Monday, 28 February 2011

Lesson Learned (a writing tip)

I don't consider myself a political beast, in fact I'm one of those that has mixed emotions about most political agendas (sometimes known as apathy). One thing I'm not, and never have been is right wing - despite what people might think from Joe's sometimes uncompromising attitude. Like Joe though, I hate injustice, I hate bullies, and I hate racism. I think this does come out in my writing.

When leakage occurs it is inevitable that you will make a statement of sorts - deliberately or not.

When writing Blood and Ashes, I wanted the villains - a group of Neo-Nazi White Supremacists - to come over as truly deplorable and had to look to their targets in real life to make them a plausible enemy. Something I didn't consider was that the fictional elements of the book would have an impact on any of the ethnic groups I chose to use in the book. Therefore I was very surprised to see the accompanying story reported in The Jewish Telegraph, on Friday 25th February 2011.

I'm thoroughly pleased to see that Joe (and his actions) was taken in the context that I intended, and that he has been hailed as a defender of the Jews of Manhattan, as much as he is of every other race. Like I do, Joe judges people by what is in their hearts and souls, and not by race, creed or colour. His best friends Rink and Harvey proves that point.

When writing, do you consider the reaction your writing engenders in your readers? Personally I did not give it much thought before, but the lesson is learned.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

A Couple of Top Reads

Steven Savile is an awesome writer who has penned dozens of books in various genres - all of them thrilling - and his novel SILVER was one of my reading highlights of last year. Well, if you've got one of those E-reader thingamybobs and want a great read for a very low price, then hit the link above.

Also, anyone who knows me, knows I'm an admirer of Adrian Magson's work, and I'm pleased to say that his latest Harry Tate thriller is now available, called TRACERS. I haven't read it yet, but it's winging its way to me now and I can't wait. The previous Harry Tate thriller RED STATION was a great read, and another of last year's reading highlights for me.

US Crime Drama's Master Craftsman

In this week's Cumberland News, there was a great review of BLOOD and ASHES by Steve Matthews at that I felt needed sharing. I'm indebted to Steve and Gwendolyn for all their support.


Review by Steve Matthews of Books Cumbria

“Brook Reynolds woke up screaming without knowing why.” A car had tail-gated her on a mountain road, then screeched past and blocked the road. She had swerved off, the car rolling through the forest. “’Help me,’ she said again more loudly . . . ‘I’m covered in gasoline. Please . . . somebody help me.’” She could hear voices. “Then the first one said, ‘Yeah. Take these matches. You’d better finish her off.’”Brook Reynold’s vicious murder – the local cops record it as a tragic auto accident – is the reason that ex-counter-terrorism agent Joe Hunter finds himself driving north to Pennsylvania. Her father, Don Griffiths, has called for his assistance. He knows that someone is out to get him and his family. His past life has made him a target for some of the most dangerous men in America.
Joe calls at the house in Bedford Wells. He senses he is being followed. He is shown into the darkened house by a resentful Millie. “I hear you’re supposed to be some sort of knight errant these days,” she says. Joe doesn’t want to hear when Don sees it as murder, tells him about the threatening e-mail from Carswell Hicks. Hicks is supposedly dead, burnt in a helicopter accident escaping from prison. Joe walks away.
Two men are waiting, threateningly, sitting on the bonnet of his car. “Just make sure you head outa here and know what it means if you come back.” Joe had been twiddling the keys in his hand. “The sharp point rammed directly into the stocky man’s neck an inch below the lobe of his ear.” The other man was a tougher case. He was coming towards Joe “fingers tightened to spear into my exposed throat.” There was a wet sound from where Joe’s elbow hit, and the man staggered backwards, spitting out loose teeth.
Within minutes, both men are dead, in the boot of their SUV and left on a lonely trail in the forest.
Joe Hunter has been trained to the point where killing is almost an instinct. His wife left him. He’s five feet eleven, greying hair, thirteen stone and of an athletic build, ex Parachute Regiment, living in Florida and operating as a “freelance security consultant”. He is in fact a vigilante, ready to carry his SIG SAUER P226 wherever it is needed and use it to deadly effect.
And throughout “Blood and Ashes” Joe needs that gun and all his resources and training as he finds himself defending a desperate and terrified family from a vengeful master criminal. But far more is at stake. Carswell Hicks is at the heart of a fascist plot to regain white supremacy in an America ruled by Barack Obama. The Koreans are supplying plutonium isotopes and the Statue of Liberty, New York and the free world are under threat from these racist thugs.
Matt Hilton, who leads a quiet life, writing books in Abbeytown, knows what he is talking about. The violence is graphic and choreographed with all the precision of a classic ballet. Alternating chapters let Joe tells his own story, each move, each desperate blow, each telling shot, and show us the thugs, their machinations and their hot pursuit.
The novel is closely crafted, sparing in character, crowded with action. The plot builds from the threat to one family until we see how the threat involves everyone. Yet Joe Hunter is the key. It is his actions, his skill and training and his courage that will keep the world safe.
This is Matt Hilton’s fifth book. He is a master craftsmen, shaping and building his story to a dramatic and exciting climax.

Signed copies of Matt Hilton’s “Blood and Ashes” are available from Bookends, 56 Castle Street, Carlisle, and 66 Main Street, Keswick, and from

Friday, 18 February 2011

Shots Says: "A High-Octane Addition"

I'm over the moon at the reception that Blood and Ashes is garnering, and already there have been a number of superb reviews that I've posted here on the blog. The latest comes from Mike Stotter at Shots Magazine, probably the best known crime fiction site in the UK. I was chuffed to bits to read Mike's take on the latest Joe Hunter thriller. You can see it here:

Thanks to Mike and all the Shots crew.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Blood and Ashes - the latest

So there's been a little confusion over the publication of Blood and Ashes in the UK. As most of you probably know by now the book was originally coming out tomorrow on the 17th February, but for some reason (missed even by me) it came out a fortnight ago on the 3rd.

It makes having a launch event a little bit academic, but nevertheless I'm looking forward to meeting friends, family and supporters for a good get together tomorrow evening. I would like to thank Gwenda and her team at Bookends in Carlisle for their support (and patience), and also John and his team at The Merienda in advance. Likely I'll be so busy tomorrow I won't get chance to do so.

While I'm on, I just thought I'd share the proposed cover for Blood and Ashes for when it is released in paperback later this summer. I love the colours and the direction the design team have taken with this one.
Blood and Ashes paperback cover

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Coming soon...

Coming soon...

Copyrighted image Thirdactmontage 2011

Monday, 14 February 2011

WTF is Vallon Jackson?

Some of my readers here may already be aware that I have a pen name or alter ego that I use when writing non-Joe Hunter stuff, particularly if it is in the horror or humorous crime genres. I often joke that my pseudonym is the worst kept secret on the blogosphere, but some of you might have missed it. The name is Vallon Jackson. Sounds a bit strange, I hear you say. There's a story behind it that I might tell one day, or maybe some more astute family member or friend might spot what the connection is.

Anyway, you're probably wondering why I mention this.

There's a good reason.

I was asked to submit a story to an anthology coming in June 2011 from WILD WOLF PUBLISHING
( ) to which I jumped at the opportunity. The only thing is that the story APOCALYPSE NOO is not a typical 'Matt Hilton' tale, but one definitely from the off-kilter mind of Vallon Jackson.

Here was the brief: "write a zombie story but with a holiday theme", so you can probably see where I'm coming from. In Apocalypse Noo I draw on a recent trip to Scotland, and the scaremongering news stories we've all been hearing lately. The way the news has been, anyone would be forgiven for thinking the end of the world is nigh!?!

I hope my readers enjoy the story when it comes available this June. I'm going to be in good company. Some others already noted as being involved in this most anticipated Zombie anthology are Remy Porter (author of Dead Beat), Tony Burgess (author screenwriter of Canadian zombie flick, Pontypool), John Russo (co-writer of the classic, genre-creating Night of the Living Dead), amongst many other notables of the horror genre. The book WISH YOU WERE UN-DEAD looks to be a great one, and I hope some of you will keep an eye out for it. It's a move for me (although you can read some earlier Vallon Jackson via the links on this page) but one I hope you enjoy. Don't worry, Joe Hunter will still be going from strength to strength.

Matt (or Vallon depending on how you look at it).

The evidence is in...

Here's a very good review of Blood and Ashes from Linda Wilson at Reviewing the Evidence.

Reading it, I had to smile. Linda feels that Joe Hunter's introspection in this outing slowed things a tad, while other reviewers have pointed out the same thing as adding depth, humanity and character to Joe. It just proves that you can't please everyone all the time ;-)


...and thanks to Linda for a balanced and well-received review.

Cut and Run at Eurocrime

Michelle Peckham offers her take on Cut and Run over at Eurocrime.

Thanks Michelle.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Talking about Souls

Me talking about Judgment and Wrath at Thrillerfest 2010

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

News from the USA

I recently had a great chat with my US editor at William Morrow and company, talking over plans for the future Joe Hunter books and have come to a couple of exciting decisions to help spread the books to a larger reading market.

The big news is that both Slash and Burn (book 3) and Cut and Run (book 4) will be released as mass market originals, both of them this coming Winter. Slash and Burn will be out in November, with Cut and Run coming out only one month later in December. I'm thrilled as it means that the publication schedule will pick up now to reflect more closely that adopted in the UK. It is then my belief that a mass market edition of Judgment and Wrath will be released the following spring, with further editions still to be decided on.

Because of the new publication strategy I have agreed to write a new introductory chapter to Slash and Burn, so, even if you have read the UK edition, there will be something new and unique in the US version.

The team at William Morrow are currently working hard on designing the covers for the coming books and as soon as I have them I'll share them with you.

Hope my US readers are as pleased as I am at this news.


Monday, 7 February 2011

This is more optimistic :-)

In response to my previous post, Sue Harding puts forward a plan to get everyone reading again. I'm signing up and happy to do so.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

This is worrying :-(

Author Leigh Russell talks about the imminent closure of 20 Waterstone's stores throughout the UK. A worrying prospect for authors, a sad day for readers.

New Look for SHOTSMAG

Shotsmag is one of the top crime and thriller websites in - not only the Uk - the world, and without doubt anyone interested in crime fiction in general have visited at one time or another. In the last few days the wonderful editors at the site have revamped the look of their website, making it fresh and vibrant and a treat for the eyes. Something I'm thrilled about is that the good folks there have chosen to feature me and Joe Hunter in an article entitled 'An Englishman Abroad' as well as posting a webcast I recorded last year where I talk about the Joe Hunter books and my writing day. Please take a look over at the new site, I think you'll like it.

And if you'd like to read the feature, it's here:

Five Looking Glasses!

...and from Graham Smith over at Blood and Ashes gets a five star rating (or five looking glasses) for which I'm infinitely grateful.

The Wow-Factor!

Following the interview I did over at Milo's Rambles, top bloke Miles has also put up his review of Blood and Ashes. To say I experienced the WOW-Factor is an understatement.

The reviews pour in

The publication of Blood and Ashes has come with some surprises for me, not least the favourable way in which the book is being received this time and the number of people and reviewers taking notice. Notwithstanding all the wonderful people who have supported Joe Hunter (and me) throughout the last couple of years, I'd like to say thank you to those now putting pen to paper (actually fingers to keyboard) and writing well thought out, concise reviews of my work. Like the one above from the Falcata Times.


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Joe Hunter 5 Live!

There has been a little confusion over the publication date of Joe Hunter 5 - Blood and Ashes - and with it a little to-ing and fro-ing as I've attempted to re-juggle the date and the events surrounding it.

As you might recall it was originally slated for release today, but marketing decisions put back publication until the 17th February. Well, it appears that other marketing decisions have been made and the publication shoved forward again until TODAY.

Yes. Blood and Ashes is now available on general sale throughout the UK!!

So, all you good people who have been waiting for Joe's next high-octane thriller, it's out there now just waiting for you to go grab a copy.

Sorry about the confusion, but it was a situation totally out of my hands. Because I was under the impression it was still a full fortnight away, I have booked a venue for the book launch, and it will still go ahead on Thursday 17th February as planned. For anyone coming along it starts 7 pm at The Merienda, Treasury Court, Carlisle.

Hardback edition from Hodder and Stoughton

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Mailing List

Some people have asked for advance notification when the various Joe Hunter books will become available and I have decided to do an email notification. If you wish to be added to the list, please drop me an email at to be added to the list.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Femmes Go Wild

Lily Childs is a writer I've grown to admire, whose prose never fails to curdle the blood, or to leave a tickling sensation at the back of the skull for hours after I've finished reading one of her often dark and macabre tales.

Lily has grown to be admired by many other authors as well, and so there was no shortage of submissions when she cast her net to bring in some of the top female writers on the blogosphere (and beyond) for her momentous February Femme Fatales - 28 daily stories to be posted throughout the month of February.

Why not treat yourself and have a look here: