As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Piatkus, 16th April
2013. ISBN: 978-0-74995-811-4
I have to confess I usually prefer Nora Roberts’s books when they’re
written by J D Robb.
for people who aren’t in on the loosely-guarded secret, they’re the same
person, but two very different styles of crime fiction.
author also known as Nora Roberts doesn’t, strictly speaking, write crime
fiction; the sub-genre is romantic suspense, which means at least half of it is
going to be a love story, which is not my favourite genre at all.
Nora and J D do have a lot in common – probably more similarities than
differences. Both write great sex – and how! Both create vivid, detailed
mind-pictures of the places the books are set in – and Nora often sets hers in
stunningly beautiful surroundings. And the characters are instantly memorable,
and quickly make the reader (this one, anyway) feel she is commingling with old
last is by far the most important, as for me, fiction is all about the
characters. The best plots grow out of the people taking part in them; the more
real those people seem, the easier it is to suspend disbelief, enter their
world and lose oneself in it.
is the main reason I didn’t give up on Whiskey Beach
a couple of thousand words in, when the female love interest appeared. By that
point there was already a battered body and a suspect who was clearly innocent
in the face of damning evidence and an exhaustive police investigation. He was
also overdue for recovery from the psychological damage done by the suspicion;
and when a beautiful, intelligent, nurturing woman arrived and began to take
care of him against his will, the outcome wasn’t in much doubt.
aside the inevitable romance, which unfolded much as you’d expect, there was
plenty for the crime fiction addict to enjoy. A city private investigator
turned up and reopened the can of worms the protagonist thought he had escaped
from. Consequently the protagonist began to emerge from his black cloud and went
in search not only of the real murderer, but also of a mysterious intruder who
was digging holes in the basement of his ancestral home.
if that wasn’t enough, doubt was cast on whether an accident which happened
some months earlier actually was an accident, or if foul play was involved
(guess which turned out to be the case); and the existence of a treasure trove
which was thought to be apocryphal suddenly seemed to be a distinct possibility
was also the local community: warmth and coolness, gossip and squabbles among
minor players just as sharply drawn as the main ones, the village Character,
the pub and the shop.
you keeping up? Fortunately on the page it’s all crystal clear; Roberts takes
more than 100,000 words to develop and tie together these disparate threads and
play out the romantic element to its natural conclusion. And although with the
benefit of slight distance and a day or two’s hindsight I can see it’s all
maybe a little too bright and colourful and wishful-thinking, while I was
reading I was absorbed and engaged, reluctant to put it down and eager to pick
it up again.
still prefer Roberts’s books when they’re written by J D Robb, as, I think,
would most true crime fiction aficionados, but for a few hours of undemanding
escapism, you’ll have to go a long way to beat Whiskey Beach.
Nora Roberts was born in Silver
Spring, Maryland, the
youngest of five children. After a school career that included some time in
Catholic school and the discipline of nuns, she married young and settled in Keedysville, Maryland.
She worked briefly as a legal secretary. "I could type fast but couldn’t
spell, I was the worst legal secretary ever," she says now. After her sons
were born she stayed home and tried every craft that came along. A blizzard in
February 1979 forced her hand to try another creative outlet. She was snowed in
with a three and six year old with no kindergarten respite in sight and a
dwindling supply of chocolate.Born into
a family of readers, Nora had never known a time that she wasn’t reading or
making up stories. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and
notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a
career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish
Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981. Nora met her second
husband, Bruce Wilder, when she hired him to build bookshelves. They were
married in July 1985. Since that time, they’ve expanded their home, travelled
the world and opened a bookstore together. She is author of more than 209
romance novels. She writes as J.D. Robb for the "In Death" series,
and has also written under the pseudonym Jill March.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house
groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.