Monday 29 August 2016

O Samaritano

O Samaritano is available now!

This is the Portuguese translation of The Samaritan, published by Editora 20/20's imprint Topseller. I loved their Killing Season cover (scroll down to see it) and this one is just as good.

As always, the blurb is below, followed by Google's stab at translating into English. Portuguese readers can buy a copy here.

Sobre a obra:

Após uma noite de tempestade, em Los Angeles, a detetive Jessica Allen é chamada ao local onde houve um deslizamento de terras. O motivo? Uma descoberta macabra: foi encontrado o corpo de uma jovem cujo pescoço foi degolado com um corte invulgar. No mesmo dia, são descobertos perto daquele local outros dois corpos mutilados de maneira semelhante. A detetive descobre que se trata da obra de um assassino que opera há mais de dez anos, sem nunca ter sido apanhado. É conhecido como o «Samaritano » e captura jovens desamparadas, cujos carros avariaram, deixando-as paradas e sozinhas na estrada. É então que Carter Blake aparece para oferecer os seus serviços a esta investigação policial. O secretismo em volta das suas verdadeiras intenções leva a detetive a desconfiar dele. Mas quando o Samaritano prossegue com uma escalada de assassínios, os dois terão de se unir para o deter de uma vez por todas…

Sobre autor:

Nasceu em Glasgow, na Escócia, em 1979.
Licenciou-se em Línguas e fez uma pós-graduação em Tecnologias de Informação, o que lhe permitiu descobrir que tem muito mais êxito com as palavras do que com os computadores.
O Caçador é o seu romance de estreia, da série Carter Blake. O 2.º volume, O Samaritano – que a Topseller também publicará –, foi selecionado para o Richard and Judy Book Club, um selo de qualidade.


About the work:

After a stormy night in Los Angeles, Detective Jessica Allen is called to where there was a landslide. The reason? A gruesome discovery: the body of a young man was found whose neck was beheaded with an unusual cut. On the same day, they are discovered near that place two mutilated bodies in a similar way. The detective discovers that it is the work of a killer who has been operating for over ten years, without ever being caught. It is known as the "Samaritan" and capture disadvantaged young people, whose cars avariaram, leaving the charts and on the road alone. It is then that Carter Blake appears to offer its services to this police investigation. Secrecy around their true intentions leads the detective to distrust him. But when the Samaritan continues with a murder climbing, the two must come together to stop him once and for all ...

About the author:

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1979. He graduated in Languages ​​and has a graduate degree in Information Technology, which allowed him to find that you have much more success with words than with computers.  The Hunter is his debut novel, Carter Blake series. The 2nd volume, The Samaritan - that Topseller also publish - was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, a seal of quality.

O Cacador (The Killing Season) is also available.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Top 10 Locations to Set an Action Thriller

 As it's summer, it's a good time to repost some articles and lists I've done elsewhere on The Internets.

Our first delivery of eco-conscious recycled material this year comes from Foyles, who asked me earlier this year for my top 10 locations in which to set a thriller. It was good timing as I had just finished edits on The Time to Kill, which sprawls across two different time periods, three countries and about half a dozen US states.

Here's what I came up with:

Thriller-writing has something in common with house-buying: location, location, location.

Think of some of the standout scenes in classic thriller fiction and movies. The sweeping Scottish Highlands in The Thirty-Nine Steps. The murky lawless zone of the off-shore casino in Farewell, My Lovely. The mountain-top base in the Alps in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The towering glass and steel Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard.

A twisting plot and compelling characters are important, but an evocative location can effortlessly add drama to any scene. With that in mind, here are ten of my picks for great thriller backdrops.

  1. The wilderness (particularly when the climate is inhospitable)

    A great way to pile on some extra suspense is to place the action in a wild, isolated location that’s as much of a threat to the protagonists as the villains are. In my book, The Time to Kill (Winterlong in the US), freelance manhunter Carter Blake finds himself alone and unarmed in the middle of rural Minnesota in the middle of a blizzard. He’d be in trouble even without the men with guns and hunting dogs on his trail.
  2. A bustling metropolis

    New York, Paris, London and Hong Kong are some obvious examples, but there are many more to choose from. Hubs that draw all sorts of people from around the world, home to millions upon millions of people and as many unique stories. It’s not just the mass of diverse humanity; the urban playground provides multiple opportunities for thrilling setups, from super-highways to narrow backalleys; from dingy subways to open rooftops.

  3. A small town in the middle of nowhere

    The incongruity of a sleepy little town and the threat or reality of violence is a classic setup used in a lot of thrillers, and most westerns. Isolated outposts of humanity are vulnerable to external threat, or the town itself can be part of the menace. Lee Child makes use of the understated sinisterness of small, closed communities in several of the Jack Reacher books.
  4. An abandoned post-industrial site
    Aged, dilapidated factories always make for an atmospheric backdrop to the action. I’m a big fan of photographs taken by urban explorers in disused factories and subway stations. Something about a cavernous space built for teeming masses, and now surrendered to the ravages of nature makes the characters seem all the more isolated and vulnerable.
  5. Anywhere in Russia

    Place a thriller anywhere in Russia and it immediately benefits from the residual menace of decades of Cold War spy thrillers from Fleming to Le Carré. To Western eyes, it’s still a slightly mysterious, authoritarian society, with ample scope for spy games and government-sponsored skulduggery.
  6. A confined location

    Whether it’s a cruise ship, an underground bunker, or (as in JS Law’s excellent Tenacity) a nuclear submarine, a closed, confined location is the ideal setting for claustrophobic thrills. It’s equally good for a ‘locked room’ mystery on a slightly larger scale. If the characters are cooped up together with no way to escape, the tension will ratchet up, along with the whodunit possibilities.
  7. A war zone

    A backdrop of a vast, nation-spanning conflict can be an excellent way to throw a smaller story into relief. The threat doesn’t come from one direction, it’s all around.
  8. A large crowd

    There’s nothing like a big political rally or a stadium rock concert being threatened by an evildoer to raise the stakes. With so many faces in the crowd, the threat could come from anywhere. Even from a giant blimp, in the case of Thomas Harris’s first novel Black Sunday.
  9. A train

    This actually combines a lot of the above techniques, which is probably why trains pop up more frequently in thrillers than any other form of mass transit. A train can take you deep into the wilderness. It’s a mobile confined location between stations. The killer can hide among the crowd of passengers. It’s frequently difficult to get a phone signal or internet connection. And the ticket collectors often act like throwback Soviet secret police…
  10. A phone blackspot

    If there’s one thing that makes a modern thriller novelist’s life difficult, it’s the fact that virtually any human on the planet can immediately summon help using a handy device that fits into their pocket. Putting the lead character somewhere they can’t call 999 (or 911) is a great way to emphasise their isolation and give them (rather than the writer) an extra problem.
So that's my personal favourite thriller settings, at the time of writing at least. What are yours?

Thursday 25 August 2016

Encounters, Bloody Scotland and some great reviews

It's not long now until the gore-drenched staple of the literary year that is Bloody Scotland - my event is on Sunday 11 September and I'm appearing with Steve Cavanagh and GJ Brown on a fake Americans panel, which should be a lot of fun. Book tickets here, and you can win signed books from all of us by retweeting this link:

I'm pleased to say I'm back at the fantastic Encounters Festival this year on 26 October at Coatbridge Library. Find out more about how to get your free tickets on the festival website, and check out lots of other great author events including fellow crime peeps Marnie Riches, Matt Bendoris, Sophie Hannah, Martina Cole, Theresa Talbot and Tim Weaver.

Speaking of library events, I've updated my Live Literature page over at Scottish Book Trust. If you live in Scotland, your library can book me to come and talk through this excellent scheme, so let them know about it if you would like me to visit a library near you.

As always, check the Events page on my website for new dates.

You still have until Sunday to win a signed copy of The Killing Season - all you have to do to be in with a chance is sign up to the Mason Cross Readers Club:

Join the Mason Cross Readers Club

* indicates required

The Time to Kill seems to be doing pretty well, and I suddenly seem to have a big backlog of lovely reviews to link to. See below for a taste, click through to read the full reviews:

Grab This Book says:

An action adventure (and a chase story) across the USA which kept me gripped as I read. A five star thrill-fest.

Adventures in Crime Fiction Land was lukewarm about The Samaritan but finds The Time to Kill more to his liking:

The Time to Kill is a roller coaster ride of tension, a great read that touches on geo-political issues and the war on terrorism while delivering a darn good yarn. On the basis of this and book 1 (book 2 just not being my cup of tea, though as I say, there was nothing wrong with the writing) Mason Cross is certainly somebody who's writing I will watch out for.

Meanwhile, The Crime Warp comes up with a brand new suggestion of who could play Carter Blake in the movie:

Action packed and sensitive - a James Bond type book for the 2000's (Maybe if Idris Elba doesn't get the 007 role he could play Carter Blake?- just saying).

Tweet me, Idris, we'll do lunch.

Going down under, Readings picks The Time to Kill for its best new crime reads in August:

I really love picking up a special-ops-type thriller like Cross’s The Time to Kill – they’re always so supremely satisfying. Someone’s usually died in a dramatic, sneaky fashion by the end of the prologue, there’s usually travel to all kinds of international countries (or at least their bars/hotel rooms/abandoned warehouses), the main character knows how to handle themselves, someone gets their comeuppance, people slam phones down in anger – you get it, and you love it too.

Stuff says:

If you've come across either of his first two thrillers, you will know this writer is a keeper. If not, put him on your list.

Also in the Antipodes, the radio station Newstalk ZB's resident book reviewer gives Blake's latest adventure a big thumbs up. Fans of Kiwi accents like myself will want to listen to the link in full:

The story starts to really race and it's very cleverly constructed with a dual narrative ... people that like Lee Child and Jack Reacher would probably really enjoy this.

The Morning Star calls it "a superior example of the chase thriller" and goes on to say:

[Blake's] former employers are coming after him, the truce he made with them when he left no longer in force. But they trained him well and he’s not going to be easy to kill. There’s all the set-piece action you could hope for.

If those reviews make you want to read more, the novel is available from all good bookshops - go here to buy in your chosen format. If you enjoy it, taking a moment to write an Amazon or Goodreads reviews is a big help.

That's all for now... see you in Stirling?

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Competition - win a signed first edition of The Killing Season

Want to win a signed first edition of the UK trade paperback version of The Killing Season?

It's the first novel in the Carter Blake series. Blake has to stop a lethal sniper rampaging across the Midwest. People who have said nice things about the book include Lee Child, Lisa Gardner and even one William Jefferson Clinton.

All you have to do to win a copy is sign up to my mailing list between today and midnight UK time (7pm EDT) on Sunday 28 August 2016.

It couldn't be easier - submit your name and email address below, then click on the confirmation email and you're on the list.

I only send an update when I have something interesting to report (like a new book coming out) so you don't have to worry about being bombarded with spam. That conjures up an interesting image, doesn't it?

The lucky winner will be selected at random and contacted by email to let them know they've won and to get a mailing address.

The competition is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

I'll sign it (and personalise it if you want) and post it to you, wherever you may be.

And just while I have your attention, I'd like to draw your attention to some upcoming events:

11 August - Hillhouse Library, Hamilton
6:00pm | Hillhouse Road, Hamilton, ML3 9TX
Free event - contact the library on 01698 710400 for tickets.

16 August - The Ben Cleuch Centre, Tillicoultry
7:00pm | Park St, Tillicoultry, FK13 6AG
Contact Clackmannanshire Libraries on 01259 452262 for tickets.

11 September - Bloody Scotland, Stirling
1:30pm | The Golden Lion Hotel, 8-10 King Street, Stirling, FK8 1DQ
Tickets £7.50/£6.50, available from the festival website.

26 October - Encounters Festival, Coatbridge
7:00pm | Coatbridge Library, Buchanan Centre, 126 Main Street, Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, ML5 3BJ
Free event - visit the festival website for tickets.

Okay, good luck!

Wednesday 3 August 2016

De Samaritaan - Dutch edition

De Samaritaan is out in the Netherlands today from Luithingh-Sijthoff - go here to buy! For editions in other languages, check out my website.

Blurb as follows in Dutch, Google translate effort below that:

De samaritaan    - Mason Cross 

De samaritaan van Mason Cross is het tweede boek over manhunter Carter Blake. Voor de lezers van Lee Childs serie over Jack Reacher.

Een sadistische seriemoordenaar aast op alleen reizende vrouwen met autopech. De pers heeft hem al 'de Samaritaan' gedoopt, maar zonder aanwijzingen en sporen komt het politieonderzoek al snel tot stilstand.

Dan komt Carter Blake in beeld, die de donkere gave heeft om de volgende stappen van de Samaritaan te voorspellen. FBI-agent Jessica Allen en haar collega's zijn echter achterdochtig, want hun nieuwe bondgenoot heeft verdacht veel overeenkomsten met de man die ze zoeken...

'Tot de verbeelding sprekende personages, spannend plot, strakke stijl en flink tempo. Wat wil een mens nog meer?' Vrij Nederland Detective en Thrillergids

'Een bloedspannende thriller vol spanning, avontuur, corruptie, complotten en een vleugje romantiek.' De Telegraaf


The Mason Cross Samaritan is the second book about Manhunter Carter Blake.  For readers of Lee Childs series about Jack Reacher.

A sadistic serial killer preys on women traveling alone with car trouble.  The press him 'Samaritan' baptized, but without evidence and traces is the police investigation quickly to a halt.

Dan Carter Blake comes into the picture, which has the dark ability to predict the next steps of the Samaritan.  FBI agent Jessica Allen and her colleagues, however, are suspicious, because their new ally has suspicious similarities with the man they are looking for ...

"Until imaginative characters, exciting plot, sleek style and fast pace.  What does a man want more?"  Quite Netherlands Detective and Thriller Guide

"A very exciting thriller full of suspense, adventure, corruption, collusion and a touch of romance."  The Telegraph