Switchblade Magazine – The Line Up

SWITCHBLADE First Issue Lineup:

Arriving in early March of 2017, and featuring a motley crew of noir fiction usual suspects, along with some new blood; here are the lucky thirteen.

The eight short fiction authors, and five flash fiction authors who will appear in the very first cut of SWITCHBLADE:

Tom Leins
Liam Sweeny
Patrick Bates
Travis Richardson
Preston Lang
Steve Liskow
William Dylan Powell
Larry Kelter
Paul D. Brazil
Jim Wilsky
Fred Zackel
Scotch Rutherford
Susan Cornford

Short, Sharp Interview: Howard Linskey

PDB: Congratulations on the deal with Penguin. How did that come about?

HL: Thanks. I’d been working on a new book with some different characters and my agent, Phil Patterson at Marjacq, sent it out to publishers.

One of the first to read it was Emad Akhtar at Penguin Random House and, luckily for me, he really liked it. They completed the deal during the London Book Fair,which was very exciting, as Phil kept calling me from the stand there to update me and I could hear the buzz of the fair in the background. It took a little while to sink in though.
Like every author, I’d dreamed of a big publisher buying my books one day. I am obviously absolutely thrilled to be moving to Penguin. They are the most iconic name in publishing so I feel really honoured to be working with them.

PDB: How do you think it will be different working with Penguin than with No Exit Press who published your previous books? 

HL: No Exit are a great publisher with a very cool list but obviously they are not as big as Penguin, so there should hopefully be more resources available for promotion and marketing, which is vital when it comes to raising awareness of a book or author. I think all authors are battling to get their books noticed and I’m no exception. Having a story launched by Penguin will hopefully give me a bit of a head start in that respect. I’ve been really impressed by my editor’s enthusiasm to make the story as strong as it can be then get the book noticed by as many people as possible.

PDB: You’ve published three very well received crime novels so far; The Drop, The Damage and The Dead. Could you tell us something about them? 

HL: David Blake is a white collar, somewhat reluctant criminal who starts out believing he can enjoy the trappings of the criminal world without any of the downsides; like violence, imprisonment or death. The wheels come off his life one day however when a large sum of money he is responsible for goes missing and he is given 72 hours to get it back or he’ll be killed. That’s how ‘The Drop’ begins. Blake is the anti-hero of three books that are all set in the Newcastle and, in each one, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the criminal underworld.

PDB: How will the books you’ll have published by Penguin differ from your previous books? 

HL: Once I’d finished the David Blake trilogy I really wanted to write something different. I was reluctant to churn out twenty very similar novels all featuring the same character. I’d been sitting on what I thought was an intriguing idea for a long while but this one was more of a mystery.

It’s set in a village in County Durham in the north east of England and involves a journalist in disgrace who returns home to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a fifteen year old girl. Then a body is found in the village but it’s not the girl. Instead it’s a sixty year old corpse and nobody knows who the victim is or why he was murdered. The journalist, Tom Carney, teams up with local reporter, Helen Norton, and out of favour Detective Constable, Ian Bradshaw, to try and uncover the truth in both cases.PDB: There was talk that The Drop being made into a television series. What’s happening there?

HL: Hopefully it will happen but it is a very slow process. The film rights to the David Blake books have been optioned by Harry Potter producer, David Barron, and are being adapted by ‘Layer Cake’ writer, J.J Connolly, so they couldn’t be in better hands. Watch this space.

PDB: You have a short story included in the next Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, edited by the legendary Maxim Jakubowski. How does that connect with the characters in your novels? 

HL: I was really honoured to be included in the ‘Mammoth Book of Best British Crime’ by Maxim. The short story features some of the supporting characters from the David Blake books but it’s set twenty years earlier than ‘The Drop’. David Blake is not in this one but the firm’s enforcers and its leader, Bobby Mahoney, the man who runs Newcastle’s criminal world, all feature. A gang of young lads tries to rip off Bobby only to belatedly realise they are well out of their league. Mahoney lines them all up on the edge of an abandoned high rise to make them talk. Hopefully it is an enjoyable read if you like crime fiction but maybe not so much if you suffer from vertigo.

PDB: Do you plan to publish more short stories? Is it very different to writing a novel? 

HL: I know that most authors write short stories but I’m the exception as I had honestly never written one before. As you know, I agreed to write it for the charity anthology, ‘True Brit Grit’, masterminded by Luca Veste and yourself then I got slightly panicky, as I didn’t know if I could even write a short story. It was very different to tackling a full length novel and I was pleased with the result in the end but I don’t know if I’ll write any more. They do take up quite a bit of time and I was really struggling to finish ‘The Damage’ around then. I edit my books a lot along the way, so I am always short of time. I also look after my young daughter outside of school hours, so I only have a limited window each day for writing.

PDB: How does your training and work as a journalist help with your writing? 

HL: I think it makes me a better and more ruthless self-editor and I am very deadline focused. As a journalist you could write the best story in the world but it will be useless if you miss the deadline and it doesn’t even make it into the paper. That old Douglas Adams’ quote, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by,” is very funny but I could never be like that. I’ve never missed one. I’m always very aware that someone is sitting there waiting for me to submit work so they can get on with their job and I hate to mess people about. Working as a journalist also helped me a lot with my new book as I was writing about a journalist in an era that I worked in, so I knew how it was to be a reporter in a pre-internet age, where mobile phones were either non-existent or rudimentary and newspapers still wielded enormous power as one of the main providers of news, along with TV and radio.

PDB: What’s up next? 

HL: I’ll be working on the second draft of my new book prior to publication by Penguinin 2015. Then I’ll be turning some of the ideas I’ve got, involving the three main characters, into books two and three. In short, the hard work starts here.

Thanks Howard!

Bio: Howard Linskey’s first novel, The Drop, was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of 2011 by The Times Newspaper. His second, The Damage, was a Top 12 Best Summer Read in the same newspaper. Both books reached the top five in the Amazon Kindle charts and the David Blake trilogy has been optioned for film by Harry Potter producer, David Barron. Originally from the north east, Howard lives in Welwyn, Herts, with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.

This interview first appeared at Out Of The Gutter Online’s Brit Grit Alley.

Out Now! The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 11

mammoth 11Edited by the legendary MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI  and includes my Warsaw set noir yarn RED ESPERANTO. (If you enjoy that BTW, pick up A CASE OF NOIR to see what happens next!) This is my third time in a MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME so a big thanks to MAXIM!

Here’s the blurb:

This superb annual anthology of the year’s most outstanding short crime fiction published in the UK is now well into its second decade. Jakubowski has succeeded, once again, in unearthing the best short crime stories of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish authors (along with a handful of US writers living in the UK, and some expatriate Brits). With this collection he showcases the impressive breadth of British crime writing, from cosy tales of detection to noir mayhem and psychological suspense and terror. There are puzzles to solve, nagging questions about the nature of British society, but, above all, there are over 40 wonderful, gripping stories to shock, delight and make you think twice, if not three times.

Contributors include Simon Kernick, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith, John Lawton, Tim Willocks, Lee Child, Stephen Gallagher, Christopher Fowler, Peter Lovesey, David Hewson. New to this series are Will Carver, Christopher J. Simmons, Susan Everett, Tim Willocks, Dreda Say Mitchell, Kate Rhodes, Rhys Hughes, Paul Charles, Howard Linskey, Peter Guttridge, Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith.

Full list of contributors: Lee Child; Kevin Wignall; Will Carver; Paul Charles; Val McDermid; Paul Johnston; Alison Bruce; Tim Willocks; Maxim Jakubowski; Rhys Hughes; Edward Marston; N. J. Cooper; Michael Z. Lewin; Peter Guttridge; Mary Hoffman; Peter Tremayne; Kate Rhodes; Paul D. Brazill; Ros Asquith; Amy Myers; Alexander McCall Smith; Nina Allan; Peter Turnbull; Jay Stringer; Martin Edwards; Zoë Sharp; Col Bury; David Stuart Davies; Howard Linskey; Susan Everett; Christopher Fowler; Dreda Say Mitchell; Roger Busby; Simon Kernick; Peter Lovesey; David Hewson; Gerard Brennan; Jane Casey; Christopher J. Simmons; Stephen Gallagher; John Lawton.

You can get it here or at loads of other places, online or in real life book shops.

Red Esperanto in The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime

Ross esperanto with a DI’m more than somewhat chuffed to announce that my Warsaw set noir story Red Esperanto (which was translated into Italian as Rosso Esperanto) has been chosen for inclusion next year’s Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, number 11 in the series.

This will be my third appearance in one of the Mammoth’s – Guns Of Brixton is in 8 and Who Killed Skippy? is in 10 – so a big thanks to Maxim Jakubowski for including the story and to Desideria Marchi and everyone else at Atlantis/ Lite editions for publishing it in the first place.

Red Esperanto is part of a seralised novel set in various European cities. The following chapters have been published so far: Red Esperanto, Death On A Hot Afternoon and The Kelly Affair, all  published by Atlantis (Also available translated into Italian.)

The next chapter-The Big Rain– is set in Toulouse and is out now.

More Updates, News, Cobblers.

ruth-jacobs-bw-1My yarn Who Killed Skippy? – which was in the first issue of Noir Nation and The Mammoth Book Of best British Crime 10 –  is over at Crime City Central, narrated by Gareth Stack. Have a dig in the archives, while you’re over there.

The Big Thrill feature Guns Of Brixton as one of their New E-Releases.

Ruth Jacobs interviews me over at her blog.

And I interview Ruth over at Brit Grit Alley!

News, Updates etc

So, what’s going on?pulp-o-paul1.jpg

Well, both of the  noir novelettes that I wrote for the Italian publisher Atlantis are now available from Amazon. In English and Italian.

You can get Red Esperanto and Death On A Hot Afternoon here.

I’ve recently finished a third story in the series. This is set in the Spanish city of Granada and should be published sometime in April.

The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 10 is NOW available for purchase.

The latest in Maxim Jakubowski’s anthology series includes stories from Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Tony Black, Richard Godwin, Col Bury, Paul Johnstone, Nick Quantrill, Steve Mosby, Ian Ayris and me, amongst others. My story, Who Killed Skippy? was first published in issue one of Noir Nation.

The eighth edition of The Mammoth Book Of  Best British Crime also includes a yarn from me called Guns Of Brixton– which was first published in CrimeFactory.

Guns Of  Brixton has been developed into a novella and will be published in May by Byker Books as part of their Best Of British series. ‘A sweary Ealing Comedy.’

And sometime in March or early April, Pulp Metal Fiction will be publishing another novella, called The Gumshoe. ‘Dostoevsky meets Tony Hancock.’

And I’ve a few  more irons in the fire too. It’s all happening!

The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 10 – The Full Line Up


A couple of years ago, I was more than somewhat chuffed to have a story- GUNS OF BRIXTON – in the eighth edition of Maxim Jakubowski‘s prestigious Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime.

And I’m doubly chuffed that Maxim has accepted another yarn- WHO KILLED SKIPPY? – for inclusion in the 10th edition, along with some stories from a host of top dog authors, such as Lee Child and Neil Gaiman.

And here is the full line-up for THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME 10.



BIG GUY  – Paul Johnston

THE CONSPIRATOR   – Christopher Fowler

SQUEAKY   – Martin Edwards


NAIN ROUGE  – Barbara Nadel


LONDON CALLING  – Ian Ayris & Nick Quantrill



STARDUST – Phil Lovesey


METHOD MURDER   – Simon Brett




THE MESSAGE   – Margaret Murphy

TEA FOR TWO  – Sally Spedding

SAFE AND SOUND  – Edward Marston

CONFESSION  – Paula Williams


WILKOLAK  – Nina Allan

WHO KILLED SKIPPY?  – Paul D. Brazill



LAPTOP  – Cath Staincliffe

BLOOD ON THE GHAT  – Barry Maitland

VANISHING ACT  – Christine Poulson

THE BETRAYED   – Roger Busby


HANDY MAN  – John Harvey


THE GOLDEN HOUR  – Bernie  Crosthwaite



THE LADDER  – Adrian McKinty

THE HOSTESS  – Joel Lane

COME AWAY WITH ME  – Stella Duffy

BEDLAM  – Ken Bruen

4 A.M., WHEN THE WALLS ARE THINNER  – Alison  Littlewood


The book is OUT NOW !

I’m in the 10th edition of The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime

The 10th edition of  Maxim Jakubowski’s legendary The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime is now available for pre-order. I was jammy enough to have a story – Guns Of Brixtonin the 8th edition, along with Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Paul Johnston, Nigel Bird, Colin Bateman, Nick Quantrill and loads of other big names. And I’ve also shoe-horned a story- Who Killled Skippy? into this one!  Corker!

Anyroads, here’s the blurb:
42 fantastic stories from Britain’s best crime writers. A superb  collection of the year’s most outstanding short crime fiction published in the  UK.
Jakubowski has succeeded, as ever, in showcasing the impressive breadth of  crime writing, from cosy tales of detection to noir mayhem and psychological  suspense and terror. There are puzzles to solve, nagging questions about the  nature of the society in which we live, but, above all, there is an abundance of  first-class entertainment. Last year saw a sixth Crime Writers Association Dagger  award for the series – shared between Margaret Murphy and Cath Staincliffe – and  an Edgar award for Peter Turnbull. All three award-winning stories are included  in this volume.Lee Child makes his debut and there is a first story from Neil  Gaiman, too, in Sherlockian rather than fantastical mode.
Return offenders  include Ann Cleeves, Phil Lovesey and Ruth Rendell, among many other familiar  names. There are a number of newcomers to the series, too, including Nina Allan,  Joel Lane and Lisa Tuttle.’
Plus Richard Godwin, Col Bury, Nick Quantrill and many, many more …

The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Volume 8 ed Maxim Jakubowski

Okay, I have a dog in this fight- I have a story here. But really and truly, there are some classic crime stories here. Favourites come from Colin Bateman, Roz Southey, Christopher Brookmyre, Sheila Quigley,Alllan Guthrie, Denise Mina, Declan Burke, Nick Quantrill, Nigel Bird, Gerard Brennan, Ray Banks, Zoe Sharp, Ian Rankin  and Adrian Magson. And there are loads more gem’s here, too.

Here’s the blurb:

This is the must-have annual anthology for every crime fiction fan. It includes the year’s top new British short stories selected by leading crime critic Maxim Jakubowski. This great annual covers the full range of mystery fiction, from noir and hardboiled crime to ingenious puzzles and amateur sleuthing. It is packed with top names such as: Ian Rankin (including a new Rebus), Alexander McCall Smith, David Hewson, Christopher Brookmyre, Simon Kernick, A.L. Kennedy, Louise Walsh, Kate Atkinson, Colin Bateman, Stuart McBride and Andrew Taylor. The full list of contributors is as follows: Ian Rankin, Mick Herron, Denise Mina, Edward Marston, Marilyn Todd, Kate Atkinson, Stuart MacBride, David Hewson, Alexander McCall Smith, Nigel Bird, Robert Barnard, Lin Anderson, Allan Guthrie, A.L. Kennedy, Simon Kernick, Roz Southey, Andrew Taylor, Sheila Quigley, Phil Lovesey, Declan Burke, Keith McCarthy, Christopher Brookmyre, Gerard Brennan, Matthew J. Elliott, Colin Bateman, Ray Banks, Simon Brett, Adrian Magson, Jay Stringer, Amy Myers, Nick Quantrill, Stephen Booth, Paul Johnston, Zoe Sharp, Paul D. Brazill, Peter Lovesey, Louise Welsh, Liza Cody, Peter Turnbull and Nicholas Royle.