Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Zoe Sharp and Priscilla Masters

Two crime writers who are friends of mine have published books recently, and I'd like to give each of them a mention. I've known Priscilla Masters for more than a decade now, and have fond memories of sharing a number of library events with her, two in Lancashire and one in the West Midlands. She's a very entertaining speaker, and though I didn't know her well that time we did our first gig together, she instantly put me at my ease. It's great fun appearing with her, because she is so good at keeping an audience interested and amused. Most recently, she was a very popular after dinner speaker at the St Hilda's conference in August.

Her latest novel, published by Severn House, is The Final Curtain. It's another entry in the long-running series featuring DI Joanna Piercy, and opens with her return to work after her honeymoon. As usual, the Staffordshire setting adds a realistic and appealing background to a story which opens with some apparently insignificant complaints from a woman who used to appear in a television soap opera. A review on the back cover compares Cilla with her friend and mine, Kate Ellis, and I think it's a good comparison.

Cilla works within the field of the police procedural and whodunit, whereas Zoe Sharp is more often associated with the thriller genre, in view of the success of her books about Charlie Fox, who is definitely someone you mess with at your peril. Zoe's another entertaining speaker, whose fields of expertise cover such diverse subjects as guns, motor bikes, and photography.

Zoe has also become something of a guru in the field of self-publishing, and she's brought out her latest, The Blood Whisperer (excellent title, wish I'd thought of it first!) via the imprint of Murderati Ink. The book is available as an ebook, but having received a trade paperback edition, I am pleased to confirm that it's attractively produced (not something that can always be taken for granted with these ventures.) This book is Zoe's first stand-alone thriller, and introduces London crime scene specialist Kelly Jacks. Zoe's a pacy writer (her short stories, one or two of which I've included in anthologies I've edited, are also very entertaining), and I'm confident this intriguing change of direction will further expand her considerable fan base.

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