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Desert Island Crime with M.W. Craven

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.