Friday, 15 February 2019

What She Saw Last Night - Waterstones Launch

7pm, Thursday 18 April 2019

Waterstones Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

It's that time of year again!

Delighted to say I've got tartan noir bestseller Craig Robertson to do the Q&A at the official launch of What She Saw Last Night, which is going to be held in Waterstones Sauchiehall Street. The last time we did this, I was launching The Samaritan in 2015, and he flummoxed me with a surprise pop quiz. I'm confident he'll have something equally unpleasant in store this time.

Tickets are free, but please register for them here if you're coming.

This is my first standalone thriller, which means it's the first book not to star Carter Blake. If you want to find out a bit more about it, read on...

A secret that could kill her.

A truth no one believes...

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin ... but there's no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don't believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn't the truth.

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Noireland and Crimefest

On the road!

I'm looking forward to a couple of festivals over the spring. I'll be at Crimefest in Bristol as usual, and delighted to be going to Noireland in Belfast for the first time - hope to see some of you at one of these.

Sunday 10 March | 9:30am

Twenty-First Century Bonds

James Bond has endured as one of the great icons of the thriller genre but how has he influenced modern thrillers and what are the challenges of writing about Secret Service agents for 21st century audiences? James Swallow is the bestselling author of Nomad, whose MI6 agent, Marc Dane, is more comfortable behind the computer than punching bad guys. Asia Mackay’s Secret Service assassin, Lex Tyler, is just returning from maternity leave, determined to prove she’s still up for the job . . . just as long as she can find her Glock under the pile of nappies. And Douglas Lindsay introduces us to DI Ben Westphall, an ex-MI6 agent with a knack for getting into people’s heads. Moderated by Mason Cross.

Tickets and weekend passes available from the festival website

Saturday 11 May | 12:50pm

Missing: Characters Who Aren’t There Anymore

  • Mason Cross
  • M.J. Ford
  • Cara Hunter
  • S.W. Williams
  • Participating Moderator: Steve Mosby
Tickets and weekend passes available from the festival website

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Swedish paperbacks

Author copies time! I always love getting editions from other countries to see how the book looks on shelves across the world.

This is the Swedish paperback edition of The Samaritan - titled Den Onde Samariten (The Evil Samaritan).

If you're in Sweden, it's on sale now. Glad läsning!

I just found a great review from Dast Magazine last year, when the hardback came out. I don't speak much (okay, any) Swedish, but it's always fun to get Google to translate it:

By Mason Cross
The Samarithan, 2015
Translated by Gabriel Setterborg
Modernista, 2018
ISBN 978-91-7781-179-4, 431 pages

It is really strange that such an exhausted plot as the hunt for a serial killer can become so infernal exciting. Another remark is that authors of this very American genre are a Scot from Glasgow who embraced the really hard-boiled style that for seven, eight decades was introduced by Frank Morrison "Mickey" Spillane, among others. You are drawn very quickly into the evil Samaritan, Cross other thriller after last year's A long track of blood that introduced the human hunter Carter Blake.

The title comes from the fact that the serial killer got the nickname Samariten by offering help to women who got a motor stop, but instead of assisting he tortures his victims before cutting his neck with a saw-toothed knife. In the United States, such crimes have become a frightening reality along long and solitary routes of highway and according to the police, they are difficult to solve.

When a landslide exposes the bodies to three victims in the mountains near Santa Monica, the Los Angeles police investigator Jessica Allen is summoned, and this is not the first time she has seen anything like it - though on the other side of the continent. No traces, small chances of finding an offender.

A little hope is raised when Carter Blake arrives and offers his services, but initially suspicion is apparent. Blake's profile is too good for what they found out about the killer. But it turns out that the helper is a veritable track dog with a slightly scary ability to figure out the next Samarit's trait. And such comes when the killer raises his job to new, frightening levels. It is unpleasant but so exciting and temples that you do not want to stop reading, both about the hunt itself and about the protagonist's past that is about to set it up for him.

Mason Cross was born in 1979 in Glasgow, where he still lives with wife and three children. His previous book was nominated for Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. One doesn't need a load A long track of blood to keep the evil Samaritan . The books are independent of each other but if you want to know Carter Blake better (I think one wants it) it doesn't hurt to read the debut - and the following. Because there will be more.


Sunday, 23 December 2018

Want a free short story?

Last year on Christmas Eve, I sent a free short story to everyone in my Readers Club.

It went down really well, so I've decided to do the same again this year.

All authors are advised to set up an email list, for the obvious reason that it lets us gently remind you when we have a new book out (yeah, I know you thought this was all pure altruism, sorry).

I've found it's actually been a really cool way to interact with my readers, as long as you don't send lots of spammy emails, which I don't, not only because it's a bad idea, but because I'm too lazy. It feels a little more personal than doing the usual social media, which is odd, but there it is.

Anyway. New story, Christmas Eve. So if you're not signed up, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Presumed Dead paperback out today! And author copies unboxing!

Hot on the heels of my cover reveal for next year's book, my 2018 book Presumed Dead, longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, is out in UK mass-market paperback today. Here's where you can get it:

UK paperback

UK ebook

UK audio

Readers in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can click here for their local store.

I received my author copies last week, and opening a new box of your own books never stops being exciting.

You can see more pics from the unboxing over on my Instagram page.

If you haven't bought it yet, publication week is a very good time for the author and publisher to do so, so we would be very grateful if you make it your book purchase this week. And if you like it, a quick revew makes all the difference.

And to finish, here's some of the nice things authors, reviewers and readers said about it:

"I absolutely LOVED it." - Jenny Blackhurst

"A driving thriller about loyalty and lies in small town America." - Eva Dolan

"The final twist knocked me sideways!" - Peterborough Evening Telegraph

"Multi-layered deceptions slowly unravel, and the suspect spotlight falls on a number of people towards the end of what is an atmospheric, brooding and compelling thriller." - Tony Forder

"It’s quite the rollercoaster ride let me tell you. Add to that small town blues, a suspicious Sheriff, more death, a bit of action and some cliff hanging shenanigans and you are onto a good thing. Then we have perhaps one of the best endings in a thriller novel I’ve come across for AGES." - Liz Loves Books

"Carter Blake is an excellent character – plausible without being a parody, with enough skills to be excellent at his chosen role and a back story in the shadows which is alluded to but never quite revealed." - Crime Fiction Lover

"Brilliant, brilliant story telling from Mason Cross. If you have not yet discovered the Carter Blake books then this is the perfect opportunity to find out why readers look forward to each new release." - Grab This Book

"I read it very quickly because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next, but then was sad when I finished it cos it was over! But I wasn't disappointed by the ending. OMG, the last couple of chapters! Wow! Absolutely fantastic." - Suze Reviews

Thursday, 22 November 2018

What She Saw Last Night - cover

It's cover reveal time once again!

I'm really happy with this one - they've gone with a really strong image and I like the way it looks and feels a little different from the Carter Blake books. 

What She Saw Last Night is published in the UK on April 18, 2019, and you can find out more about the story here.

Available to preorder from the usual places:

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Readers outside the UK can click here to see if it's available to preorder in your area yet.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Next year's book: What She Saw Last Night

And now for something completely different.

Okay, not that different. It seems like yesterday when my first book was being published, and all of a sudden it's 2018 and my sixth book is going to be published next year. It's still a thriller, but it's set in the UK. And for the first time, it doesn't star Carter Blake.

I was quite keen to write a standalone book this time around, and lucky for me, my publisher thought this was a good idea too. I've come up with a few story ideas over the past few years that I liked, but weren't quite the right fit for Blake, and this was one of them.

It starts with a normal person, in a normal situation, and then something abnormal happens.

Jenny Bowen is your standard thirtysomething workaholic Londoner. Always busy, always rushing around, not taking time to notice the time pass, until her personal life takes a couple of major hits. First, her marriage breaks down. Second, her father dies unexpectedly.

Her dad's house is in the Scottish Highlands, where Jenny spent part of her teenage years, so she's heading north to take care of the usual duties that follow the death of a parent.

She decides life is moving a little too fast for her, so it might be healthy to decompress, take the long way home. She's always been curious about the sleeper train that runs overnight from London to Scotland, and decides to book a berth on a whim.

She boards at the last minute. As she's finding her way to her room, she sees a harassed-looking woman with a young child in tow: a little girl, maybe seven or eight years old. She's carrying a grey stuffed rabbit.

Jenny awakens the next morning. The train has stopped between stations, and the sky is beginning to lighten.

She ventures out of her room and stumbles on the body of the woman she saw the previous evening. It looks like an overdose. She finds a guard, they take her to the staff quarters and offer her water, try to calm her nerves. All of a sudden she remembers the little girl, realising she's an orphan now. Is she okay? Somebody is with her, right?

The guard looks back at her, confused.

"What little girl?"


It was a fun experience writing something a little different from the previous books, and getting to play with a new protagonist and a whole new cast of characters.

I particularly enjoyed getting to travel on and do a lot of research about the Caledonian Sleeper, which I'll be blogging about soon. One of the coolest things was that I serendipitiously picked the exact right time to set a book on board the train.

Next year, they're going to be introducing luxurious new 21st century carriages, but right now, the sleeper uses the oldest rolling stock in Britain, dating from the early 1980s. That's great for building atmosphere, of course, but as a mystery writer, it means the technology is a little behind the times: no air conditioning, no wifi, and most importantly, no CCTV cameras.

I'm hoping to have a cover to show you soon, and members of my Readers Club will get the first peek, so if you're not already signed up, go do it.

Because it's a departure from the Blake books, we're going with a slightly different branding. I'll be M.J. Cross on the cover of this book, for starters. What does the J stand for? I'm open to suggestions, but I'm currently leaning toward 'Jedbediah'.

What She Saw Last Night is published in the UK on 18 April 2019, and you can preorder it now:

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