Welcome to Desert Island Crime, where each week we ask a bestselling author: If you were stranded on a desert island and had to choose 8 books to take with you, what would you pick and why?
This week, we asked award winning author M.W. Craven, whose latest thriller Black Summer is out now, to reveal his top picks:
Joyland by Stephen King
A lesser-known work about carny life, but all his trademarks are there: a coming-of-age arc, lost love, vicious killers, a bit of horror . . . And the cover’s beautiful.
Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
While Hannibal Lecter rightly wins most people’s votes for most iconic serial killer, this outing from Dennis Lehane perfectly captures the sheer banality of evil. And, with the author unafraid of hurting his protagonists, it’s genuinely frightening stuff.
Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
My favourite book by my favourite author featuring my favourite fictional character – Commander Sam Vimes, Ankh-Morpork City Watch.
Cop Hater by Ed McBain
The first book in McBain’s legendary 87th Precinct series introduces everyone’s favourite detective second grade, Steve Carella, along with his wife to be, and my childhood crush, the deaf and mute ‘Teddy’.
We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker
It isn’t out until April 2020, but I know this book about small town America will be in my top five books for years to come. Heart-warming, heart-wrenching and laugh-out-loud funny, We Begin At The End is astonishing.
The Poet by Michael Connelly
Jack McEvoy, Connelly’s ‘most autobiographical character’, hunting down the Poet, the serial killer who murdered his brother, is crime writing at its best. The denouement still shocks me to this day.
Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen
Any of Hiaasen’s Florida-set, environmentally-charged books could have made my desert island eight, but I’ve chosen Sick Puppy as it features the iconic one-eyed ex-governor, Skink, some dog-napping and a ‘decrepit pachyderm’ with asthma. Hilarious.
California Fire & Life by Don Winslow
Another author who could have had five or six books on this list, and it was a toss-up between this title, and his more recent canon, The Force, but I went for California Fire & Life because it’s a great story. Simple as that.
by M. W. Craven
'Dark, sharp and compelling' PETER JAMES
'Fantastic' MARTINA COLE
'Britain's answer to Harry Bosch' MATT HILTON
'A powerful thriller from an explosive new talent' DAVID MARK
It's Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6
Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency's Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren't even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn't think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he's dealing with someone far, far worse - a man who calls himself the Curator.
And nothing will ever be the same again . . .
*THE NEW THRILLER FROM THE WINNER OF THE CWA BEST CRIME NOVEL OF 2019 AWARD*
Praise for M. W. Craven:
'Jaw-droppingly shocking and intense, there's no escaping this novel's tense narrative and tightly woven mystery' Women & Home on The Curator
'Superb' Daily Mail on The Curator
'An intriguing, fast-moving mystery' The Times on The Curator
'Witty, clever and shocking' Cumbria Life on The Curator
'Pacy, gory and clever' Crime Monthly on The Curator
'Atmospherically moody' Peterborough Telegraph on The Curator
'Unlike most procedurals; MW Craven grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck and drags them bodily over the grit and grimness of this expertly-crafted tale; leaving them bruised, broken, but ultimately satisified' Matt Wesolowski on The Curator
'Truly mind-blowing' A. A. Dhand on Black Summer
'A book that shines with tension, wit and invention' William Shaw on Black Summer
'Washington Poe - a rising giant in detective fiction' Alison Bruce on Black Summer
'A twisty thriller with a killer plot Ed James on Black Summer
'I loved this book!' Jo Jakeman on Black Summer
'One of the best British crime novels I've read in a long time . . . Simply an unputdownable page-turner' Nick Oldham on Black Summer
'Grabs you from the very first page. A dark and brilliantly twisted crime thriller, bringing back the inimitable Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw' Colin Falconer on Black Summer
'Dark and twisted in all the right places. Poe is a great mix of compelling, complex & charismatic, and well on his way to becoming one of the standout characters in crime fiction' Robert Scragg on Black Summer
'In Tilly and Poe, MW Craven has created a stand-out duo who are two of the most compelling characters in crime fiction in recent years. They deserve to join the ranks of Holmes and Watson, Rebus and Clarke, Hill and Jordan . . .' Fiona Cummins on Black Summer
'Dark, thrilling and unputdownable with sharply drawn characters that stride off the page' Victoria Selman on Black Summer
'Gleefully gory and witty, with a terrific sense of place' Sunday Times on Black Summer