Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It's April Fool's Day tomorrow. Mmm... Usually we spend the morning searching our newspapers for the most unlikely story, which is usually easily identifiable as a spoof. At the moment, there are so many unlikely stories in the news that it might prove a bit more difficult this year. The Home Secretary claiming the cost of porn films on her expenses, anyone?

Well, the day before publication of THE KILL CALL I'll be spending in the Peak District. I'll be somewhere out in the neighbourhood of Dovedale, hoping that the weather will hold out and that the Easter holiday crowds haven't arrived yet (you don't want to be in Dovedale on a Bank Holiday).

Because, yes, I'm currently working on the next Cooper & Fry novel after THE KILL CALL. Ideally, publishers like the next book to be finished before the previous one is published. They're not quite to going to get it, but being a bit behind on my deadline is nothing knew. 

So while you're all getting stuck into the new book, my head will be full of a brand new story for Ben Cooper and Diane Fry. I'm giving nothing away. Though I suppose you might have guessed that a location in Dovedale comes into it somewhere...

For a glimpse of the attractions of Dovedale, try:


Copies of the new book are becoming available in lots of places. I think the cover of the hardback looks great, and is very tactile (I just love that embossing!). When you manged to get hold of it, please take the time to visit the Stephen Booth Forum to share your opinion.

Finally, a correction to the details of the event in Ely at the end of April. The phone number was wrong, and we now have a start time. This is the correct listing:

Ely Library, 6 The Cloisters, Ely, Cambridgeshire - talk to readers.
For details, phone 0345 045 5225.

Monday, March 30, 2009


George in New York City has checked in to let us know that his copy of THE KILL CALL has already arrived in NYC today, courtesy of Amazon UK and the Royal Mail. So obviously those of you who haven't ordered your copies yet are missing out big time!

The Book Depository are also shipping advance orders. As a result, THE KILL CALL is now their number 2 crime bestseller, sandwiched in between two different editions of Stieg Larsson's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO:

Book Depository bestsellers

Further events during the summer for readers in the UK:

Warsop Library, High Street, Warsop, Nottinghamshire - talk to readers.
(For details, phone 01623 842 322)

THURSDAY 30th APRIL (time to be confirmed)
Ely Library, 6 The Cloisters, Ely, Cambridgeshire - talk to readers.
For details, phone 0845 045 5225.

CrimeFest convention, Marriott Royal Hotel, Bristol.
Friday 15th May, 9 - 10am - 'The Big Heat' police procedural panel, with Edward Marston, Alison Bruce, Pauline Rowson and Michael Walters. 
Friday 15th May, 10.30 - 11.30am - 'Write what you know' panel, with Colin Campbell, Keith McCarthy, Priscilla Masters and Sue Walker.

Bollington Arts Centre, Wellington Road, Bollington, Cheshire - event for Bollington Festival.
Tickets £6 (children £4) bookable online at: 
by phone on 01625 573863 or by email: 

TUESDAY 26th MAY, 7.30pm  
La Zouch Restaurant, Kilwardby Street, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire - talk to Ashby Writers' Group.
For details, phone 01530 413371.

SATURDAY 11th JULY, 6.30pm 
Waterfront Building, University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich - 'Festival Read' event for Ipswich Arts Festival. 
(this year's Festival Read will be the 8th Cooper & Fry novel, DYING TO SIN)
TIckets £7/£5 concessions. For more information or to book a place, phone 01473 433100.

Reading Town Hall, Reading, Berkshire - 'Pyschological Crime' panel for Reading Festival of Crime Writing.
(Details to be confirmed)

Shortly, I will also be signing copies of THE KILL CALL for several UK book dealers who specialise in signed first editions. These are the books for you collectors out there. If you're itnerested, try one of these dealers:

In the USA, specialist mystery bookstore The Poisoned Pen will also be shipping some signed copies of the new book. But remember that numbers are limited!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Thanks to Sharlene of Toronto, who has emailed to tell me that HarperCollins Canada are now giving April 17th as their publication date for the THE KILL CALL. Amazon Canada agree with them - though Chapters Indigo still say it's May 15th. We shall see...

No doubt here in the UK, though, where there are definitely just four days to go! I'll be out and about as usual, meeting readers and signing copies of the new book. This year, my 'launch' signing will actually be in the Peak District. Sounds logical - but I think this is actually the first time it's happened!

The location will be Scarthin Books, in Cromford, which has the honour of being mentioned in SCARED TO LIVE as the "quirky little bookshop" where Ben Cooper is tempted to call in for a slice of homity pie. "Quirky" is definitely the word for Scarthin Books, and I dfon't think owners Dave and Clare would disagree. Their own slogan is "Britain's most enjoyable bookshop".

I'll be at Scarthin Books on Saturday 4th April, between 2 and 4pm. Naturally, I'd be delighted to see you at Cromford. You can also order a signed copy online or by calling 01629 823272.

Following my policy of supporting independent bookshops whenever possible, my second signing for THE KILL CALL will be at another local store, Bookworm in Retford, Nottinghamshire, on Saturday 10th April (10am to 12 noon). Again, owners Paul and Angerla will be happy to take your orders for signed copies in advance. They tell me they are also happy to take overseas orders. Contact them by email at sales@bookworm-online.co.uk - or you can phone with your credit card card details on 01777 869224 (+44 1777 869224 from outside the UK).

Later on, I have a number of festivals and library events to attend. Keep up to date with the latest news of events on the Stephen Booth website.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Near to the village of Eyam is Longstone Edge, another central location used in THE KILL CALL. Longstone Edge is a three-mile-long ancient limestone ridge in the Peak District National Park, prominently situated within sight of many popular tourist attractions. But campaigners say that it is being destroyed by limestone quarrying.

A lengthy legal battle to try to halt work at Backdale Quarry on Longstone Edge appeared to have been lost when the High Court ruled that the owners of the quarry could take as much limestone as they liked, for the next 34 years. The campaign went all the way to the Court of Appeal, which just two weeks ago ruled that quarrying of limestone at Backdale was illegal. 

And here are two views of Longstone Edge - one looking away from the quarrying, and one towards it:

Friday, March 27, 2009


The first chapter of THE KILL CALL is now up on the website to give you a taster of the new book. Click here to start reading:

You can also download and read an extract in pdf format from the Amazon UK website.

This year, HarperCollins have also produced an unabridged audio version of the new book. It's read by actor Will Thorp, best known for his role as paramedic Paul 'Woody' Joyner in the BBC series CASUALTY. I was just thinking the other day about all the long-running TV series that have been cancelled during the past few months - including WIRE IN THE BLOOD, HEARTBEAT, INSPECTOR LYNLEY, REBUS and so on... Even THE BILL has been cut back as a result of financial crisis facing TV networks. But the one series that has so far escaped being a casualty is... CASUALTY.

You can find the audio version of THE KILL CALL here.

Those of you who've already followed my hints and pre-ordered the book might find your copies arriving a bit earlier than you expected. Some of the online booksellers like to start shipping books out of the warehouse as soon as they come in stock if they have advance orders. 

THE KILL CALL is still the number 1 crime pre-order at The Book Depository.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


One week to go to UK publication of THE KILL CALL. Amazon UK sent out their pre-publication offer today - no doubt making good use of their vast database of previous purchases. How did people find out about new books before Amazon existed? There must have been something... Maybe they typed articles on bits of paper and distributed those in some way. It sounds mad, I know.

Anyway, right now, Amazon are combining THE KILL CALL with two other forthcoming titles - Stuart MacBride's BLIND EYE (due 30th April) and John Harvey's FAR CRY (due 7th May). That's pretty cool. 

And it's wonderful the things you can discover on Amazon. Those reviews, for a start, which give you little horrifying glimpses into the minds of your readers. But I won't go into them now... Checking out the current offer today, I was looking at the page for the new John Harvey novel. Harvey is one of my crime writing heroes, and I've been reading his books for long time. His 10 Resnick titles make up one of the all-time classic series, in my opinion (and I'm usually right, as you know). So I was tickled pink to read on Amazon that 10% of customers who view Harvey's FAR CRY go on to buy... THE KILL CALL. Good taste, I say.

Amazon are also featuring a short interview with me, which you can read here. I was asked about the 1960s Cold War theme which is also explored in THE KILL CALL, one of those ideas which linked in a strange kind of way with the subject of fox hunting. I was very interested in the legacy of the Cold War. The 1960s were a period when we lived with the day to day knowledge that a Third World War could start at any moment, giving us four minutes warning of a nuclear attack. That kind of knowledge can influence the way you live your life...

And then there was the place. The 'plague village' of Eyam (pronounced 'Eem') is one of the most moving and atmospheric places in the Peak District (which is not short of atmospheric locations!). This village isolated itself from the rest of the country when it was struck by bubonic plague, known as the Black Death. Most of the population died, and were buried by their own families. The village's history has made it a rather macabre tourist attraction.

A short version of the story of the Eyam Plague can be found here

Here's a picture of the main street in Eyam. On the left are the Plague Cottages. Each one has a plaque outside listing the names of the victims who died in that particular house. The disease, by the way, was brought to Derbyshire from London. It's always the fault of those city folk...


In addition to THE KILL CALL, I'm happy to say that the beginning of April sees the publication of an anthology of short stories by a whole host of talented British crime writers who have donated their work for charity.

CRIMINAL TENDENCIES has been produced by independent publishers Creme de la Crime.  For every copy sold, £1 will go to the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline, which is supported by the Genesis Appeal, the only charity in the UK entirely dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer. 

With a foreword by Mark Billingham, the anthology includes contributions from Reginald Hill, Val McDermid, Andrew Taylor, Peter Lovesey, Peter James, Simon Brett, Ann Cleeves, Zoe Sharp, Sophie Hannah, Martin Edwards, and many others... Oh, and there's one from me too!

Congratulations are due to first-time authors Chris Nickson and Caroline Shiach, winners of Criminal Tendencies 2009, whose stories will be featured in the anthology.

For more information the charities concerned, visit:

Or you can order a copy of CRIMINAL TENDENCIES direct from Creme de la Crime.

As it happens, my UK editor Julia Wisdom, Publishing Director at HarperCollins, is also doing her bit for breast cancer research in the next few weeks. And this actually sounds a bit harder than writing a short story...

On May 16th, Julia will be taking part in the Playtex Moonwalk - nothing to do with Michael Jackson, but an overnight marathon walk through the streets of London. The money raised goes to Walk the Walk, a grant making charity committed to raising funds for breast cancer causes. If you fancy sponsoring Julia (and I am, of course!), you can do it very easily through her page on Just Giving:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The story of THE KILL CALL brings together several ideas I was interested in. In fact, that's the way it often works with a book. Ideas, places, and themes will float around in your head for years before a link between them emerges and a story comes together.

In this case, one of the subjects was fox hunting - a real hot potato in the UK, with extreme views on both sides. Some see it as a class issue, others as a conflict between town and country. Or maybe it's just a question of cruelty to animals? 

Anti-hunting legislation was introduced four years ago - but has it stopped fox hunting? Not at all. Active support for hunting has increased dramatically since the new law came in, and exemptions to the act have made policing it impossible. Hunt saboteurs who have spent decades trying to disrupt hunts now call themselves monitors, and carry video cameras. But violent confrontations still take place. The 'antis' will always be able to point to two young people who died for the cause.

To see a particularly shocking photo from the height of the protests against the Hunting Act, click here.

Given the area that I write about, the Derbyshire Peak District, it was inevitable that I'd tackle fox hunting some day. It makes great hunting country. But of course the Eden Valley Hunt, its master, the huntsman, and menacing hunt stewards are all fictional.

Oh, and some horse lovers might find parts of THE KILL CALL a bit disturbing. In some countries, you know, they eat horses...

* THE KILL CALL is currently the number 1 crime pre-order on The Book Depository, so I guess some readers have found the site. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Okay, you're right. The countdown was supposed to start on Day 10. It would have looked so much more professional and well-planned. But somehow Real Life got in the way, and before we knew it...

Anyway, the long awaited publication in the UK of the 9th Cooper & Fry novel THE KILL CALL is exactly nine days away, on 2nd April. Lucky that we managed to avoid the 1st and all those old jokes about April Fools Day.

Long awaited? Well, it's now 18 months since the publication of book 8, DYING TO SIN, which came out in September 2007. Up to then, I'd been dutifully producing a book a year regular as clockwork, just the way publishers like it. But 2008 was the first year without a new Cooper & Fry novel. You've no idea how many quizzical messages I got from readers wondering whether they'd missed a book, because they usually had one to take their on their summer holidays, and or to give to their Mum on her birthday. I started to feel really guilty.

So here it is, then. THE KILL CALL arrives in plenty of time for your summer hols. It's also in time for Father's Day. It's even in time to catch Easter, for goodness sake - and it's much better for you than all those chocolate eggs!

So what about the rest of the world, I here you cry. Well, according to HarperCollins Australia, THE KILL CALL is released Down Under on 1st April (I guess you don't have April Fools Day down there?). If I'm not wrong that means Australia actually gets this book first. So it seems we've come a long way since way since those wooden sailing ships took six months to get round the Cape of Good Hope. You'll be getting the internet next. *

HarperCollins Canada are a bit more cautious. They have THE KILL CALL scheduled for 15th May. You can't hurry a Canuck, eh? Got to wait until all the snow has gone, I suppose. **

With one exception, other parts of the English speaking world who get the HarperCollins titles will find THE KILL CALL drifting into their bookshops some time over the next couple of months, many of you apparently preferring the 'export' trade paperback editions to the lovely hardbacks that we get here in the UK.

The exception is, of course, the USA... Well, what can I say? There is no prospect of THE KILL CALL being published in the US. You Cooper & Fry fans across the pond might want to review your options. If you ask me, your best bet could be to move to the UK. Or to Canada, of course, if you have a good pair of snow boots. ***

Failing that, there are some good independent mystery bookstores in the States who will import a few copies, such as The Poisoned Pen in Arizona. And the internet is a great thing for book buyers. Many readers in the USA tell me they buy UK editions online from The Book Depository, which has the advantage of free worldwide shipping. As it happens, I'm currently a featured author on The Book Depository's website. and THE KILL CALL is one of their most popular pre-orders:

Translations? Well, as usual, the reliable Swedes are quick off the mark, with the Swedish translation of THE KILL CALL due for publication this autumn from Minotaur. Most other countries are still catching up on the series.

And that's it for now. More news as the countdown continues!


* a joke
** another joke
*** the same as the last joke


Now, I didn't actually see this one for myself, but here's a great example of a Cooper & Fry reader "seen reading". This photo was sent to me by Chuck, of New Jersey. Great choice of beach reading, by the way...

Thursday, March 19, 2009


It's one of those activities peculiar to authors, like googling your own name, or obsessively checking your Amazon sales ranking. I'm talking about spending your time riding the train or tube, while desperately hoping to see someone to reading your book. The same urge overtakes an author who finds himself in an airport lounge or on a long-haul flight, surrounded by people holding up copies of the latest John Grisham or 'The Da Vinci Code'. Surely someone, somewhere, must be reading one of my books?

Personally, I have never yet had the satisfaction of seeing one of my readers in action. But then, I shy away from travelling on the Tube like a man invited to enjoy the delights of Hell.

Now along comes Canadian blogger Julie Wilson with a fascinating project called 'Seen Reading'. This apparently involves Julie herself travelling on the public transport system of Toronto, and randomly seizing on a reading passenger to feature on her blog. She describes it as a "literary voyeurism blog".

I assume this is all done anonymously, or some of the readers might object to their description. I stumbled across Julie's blog purely because today's victim, er... chosen reader is "Caucasian woman, late 50s, with short blonde hair, wearing tan overcoat, large glasses, and purple hat with wide brim", who was seen reading SCARED TO LIVE on the westbound train between Bloor and Castle Frank.

Thanks to Julie's sighting, I now know that Cooper & Fry readers actually do exist, somewhere out there in the wild, and are not some mythical species like the yeti.


Sunday, March 8, 2009


Crime writers often find themselves in unusual situations. But my favourite story this week comes from Peter James, creator of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace,whose resourcefulness was tested during a recent visit to a book festival in the Gulf: