is inspired by Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. The duo who thrilled millions of readers across the world are back. 

About the author:
David Lagercrantz was born in 1962, and is an acclaimed author and journalist. As well as numerous biographies (including the internationally bestselling I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, for which he was the ghostwriter) he has written four novels, including Fall of Man in Wilmslow (published by MacLehose Press in May 2015). The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the continuation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. 

A continuation of the series by Stieg Larsson
Translated from the Swedish by George Goulding

Published by MacLehose Press in hardback on 27 August 2015 at £19.99
Also available as an e-book and can be purchased from the Shots Bookstore here

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Inaugural Dead Good Reader Awards winners announced

On Friday 17th July 2015, at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, six authors beat off stiff competition to be crowned the first ever winners of the Dead Good Reader Awards.

Dead Good Books launched the awards in April with six bespoke categories, and readers nominated and voted for their favourite books and authors. The awards were presented at the festival after over 4,000 votes had been received from online readers and festival-goers.

Each award category was created in collaboration with the Dead Good Facebook community and celebrates a unique element in crime writing.

Lee Child, Val McDermid and Mark Lawson presented the awards to the following winners:

Ann Cleeves for The Lee Child Award for Best Loner or Detective
Mark Billingham for The Val McDermid Award for Fiendish Forensics
Val McDermid for The Reichenbach Falls Award for Most Epic Ending
Peter James for The Dr Lecter Award for Scariest Villain
Marnie Riches for The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location
Paula Hawkins for The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book

Each winner received a specially designed magnifying glass trophy.

The winners and full shortlist can be seen below.

For more information on Val McDermid and her books please visit:

For more information on Lee Child and his books please visit:

For more information please contact: Lynsey Dalladay, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Penguin Random House. or 02082316793

The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins                                (Transworld)
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes                                                    (Transworld)
The Defence by Steve Cavanagh                                               (Orion)
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh                                           (Sphere)
The Lie by C L Taylor                                                                  (Avon)
No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary                                        (Headline)

The Lee Child Award for Best Loner or Detective
Cormoran Strike, Robert Galbraith                                         (Little Brown)
John Rebus, Ian Rankin                                                             (Orion)
Harry Hole, Jo Nesbo                                                                  (Vintage)
Lacey Flint, Sharon Bolton                                                         (Transworld)
David Raker, Tim Weaver                                                           (Michael Joseph)
Vera Stanhope, Ann Cleeves                                                      (Pan Macmillan)

The Val McDermid Award for Fiendish Forensics
Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs                                         (Cornerstone)
Die Again by Tess Gerritsen                                                       (Transworld)
The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths                                             (Quercus)
Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell                                      (Harper)
Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer                                               (Transworld)
Time of Death by Mark Billingham                                          (Sphere)

The Reichenbach Falls Award for Most Epic Ending
The Defence by Steve Cavanagh                                                (Orion)
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins                                  (Transworld)
The Nightmare Place by Steve Mosby                                       (Orion)
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh                                              (Sphere)
Personal by Lee Child                                                                   (Transworld)
The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid                                       (Sphere)

The Dr Lecter Award for Scariest Villain
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes                                       (Harper)
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes                       (Myriad)
An Evil Mind by Chris Carter                                                   (Simon and Schuster)
The Stand by Stephen King                                                       (Hodder)
You are Dead by Peter James                                                    (Macmillan)
 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson              (Quercus)

The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location
Amsterdam, The Girl who wouldn’t Die by Marnie Riches          (Maze)
Bardsey Island, The Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham             (Sphere)
Boston, The Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson                            (Faber)
Greece, The Long Fall, Julia Crouch                                                  (Headline)
Nepal, The Lie, C L Taylor                                                                    (Avon)
Oslo, Police, Jo Nesbo                                                                           (Vintage