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.
'A brutal and thrilling page-turner' The Sun
'The best pure mystery plot of the year' Morning Star
'Gleefully gory and witty, with a terrific sense of place' Sunday Mirror
After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .
Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He's currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.
So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.
Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?
And then Elizabeth goes missing again - and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.
The gripping new thriller in the Washington Poe series from M. W. Craven, winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of 2019.
Praise for MIKE 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
'Truly mind-blowing' A. A. Dhand
'A book that shines with tension, wit and invention' William Shaw
'Washington Poe - a rising giant in detective fiction' Alison Bruce
'A twisty thriller with a killer plot Ed James
'I loved this book!' Jo Jakeman
'One of the best British crime novels I've read in a long time . . . Simply an unputdownable page-turner' Nick Oldham
'Grabs you from the very first page. A dark and brilliantly twisted crime thriller' Colin Falconer
'Dark and twisted in all the right places' Robert Scragg
'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' Fiona Cummins
'Dark, thrilling and unputdownable' Victoria Selman