On the run-up to Noir@TheBar Newcastle on the 21st of February, hosted by Vic Watson and assisted by Jacky Collins. I am sharing some special features with the authors who are reading at this fabulous crime fiction event. It’s a free event and is held at the Town Wall, Pink Lane, Newcastle at 7pm.
Pete Rosovsky originally set it up Noir@TheBar 10 years ago in Philadelphia.
Jackie Baldwin worked as a solicitor specialising in criminal and family law for twenty years before training as a hypnotherapist. She has two grown-up children and lives in Dumfries, SW Scotland with her husband and two dogs. Her first novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins on 2nd September 2016. Her second, Perfect Dead, will be published on 15th June 2018.
|Noir at the Bar|
Noir at the bar is like a warm hug if you are a crime writer although a crime writer will also bear in mind that that warm hug could become a stranglehold at any time. A refreshing thing about it is that there’s no hierarchy. All the writers’ names get tossed in a hat and those attending get to determine the running order. If you pick a writer out of the hat you are given a signed copy of one of their books.
The audience comes in all shapes and sizes. Some are crime readers, some are crime writers but the one thing they have in common is that they love to read crime novels. Every time I go I come back with the names of new writers I’ve heard that left me wanting more.
Pieces read can be so dark that they make you shudder or so funny that you choke on your drink. Expect the unexpected. Appearances can be deceptive.
The evenings are well paced with around three short readings then a break for a natter and a drink. People are incredibly friendly. I’m not the most outgoing person but when I came home from the last event in Edinburgh, I marvelled to myself that I had probably chatted to almost everyone in the room at some point in the evening. For me, that is unusual and a testament to the warmth and inclusiveness of these events.
Between readings, there is usually quite a bit of hilarity as, despite their penchant for grisly murders, crime lovers often have a wicked sense of humour. Snatches of conversation overheard include the best place to dump a body, how to commit the perfect murder and the merits of rhubarb gin with ginger ale.
The grand finale to the evening is always the Wild Card Round which is open to everyone. Anyone who would like to read puts their name in a hat and one person is picked out. In other words, Russian Roulette for writers! It can be someone well known or it can be someone who has been writing away in secret for years. I have been privileged to hear some of these fledgling writers take their first faltering steps. I was once one of them myself in Newcastle. In fact I remember thinking to myself as I stood there reading, vibrating like a tuning fork, that this was my very first out of body experience. It takes courage but you will never find a more supportive audience.
No mention of this event would be complete without mention of two exceptional hosts, Victoria Watson who organises Newcastle, and Jacky Gramosi Collins, also known as Dr Noir, who organises Edinburgh. Both of them are passionate supporters of crime fiction and those who write it. Without their hard work these wonderful evenings would simply not exist.
So, if you’ve never been and fancy giving it a go, why not come along to the next one? You’ll be assured of a very warm welcome!
By Jackie Baldwin for Love Books Group
|Dead Man’s Prayer|
A dark and gripping crime debut, the first in an exciting new series. Eighteen years ago, DI Frank Farrell turned his back on the church. But when an ex-priest is murdered in his hometown, he has no choice but to delve into his past. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.
Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood eighteen years earlier.
With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inexorably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when a pair of twin boys go missing. The Dumfries police force recovers one in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?
As Farrell investigates the two cases, he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.