I am preparing for my panels at the Bristol Crimefest and this has brought me a few new experiences. One was reading a whole novel from a bound together A4 typescript - very hard on the wrists. The other was reading novels off my little HTC phone ( the dog has hid the Kindle) - very hard on the eyes.
As is usual with Bristol the panel and their books are varied and it will be interesting. Two of the books deal with very serious subject matter which could be sensitive and upsetting, but at the same time the panel needs to be amusing and entertaining so it's a difficult balance. Being flippant about violent sexual crime against minors is one way to alienate an audience.
Fortunately, these books are all great not necessarily to my taste. As you would expect I'm not really into those very action packed Andy McNab SAS type thrillers where the men seem to wander about arguing about who's gun is biggest. But when it's written by an ex member of the SAS and someone who has suffered from that experience ( PTSD ) the narrative takes on an intimacy and a moral honesty rather than just another action packed romp.
It did make me reflect though on the novels that I have been asked to read over the last year or so. And in some ways the bigger the price tag on the authors head ... well quite frankly the more objectionable I found the book.
As you might have noticed, I am an author and a compulsive liar and I know that every novel will contain nods to the truth here and there but I detest a novel where the whole premise is based on something that just would not happen. It smacks to me of breaking those golden rules of crime fiction about no time travel, no ghosts and no unreliable narration. And don't write crap.
For instance I read a book where a doctor went to jail for being very naughty in a doctory kind of a way. He comes out of jail and starts working again as a doctor. I kept expecting there to be some twist that this was not the same man or that he had falsified his papers in some way but no! The British Medical Association and all that post- Shipman registration had floated right past the author's cogniscence or his work ethic or his research notebook. And it would have been a better book if it hadn't. It would had been a better book if the author had put in a bit more thought to put the plot on a more believable footing.
The book where somebody was lying on a suspended ceiling having removed a roof tile to lift another person up off the ground below has obviously never looked at the delicacy of suspended ceilings.
And also just as a matter of normal physiology although it is beloved of many films it is incredibly difficult for one human being to hold another human being by the hand when the second person is suspended. Fifteen years of both parties training on the high trapeze just might do it but even stunt men use a very strong steel wire running from shoulder girdle to shoulder girdle to take the weight.
And while I'm on a rant I'd like to pass on the thoughts of my colleague a very qualified hypnotherapist of many years experience who goes on what we in Glasgow call a 'full benny' whenever he reads about somebody being hypnotised into committing murder. The noise of his forehead hitting the desktop is reminiscent of the drum section of the Dagenham girl pipers.
You can't. Cannot be done. No way Hose.
Over to Zoe now who will talk about the screeching of tyres on a dirt track!!
Caro Ramsay 20 05 2016