Originally in The Sun newspaper's Friday Entertainment Section
Tell us about My Criminal World…
It’s a psychological thriller wrapped around a police procedural. The narrator is struggling crime writer David, who’s battling market pressure to make his work more violent and popular. As he tries to incorporate his agent’s advice into his new crime novel, so his own world begins to unravel around him. A suspicious death suddenly and brutally enables David to sample the reality of crime inside out, so to speak.
Why is crime such a popular genre, do you think?
People like strong, urgent narratives. While crime stories need clever convincing plots, they are also grappling with life and death. What could be more important? And nowadays, the genre isn’t just about who committed the murder, but why.
Do you think men and women enjoy crime novels equally?
Women make up a staggering majority of crime fiction readers - almost 70 percent. There has been a longstanding idea that this is because women, with a keener sense of justice and social disharmony, like order to trump disorder, good to triumph over evil. Women also read more than men.
What other writers do you admire?
In the crime genre Raymond Chandler probably sits at the top for his style, his wit and his morals. His great sleuth Philip Marlowe wasn’t interested in money or keeping on the right side of the law, but in being a man of honour. And I love Patricia Highsmith for introducing us to Tom Ripley - a psychopathic murderer, who also happens to be enthralling, entertaining and unbelievably smart.
Is there a book you wish you’d written?
There are hundreds of books I wish I’d been able to write. But you are only equipped with what you’ve got - your talent, such as it is, and your experience. Sure, I’d like to have written, let’s say, The Big Sleep. But I would not want to have been Chandler.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m about halfway through my new novel - it features the lead detective from My Criminal World and her lover. Neither are happy with their working lives, but they are happy together. Then a dangerous proposition comes their way.