Thursday, 20 September 2018


I made my first trip to Bouchercon this month.

For the uninitiated, this is basically the biggest crime fiction festival in the world. It's held every year in the USA (with occasional excursions to Canada), and this year it was in the beautiful St Petersburg, Florida.

It's a tough life, but sometimes you just have to knuckle down and do the author events.

I flew in via Philadelphia on the Wednesday evening, and had to spend an extra hour waiting on tarmac until the lightning went away. Having been travelling all day, I hit the sack early in order to be up in good time for day one of the festival. Luckily, those of us from across the pond have the advantage of being five hours ahead, so an eight o'clock start wasn't as painful as it usually would be.

I headed down to the con hotel (the Vinoy Renaissance) and registered. They gave me the biggest damn bag of books I've ever seen, and then free pastries. Good start.

I was pleased to get fellow-Glaswegian Abir Mukherjee's second novel in the bag, and doubly pleased to run into the man himself at the refreshments area.

After lunch at a British pub (I know) with some fellow authors, I headed into my first panel: Martini with a Twist of Plot. It was a great lineup: Alafair Burke, Meg Gardiner, Jennifer Hillier and Neil S Plakcy, ably hosted by Kristopher Zgorski. We discussed serial killers, techniques for building tension and lots more. We also got leis (the flowery necklace things) and coconuts, making this easily the best-accessorised panel I've ever done.

It was great company to be in and the forty-five minutes flew by.

My publisher was attending in force, so I got to catch up at the bar and then dinner with my editor Francesca and Katie, Sarah and Sam from Orion.

On Friday I went to a couple of panels then got lunch at a waterfront place, which somehow involved pina coladas. I went to see Michael Connelly interview Mark Billingham and finally got to meet one of my biggest writing heroes afterwards. He was very understanding about me being a fawning fanboy. No restraining order yet.

We took some time out for a quintessentially American trip to the Friday night ball game - the Tampa Bay Rays playing the Baltimore Orioles. The game was a blowout and the hot dogs were disappointingly small for America, but it was a fun evening.

Saturday morning kicked off with the Drawing Inspiration from Our Kids panel, moderated by Joe Clifford with Shannon Kirk, LynDee Walker, Tom Pitts, Emily Carpenter and yours truly. No prizes for guessing why I made it onto this panel.

This one was quite different from the standard book discussion, since we were talking about our kids. The other authors were all Americans, but I wasn't surprised to learn that most aspects of balancing child-rearing and crime writing are universal.

After that, I signed some books for a very friendly bookseller from Mystery Mike's in Indianapolis (yep, an indie from Indy).

The rest of Saturday was spent pleasantly socialising, hanging out with old friends, meeting new ones and generally sitting in the sun with a few of these.

Sunday at book festivals is always the Long Goodbye, with everyone going their separate ways and promising to catch up at the next thing. In this case that's Bloody Scotland, this very weekend.

I sat at the bar and had a beer with Ian Rankin and Mark Billingham. The beer turned into three or four, and then a few more after Mark had to catch his taxi to the airport. Very cool just hanging out with nothing to do, downing a few cold ones with a couple of crime writing masters.

And on Monday before flying home, I had a solo breakfast with a good book, which turned out to be exactly the right way to relax after a full-on weekend.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Labor Day Weekend special offer

It's Labor Day Weekend in the USA, which I have no real clue about other than... something about wearing white?

However, it does mean that PRESUMED DEAD has been selected for a 99¢ Kindle deal, so if you don't have it yet, go get it. If you do have it, tell your friends. If you've already done both of those things and you're feeling generous, write a review!

As usual, the other ebook emporia are matching the deal, so you should be able to get it from your preferred source:

Sunday, 5 August 2018

What I've been doing lately

I wonder how many blog posts in the year 2018 being with "Sorry I haven't blogged in a while..."? Well, this is another.

Anyway, I thought it would be good to post an update of what I've been up to over the last while. First up, the annual Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Festival in Harrogate.

As usual, this was a great opportunity to chat to other writers, catch up with my editor Francesca and generally mingle with book people.

Following on from last year's success, Orion did another great job with the Incident Room - a suite in the Swan Hotel they booked out for the weekend and decked out with some gruesome props, and a bunch of great events.

I arrived at the festival fashionably late on the Friday, in time to be one of the jurors grilled by Steve Cavanagh for Thirteen Live, along with Neil White, Stuart Neville and Martyn Waites.

Saturday started with The Hungover Gameshow, hosted by the Two Crime Writers (aka Luca Veste and Steve Cavanagh) and for legal reasons, bearing absolutely no similarity to Pointless.

I had a pretty good teammate...

We didn't quite manage to win, making it to the final round before being defeated by Val McDermid and Mark Billingham's superior crime fiction knowledge. The whole thing was recorded, and it will be available to listen to sometime soon on the Two Crime Writers website.

My last event of the weekend was a panel on series fiction, hosted by the excellent Marnie Riches. It was me, Rob Sinclair, Emma Kavanagh and Daniel Cole. We got to discuss the challenges of writing a series character, our inspirations, how much research we do, and how we plot the books. 75% of us used spreadsheets to keep things straight. I felt at home.

Sunday and the long train journey home, during which I was able to catch up on my edits for book 6 (which isn't a Carter Blake book).

...and then I was straight into the next thing, which was filming an episode of the brilliant CBS Reality series Written in Blood with my fellow author Simon Toyne.

If you haven't seen it, the series involves Simon talking to a crime writer about a case that has inspired something in their work, or that they have a local connection to. I ended up discovering a serial killer almost literally in my back yard...

The episode will air in the UK as part of the new series in the autumn, and I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I have a date. The whole experience was fascinating, and Simon was a terrific host.

I rounded off a busy couple of weeks with a talk to the Waterstones Durham reading group, followed by a signing. It was nice to actually stop in Durham for once, rather than just seeing it from a train window. A cool city and a great store.

I even got to fix the mistake on p288 of Don't Look For Me.

Next up on the festival front, I'm going to be making the trip to St Pete's, Florida for my first Bouchercon in a few weeks, at which I'll be on a panel with Meg Gardiner, Jennifer Hillier, Elizabeth Little and Neil S. Plakcy, moderated by Kristopher Zgorski. Can't wait to hit my first US festival.

And before that, I'm going to be making a short research trip to the Scottish Highlands for that non-Carter Blake book I mentioned earlier.

I'll have a lot more to say about that one soon. Watch this space...

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Presumed Dead on sale, and Harrogate

I'm off to the wonderful Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate this weekend, and to join in with the festivities, my publisher is offering my new book for only 99p in UK ebook this weekend.

It's not even out in paperback yet, so this is a big £7 saving, and I hope you'll find it an offer you can't refuse.

You can get it at all the usual ebook outlets:

As for my itinerary at Harrogate, I'll be on a panel on series fiction chaired by Marnie Riches, and taking part in the hungover quiz show on Saturday.

Aside from that, I'll be generally socialising/drinking, so if you're at Harrogate, please come and say hello.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

McIlvanney Prize longlisting

So pleased to report that Presumed Dead has been longlisted for the 2018 McIlvanney Prize!

It joins a stellar lineup of books from authors including Craig Robertson, James Oswald, Chris Brookmyre and Caro Ramsay.

You can read the full announcement on the Bloody Scotland website. The shortlist is announced later this summer, but in the meantime I'm very happy that the new book is in such great company. Big congratulations to everyone else who made the list.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Some pics from the launch

Presumed Dead had a brilliant welcome into the world at Waterstones Argyle Street a couple of weeks ago. I've been too busy with next year's book to blog about it, but here are a few snaps of me being quizzed ably by Douglas Skelton.

I've been delighted by the response so far, and it's easily been the best-reviewed of all my books. If you want to see what people love about it, you can get it from all good bookshops.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Presumed Dead - reviews

Presumed Dead has been out for a week and I've been blown away by the response from readers so far! A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to let me know how much you enjoyed it, or left a review.

It's always scary when something you've spent months working on goes out into the world, and it's a massive boost when people seem to love it.

Here's a roundup of some of the best quotes:

First up, a pair of my fellow crime writers. Both of whom come highly recommended by me too:

Jenny Blackhurst said "I absolutely LOVED it."

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

There's also a bunch of great Goodreads and Amazon reviews too. So far, 100% positive (that won't last).

So thanks again to everyone who's read Presumed Dead and said nice things about it - you all rock.