Monday, 28 June 2010

Back from the flood waters

It's hard to believe when you see the accompanying photos, Cockermouth's The New Bookshop is back open for business following the devastating floods that raged through the town on 19th and 20th November last year. In each of these pics you can see the shop and the aftermath. Seeing that skip full of books wasn't the saddest thing that happened - not by a long shot - but to an author, it is still very poignant.

Any way, to celebrate the reopening Catherine Hetherington, the owner of the shop, is holding an open day on Sunday 4th July 2010 and invites everyone along to joi in the celebrations. I'll be there.

Crimespree Awards seeking nominations

Crimespree Magazine is opening the door to nominations for this year’s Crimespree Awards. You are invited to choose as many as five mystery/crime novels in each of three categories:

• Favorite Book of the Year

• Favorite First Book of the Year

• Best Book in an Ongoing Series

All books must have been published in 2009.

Send your nominations to  (deadline is 1st August 2010). Winners will be announced during opening night ceremonies at Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in San Francisco (October 14-17).

Now it's totally up to you, but if you want to you could always mention a certain 'Joe Hunter' fellow in your list of picks. Dead Men's Dust was a first book, and both DMD and Judgement and Wrath were both published in 2009, and they're both part of a series.
A hat tip to The Rap Sheet for bringing me the news.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Happy Little Accidents!

Because some people have asked, I've added a tab showcasing some of my oil paintings - you can find it above imaginitively called ART. I don't claim to be a good artist, but hey! Hope you enjoy them, and here's a taster. Can you tell what it is yet?

Friday, 25 June 2010

'Off The Wall' (and into the pages of history)

For an 'off the wall' interview with me, as well as his singular take on Joe Hunter 3 - Slash and Burn - nip on over to Lee Hughes' blog where I promise you'll have a chuckle and come away from it glad that you visited. While you're there, you might want to check out some of Lee's other stuff. He's a top writer in the horror, crime and sci-fi field and, I predict, a big name for the future.

To read the interview and book review double tap here:

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

That Matt Hilton, he's such a helpful fellow

You might have noticed that I've been tinkering with my blog to make it more user friendly, and I hope you like the end result. For ease, I've added tabs at the top of the page where I'll update info as it comes in, with cover images of my books. For ease, I've seperated the various publications so that there is now an easy reference to find Joe Hunter books in the UK format (Hodder and Stoughton) or the USA one (William Morrow and Company), as well as the various foreign translations.

Oh, and there's also a page about me (like you'd find that interesting, eh?)

Seriously, I do hope you find it helpful and do keep checking the tabs as I will be adding new stuff to them on a regular basis.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Latest reads...

I have had the pleasure recently of reading two smashing debut novels, in two quite disimmilar veins, apart from one noticeable likeness, they were both excellent.

The first is: AMERICAN DEVIL by Oliver Stark (available now from Headline books)

A brilliant debut thriller from new talent Oliver Stark. The American Devil is stalking New York’s streets. Will a cop and a psychiatrist be able to stop him?

Detective Tom Harper, one of the New York Police Department’s star homicide detectives, is on administrative leave for striking a superior officer when the city is left reeling by a series of brutal murders.

Young socialites are being targeted by one of the most gruesome killers New York has ever seen and the top brass know that Harper is the only detective who has a chance of stopping the newly dubbed ‘American Devil’ before he strikes again.

With Harper already living on the edge, they have no choice but to appoint psychiatrist, and new profiler, Denise Levene, to oversee his return. But as the murders escalate Harper and Levene find that they must work together if they are to find the killer.

The American Devil is in their city and he wants to play... the only question is do Harper and Levene have what it takes to bring him down?

A superb book that will have Thomas Harris fans jumping for joy.
And the next is: DEAD BEAT by Remy Porter (Available soon from Wild Wolf Publishing)
Haven, Population: 2000.

A place where Johnny sleepwalks the beat, counting down the hours to the end of another police shift. Burying the secret deeper.

But this is the day the world ends. The infection has spread unchecked, and now the dead have domain. Johnny is thrown into a fight to survive. The shattered community around him willing to do anything to stay alive.

But as putrefacted bodies close in, it's the villager's rotten hearts he begins to fear the most ...And beyond them the puppetmasters who started it all.

This was good viceral horror, of which I said:

"Heartbeat versus Dawn of the Dead! Porter has delivered a barn-storming horror debut where the flesh-eating, walking dead aren't necessarily the worst monsters you could meet. Fantastic stuff."

Both of these books were excellent, and knowing my readers, I think you'll enjoy them both.

Text contained herein was lifted from and from Wilf Wolf Publishing websites respectively. I don't claim them to be my own and have posted them only on behalf of spreading the word about two cool new books.

The Perfect Gift for Father's Day!

If you're in the UK or republic of Ireland, you've probably heard or read the title of this blog hundreds of times in the last few days as we approach Father's Day on Sunday 20th June.
Well, if it's good enough for everyone else, then I don't mind saying so myself. If you're stuck for a gift idea for your dear old Dad, look no further than the Joe Hunter thrillers, they're the perfect gift for Father's Day!!

OK, plug over now. Thanks for allowing me the moment of your time...and I hope your dad enjoys Joe's thrilling adventures.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

What makes me tick?

Over at Ace Spy Writer, Jeremy Duns'  blog THE DEBRIEF, I guest write with my take on one of the books that most influenced me as a crime thriller writer. If you'd like to find out what it is click here and while you're there, why not stick around a while and find out a little more about Jeremy and his creation of Paul Dark. You'll also find some fabulously researched, entertaining and educational studies on some of spy fictions most notable characters.

While on the subject, I'd also like to congratulate Jeremy on the sale of the rights to the three books in his Dark Trilogy to the BBC for an upcoming TV series. Good on you, mate.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

These Times They Are A-Changing

Two things have prompted me to write this latest blog, both of them emails. The first asked me about the availability of my books as eBooks, and I felt like a real Luddite because it's not something I've looked too deeply into, and prompted me to Google myself (now there's something that could send you blind if you do it too often) and found that my books are available for download. Here's links if anyone's interested. These take you through to Waterstone's site. My US editions are available through

Dead Men's Dust

Judgement and Wrath

Slash and Burn

To be honest, I'm one of those authors who is still holding out on the paper edition of books. As a reader I love the feel, the smell, the intimacy of a good 'real' book in my hands, but I haven't been googling so often that I'm blind to the fact new technologies keep coming at us day after day, and if Ebooks are here, then they're here and I really should get a handle on them.

Anyway, that's enough of that. The next email actually reminded me as to why I'm such a Luddite, and it's possibly true of many of my readers here (not that we haven't discovered technology or we wouldn't be here having this chat). I don't claim the following words to be my own. They were on a generic circular sent to me, and I was 'told' to share it with others. So, if you want to swamp yourself in nostalgia and have a chuckle at the good old days, read on:


"And we never had a whole Mars bar until 1993"!!! CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930's 1940's, 50's, 60's and even early 70's.

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds , KFC, Subway or Nandos.

Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gob stoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.

We ate biscuits, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii , X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY ,

no video/dvd films,

no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms...........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no Lawsuits from these accidents.

Only girls had pierced ears!

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time....

We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet! RUGBY and FOOTBALL had try outs and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on

MERIT . Our teachers used to hit us with belts and gym . shoes.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.

They actually sided with the law!

Our parents didn't invent stupid names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade' and 'Ridge' and 'Vanilla'

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO


And YOU are one of them!


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were. PS -The big type is because your eyes are not too good at your age after all that Googling.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

I've got a handful of songs to sing ya...

I've mentioned this before, and it's funny coming hot on the heels of my blog about mentoring, but as soon as news of my publishing deal hit the media, one of the first people to get in touch with me to offer her congratulations and advice, and also an insider's view of the writer's life, was fellow northerner, Sheila Quigley. Sheila is the author of the SEAHILLS series of crime books featuring detective Lorraine Hunt, who is no stranger to crime fiction readers, particularly those who like their crime to be of the gritty, inner-city variety. Sheila's books have all been bestsellers and include Every Breath You Take, Living on  a Prayer, Run For Home, and Bad Moon Rising. Most recently, the hardback of her latest book The Road To Hell was published by Tonto Books last November, and now it is the turn for the paperback release of said book.
The Road To Hell is available from all book stockists from this Thursday 17th June 2010. Sheila will be conducting a number of book signing sessions throughout the north of England, one of which will be at Waterstones, Kendal, Cumbria on the 24th July. If you're in the vicinity, why not pop in for a signed copy?

To learn more about Sheila Quigley click here:

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Rink in the flesh?

Is this really Rink kicking butt?

Could very well be.

It isn't actually, it's Chinese Herculese, but I saw him and thought of the big buy. Looks like he just caught the bloodied up dude frog gigging in  that waterfall behind them. And you know what Rink thinks of frog-giggers!!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

To mentor or not?

In a previous comment thread, I was asked about my thoughts on whether mentoring or if in fact having a mentor to help with your writing is a good thing, and I can only answer thruthfully: I don't know.

I wrote in a bit of a vacuum, in fact most of even my closest friends and colleagues didn't know that I aspired to be an author. Where I grew up people just didn't do such things. It wouldn't have been seen as being a manly thing to do in some eyes, or just a pipedream in others.

For that purpose my only mentors were the books I read, the movies I watched and the things I experienced. My first attempts at writing were in trying to emulate my literary heroes, first Willard Price, then Robert E. Howard and later writers like Don Pendleton and George G Gilman, before I found a style of my own and began working on it. Later on I began reading the current crop of writers but I'd past the emulation stage by then and was trying to find my own voice. No one can teach you that, I guess, and it's very personal to you as a writer.

Nevertheless I'm not suggesting that having a mentor is a bad thing. How could it be? As long as said mentor knows what they're talking about. Nowadays I'm blessed to have a knwoledgeable agent and some superb editors who all have an input in my writing and have tought me a lot. Plus, I have made some great friends through the writing game, and have learned an awful lot from them, being mega sellers or aspiring authors. One thing that has helped me tremendously is in the conversations I've had with aspiring authors who ask such probing questions it has forced me to think about my answers and thus I've learned and absorbed much from my answers.

I'm the first person to admit that I'm not highly educated - I'm not saying I'm thick, I just didn't get the opportunities - but I do think I'm intelligent enough. I couldn't speak knowledgeably on the construction of a book or on the make up of a perfect sentence, but I've a natural ability to string words together in a coherent and hopefully engaging manner and know how to put them down into a book. I've also the will and determination and stamina to sit at the computer and do the work. So if people seek my opinion about writing then I'll happily give it (within reason). But does that make me a mentor? I don't know. I'd rather I was just seen as a sounding board. My opinion is my own and not necessarily right. I am very nervous when writers ask me for advice on the professional aspects of their writing (that is, anything to do with how they should deal with their agent or publisher) because if I say the wrong thing and it backfires then I guess I know where the blame will be levelled. Hint: please don't ask me these kind of questions.

I think having a group of like-minded peers is a fabulous asset. Having trusted friends who will support, but also be truthful if your writing is cack, has to be a great thing. I started my other blog, Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, in an attempt at giving something back to all the aspiring authors out there trying to build their own platforms. I didn't have such tools at my disposal before I was published - being a Luddite I only went on the internet so I could get an email address so I could communicate with agents easier and didn't know what a blog was up until then. So in effect, though I'm just posting people's stories and offering support to them, I suppose that makes a mentor of me in some abstract respect. Or maybe not. I guess a mentor is someone who guides and teaches, and that's probably more like what I set out to do here at this blog. Not that I'm trying to teach anyone anything, just relating my highs and lows along the way, and hopefully giving an idea of what it's like to be published. I've learned a lot, and maybe some of my little nuggets have rubbed off (as cautionary tales?) and will help someone deal with similar travails as they arise. But, I'll say again, I dunno, I'm just speculating.

I've been asked about writing courses and writing groups and the like and if they're a good thing. Again, I'll admit that I don't know. I've never had a lesson and never been to a writing group. can it be a bad thing? It has to be good. If it helps your technical ability, makes you feel like you've gained something useful or have forged friendships with likeminnded individuals then it has to be worthy.

Off topic slightly, I'll tell you where I was a mentor. For the best part of twenty years I coached dozens if not hundreds of people in martial arts and took some of them all the way up to black belt and beyond. During that time I wasn't just trying to impart how to defend yourself but also how to conduct yourself with respect and humility and I seemed to have done so admirably. Some of my students are lifelong friends and I've watched them grow and flower into decent and dignified people. Maybe by offering the little nuggets of hope here I'll do the same for some aspiring authors, and help them achieve their own writing aspirations - not that you're not dignified and decent all ready ;-)

In re-reading that previous paragraph it sounds a little pompous, I didn't mean it to, but have left it in place as I trust in my own sentiment.

Also, if I am allowed to backtrack slightly, I'd like to redress a comment I made earlier (it's late at night, and I'm just writing stream of consciousness thoughts and stuff is still coming to me). I said I went without benefit of mentors. I think that statement was ill-informed on my part. There have been a few people who showed me kindness along the way or did impart some sage advice, and since I became a published author, some have continued to do so, so I guess that I did have mentors, albeit the type who just stepped in and out of my life at different times; but their words of advice were taken on board and have helped me get where I am today. Not all of them were writers, but their lessons have rung true.

So...mentors. Good or bad?

Good, definitely.

Just make sure you get the right ones! 'Mentors' who you have to pay extortionate amounts of money to, or you have to swear undying loyalty to, or to whom you have to give a litre of your lifeblood or first born child to, these I'd steer clear of.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Bad. Badder. Baddest. (Yep, we're talking reviews again)

Something I've often wondered about is if in fact anyone reads reviews of books and then thinks 'OOH! OOH! I MUST GO OUT AND BUY THAT!'

Funnily enough, most of the reviews I read are of books I'm already familiar with, and usually to see if I agree or not with the reviewer's take on the book. I'm not talking about prerelease blurbs, but actual reviews by readers. Prerelease blurbs are designed to excite a reader into parting with the readies, but what of the kind of reviews we see on online sites like Amazon and the such?

Have you ever read reviews on any of those sites and thought, yep, I'm gonna get that one? Usually, I've already looked for said book, then taken a glance at the reviews to see what people are saying, but would never allow them to influence my decision to purchase or not.

What I've noticed on such sites is a growing trend whereby people feel the need to diss an author's work, not only that, but to insult readers who've actually enjoyed the book as well. I'm not getting into that debate, however I think there should be some sort of control in place to discard obvious attempts to cast disrepute on people's work. If they don't like the book, that's fine. Horses for Courses. Swings and Roundabouts. And all that jazz. But as long as the review is constructive, then good. We all like constructive criticism. However, no one likes childish, vitriolic ranting that serves no purpose to anyone. These should be struck from the sites. OK, we have 'free speech' and I'm all for people having their voices heard, but not when it's obviously spiteful. If I read a book I don't enjoy, I just put it aside and pick up something I do.

I recently read that Stuart Neville (Ghosts of Belfast (UK), The Twelve (USA)) uncovered a plot to cast aspersions on his book by a serial poster on Amazon, using different log on names etc to post multiple one and two star reviews. The general consensus was that said reviewer was a frustrated, unpublished author who thought that by pulling down Stuart's success then they'd upped their own little ego in their own sad little world. Well, you ask me, the net is full of similar little people. I only hope that they don't influence prospective readers because some great books by fabulous authors have been severely shot down by some of the nay sayers. But, if you're like me, it won't.

I won't mention names, but I've found similar attacks on my books. One 'reviewer' said they gave up on Dead Men's Dust at page seven, yet went on to say that they didn't like the book (doesn't make sense). Some 'bad reviewers' for want of a better term have even banded together to back each others findings up and cast aspersions on me as an author and on people who have favourably reviewed the book. One even went as far as playing detective to hunt down as to whether I had connections to the 'good reviews'. For the record, Col Bury is a friend NOW. He wasn't when he first heard about me and my first book, and he read and subsequently wrote his review without having met me before we became friends. We became friends because he did like the book and through our mutual love of the crime thriller genre. The said reviewer now trumpets that he was right because Col now co-edits TKnC with me, and he keeps returning to add comments to other bad reviews to get himself another tick in the box. OK, he doesn't like my writing. So all I'll say to him is to move on and concentrate on someone he does, and let people enjoy the books who do so. Another reviewer gave JAW a stinking review. Fair enough. But then we have to believe that she also went out and bought and subsequently read and hated SAB too? I don't think so. Give over. I get from the review that she prefers another big name thriller writer and that's fine by me, but at least get the writer's name right. Hint: there's no 'S' at the end of his name. By the way, said big name thriller writer is a great guy, and a great writer, who would not appreciate the fact I'm being attacked in his name, I'm pretty sure about that.

I'm a pragmatist.

Some people will love my books. Some will despise them. I write for the prior category. So, when I read the 'bad review rants' I just chuckle to myself. I'm not trying to please them, so I get over it. I get some amazing and genuine feedback from people who do like the books, and one of those kind of messages means a thousand times more to me than some little pulpit basher venting steam.

Now then, before you think I'm on a rant, I'm not. I'm getting to the fun part.

I'm attending Thrillerfest V in July, and attending the awards ceremony as Dead Men's Dust has been shortlisted (by some of the most knowledgeable thriller afficionadoes in the world including a certain big name thriller writer whose name doesn't end in 'S') for the 2009 debut thriller award (Matt thumbs his nose at the bad reviewers ;-0 ). But, that's not all. A coveted prize at the awards ceremony is for the 'Worst Review of the Year!'; it's great fun and I'd like to enter. Now, the only thing is I can't be objective anymore and would like to hear what you think between my top two choices.

1. 'MR Hilton. I gave up on your book at page 65. Whatever gave you the impression you could write? regrettably Mrs...........'


2. 'This book should be promoted by Amazon as 'How to write rubbish and get paid for it". This dreck is so bad that I actually checked the first page to make sure that the first sentence wasn't 'It was a dark and stormy night...'

Answers in the comments box please...

Also, if you'd like to, let us know some of the humorous bad reviews you've had.

Have fun


Dead Men's Dust - the reviews keep on coming

My regular followers are possibly bored with reading reviews of my first book by now, but any way, here's another from Jud Hanson at who enthusiastically gives DMD 5 stars.

...and I'll enthusiastically receive them.

Thanks Jud.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The morning after....

Due to the terrifying and tragic events occurring in my home county of Cumbria, the series of events planned at libraries under the banner of Midsummer Murders has been cancelled. To conduct a series of library talks under the circumstances would be in bad taste, and I totally agree with the decision to cancel. Therefore the planned events at Carlisle, Kendal and Cockermouth libraries will not now be taking place. My apologies to those readers planning on attending these talks, but in the circumstances I'm sure you'll all understand.

As a writer I have an obligation to entertain. I try to do that to my best ability. However, although my books feature violence and gun fights, I do not advocate these actions in real life. They should be constrained to the pages of fiction and never intrude into reality. My thoughts and sympathies go out to all the families affected by the senseless shootings that took place yesterday, as well as to the police and other emergency services who conducted a remarkable job in protecting and providing care to the people of Cumbria.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Blood Court is in session.

Das Blut Gericht roughly translates to English as 'THE BLOOD COURT' and is Joe Hunter book 2 (Judgement and Wrath) to be released in the German language by HEYNE Publishers (Random House) on November 9th 2010.

Like I did with Der Knochensammler (The Bone Collector AKA Dead men's Dust), I love this cover and the gothic horror aspects of the books that my writing portray.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Cut And Run - The trailer

Turning up the HEAT

"If you like the Jack Reacher books, you'll love Hilton's series... Action-packed from start to finish."

So sayeth Boyd Hilton (no relation) of SLASH and BURN in his roundup of 'The Top New Thrillers Out At The Moment' in this weeks HEAT Magazine (dated 5 - 11 June 2010). He also says a bit more, but I'd infringe copyright if I pasted the full review. If you're a HEAT Magazine reader you can see the review on page 125 (or you can sneak a look at your mum's, sister's, wife's, girlfriend's copy if you're not).