Thursday, 23 March 2017

Goodbye to Colin Dexter by Mike Ripley

Over on the main website, Mike Ripley has written a wonderful tribute to his old friend, Colin Dexter. Portions of this tribute are reproduced from Mike Ripley’s ‘Appreciation of Colin Dexter’ written for Bouchercon 26; updated on the death of Colin Dexter on 21st March 2017 and with previously unseen photographs.

Such as ...

"Even at designated literary events, we always seemed to find time for a beer. At a Shots On The Page convention in Nottingham, I arranged for Colin to pull the ceremonial first pint to mark the opening of a newly refurbished Home Brewery pub, and on one infamous occasion we were both guests of honour at a Boardroom luncheon in the King & Barnes brewery in Horsham in Sussex."

So can you really resist reading and seeing what the Ripster has to say?

Pop along to read the full tribute

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ripley’s Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

The Shots Team are delighted to hear about an upcoming work from Writer, Reviewer, Columnist, Game Show Host and Raconteur Extraordinaire, The Talented Mr Ripley.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: The Boom in British Thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed

An entertaining history of British thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed, in which award-winning crime writer Mike Ripley reveals that, though Britain may have lost an empire, her thrillers helped save the world. With a foreword by Lee Child.

When Ian Fleming dismissed his books in a 1956 letter to Raymond Chandler as ‘straight pillow fantasies of the bang-bang, kiss-kiss variety’ he was being typically immodest. In three short years, his James Bond novels were already spearheading a boom in thriller fiction that would dominate the bestseller lists, not just in Britain, but internationally.

The decade following World War II had seen Britain lose an Empire, demoted in terms of global power and status and economically crippled by debt; yet its fictional spies, secret agents, soldiers, sailors and even (occasionally) journalists were now saving the world on a regular basis.

From Ian Fleming and Alistair MacLean in the 1950s through Desmond Bagley, Dick Francis, Len Deighton and John Le Carré in the 1960s, to Frederick Forsyth and Jack Higgins in the 1970s.
Many have been labelled ‘boys’ books’ written by men who probably never grew up but, as award-winning writer and critic Mike Ripley recounts, the thrillers of this period provided the reader with thrills, adventure and escapism, usually in exotic settings, or as today’s leading thriller writer Lee Child puts it in his Foreword: ‘the thrill of immersion in a fast and gaudy world.’

In Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Ripley examines the rise of the thriller from the austere 1950s through the boom time of the Swinging Sixties and early 1970s, examining some 150 British authors (plus a few notable South Africans). Drawing upon conversations with many of the authors mentioned in the book, he shows how British writers, working very much in the shadow of World War II, came to dominate the field of adventure thrillers and the two types of spy story – spy fantasy (as epitomised by Ian Fleming’s James Bond) and the more realistic spy fiction created by Deighton, Le Carré and Ted Allbeury, plus the many variations (and imitators) in between.

Mark your diaries as Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is released on May 18th from Harper Collins, who incidentally published Martin Edward’s multiple award-winning Golden Age of Murder.

Photo L-R Writers
Mark Timlin, Mike Ripley & Martyn Waites 

Mike Ripley in-concert with fellow writer / reviewers Barry Forshaw and Peter Guttridge entertained us at Crimefest 2014, with their amusing presentation of the British Golden Age of Thrillers.

We have the presentation archived in 5 sections

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

So we asked Mike Ripley to tell a little about his upcoming Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang -

After several years in the gestation, I am delighted that my ‘reader’s history’ of the boom in British thriller writing 1953-1975 (or thereabouts) has been given a home by HarperCollins in their famous Crime Club imprint, my very first publisher, back in 1988, for Just Another Angel which started what is laughingly called my career  in crime fiction. They have, therefore, a lot to answer for, but please do not hold it against them as they done a splendid job indulging a great passion of mine.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – or KK-BB as it is known in certain circles in honour of Len Deighton – has been many years in its gestation, you might say about fifty years since, as a callow youth, I realised that I was reading my way through a purple path of British thriller writing. Was it a ‘Golden Age’? Well, that is, as with all ‘Golden Ages’ a matter for debate, but it was undeniably a boom time for British thriller writers, who dominated international bestseller lists.

Mike will reveal more in next month’s Getting Away With Murder Column, which is hosted at Shots Magazine online, as well as republished in George Easter’s Deadly Pleasures Magazine.

Shots Magazine have Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang available for pre-order HERE and like Martin Edward’s Golden Age of Murder, it would be criminal to miss out. 

A good writer possesses not only his own spirit, but also the spirit of his friends.” 
Friedrich Nietzsche 

Newcastle Noir 2017 Programme

Fringe: 24th -27th April

Monday 24th Talk: Murderous Newcastle – Fact and Fiction Pat Lowery 6 pm £3

Tuesday 25th talk: Crime with a Northern Edge 6.30 pm Free

Wednesday 26th: Noir @ the Bar - Town Wall 7 pm Free

Thursday 27th Talk: David Young, The fact behind the fiction 6.30 pm  £3

Festival Launch Friday 28th April
The Festival will be launched by Denise Mina who will be talking about and reading from her work 7pm - Free

Saturday 29th April

Time   Activity          Participants

9.30 - 11.30   Intensive writing workshop *       
William Ryan

10.00 - 11.00 Panel 1 - Geordie Crime     
Shelley Day, Howard Linskey, L.J. Ross, Matt Wesolovski

11.30 - 12.30  Panel 2 - LGBTQ     
Sarah Stowell, Lilja Sigurðardóttir, David Swatling. Chaired by Jacky Collins

12.35 - 1.15     Talk: how to be published **         
Adam Maxwell

1.30 - 2.30     Panel 3 - Femmes Fatales 
Lin Anderson, Alex Gray, Alanna Knight.  Chaired by Ayo Onatade

3.00 - 4.00    Panel 4- German Historical Fiction         
David Young, William Ryan, Luke McCallin.  Chaired by Kat Hall

4.30 - 5.30     Panel 5- Nordic 1     
Kjell Ola Dahl, Thomas Enger, Antti Tuomainen, Chaired by Quentin Bates

6.30 - 7.30     Panel 6- German Noir        
Sascha Arango, Cay Rademacher, Wulf Dorn.  Chaired by Kat Hall

7.30 - 8.30     Panel 7- Crime Fiction: Presenting the case       
Karen Sullivan, Quentin Bates, Sarah Ward, Susan Heads.  Chaired by Miriam Owen

Sunday 30th April

Time   Activity          Participants

10.00 - 11.00 Panel 8 - Children's Crime Fiction
Katherine Woodfine, Lyn Gardner, Laura Wood.  Chaired by Ann Landman

11.30 - 12.30  Panel 9 - Crime Fact and Fiction  
Mari Hannah, Mo, A.D. Garrett.  Chaired by Jacky Collins

1.30 - 2.30     Panel 10 - Domestic Noir
C.L. Taylor, Michael J. Malone, Louise Beech.  Chaired by Rosie White

3.00 - 4.00    Panel 11 - New Blood          
Shelley Day, Tana Collins, Michael Wood.  Chaired by Sarah Ward

4.30 - 5.30     Panel 12- Tartan Noir         
Russel D McLean, Douglas Skelton, Neil Broadfoot.  Chaired by Michael J Malone

6.30 - 7.30     Panel 13 - Nordic 2  
Erik Axl Sund, Johana Gustawsson, Camilla Grebe.  Chaired by Jacky Collins

8.00 - 9.00    Panel 14 - Action Thriller  
Luca Veste, Steph Broadribb, Paul Hardisty, Chaired by Daniel Pembrey

* £10/£7
** £5/£3


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Lefty Award Winners

The Lefty awards were announced at the Left Coast Crime banquet at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. 

This year’s winners are:

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel.

Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron(Crooked Lane Books)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1960. 
The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel.
Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon (Henery Press)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories).
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)

Congratulations to all!

The Left Coast Crime Convention is an annual event sponsored by mystery fans, both readers and authors. Usually held in the western half of North America, LCC’s intent is to host an event where readers, authors, critics, librarians, publishers, and other fans can gather in convivial surroundings to pursue their mutual interests. Lefty Awards have been given since 1996.

A full list of the nominees can be found here.

H/T Mystery Fanfare

Saturday, 18 March 2017


Ian Rankin announced details of the programme for RebusFest, a weekend of literature, music, art and film in Rebus’s hometown of Edinburgh, which takes place from 30th June to 2nd July 2017. The three-day festival, curated by Rankin, marks the thirtieth anniversary of John Rebus, one of crime fiction’s greatest and best-loved creations. Tickets are on sale from Friday 17th March at 

The Orion Publishing Group, which has published Ian Rankin since the company was founded 25 years ago, is working with a range of partners to create an unforgettable weekend, offering fans the chance to step into Rebus’s world. The Edinburgh International Book Festival is proud to be the main partner of RebusFest and Waterstones are the official bookseller for the festival. Other supporters include National Museums Scotland, the City of Literature Trust, Edinburgh International Film Festival and Highland Park.

• Highland Park Whisky Masterclass at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
• A Night Out with Rebus at Queen’s Hall, an evening of spoken word and live music from Ian Rankin and friends, exploring the relationship between Rebus and music.

Written in Blood: A Crime Writing Workshop at the National Museum of Scotland
• A special screening of Ian Rankin’s Reichenbach Falls (2007), followed by a Q&A with Ian Rankin, at the Filmhouse in partnership with the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Making a Detective With Ian Rankin and Special Guests in partnership with the Assembly Rooms: an evening delving into the world of Rebus, finding out what makes him tick, his background and origins and the inspiration for the character a panel of experts will discuss Edinburgh crime past and present, and what really goes on in a police investigation.

RebusFest Quiz: So You Think You Know Rebus at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, co-hosted by Ian Rankin

Running across the weekend in addition to events and panels are Rebus walking tours, Highland Park whisky tastings at the Caley Bar, exhibitions and museum trails. The City of Literature Trust is running community events and taking to the streets with special surprises around the city. The Writers’ Museum is hosting a special Rankin/Rebus exhibition, which opens at RebusFest and continues across the summer. The National Museum of Scotland will be holding a talk on the Arthur’s Seat Coffins – the exhibition that inspired THE FALLS, and curating a ‘Museum Noir’ trail of mysterious and murderous objects from the museum’s collection.

Ian Rankin says: “It's hard for me to believe that it's been 30 years since John Rebus first appeared between the pages of a book. For someone who was only supposed to exist in a single novel, his tenacity has surprised even me. But readers have grown to love him, irascible and bull-headed as he often is. It's a joy for me to be celebrating his life so far in the form of his very own festival. What John would make of it, only he knows!

Edinburgh International Book Festival says: “It is a great pleasure for the Edinburgh International Book Festival to be supporting RebusFest. Ian Rankin has been a great friend and stalwart champion of the Book Festival, with no August being complete without Ian entertaining audiences with the latest adventures of Rebus. Over 30 years, Ian has achieved extraordinary success, captivating readers and creating an iconic literary figure who lives beyond the pages of the novels to inhabit the literary imagination of Edinburgh, the first UNESCO City of Literature. It is only fitting that John Rebus now has his own festival!

With activities and events that reflect all facets of the irascible old rogue RebusFest is guaranteed to be a fun-filled, entertaining and revealing weekend and a must for all crime fans.

RATHER BE THE DEVIL by Ian Rankin is published in trade paperback, £9.99
REBUSFEST: Celebrating 30 years of the iconic detective runs from 30 June to 2 July 2017

For full programme information visit

Tickets are on sale from 17 March 2017

For more information on Ian Rankin and RebusFest contact: Angela McMahon Flow Communications

T: 07753 384711