CrimeFest 2012: Debut Authors Panel – An Infusion of Fresh Blood

From classic crime to newly published authors. The first panel of Saturday morning at CrimeFest featured five debut writers discussing their novels. Moderated by’s Chris Simmons, the eclectic panel provided a glimpse of some of the issues and themes featured in the latest crime books.

The first speaker was Thomas Enger whose first book Burned was published in July last year. The novel features Henning Juul, a journalist back at work after a traumatic incident who becomes involved in investigating a murder. Burned is the first in a planned series of six books, most of which have already been plotted. Enger spoke about the importance of mapping out the structure of his books after his previous writing attempts which were more spontaneous, but in his eyes less successful.

Next to speak was Penny Hancock, whose book Tideline is about a woman who abducts a teenage boy and keeps him prisoner in her home. The author explained that inspiration came partly from the guilt most mothers feel at failing their children in some way. The book focuses on the dangers that can emanate from within the home, usually considered to be a place of safety.

The third panelist was Damien Seamen whose book The Killing of Emma Gross is available on Kindle. The book was inspired the true story of a victim of Peter Kürten, the Dusseldorf Ripper in 1929. A number of serial murders took place during the Weimar Republic and the author explained his fascination with the period and the influence of the films of Fritz Lang.

Michael J Malone’s Blood Tears will be released on the 6th June. His view was that the Catholic experience in Scotland hadn’t been properly addressed in crime fiction and his book, in part, addresses the abuses that took place in Catholic orphanages in the 1970s. Michael is a published poet but he explained that to maintain momentum in a crime book he needed to change the way he approached his writing.

The Fall by Claire McGowan is the story of three characters involved in the case of a man accused of a murder in a London nightclub. Claire explained that she had been influenced by the social divisions that exist in modern day London and wanted to reflect this in her book. Written with three narrative voices the book addresses, through the medium of a crime, the class and race divisions that polarise under pressure.

It was an excellent panel with the authors explaining the process that saw them reach publication. Most writers had written at least one manuscript that remained unpublished but the authors were divided on the extent to which the acquisition of a publishing contract had influenced their writing.

The uniting force between the books seemed to be the location of the novels, which for the most were essential elements of the narrative, and in the case of Penny Hancock was almost a character in the book. I have both Blood Tears and Burned on my reading list after the panel and hope to read all of the books in the near future.

Thanks to Pam McIlroy for the top photo.

19 thoughts on “CrimeFest 2012: Debut Authors Panel – An Infusion of Fresh Blood

  1. I very much enjoyed Burned – the crime plot had some clunky flaws but the book as a whole was great for me because of the main character – a great depiction – and the theme of modern vs traditional journalism (epitomised by the main character and his ex (or estranged, I forget) wife/her new partner. It is also a very readable book.
    I’ve also read The Fall, which is quite good but more chick lit than crime, and Tideline over which I shall immediately draw a veil 😉
    May check out the others – thank you for the write up and the pic of two handsome panellists 😉


    1. Thanks Maxine. I’m reading ‘Burned’ right at the moment and think it is excellent. I’m going to try all the others at some point.
      I won;t ask which 2 are the handsome panellists!


  2. Thanks for these Sarah because what I really need right now is more books on my wishlist 😉 I’ve only read one of the list (Burned) but I like the sound of Blood Tears and The Fall (even if it is a bit chick lit)


  3. Audrey Geddes

    Thanks for sharing about these new great authors at CrimeFest – wish I could have attended this one! I just finished another exciting book by Andrew J. Rafkin and Louis Pagano entitled, Angels Gate, about the largest monetary heist in history in Los Angeles during the early 80s. I couldn’t put this one down! You can find the authors’ website here:


  4. Thanks for the info, Sarah. Sadly, I missed this panel event. I rather like the sound of Michael Malone’s novel. (Your link to Damien Seaman’s book is not working btw.) Three of these have crossed my desk but I shall refrain from comment at this stage…


  5. Pingback: Review: Thomas Enger – Burned « crimepieces

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