Thursday, 31 December 2009


Being Scottish by birth-right and half-Scottish by blood, I can't help but feel the stirring in my breast as the skirling of bag pipes herald in a new year.

So, in true Hogmanay style, I offer you a Scottish joke to herald in 2010, and to leave 2009 behind with a fond smile.

Here ye are:

Prince Charles is visiting an Edinburgh hospital. He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness and greets one.

The patient replies:

"Fair fa your honest sonsie face,

Great chieftain o the puddin race,

Aboon them a ye take yer place,

Painch, tripe or thairm,

As langs my airm."

Charles is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient. The patient responds:

"Some hae meat an canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it,

But we hae meat an we can eat,

So let the Lord be thankit."

Even more confused, and his grin now rictus-like, the Prince moves on to the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:

"Wee sleekit, cowerin, timrous beasty,

O the panic in thy breasty,

Thou needna start awa sae hastie,

Wi bickering brattle."

Now seriously troubled, Charles turns to the accompanying doctor and asks "Is this a psychiatric ward?"

"No," replies the doctor, "this is the serious Burns unit."


I think I might have mentioned this before, but didn't have a link at the time. So here's what the Jeremy Jehu from the Telegraph newspaper recommends as thrillers of the year. It's good (I think).

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Sons of Spade - Favourites of 2009...and the winner is....

I'm thrilled to find that Judgement and Wrath has been voted the best of 2009 in the 'Best Action Scenes' category over at JV Steen's SONS OF SPADE blog site.

Take a look via this link, and please feel free to thank JV while you're there (if you wish).

Grit Lit welcomes Joe Hunter - Take Two

As the link to the Contra Costa Times website is short-lived, Myles Knapp has given permission for me to post the review he did of Dead Men's Dust direct to my blog here. My thanks to Myles for his kindness.

Grit Lit: Prolific Matt Hilton leaves other gritty writers eating his 'Dust'

By Myles Knapp

Contra Costa Times correspondent

Industry scuttlebutt — more reliable than one of those unaffiliated blogger dudes but not as reliable as this fine family publication — rages on and on about a new author prolific beyond the imagination of normal scribes.

The back story: First-time author pens a great book. By the time he's found an agent, he's finished his second book; by the time the agent is ready to send out book No. 1, writer had finished book No. 3; by the time a publisher bought No. 1, writer had finished book No. 4; and by the time book No. 1 came out in the United States and the United Kingdom, the writer had finished book No. 5.

And the good news for Grit Lit readers — publishers plan to release two Matt Hilton hardcovers a year for the next two years "... at least.

• "Dead Men's Dust" by Matt Hilton (William Morrow, $24.99, 336 pages, Joe Hunter is the perfect Grit Lit tough guy. If you haven't been able to satisfy your jones for Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Robert Crais's Joe Pike or are still rereading Travis McGee hoping John D. will rise from his grave and write another unmatched novel, dig out your credit or library card and order "Dead Men's Dust."

Hunter is a former Special Forces agent with exceptional killing skills. Skills that lead some to call him a vigilante. But if you're a single mom whose children have been threatened, Hunter's the guy you need.

Hunter is one of the most exciting new tough guys to come along in years. And he's up against a devious, smarmy, rotten, scary tough guy, Tubal Cain. Just the name makes you want to cock and lock your Glock, doesn't it?

Hunter spent years in the Special Forces hunting bad guys. His objective — kill murderous thugs, save innocent strangers. Now, with trusty SIG Sauer strapped to his side, he sets out on another mission. Only this time, it's personal.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Judgement and Wrath in large print

Those wonderful folk over at Clipper books are about due to release the large print edition of Joe Hunter 2 JUDGEMENT and WRATH.

Here's a link, if you know anyone who may like a copy:

Grit Lit welcomes Joe Hunter

I just spotted this review of both me and Dead Men's Dust in Myles Knapp's column Grit Lit at the Contra Costa Times. Although my prolific output is a tad misquoted, I'm not complaining. A damn fine review in my estimation.

Since originally posting this story I have had the pleasure of communicating with Myles Knapp, who informed me that the story runs in a number of newspapers. "Generally it runs the entire family of papers which includes the San Jose Mercury, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, San Ramon Valley Times, Marin IJ, the San Mateo Times plus a bunch of other papers. Plus they offer it for free to a bunch of non-competitive major city dailies." So it looks like the word is well and truly spreading on the West Coast of the USA. My genuine gratitude goes out to Mr Knapp.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Where to meet me...

I've just added a bunch of dates to the sidebar 'Where To Meet Matt' for where I'll be appearing in the new year. If anyone is nearby any of the venues, it would be great to see/meet you.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Musings and Paradoxies

It's that time of year when - even if you're a writer with a book to deliver - you get sidetracked by everything else going on around you. Of course, it's coming up Christmas, so I've been doing what everyone else has been doing, ordering the turkey, stockpiling the sage and onion stuffing, writing cards, selecting and wrapping presents. All the stuff synonymous with the time of year. In amongst it all, I've also been guest blogging, posting some great stories (by other authors) over at my sister site at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, and chewing the fat with other writers about their latest WIPs etc. I haven't got much done myself. Saying that, I've just finished a final edit on Joe Hunter  book 5 which I'll be sending to my publisher in the new year. Fingers crossed that all will be well and that it will be eagerly snatched up. I've also been thinking about Joe Hunter book 6 with a view to a new contract. I got a 5 book deal - but I want more!! Bru-hah-HA- HAAA!!! (Sorry, turned into an ego-maniacal world dictator there for a second or two). Seriously, it's just hit me, that as soon as I hand over book 5 then that will be my contract fullfilled and I will once again be in that uncertain situation where I'm not working to a specific deadline or with a brief of what I should be delivering or when. Exciting, but scary, at the same time.
Worry not, all ye Joe Hunterphiles, Joe won't be hanging up his trusty Sig Sauer P226. Book 5 is done but Joe isn't. I'm pretty damn certain that he'll be with me for a long time yet.
God, I'm speaking like you've already read all the books. Some of you over in the US have only had the pleasure of Dead Men's Dust up until now. Over here in the UK, Judgement and Wrath is already doing the rounds in hardback, with book 3, Slash and Burn, gearing up for an April 1st 2010 launch. Book 2 will be out in the US next spring, with book 3 in the spring of 2011. So really, I'm not out in the void, as I'm still delivering the books to my US publisher for the first three.'s a bit weird.
The publishing game is paradoxical in that way, I guess.
What I'm writing now with book 6 - supposing it does get picked up PLEASE - will be out in the UK around August/September 2011, and if the schedule doesn't change will be out in the US in 2014 (that's if those darn Mayan's haven't got it all wrong and the world doesn't end in 2012!). WEIRD (in capitals no less).
Happy holidays wherever you are

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The books that I've loved this year

I've been keeping a roll call of books that I've been reading this year, and when I look at it it surprises me that I've managed to get through so many while also writing flat-out.

I've missed some of the year's top-sellers, but haven't suffered from good reading at all.

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol was the major book of the latter end of the year. Well, if you've read it and enjoyed it and are panting for more (without going back to Mr Brown's back-list) then I have to point you at two very, very good books that tread the same world of esoteria mixed with a blend of modern intrigue and action.

First and foremost: Steven Savile's SILVER is a real barn-storming action thriller, with a plot that includes a two thousand year old 'lie', a team of tough guys (and gal) who'd be welcome to join Joe Hunter's group of friends in a heartbeat, and enough action and visceral fight scenes to keep any action thriller fan happy. I was lucky to read an advance copy of this book, but it will be on the shelves from January 2010.

The second and equally as breathtaking is Glenn Cooper's Secret of the Seventh Son AKA Library of the Dead, another book filled with ancient secrets, modern intrigue and murder and ...Area 51. If you're expecting little green men, then think again.

For thrillers, you can't by-pass Jeffrey Deaver's The Bodies left Behind. I loved this book, which was quite rightly named thriller of the year at the International Thriller Writers awards ceremony held in July 2009.

If you like Spy thrillers, then I'd the pleasure of reading Jeremy Duns' Free Agent. I don't usually read this genre much these days - although I loved Robert Ludlum's Bourne trilogy and David Morrell's Brotherhood trilogy a few years ago - so I didn't know what I was going to get with Jeremy's book. Set in the 1940's through the 1960's I found it a fabulous tale that I read in very few sittings. Double-crosses, triple-crosses, action, and a damaged anti-hero, what more could you ask from a spy thriller.

In the tough guy genre (you know the one that Joe Hunter and a certain big guy called Reacher stride across), a welcome addition came in the form of Ryan Locke. In Sean Black's Lockdown I found another worthy ally for Joe Hunter. Lockdown is a fast-moving thriller full to the neck with gunfights, hand-to-hand combat and a nasty bunch of killers you want to see Locke put away.

I'm a big Robert Crais fan, so it will be no surprise to anyone who knows me when I say The Last Detective, L.A. Requiem and Chasing Darkness have all been highlights of my reading year. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike - I need say no more.

Also, my current favourite author of all, John Connolly, had his latest Charley Parker book out this year. The Lovers was an awesome piece of writing that I devoured. It was a great addition to Parker's on-going saga and I eagerly await the next one.

British author Adrian Magson doesn't get anywhere near the recognition he should. He tells awesome tales to rival any of the American biggies and I'd the pleasure of reading (again) No Peace for The Wicked, and the more recent No Kiss For The Devil. His Gavin and Palmer books are destined for a much wider readership.

I was directed to Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men when it was pointed out that my Dead Men's Dust was reminiscent of it. I saw the movie first (which was one of my movie viewing highlights of the year), then read the book. Reading the book is almost cinematic in itself and also practically word-for-word, scene-for-scene with the movie. I found it an outstanding piece of writing.

Another author I was turned on to by virtue of having had comparisions made was the master of dialogue, Ken Bruen. Ken's American Skin was a real treat, and the villain, Dade, someone that Tubal Cain would surely compare death-lists with while enjoying a good ol' sarcastic dig at each other. I loved it.

People often decry crime fiction as being pot-boiling commercial fluff, well, they haven't read R.J. Ellorry. Roger's A Quiet Belief In Angels is that rare thing of beauty concealing a rotten core. It was a fabulous read, that brought to my mind such diverse influences asTom Sawyer, Se7en, The Waltons, Legends Of The Fall, Thomas Harris, Of Mice and Men, Stephen King's Stand By me, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Ed Gein amongst others. You want literary fiction? You want crime fiction? You want a story that will stay in your head for a while? Then, In my opinion, this is it. My favourite book of the year in this respect.

If you're looking for something to read, then let me point you at any of the above.
Also, if you're looking for fast and thrilling, may I also mention for your  consideration:
Simon Kernick
Jeff Abbott
Jack (J.A) Kerley
Sheila Quigley
and...Matt Hilton

Saturday, 12 December 2009

What The Australian says about Judgement and Wrath

Here's a review for Judgement and Wrath in The Australian - I like it even though it's in an almost-but-not-quite-as-good-as-Lee-Child-way. You can read the review here.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Phil the Shelf with Joe Hunter books

As previously mentioned, I pre-recorded an interview with Phil Rickman for BBC Radio Wales. Well, here it is. Just click here to listen in. It's a great little mix of thriller writers including MR Hall, Stella Rimington, oh, and me. If you only wish to listen to my bit, it starts at 16 minutes and 50 seconds (although I'd advise listening to the full show to get a full flavour of the show).

Monday, 7 December 2009

Guest Blog Time

Hi all,
sometimes there are things you won't write on your own blog because it feels a little like self-indulgence, but I had the pleasure of being asked to guest blog at Paul D. Brazill's blog. If you want to read what I came up with just follow ye olde link in the title above or here.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Matt's Pre-Christmas Message

For all you aspiring novelists who read this blog who haven't yet got that publishing deal...chin up. Take faith, the publishing industry may be in a bit of a mess (or a massive mess even) at present, but talent and determination will out.
Keep on keeping on, one and all.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

After The Flood...

I'm not long back from a trip out to Cockermouth - a town that has dominated the news here in the UK for the last ten days or so. Basically, Cockermouth was hit by a flood after more rain fell on Cumbria in 32 hours than ever recorded before. Ordinarily it's about a twenty minute drive for me, but on this occasion, due to road closures and unstable bridges and such it took me an hour and a half to get to the town, and perhaps another fifty minutes to get to the other side of town where I was attending the secondary school to do a talk with local aspiring writers and authors.
On the drive into town, it was a little surreal, looking at a once familiar landscape and thinking 'When did that mountain of rocks, flotsam and detritus replace all the fields?' There is one particular field that used to be a green pasture that now looks like a shale embankment or pebble beach. Unbelievable force must have scoured its way through the river valley and it was only on looking at this devastation that the true and awesome fury of nature really struck me. I'd watched bewildered at the news as it showed shops, homes and businesses (that I've regularly been in) neck deep in roaring water, but it is the aftermath that has struck me most. I parked in the east side of the town and took a walk down towards the town centre (not to gloat but find a public convenience - see, I tell all secrets here!) but found that access to the town was closed down by huge metal barriers. Even just outside the major strike zone, most of the shops and homes showed signs that they'd been flooded, and I came across two workmen bailing muddy water from a pub basement ON THE SIDE OF A HILL. It brought to light just how deep the water must have risen. Terrible.
But then, I was there to offer a little ray of light, and I hope I succeeded. The writing group (SLATE) I was there to talk to were a little lighter on attendees than usual, all down to the fact that transport to and from the venue is still a major issue. But the small group that were there were very kind and attentive and I had a good hours chat with them about the pros and cons of writing, the processes I take to produce a book, my inspiration and how I formulate ideas, my take on writer's block and getting past it etc.
All in all a good session, and I'm thoroughly pleased that I took the time to attend and pass on the benefit of my wisdom (OK, now that last bit was supposed to be a joke...just to lighten the gloomy sounding report). I hope if any of the attendees read this, then they got something out of the session. Happy and prosperous writing to you all.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Author of the month...No not me, but someone else very deserving.

When news of my five book deal broke, one of the first people to get in touch with me to offer congratulations and advice was top northern author, Sheila Quigley. As a result of this, I had the great pleasure of meeting Sheila while at last year's Crimefest in Bristol. I have kept in touch and now count Sheila as a good friend, as well as a writing colleague. But I make no apologies for adding this link (just click the title at the top) to an interview with Sheila over at CRIMESQUAD.COM where Sheila's latest book, THE ROAD TO HELL, has been picked as novel of the month. It is very well deserved.
Me and Sheila Quigley at Crimefest 2009