Short, Sharp Interview: Donna Collins

Book 1 Sacrifice

PDB: What’s going on?

I have my debut trilogy launching on 5th January 2018 and to say I’m excited is an understatement.

These three books: The Sacrifice, Resurrection, and The Undoing, have been years in the making, kicking off when my Aussie friend Natalie Joppich asked me to write a screenplay with her. Fast-forward many LA trips and meetings later and the HUNTED novels were born.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

Depends. It is very difficult to listen to Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On while I’m trying to torture and butcher a character to death. But when I do listen to music, it has to be an eighties tune. Give me a bit of Wham! Or Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up any day of the week. If I’m happy my characters survive another chapter.

Book 2 ResurrectionPDB: What makes you laugh?

Everything makes me laugh: Brian Conley, the Rush Hour films, Fawlty Towers, Greg Davis’s Taskmaster, my Pug. In fact, just a good, dirty sense of humour will bring a smile to my lips.

Apparently, according to my friends, I laugh like Harriot Potter from the Carry on Camping film – something I strongly disagree with.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Ha! Is there one? If there is, I’ve never found it.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Book 3 The UndoingEither Fowey or Polperro in Cornwall, Yosemite, or somewhere in Australia.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

Oh yes. I have a long bucket list. Cage diving with sharks in Guadalupe, hiking (crawling) the Inca Trail, Exploring the Amazon, travelling the Australian Outback, doing a cattle drive in Montanna…the list in endless.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Now the HUNTED series is done, I can move back to my original novel, which I started back in 2012. It’s a London-based thriller where a forensic scientist tries to help a woman who’s been left with amnesia after a mugging goes wrong. Of course, nothing is as it seems.

PDB: Anything else?

I may pop across the pond for the ITW conference this summer, and I’ve had an idea for a story buzzing around in my head for a few years now, so maybe that will be my fifth novel. Beyond that, it is just promoting the HUNTED and non-stop working.

Universal Studios 126s

Bio: Donna Collins was born at home in Romford, Essex, England. Five minutes later, she was one-hundred-per cent a bookworm. Her favourite novel, Enid Blyton’s The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, was a gift from her parents and now the most worn book on her bookshelf.

It was this book, and her love for 70’s and 80’s TV shows such as Hart to Hart, Charlie’s Angels, Hunter, and Dempsey and Makepeace, that lured Donna to the dark side of mystery and thriller writing. Since then, Donna has racked up many favourite authors, including Paula Gosling (A Running Duck is the second most worn book on her bookshelf), Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, and A. J. Quinnell.

Although Donna loves to write, she also loves crime – and her career proves it. Having founded her school magazine, her professional career includes not only working at OK! Magazine but also for Essex Police, Ormiston Prison Services, and Essex Offender Services. With publishing credits for freelance and commissioned magazine articles under her belt, Donna has now turned her attention and imagination to what she is best at -– storytelling.

In her spare time (what spare time?), Donna loves anything scary that will get her adrenaline pumping, including storm chasing, fright nights, zombie-infested shopping malls, and séance panic rooms – with her all-time goal involving the open sea, a cage, and a whole heap of great white sharks. Donna also proudly boasts finishing the 2010 London Marathon, but you’ll have to ask nicely if you want her to tell you where she was placed and who overtook her.

Website: www.donnacollins.co.uk

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#FRIDAY FLASH: THE ZODIAC CLUB

The Zodiac Club, at 666 Casanova Street, loomed ominously over Silver City like a great black spider waiting to ensnare its prey. Once a full moon clung to the sky, a sickly stew of screams and howls clung to the wind and drifted down to the city, coaxing Victor Brown from an already fitful sleep.

Retired Police Detective Victor Brown was a discarded and crumpled tissue of a man who spent night after night on his soaking bed as dark dreams and worse memories lapped at the shore of his sleep. Until he awoke, drowning in sweat.

Each night, violent thoughts brewed and bubbled to boiling point until, at last, one cold winter night, thought congealed into action.

*

Just after midnight, Victor stumbled out of his clammy bed and into the migraine bright bathroom. He splashed his face with water and looked in the cracked mirror at his battle-scarred face with its furrowed brow and drinker’s nose.

He stumbled back into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed. Wheezing, he poured himself a large Jack Daniels. His eyes filled up with tears as he looked at the dusty framed photo of his wife and child, on holiday outside Silver City. He picked it up and kissed it.

It had been ten years since their car had broken down and they had made the fatal mistake of going to The Zodiac Club for help.

Victor blamed himself, of course. He’d been on a stakeout and hadn’t answered the phone when his wife had called. He knew what went on behind the walls of the Zodiac Club once the moon was full and gibbous. The whole Police Department knew but what could they do? Nick Casanova owned the club and owned the whole stinking city.

He switched on the lone light bulb, which buzzed and flickered, revealing a room cluttered with wooden barrels and crates. And a large, battered, black suitcase.

Victor opened it wide. Inside were a Glock, three grenades,six silver bullets and a gleaming silver dagger. He said a silent prayer and guzzled from a bottle of bourbon before fastening a crucifix around his neck.

*

The moonlight oozed across Silver City’s shattered sidewalks like quicksilver; creeping between the cracks, crawling into the gutters. Victor slowly walked up the hill, his breath appearing in front of him like a spectre.

As he got closer to the Zodiac Club’s blinking neon sign, Victor could hear music and laughter. The screech of a woman suddenly sliced the air. Victor shivered, pulling the long black overcoat close to his flesh. He pulled out the pistol and carefully pushed open the large metal door. He paused and then stepped into the hallway.

Checking his pistol, Victor walked toward the sounds. He paused in front of a pair of wooden doors and kicked them open.

The room was suffocating in red velvet and leather. Half eaten corpses littered the marble floor and around them, feasting, were some sort of creatures – half man, half wolf.

Instinctively, Victor threw a grenade.

The next few moments were a flash of fireworks and explosions.

As the smoke subsided, the creatures crawled towards him.

There were about five of them. A couple of them ran toward Victor but he sprayed them with silver bullets. He threw another grenade and kept on firing as the wolf creatures pounced.

Then there was silence except for his heartbeat. And a snarling sound. Victor turned and saw the wolf behind him ready to attack. As he went for his revolver the wolf was on him, knocking him to the ground.

With a series of slashes from his silver Bowie knife, it was over and Victor was soaked with blood. Panting he struggled to move the werewolf’s corpse and blinked as a hand grenade rolled onto the ground. And then he looked into wolf’s bloody jaws. A grenade’s pin was attached to one of its incisors.

Victor gasped and started to say a prayer.

And then it all turned black.

(This yarn first appeared at A Twist Of Noir)

Jack Strange Reviews Cold London Blues

cold london bluesOver at his blog, Jack Strange says:

‘The story itself is a can of worms into which the freakish cast is drawn willy nilly, through their different points of contact with a criminal family, a heist, a number of hits, and one or two murders that aren’t hits.

But this book isn’t just about characters and plot.

First and foremost it’s about language, and this is where it really shines.

It’s written like a hard-boiled novel from the fifties, updated for the present day, turbocharged, and powered by rocket-fuel.

There is at least one line on every page you’ll want to quote to your friends. On many pages there are several. ‘

Read the rest here.

FIVE CRIME FICTION FAVOURITES FROM 2017.

From my decidedly faulty memory, I’ve picked 5 crime fiction books, films and TV shows that I enjoyed in 2017. There were others, of course, and plenty of pleasures outside the genre too – The Love Witch, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, and Damnation, for example.

Anyway, here you go:

small crimes

FILM

DOG EAT DOG

I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE

SMALL CRIMES

BABY DRIVER

WIND RIVER

better-call-saul

TV

BETTER CALL SAUL 

HAP AND LEONARD

TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN

FARGO

THE PUNISHER

eye for an eyeBOOKS

FATBOY – PAUL HEATLEY

EYE FOR AN EYE – PAUL HEATLEY

A MAN WITH ONE OF THOSE FACES – CAIMH MCDONNELL

VICIOUS DOGS – HENRY BROCK

A BRUTAL BUNCH OF HEARTBROKEN SAPS – NICK KOLAKOWSKI

Recommended Read: The Coming Thing by Anne Billson

the coming thingNancy is an unsuccessful London actress whose life goes decidedly pear-shaped when she gets pregnant – with the Antichrist.

Anne Billson’s The Coming Thing is a hell of a romp.

It’s like an inventive, witty and fast-moving cocktail of Ealing Comedy, the Final Destination films, The Plank, ’80s satire, and more.

The Coming Thing is a bundle of joy and is highly recommended.

 

Keith Nixon Reviews Big City Blues

25075581_10215184739034391_1005746388_oOver at Amazon.co.uk , ace crime writer Keith Nixon says:

‘Poland based British author Paul Brazill serves up another belting slice of noir with a splash of dark humour. Seven interlinked stories follow with an international flavour, leaping principally between London and New York with Durham and Cambridge thrown in for good measure, and a lengthy cast of colourful characters often with names to match (like Kenny the Cokehead and Bertie the Bolt). What Brazill does best is weave a dirty story with characters on the grey side of the law, using smart vocabulary and sharp dialogue alongside black humour which is a delight to read’