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.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Presumed Dead - publication day


World, please welcome Presumed Dead - be nice to it!

If you're in the UK, Ireland, Australia and NZ, you can get the new Carter Blake book in all the usual places, but to make it extra easy, here are some links:

Click here to get the trade paperback in your home territory


or

Click here to get the Kindle version



UK trade paperback (large format)


UK ebook

UK audio

I'm hoping to have an idea of US release date soon, so watch this space. In the meantime, you can get the other four books right now.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

A deleted scene...



Presumed Dead is published in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in just one week.

In the meantime, here's a deleted scene from the book. This was the original prologue. I cut it from the final version of the book for a few reasons, but I thought it would be nice to post it here, as it sets the story up, and introduces one of the main characters, Isabella Green.





 Prologue


Isabella Green


November 24th


‘Come for a visit, stay for a lifetime.’

That’s what it says on the sign at the town limits. People make jokes about it. Bethany is a nice place to live, mostly. But then I say that like I know what it’s like to live anywhere else, and I don’t, not really.

Lake Bethany, to give the town its Sunday name, is just about big enough that you can always find somewhere to be alone if you need to, but small enough to feel like a real community. The kind of place where folks look out for one another. Invite their neighbours over for a cookout in the summer, help to dig out driveways in the winter, check in on the older people who don’t have family. That kind of thing. Of course, just like in any community, there are people who take more of an interest in their neighbors’ business than others, but I guess you can find that anywhere.

There’s enough to keep you busy. We have all the stores you need: food, hardware, a couple of restaurants. Jimmy’s Bar has a band on every Tuesday night, and sometimes it’s even a good one. Not a bookstore, of course, that closed down a long time ago.

It’s quiet. Rarely any real trouble these days, and I would certainly know. Oh sure, there’s the occasional bar fight in Jimmy’s, the occasional DUI, the occasional teenage kegger getting a little out of hand, but mostly Sheriff McGregor keeps things shipshape.

No, if there’s trouble, it tends to come from outside.

Weekend hunters from the city, or farther afield. College kids stopping off for a night on their way down to Macon or Atlanta. Even normally well-behaved hikers can get a little high-spirited on their day off. Anyway, the sheriff makes sure that if the out-of-towners step out of line, they only do it once.

That’s the way it is in most towns the size of Bethany I guess. You’re a long way from backup, so you have to make sure you keep people in line. You can’t afford to let things get out of hand.

There’s been no real trouble worth the name in Bethany for years now. Not since the summer of ’03. Folks around here don’t like to bring that up, and any visitors who do tend to be politely but firmly moved on to other topics of conversation. Besides, that wasn’t about Bethany, even though you could argue our town bore the highest cost. The past is past, that’s what people say around here.

Except, that’s never quite true, is it?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past over the last year or so. Ever since Mom got sick. It forced me to think about my father, and what happened to him. It’s funny how one person can just change everything. About you, about the people you know, about the place you live in. Like in high school chemistry, adding a catalyst to a solution. And then just like that, their absence can change everything all over again.

David Connor is another one thinking about the past, though in his case that’s really nothing new. He’s been different, the last couple of months. We had barely exchanged a word since high school, ever since it happened. Then all of a sudden, a few weeks ago, he wanted to talk about it. I don’t know why he reached out to me then. Maybe he thought we had some kind of shared bond, because we both lost someone that night. I didn’t need that. Back then, after it happened, everybody told me I needed people around me to get through it, but that’s not true. Truth is, for better or worse all I’ve ever needed is myself.

But David Connor only wanted to talk about Adeline, not my dad. He got it into his head that she was alive, somehow. Crazy.

I listened, and I told him no way. Adeline is as dead as all the others. And that was when it struck me for the first time. It’s funny how all the most important people in Bethany are dead.

David didn’t want to hear it, so I left him to it. I figure it’s harmless, to everyone else at least. Just David’s way of dealing with the grief. Or perhaps his way of not dealing with it.

I can tell the sheriff isn’t happy with him digging into ancient history, though. Like I said, this town prefers the past in the past, and Jim McGregor doesn’t like people who go looking for trouble.

That reminds me. Do you remember when I said most of the trouble in Bethany comes from outsiders? That’s true.

It seemed like things were going just fine until Carter Blake came to town.




UK trade paperback (large format)


UK ebook

UK audio

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Author copies, and the first reviews of Presumed Dead


Author copies! Or, as we call it round these parts, George McFly Day.

I love the cover of Presumed Dead so much - it's easily the best cover I've ever had. Nothing to do with me, other than saying "Yep, that looks just about perfect." 

It's always a thrill to get the pre-publication delivery of a box full of books that you actually wrote, and this time was no exception.





Presumed Dead is published in the UK and associated territories (which means, I think, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland) next week, on April 19th. You can pre-order right now, or if you're going to be near Glasgow on the 18th, there's still tickets for the official book launch.

I've already had some great reviews and blurbs. The excellent Jenny Blackhurst, author of How I Lost You, The Foster Child and other thrillers, all of which you should definitely read, said:

"I absolutely LOVED it, move over Reacher, I have a new favourite hero."


Liz Barnsley is first off the blocks from the blogger scene:

 "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. "


Over on Netgalley, Trev T says:

"a fast exciting ride as Blake attempts to be accepted, into this rural community, by a suspicious population and police force who do not welcome the interference of outsiders. It soon becomes clear that a killer is still active and as the body count mounts the lines between the past and present become increasingly blurred. Mason Cross performs the very skilful task of shielding the real killer until the final pages and that disclosure is nothing short of ingenious. "


I'm stoked the book is going down well so far. Can't wait to hear what readers think when it's out for real...



UK trade paperback (large format)
Waterstones
Amazon
WHSmith
Hive
UK audio
Audible

Friday, 23 March 2018

Visuals

Visuals have always been a big part of my writing process.

Often, the visuals will come to me before almost anything else; like the full moon over rows of fields in Killing Season, or the ghost town in the desert in Don't Look For Me.

When I'm planning a new book, I like to gather images together that will help me get a handle on the place, characters and story I'm dreaming up.

It's really helpful for starting to visualise the locations and the world in which the book takes place. Also, it's a lot easier than writing, so yay for productive procrastination.

I've always done this, but it used to be with a mixture of old-fashioned clippings and pics saved in Word docs. For the last couple of books, I've created Pinterest boards as part of the brainstorming process. Quite often, I'll get an idea for a new story strand from an arresting image.

Here's my Pinterest board for Presumed Dead. I hope it gives you a flavour of the feel of the book.


(Yes, I have a board in progress for my 2019 book. No, I'm not showing anyone yet.)

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Readers Club exclusive


A heads up that members of my Readers Club will be getting an exclusive sneak preview of Presumed Dead tomorrow.

You can read the original prologue (deleted from the final book), which introduces one of the main characters and sets up the story.

All you need to do is go here to sign up.

Presumed Dead is published in the UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia on April 19, and you can preorder right now. Watch this space for publication dates in other territories.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Some events...



I have a few bookshop and library events coming up around the release of Presumed Dead.

If you don't live near any of these, I'll also be lining up some more soon, including CrimeFest in Bristol and Bouchercon in sunny Florida.

Click on the links for full details:


Friday 13 April | 11:30am


Tuesday 17 April | 2:30pm


Wednesday 18 April | 7:00pm
Waterstones Argyle Street (official launch)


Monday 23 April | 7:00pm
Motherwell Library (World Book Night)

Tuesday 24 April | 2:00pm

If you'd like me to visit your local bookshop or library, let them know. I'm on the Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature page for library events.

For more, keep an eye on masoncross.net/events for new dates.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Competition



This Sunday I'm going to pick a random member of my Readers Club to win a signed copy of Don't Look For Me.

This is open worldwide. Existing members and anyone who signs up before I make the draw on Sunday are eligible.

The Readers Club is completely free, you can unsubscribe at any time, and I promise not to spam you. I'll only email you when I have something to tell you about, like a new book, or a special members-only exclusive.

Of which there may be one in the next couple of weeks...

Join up here:







Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Killing Season - US ebook only $1.99!


I don't think I've had one of my ebooks on special offer in the USA yet, so I'm delighted to say American readers can get my first novel, The Killing Season for only $1.99, but not for long!

UK and elsewhere: sorry this is just in the USA, but you can get the ebook for a very reasonable price where you are too.

Available for $1.99 in all ebook formats:

Amazon
B&N
Apple
Google
Kobo
What authors say about The Killing Season

"My kind of book" - Lee Child

"Pulse pounding" - Lisa Gardner

What the press say about The Killing Season

"Not to be missed" - Daily Mail

"The suspense builds all the way to the breathtaking ending" - Publishers Weekly

What readers say about The Killing Season

“With a terrific supporting cast, the occasional moment that will have you hyperventilating and a magnificent final showdown – don’t you just love it when a book lives up to its initial promise and doesnt fall flat? – this was brilliantly done." - Liz Loves Books blog

"Top class thriller" - Fernacks (Amazon)

Friday, 23 February 2018

Presumed Dead launch - 18 April




Book launch for

Presumed Dead


Wednesday 18 April, 7pm
Waterstones Argyle Street, Glasgow



Join McIlvanney Prize longlisted author Douglas Skelton (Blood City, Tag - You're Dead) in conversation with Mason Cross for the official launch of his new novel Presumed Dead, published by Orion.

There will be a reading, a Q&A and a signing. More importantly, there will be free wine. The event is free and all are welcome.

You can register for free tickets at Eventbrite.


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Presumed Dead - Netgalley

Just a quick heads up for UK bloggers / reviewers etc that Presumed Dead is available for request on Netgalley


Everyone else can preorder from Amazon, Waterstones, Hive etc.

If you're not signed up for my free Readers Club, now's a good time to remedy that, as I'll be sending out an exclusive sneak preview of the new book in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here's the blurb...


'What do you know about the Devil Mountain Killer?'

THEN

Adeline Connor was the Devil Mountain Killer's final victim. After she was gunned down, the murderer disappeared and the killing spree ended.

NOW

Carter Blake has been hired to do what he does best: to find someone. But this time he's hunting a dead girl - Adeline Connor's brother is convinced she's still alive.

But this town doesn't want an outsider digging up old business. And as Blake gets deeper into the case, it starts to become clear that the murders didn't just stop fifteen years ago.

The killer is on the hunt again.

***************

Praise for race against time thriller writer Mason Cross:

'Mason Cross is a thriller writer for the future who produces the kind of fast-paced, high octane thrillers that I love to read.' Simon Kernick

'Terrific stuff!' Ian Rankin

'So pacy I'm exhausted! Definitely one to read if you like your thrillers thrilling' Emma Kavanagh



Thursday, 8 February 2018

Don't Look For Me is out in UK paperback today


The fourth Carter Blake book, Don't Look For Me, is published in paperback in the UK today. It's part of the series, but as always you can read it as a standalone.

Here's where to get it:


audio
Audible
(Not in the UK? Click here to see if it's available where you are.)
DON'T LOOK FOR ME 
A nail-biting new thriller ― perfect for fans of Jack Reacher, Alex Cross, and Jason Bourne ― about the desperate hunt for a woman who has a secret to kill for...

Six years ago, the woman Carter Blake loved disappeared and told him not to ever look for her. For six long years, he kept that promise. She was a woman on the run ― a woman with a secret many would kill for. It was better that she stay hidden.

But now someone else is looking for her. Trenton Gage is a hitman with a talent for finding people ― dead or alive. And his next job is to track down the woman Carter Blake once loved, a woman on the run. With both men hunting the same person, the question is: Who will find her first?

What authors thought:

"Terrific stuff!" - Ian Rankin

"Mason Cross is a thriller writer for the future who produces the kind of fast-paced, high octane thrillers that I love to read." - Simon Kernick

"So pacy I'm exhausted! Definitely one to read if you like your thrillers thrilling." - Emma Kavanagh

What the press thought:

"With few pauses for reflection, and plenty of heart-pounding, visceral action, this one immediately calls to mind Lee Child." - Booklist

"A well-plotted and tension-filled tale delivering more twists and turns than the Hampton Court maze and is packed with memorably drawn characters." - Irish Independent

What readers thought:

"Each one has been a pure joy to read and this one is no different in fact it is probably my favourite so far." - Liz Barnsley (LizLovesBooks)

"It's a fast-paced, page-turning, consumate thriller in which we learn much more about the mysterious Blake." - Keith Nixon (Goodreads)

"The plot is complex and confounding, the action fast and alarming, while the turns and surprises keep on coming. It’s a great read, I enjoyed the story, the landscape and the people inhabiting it. Mason Cross just keeps getting better and better." - FireflyScotland (Amazon)



Monday, 5 February 2018

Soundtracks - Winterlong (The Time to Kill)



The book with two names.

I've written in another post about how Winterlong came to be retitled The Time to Kill for the UK market, so if you're interested in the background to that, you can read about it here.

The third book ties up some of the loose ends about Carter Blake's past, and follows him on a breakneck journey from coast to coast, using planes trains and automobiles, as he tries to stay one step away of a team of military-trained killers.

Perhaps surprisingly, there are opportunities for musical interludes.




Winterlong | Pixies



I've waited for you, Winterlong
You seem to be where I belong

The Neil Young original is great too, of course, but I heard the Pixies cover first, and when I think of this song I always hear it in Kim Deal's voice.

When I was editing The Killing Season, I was trying to come up with a cool, evocative codename for the special ops unit of which Carter Blake was once a member. Something like Jason Bourne's Treadstone, or even shady real-world mercenary outfit Blackwater. Two-word concatenations seem to be popular in both the real life and fictional list of such names.

Winterlong seemed perfect when I thought of it. It evokes the Cold War, and also sparked the idea for the opening scene of Winterlong, which takes place in the depths of a Siberian winter.

Bring it on Home to Me | Sam Cooke




My favourite song by one of my favourite singers. From the first time I heard it I thought it would work great in a quiet moment in a movie, perhaps with two characters dancing in a motel room while it rains outside. I decided to put it in my own movie. Carol and Blake listen to this the last time they're together before he's called back to the war.

Fortunate Son | Creedence Clearwater Revival



No one actually listens to this song in the book, but Blake makes a throwaway reference to the title in one of the Afghanistan chapters. It's a standard in Vietnam movies, and it was a subtle way of drawing a parallel between the two conflicts, each intractable for different reasons.

Love Song from Apache | Coleman Hawkins




Credit to Ian Rankin for making me aware of Hawkins. Blake finds an old CD of his in the car given to him by Special Agent Banner for the final leg of his cross-country quest. It's a brilliantly atmospheric instrumental jazz piece, from the 1954 Burt Lancaster western.

Mark Billingham talks about how much he loves the moments in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books where there's a lull in the action and it's just Harry, on his balcony listening to jazz while looking out at the city. This scene was a nod to that. A quiet interlude before all hell breaks loose in a snowy corner of upstate New York...

Next time: Eagles, Skynyrd and Swift in Don't Look For Me

Soundtracks blogs:



  • The Killing Season
  • The Samaritan
  • Winterlong / The Time to Kill
  • Tuesday, 2 January 2018

    Don't Look For Me - American publication day!


    Don't Look For Me is published in hardcover, ebook and audio in the USA today by Pegasus Books!

    Here's where you can get it:


    Hardcover

    ebook

    Audiobook

    (Brits, Canadians, Australians, Kiwis - it's available where you are already.)

    DON'T LOOK FOR ME 

    A nail-biting new thriller ― perfect for fans of Jack Reacher, Alex Cross, and Jason Bourne ― about the desperate hunt for a woman who has a secret to kill for...

    Six years ago, the woman Carter Blake loved disappeared and told him not to ever look for her. For six long years, he kept that promise. She was a woman on the run ― a woman with a secret many would kill for. It was better that she stay hidden.

    But now someone else is looking for her. Trenton Gage is a hitman with a talent for finding people ― dead or alive. And his next job is to track down the woman Carter Blake once loved, a woman on the run. With both men hunting the same person, the question is: Who will find her first?


    "Terrific stuff!" Ian Rankin

    "Mason Cross is a thriller writer for the future who produces the kind of fast-paced, high octane thrillers that I love to read." - Simon Kernick

    "A well-plotted and tension-filled tale delivering more twists and turns than the Hampton Court maze and is packed with memorably drawn characters." - Irish Independent

    "So pacy I'm exhausted! Definitely one to read if you like your thrillers thrilling." - Emma Kavanagh

    "With few pauses for reflection, and plenty of heart-pounding, visceral action, this one immediately calls to mind Lee Child." - Booklist