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Anatomy of a Crime Thriller

Have you ever wondered why some thrillers leave you feeling flat while others keep you on the edge of your seat, unable to turn the pages fast enough?
Great thriller writers create settings which put readers at the heart of every scene, sharing the sights, sounds, smells and textures with the protagonist. They create complex characters who are both credible and relatable so readers care what happens to them – both good and bad. And then they develop the plot, weaving their stories in and out, keeping us guessing, drawing us in.
On Saturday, 10th June 2023 The Alderney Literary Trust welcomed three best-selling crime thriller writers who spoke about their latest books and the crucial ingredients of their gripping stories.

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A perfect place to die: Kate Rhodes  

Kate Rhodes current series is based in the Isles of Scilly in a landscape that will be familiar to those of us who live on Alderney. She will talk about how the setting – the sea, the landscape, the weather, the small community – brings the terrifying story in her latest novel – The Brutal Tide – to life.

Kate first started visiting the islands aged seven, because her father was sailor who loved to hire a sailboat and visit each island in turn. Over the years she has witnessed the islands developing a strong creative community, full of artists, singer and writers. She’s also seen the effect of tragedy on the tiny community, with the Atlantic claiming the lives of too many fishermen, sailors and lifeboat volunteers. Kate has set books on all of the five inhabited islands: St Mary’s, Tresco, Bryher, St Agnes, and St Martin’s. It has taught her that each one has its own distinct identity, and she weaves plenty of local folklore and history into each of her tales.

The mind of a murderer: Elly Griffiths 

Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway has seen more than her fair share of bodies, buried by time, or buried by murder. Ruth’s story and her relationship with DCI Harry Nelson has been catalogued through 15 bestselling internationally successful crime novels by Elly Griffiths. Her characters leap off the page, their vivid personalities demanding our attention – whether we love them or fear them.

When asked about her inspiration for the Ruth Galloway series, Elly said: “I first met Ruth when I was walking across Titchwell Marsh in North Norfolk with my husband Andy, an archaeologist. Andy mentioned that prehistoric people saw marshland as sacred: because it’s neither land nor sea, but something in-between, they saw it as a space between life and death. This is why you find bodies buried there, to mark that boundary. At that moment I saw Dr Ruth Galloway walking towards me out of the mist...” 

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Jane Casey_2023 2 (c) Jonathan Goldberg.jpg

A killer plot: Jane Casey 

Jane Casey is the author of fifteen books, including ten in the Maeve Kerrigan series – which has been described as dangerously addictive – and stand-alone The Killing Kind which is soon to be broadcast in a television adaptation.

What makes a story so compelling that it is impossible to put it down until every strand is pulled together? And how does a writer raise the stakes - and the reader’s pulse?

Jane will reveal ten ways you can tell you’re actually in a crime novel and what to do about it, in the process lifting the curtain on thriller writers’ tricks of the trade and the one rule you must never, ever break . . .

The Last Remains
The Brutal Tide
The Close 204529-FCX (5)
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