The One Who Got Away

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The One Who Got Away is the latest offering by Caroline Overington.

It popped up in a recommendations email from Kobo the week I was planning to fly across the Pacific.

I haven’t read any of her other books but I had seen her name in an article discussing women crime writers. Apparently, they’re doing things differently, like not having an investigator as the protagonist, so I bought the book. Had every intention of reading it on the plane. Finally got around to reading it – in one sitting – last weekend.

Intriguing story and, yes, it’s not driven by a police investigator, but what I like about the book is the way in which the story is told. It has four narrators, so you get four perspectives – five actually, when you consider that one of the narrators interviews one of the other main characters in the story who doesn’t otherwise get a say. And, I wasn’t expecting the ending.

Here’s a link to the book’s page on Kobo but you might not be able to buy yourself a copy if you are in the US – an example of the games played by publishers.

Here’s a link to Caroline Overington’s profile on Kobo so you can see what else she’s written.


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Peter Mulraney is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Holy Death

Holy Death, book 3 in the Inspector West series is now available for your reading pleasure.

Holy_Death_Cover_for_KindleMurder. Arson. Revenge.

Detective Inspector West investigates the grisly deaths of two elderly priests: one in a suspicious fire; the other obviously murdered.

The inspector is not the only one hunting the priest killer.

If you like murder mixed with mystery and conflict, you’ll probably love the suspense and intrigue in Peter Mulraney’s Holy Death, the third book in his Inspector West series

 

Grab yourself a copy from  Amazon | GooglePlay | iBooks Kobo Smashwords.


IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Crime novels

Crime novels are written for entertainment.

The stories are more about people than crime. They are a way of exploring human behaviour.

Crime stories allow us to look at why people commit acts, like murder, and at the impact of those acts on others, especially the people tasked with bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Crime novels might allow us to understand why someone committed a crime, but they also provide us with a reassurance that crimes can be solved.

Crime stories, especially murder mysteries, are also a bit of a game between authors and readers.

An author wants to keep the suspense and mystery going to draw readers into the story. Readers not only want to be drawn into a story, they also want to work out who did it before the author reveals the identity of the killer.

The author has the advantage at the start, but needs to be careful not to give the game away too early. Readers need to be wary of the difference between genuine clues and red herrings to avoid being led down the garden path.

The fun for both parties is in revealing the identity of the villain towards the end of the story. That way, the author gets to tell the story and readers get to find out if they’ve solved the crime along with the investigating detective.

Crime novels allow us to walk on the dark side of the street from the safety of our favourite reading spot.

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Inspector West is nearly ready to entertain you again in a story of murder, arson and revenge.


IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

4 drivers of crime

Crime fiction explores personal motives, like revenge or jealousy, to explain why people commit crime. But what’s driving real crime?

Four drivers to consider:

  • Poverty
  • Lack of respect
  • Greed
  • Lack of political courage

Poverty

You only have to look at the socio-economic demographic of the incarcerated population 2013-02-04 10.36.20to know this is true – if you’re brave enough to do that research.

The average cost of housing a prisoner in Australia is $292 per day or $106,580 per year, according to a recent Productivity Commission report. No doubt the costs are similar in similar jurisdictions across the western world.

It seems we can find the money to lock up the poor in our prisons but we can’t find the money to seriously address the causes of poverty in our societies.

Lack of respect

  • Lack of respect for women.
  • Lack of respect for children.
  • Lack of respect for minorities.

Why are there protests against rape and the failure to address it seriously in so many countries?

Why are we having enquiries into the sexual abuse of children?

Why is there a need for a #blacklivesmatter movement?

Why is domestic violence only now becoming part of the political agenda?

Respect does not have a dollar cost but it does require that we see each other as equal human beings.

Why is that so hard?

Greed

48This is the real reason why we all had to suffer the consequences of the so called Global Financial Crisis. This is the real reason why we are facing what Al Gore told us was the inconvenient truth of global warming. Most of those responsible don’t have a criminal record.

The reverse side of one person’s greed is the impoverishment of many. Think about the leaders of industry who pay themselves millions and their workers the basic minimum wage. What do you think the consequences of that are?

One term used to describe it is the working poor – people with full time jobs whose incomes fall below the poverty line in their society. You wouldn’t think it would be possible in some of the richest nations on earth – but it’s a reality for millions. Remember Mitt Romney’s comment on the 47% who wouldn’t vote for him?

Lack of political courage

Lack of political courage at both a national and personal level.

Politicians don’t want to rock the boat in a world of patronage, where taking the courageous stand will cost them their job. All political parties rely on ‘donations’ to survive.

Governments want to be re-elected. Everyone in government enjoys the trappings of power.

As individuals, we’re all looking after our own interests.

We have forgotten that we are part of a community.

Closing thought

The golden rule – ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’ – can be traced back to two commandments Jesus gave to his disciples:

  • Love one another.
  • Love your neighbour as yourself.

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There’s is nothing in the intention of the golden rule about screwing one another – either literally of figuratively.

Workshop Weekend

Sometimes you end up doing way too much.

I spent Friday at a Lean Management workshop. Check out this 90 second video Lean Management for a quick overview of the principles.

Yes, in case you’re wondering why I was there, it’s true – government agencies are into lean management.

The presenter took the time to point out that being a lean organisation does not mean being a malnourished organisation – one trying to improve efficiency by reducing the number of employees – a common misconception.

I devoted Saturday and Sunday to the SA Writers Centre Crime Fest workshop. Two days of panel discussions and master classes on writing crime. What a buzz.

Crime writing is alive and kicking down under. Met some interesting people, bought some books (as you do) and heard some interesting tales from a clinical psychologist, a retired deputy police commissioner and writers of crime both real and fictional.

burglarOne interesting point made by the real crime writers and the policeman was that crime fiction is generally more exciting than real crime, which is usually fairly mundane and poorly executed by unskilled criminals. So, I guess that’s why we read it.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

 

 

 

Iced

City bus stopShe waited at the bus stop, alone. He knew the bus would arrive in five minutes. She ignored him. He felt the need for ice from deep within his psyche. She read the romance she had downloaded the previous evening. He saw his target and executed his attack.

She grabbed his arm as he snatched her smartphone. He lost his balance and staggered onto the road. She screamed. He failed to look before crossing. The car did not stop, until after his head had hit the windscreen and then the road.

Her smartphone was broken.

His deep craving was iced.

Justice or retribution?

People in my part of the world are feeling dismay at the execution of two young men, convicted for drug smuggling, who had rehabilitated themselves over the last ten years of their lives on death row in an Indonesian prison.

Mind you, they were not the only ones executed by the Indonesian Justice System this week – there were seven others, and they have in excess of a hundred more on death row awaiting the firing squad.

Along with many others, I find myself wondering whether capital punishment is justice or retribution. It’s hard to believe that there are places in the world in the twenty first century that still impose mandatory death sentences for murder – let alone for drug smuggling.

Mandatory death sentences leave no room for acknowledging that people make mistakes.

Mandatory death sentences leave no room for rehabilitation.

Governments that impose them claim that they serve as a deterrent. And it’s not just governments in Asia and the Middle East. There are still States in the USA imposing the death penalty.

Seems to me that capital punishment is no more effective as a deterrent to crime than the possession of nuclear weapons has been as a deterrent to war since 1945. Interestingly, both so called nuclear superpowers have visited themselves upon Afghanistan, at different times admittedly, and I’ve lost count of the number of other wars since August 1945.

As a reader and writer of crime novels, I know that we prefer our crime stories to end with the criminal facing justice. We don’t like to think that people get away with things like murder. Criminals need to pay some sort of price for their anti-social behaviour.

In the real world, outside of crime fiction, I am left wondering whether the whole notion of justice is a fiction. Capital punishment is just another version of an eye for an eye – and that’s retribution in my book!

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

Middle class crime in the suburbs

Last week I enjoyed reading Cold Granite, Book 1 in the Logan McRae series, by Stuart MacBride, on my daily commute.

A couple of things caught my attention.

The story is set in Aberdeen, Scotland, during December, so it rains on nearly every page. This is not something we have to deal with in Australia, where if it rains during a story, it might be once in the entire book. Australians are used to foul deeds being committed in fine weather. We know a lot more about drought than deluge, despite a few recent skirmishes with floods, hail storms and cyclones. The evidence is more likely to be destroyed by fire than water down here.

burglarThe world of crime depicted by MacBride in Cold Granite is one where the criminals can only be described as social misfits from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum.

On reflection, I realised that my Inspector West series is definitely middle class crime. I wonder if I am taking that advice to write about what I know – middle class life in the suburbs – too literally.

How do you like your crime? Do you want your criminals to be socially inept, mentally challenged misfits? Or do you prefer them to be people like you who, for one reason or another, find themselves on the wrong side of the law?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

 

Writing murder

Most of us do not commit murder, except in our fantasies.

It’s okay, you can admit to those murderous thoughts you’ve had about killing your boss, your spouse, that idiot that cut you off in traffic, or the one that got the promotion you know belonged to you.

Despite our best efforts to suppress our murderous intentions, sometimes we fail. If we’re lucky we stop ourselves or someone else stops us before it’s too late. Sometimes we commit murder.

I write about murder. In the first two novels of the Inspector West series, for example, close to a dozen characters lose their lives. Crime fiction is largely about murder, although it can delve into other types of crime.

It seems we like to read about people being murdered. Maybe, like me, you’re interested in why people commit murder, or how people deal with the impact of sudden loss in their lives. The other thing about crime writing that I find interesting is the impact of what appear to be the random intersections of different storylines.

Some crime readers are into what are known as police procedurals, addicted to following how the police go about their work in solving the crime. I’m not much into police procedures. I take a minimalist approach to how the police go about doing things. I’m more interested in the people involved in the investigation.

From my perspective, the plot needs to have a resolution. Storylines have to be pulled together in a way that does not leave the reader hanging – not knowing what happened or who did it. That does not necessarily mean that the crime has to be solved by the investigating officer.

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In After, the first book in the series, the story follows a murder mystery plot. Josie Ford is murdered and the story moves towards finding out who killed her and why.

 

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In The Holiday, the second book in the series, the story follows a mystery suspense plot. Kieran Moore is killed and his grandson, Toby, is abducted. The identity of the killers is known to the reader at the time of the murder, and the story moves towards finding out Toby’s fate and whether the criminals will be caught or not.

What are you looking for when you’re reading a crime novel?

Did I get anywhere near the mark?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter