Friday, 30 April 2010

JAW at Euro Crime

There's an excellent review of 'Judgement and Wrath' by Michelle Peckham at Euro Crime if you'd like to read it:

Thank you Michelle (and Karen)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Joe has permission to kill.

Over at the superb spy webzine, Permission To Kill, editor David Foster offers a fascinating insight into the sub-genres of the spy fiction field (books, movies and TV), and attempts to categorise where Joe Hunter sits into the wider scheme with a breakdown and investigation into Joe's latest adventure in Slash and Burn.

Reading the article made me question Joe myself, and to try to decide where/if I felt Joe resides in the world of spy-fic. I'm not going to give you my conclusions at this time, but would rather hear what your conclusions are. Do you agree with David, or do you have a singular take on Joe Hunter that you'd like to share?

Take a read of the article here and you won't be disappointed. In fact, I'm sure you'll learn something and perhaps go back and question your own characters (if you're a writer) or those characters you love to read about. Then, as per normal, you can leave me your findings in the comments below.

Thanks to David for a superb article and review.


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Dead Men's Dust - Out in the USA

The mass market paperback edition of Dead Men's Dust (Harper Fiction $7.99) is now on sale throughout the USA.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

For the (Daily) Record...

Shari Low of the Daily Record says of Slash and Burn:

"Three books into the Joe Hunter series and Matt Hilton delivers another hardcore, action-packed gritfest featuring a cold-blooded killer with a heart of gold."

For the full review, click the link above.

Thanks Shari.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Welcome to new readers (and a hat tip to existing ones)

Dead Men's Dust, the first Joe Hunter thriller, is out in paperback in the USA from this Tuesday 27th April 2010.

In fact, it's probably already in some bookshops now.

This is a huge HELLO to all the new readers looking in.

All the very best


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

'A Steven Seagal Movie in Book form'

Over at JV Steens superb blog Sons Of Spade, he gives his review of Slash and Burn. Why not take a look over there, and also have a look around while there.

JV is also the author of the Noah Milano PI books and his book White Knight Syndrome is for now out on sale.

Dead Men's (Volcanic) Dust

For over five days now, there has been a no fly zone over the UK due to ash from the Icelandic volcano eruption, with travel chaos ensuing as people stranded in far ports have tried to return home - or in fact to leave the UK. One of the overriding images I've noticed is deserted airports - often with a shot of a WHSmith travel shop in the background. It has got me thinking: has the no fly rule affected book sales or has it in fact helped? I can only wait and see.

I don't suppose that the bookshops in the airports (the ones that are empty) have done much trade, but what about the ones where people have been forced to spend many hours - have the people there been buying more books in order to kill some of the waiting time? Ferry terminals and train stations have been inundated, so have sales gone up there as well. Do people actually read when they're stranded in a strange place or do they just go into shut down as they watch the next 'CANCELLED' sign flicker up on the notice boards?

Me, I don't know. But it would be interesting to find out.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Joe Hunter Short Story

Some of you may already have read this over at my website, but here is a link to a Joe Hunter Short Story called ONE-EIGHTY.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Dead Men's Dust - Back in the USA

Dead Men's Dust will be released Tuesday 27th April 2010 throughout the USA in paperback. It features this brand new cover (look closely, it is different than the hardback).

Monday, 12 April 2010

There and back again...or a Day at York.

OK, so it's owning up time. My previous blog about crime thrillers was a test, to see how it would go down, and I'm pleased to see that it was received well.

The reason for posting it was that yesterday I was attending the Festival Of Writing at York University and that was the basis for the talk I was going to deliver (or should I say did deliver as I am now writing in retrospect).

I only wish that I'd spent more time at the festival which ran all weekend, instead of just the few hours I did yesterday. It looks like I missed a host of excellent events. Nevertheless, I could see from the short time I was there that there was a truly remarkable line-up of  both aspiring and published authors, plus agents and publishers. I was one of the last people to arrive, so didn't get the full benefit of the festival, but from what I seen, and overheard from the attendees, was that it was brilliant and smoothly run and organised.

I gave my talk. It was a new one for me, as it was different from other events where the author talks about themselves and their work. This time I was attempting to teach something useful to a large group of attentive and informed individuals. It was better than I expected and happily only sent one of the gathered crowd to sleep (really). There was more than twentyfive people packed into my room, and some great questions, answers and debate got going. The hour I was allocated flew in.

In my opinion, if any of the attendees only went to one event, (no, not mine) I must plumb for the key-note speech given by Roger Ellory to close the event. To say it was inspirational is a huge understatement and reinforces my belief that Roger is a massively talented author and generous and giving human being. His book A Quiet belief In Angels is fabulous and my favourite read of last year.

If you are an aspiring author, try to put the Festival of Writing into your calender of 'must do' events for next year.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

What is a crime thriller?

What is a thriller, anyway?

Last year, during Thrillerfest in New York, the question was posed to me: What’s the difference between a mystery and a thriller novel? Although my answer may have been a little pithy, I explained that in my opinion a mystery had a problem to be solved while a thriller had a problem to be dealt with and overcome.

Of course, this is a very limited manner in which to describe the differences. You can of course have a thriller that contains a mystery, and also most mystery books are thrilling by the very virtue of their subject matter. I’ve pondered quite a lot on the subject since, and thought it time that I put some of my conclusions on record – all of which I hasten to add are probably subject to change.

Because ‘a mystery’ pretty much tells us what to expect, I thought of which ingredients I found were necessary to make a thriller and the first thing that I came up with was that the term is very subjective. Thriller books transcend genre: we can have crime thrillers, action thrillers, adventure thrillers, historical thrillers, supernatural thrillers, sci-fi thrillers, romantic thrillers...and the list goes on. In other words, it doesn’t matter what the genre, it’s the structure and driving force behind the book that defines it as a thriller.

We can trace the thriller genre back to the earliest written tales, including The Oddessy, and the other Greek myths. Think about Theseus and the Minotour, or Perseus and the Gorgon and these were archetypal thrillers of their age. In more recent centuries we had books like Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers etc, and throughout the 20th and early part of this century we have grown familiar with the ‘thriller’ heading on books. You only have to think of The Da Vinci Code, and you'll recall all the blurbs.

Basically, a thriller can be set any where, any time, but they all have a commonality. The books are fast-paced with plenty of action and generally hold a sense of impending menace or doom.

Usually a thriller focuses on the emotion and inner workings of the protagonist who is often running away from or running towards something that is both very dangerous and life-threatening.

There is generally an under-current of good versus evil.

Many thrillers are about ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances, and are typified by the protagonist running for their lives, before turning to face and ultimately triumph over the danger. Others, like my books, tend to follow a protagonist with the skills to fight back, but who is facing overwhelming odds.

Often there is a mystery to be solved, but sometimes the danger is out there in the open for all to see and the protagonist’s story follows his/her attempts to put an end to it while also trying to stay alive or to save someone or something else.

The protagonist often has some kind of weakness – often a burden on his/her soul – and during the events of the thriller he/she must contend with and often overcome this weakness in order to avail against the danger.

Thrillers are often full of reversals and twists, that ramp up the pace as the protagonist must find new ways to contend with these surprises. Often there is a ‘ticking bomb’ where time – or the lack of – becomes an enemy in itself.

There is generally an expectation of impending violence around each corner. Violence may not always be physical – but may be delivered by way of plot twists or surprises that crash and burn their way through what the protagonist or (more importantly) the reader expects.

Tension is maintained by conflict, and by posing questions of when, where, why, what and, probably most importantly, how? (i.e How on earth is the hero going to get out of this one?) These often form the basis of a cliff-hanging chapter ending.

My list isn’t exhaustive. There are many other factors that make a thriller, and there is a huge likelihood that other thriller authors will disagree with some of my points and come up with some salient ingredient that requires adding to the pot.

So what is a crime thriller?

Ok, so taking all of the above into account, a crime thriller is basically a thriller that concentrates on the impact of a crime on the protagonist. It is not always necessary that the perpetrator of the crime be kept secret - as in a mystery novel - though this can also be a staple ingredient. (James Patterson’s early books about Alex Cross were both mysteries and thrillers). However, as long as a crime forms a backdrop to the thriller plot, then I believe we have ourselves a crime thriller. Most of the books I write involve the ‘man or woman in peril’ formula, but they are generally running for their lives due to some criminal activity or other. Some other authors I believe write crime thrillers (as opposed to straight crime procedurals) are Robert Crais, Lee Child, John Connolly, Jeff Abbott, and Simon Kernick. Other authors who might not be immediately apparent, and don’t usually appear in the ‘crime’ section in book shops, are Stephen Leather and Vince Flynn, their books being labelled as straight thrillers, and Dean Koontz, whose thrillers often get placed on the ‘horror’ shelf, even though most of their books are crime thrillers.

I'm not averse to reading any of the other style of thriller, but the contemporary setting of the crime novel, mixed with the ingredients of a thriller novel always keep me enthralled.

(A slightly shorter version of this blog originally appeared at The Thrill begins)

Friday, 9 April 2010


Recently I was asked by Jim Harrington to answer six questions regarding my role as co-editor over at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. If you'd like to hear my take on editing a fictionzine, have a click here:

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Judgement on Judgement

It's good to see a fresh round of reviews coming in for Judgement and Wrath now that it's been published in paperback, and I was genuinely thrilled to read this one from Reviewing The Evidence dot Com.

Crimefest is Coming

Click the link in the sidebar to see the full programme of events taking place, including details of all authors taking part this year (including little ol' me). Or if you prefer, you can do it here:

Soldier On

I'm the type who has to read everything he lays his eyes on (within reason) and there isn't enough hours in the day for me. When I die, my eulogy will probably lament all the books I wanted to read but never had the time. Saying that - and apart from the fact I've been known to read the ingredients on a tube of toothpaste if nothing else is to hand - I rarely read non-fiction books, preferring instead to immerse myself in the fictional world I also write in. However a book I am compelled to read is SQUADDIE by Steven McLaughlin. It is a true account of a soldiers tale about first his fight to gain admittance into the military (which was finally achieved at the ripe old age of 30 after many ups and downs) and then the three years he spent fighting on our behalf in Iraq and Northern Ireland. I happened to meet Steven at an event in St Annes, Lancashire yesterday, and he kindly gave me a copy of his book to read. I started it on the train home and almost missed my stop, I found it so engaging. It's not just a story of heroics, more about enduring terrible situations and then fighting back and raising above them - it's a heart lifting tale about achieving your aspirations and not letting any of the knocks hold you down. A good metaphorical message for all the writers who have considered giving up on their dreams.
On a second note, I write about an ex-soldier, and it was great to meet a guy who I believe is a true gentleman and someone Joe Hunter would have been proud to fight alongside - as would I.

You can find out more about SQUADDIE at

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Slash and Burn Launch: photo gallery

David Barber, Matt Hilton, Denise Hilton, Ann Magson, Col Bury
David Barber, Col Bury, Matt Hilton, Adrian Magson, Paul Grzegorzek
David Barber, Col Bury, Adrian Magson, Graham Smith, Paul Grzegorzek
Matt Hilton
Matt Hilton, Sheila Quigley
Matt Hilton, Adrian Magson

Thanks to Adrian and Ann Magson for the use of all these photographs.
As usual I didn't get my camera out!!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Thanks for making the launch special

I just want to personally thank everyone who came along to the launch of Slash and Burn and made it such a special night. It was fabulous having so many friends, family and fans of Joe Hunter along to make the evening go with a bang!

To my writing friends (in no particular order) Adrian, Sheila, Col, David, Sue, Paul, Graham, etc, I hope you found the night helpful and informative and you all had a good gas about the writing game. I apologise that I didn't have enough time to spend with each of you at length, but look forward to doing so at a future date. Thanks to you all for coming - some of you had some major travelling on your plate even to get there, and it's very much appreciated.

Thanks also to Sue Fletcher and Jack Dennison for the huge support - and to Eleni who wasn't there but made it all happen.

Thursday, 1 April 2010


We have a winner!!

There were ten absolutely brilliant short stories entered into the competition to win a signed first edition hardback copy of the third Joe Hunter thriller - Slash and Burn - all of which you can still read over at

All ten were superb and I'm glad that I put the voting out to the readers instead of having to choose one out of the bunch. Nevertheless, there could be only one.

Drumroll please..........

And the Winner is A LONG TIME COMING by Paul Grzegorzek.

Congratulations to Paul on a fast moving, thriller story that everyone agrees is absolutely brilliant.

There are of course no losers all the other entries are also top notch and I raise my glass to you all for some damn fine writing. I salute you all.

In no particular order:

GALLANCE by Col Bury

FIRESTORM by Alan Peden

TROUBLE ON A BUS by John Walker


UNDERBELLY by Anna Harris


DARK HEART by AJ Humpage


THE SET UP by David Foster

Did you spot your favourite writer?

Thanks to everyone who entered, and to everyone who read, commented and voted on their fave.