Killing for Keeps – Newcastle, Glasgow, Rojales – Mari Hannah

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Killing for Keeps is the fifth instalment in the Kate Daniels series – set in and around the North East – in this instance Newcastle and Blanchland. This is a hard-hitting and chilling case for Northumbria Police, the worst torture case they’ve ever seen.

Mari Hannah has raised the stakes this time – the prologue sets the scene for what will follow. And the first chapter (six weeks later) opens the door to a thrilling narrative when we see just what has taken place and what Kate and her team are up against.

The Tyne Bridge with the Sage in the Background
Kate Daniels is back – with a vengeance

Story in a nutshell

Two brothers from a well-known criminal family are found dead within a few miles of each other – tortured to death.

Ripples start to spread across the city – associates of the men are uneasy and witnesses scared. Kate has to break some rules, putting herself and her career in jeopardy. But there is someone out there who lives by his own rules and is prepared to remove anyone who gets in his way.

This is one investigation that Kate and the team will never forget.

Place and setting – the booktrail of Kate Daniels’ Newcastle.

Market Street - police station and Kate Daniels HQ. Mosley Street - where Newcastle’s club scene is centered. Byker Bridge - where a meeting takes place with a informant. RVI - one of two incidents takes place here. Silverlink Industrial Estate - the first of two cases takes place here. Exhibition Park - Kate passes here on her way to meet a witness in Paddy Freeman’s park (Heaton Road)
Market Street – police station and Kate Daniels HQ.
Mosley Street – where Newcastle’s club scene is centered.
Byker Bridge – where a meeting takes place with a informant.
RVI – one of two incidents takes place here.
Silverlink Industrial Estate – the first of two cases takes place here.
Exhibition Park – Kate passes here on her way to meet a witness in Paddy Freeman’s park (Heaton Road)

Kate Daniels, working at the city’s incident room in Market Street, has a lot on her plate. She is called to two crime scenes within a short space of time – Silverlink and the RVI. Two inconspicuous places, but ones that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Investigations take the team deep in to the heart of Newcastle – to ‘Club Land’ in and around Mosley street – to find witnesses and links to the crimes.

Kate has her work cut out. Under pressure to solve this case and to raise the flagging morale of her team, she’s battling tensions from all sides. Kate Daniels backed into a corner? She fights and then she fights some more. This is no ordinary case and she is keen to protect witnesses as she gets to the truth.

Blanchland. Silverlink, Newcastle. Glasgow. Rojales.
Blanchland.
Silverlink, Newcastle.
Glasgow.
Rojales.

As the investigation continues, she heads up to Blanchland – “the exquisitely tranquil village . . . at the heart of Catherine Cookson country . . . built from the stone of a twelfth-century abbey, the village hadn’t changed in centuries.”        http://www.blanchland.org/news.php

Blanchland
Blanchland 

Visiting a local beauty spot as part of such a brutal investigation – as was the case when Whitby flagged up as a place of interest – is in direct contrast to the reasons why she is there. Remote, rural and for Kate, dangerous too.

As the case progresses, the investigation takes her and DS Hank Gormley north of the border to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Links with one criminal family have a bearing on the entire Newcastle case. Yet the ‘fish out of water’ works well for Hank’s wit to shine through here – regarding the ‘funny money’ that the Scots use and the notion of ‘Geordistan’. And the lesser-known and rather less fashionable meaning behind D & G.

“Edinburgh was as grey as Glasgow had been – only prettier. If she hadn’t been such a fan of her home city, this was the one place Kate would choose to live.”

When the net widens and the investigation takes Kate across to the Continent, to the Rojales region of mainland Spain, near Alicante, the book races to a thrilling finale. But we’ll stop there since to say anymore would be to spoil the surprises shocks in store. And there are plenty. Believe us.

Killing for Keeps is dangerous, chilling and skillfully plotted. Mari’s best yet. Recently, the series has been optioned for television and she has been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library award proving, beyond doubt, that she is a crime writer we’re going to hear a lot more about. We’re proud to say that she’s a local author and has put the North East region firmly on the literary map.

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Hidden Reading Spaces in the North East of England

Hidden Reading Spaces in the North East

Welcome to a ten point tour of some of the best hidden and not so hidden reading spaces in the North East. There are many more, many more that did not make the cut. We give you now a whistle stop tour of 10 places in the North East for you to sample. This is only the start. Something to whet your literary appetites.

This is the tour itinerary –

 

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A – Bamburgh        B – Low Newton     C and D- Alnwick     E – Corbridge  F – Hexham   G – Newcastle upon Tyne H – Tynemouth and North Shields – image courtesy of Google Maps

 

As you may know the literary characters of Vera Stanhope (from the books by Ann Cleeves) and Kate Daniels (from the Mari Hannah novels) are prone to wander these parts. This is their stomping ground after all. So you may end up bumping into one of them at some point. As Vera herself might say –  ‘Keep an eye out pet ‘

 

1. First stop – Bamburgh Castle

Pick up your book and read in the castle grounds, beside its stone walls – of particular note as it features heavily in Mari Hannah’s latest novel  – Monument to Murder. Don’t forget the surrounding coastline! Stunning is not the word.

Bamburgh Castle - image courtesy of Kate Daniels
Bamburgh Castle – image courtesy of Kate Daniels

castel

2. Heading down the coast….Why not stop off at Low Newton – famous for its small village, gorgeous beaches and gorgeous views. Not to mention the roaring fires of the The Ship Inn –  It’s where another local author, Hazel Osmond set some of her novel The Last Time I saw your Face –

 

If the beach is a little cold, head indoors to the Ship Inn just behind you
If the beach is a little cold, head indoors to the Ship Inn just behind you (c) the Booktrail

 

You might even find a nice Northern man  who catches your eye....
You might even find a nice Northern man who catches your eye….

3. Alnwick next – Barter Books and Alnwick Castle

You have to visit the Harry Potter castle if you come to the North East and what better way to experience it than by taking a copy of one of the books and reading the scene where they all play Quidditch – It’s Alnwick Castle of course! This is also the ideal spot to read a bit of Jane Eyre and imagine you are looking at Thornfield Hall or even a bit of Jane Austen – Pemberley Hall anyone?

Alnwick Castle - (c) the booktrail
Alnwick Castle – (c) the booktrail

Alnwick is also the home of the amazing station/book emporium known as Barter Books – Alnwick Station, Northumberland NE66 2NP. Sell those you have read and buy some more. Sit beside a roaring fire, drink coffee and eat the home made ginger biscuits………..They discovered the Keep Calm and Carry On poster  – yes that one – but somewhere there must be one saying keep calm and just keep reading -for this is THE spot to do it in –

 

The three seater sofa with seats facing different ways - perfect for private literary moments
The three seater sofa with seats facing different ways – perfect for private literary moments

 http://www.barterbooks.co.uk/

 

4. Now, hop in that car or jump on that bus as we’re heading off to Corbridge for our next reading space – If you want another book to read on this tour then look no further than Forum Books – for their amazing support of getting authors for events, great banter and advice about the books they read and personally recommend – 8 Market Place Corbridge

 

The Forum book 'nursery' - where bookish adventures are born
You may even see Vera or Kate here. They like a bit of investigating – particularly for a good book

 

Corbridge is also the setting for a rather gruesome scene in the first Kate Daniels novel –

mari hannah book

 

Book Purchases in hand – head on over to the  Tea and Tipple  cafe- just across the Market Place from Forum Books – and sit back and enjoy….

Oh this is a lovely place to rest your legs, have a cuppa and READ!
Oh this is a lovely place to rest your legs, have a cuppa and READ!

5. Off to Hexham now, just up the road , to Cogito books 

On the way to Harry Potter's Diagon Alley?
On the way to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley?

 

Cogito Books
Cogito Books

A small quiet oasis of a shop hidden down a cobbled alley through an arch – (a bit Diagon Alley ish from Harry Potter) just off the main square in Hexham . You may want to pick up a book here – they’ve got oodles of them. And a lovely comfy couch to sit on and relax. But don’t fall asleep there, well I was so comfortable and had just finished the wonderful Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden and wanted to stay in that world just a little bit longer…..

 

6. Right now, we’re off to Newcastle. Public transport is great so no worries there, but if you’re feeling adventurous, why not travel in style? Vera – ‘Oh not for me pet’  Read from the best vantage point there is for a glorious view of The Angel of the North

 

Featured in the Kate Daniels novels and a key feature on Vera's patch.
Featured in the Kate Daniels novels and a key feature on Vera’s patch. (c) the booktrail

Can you read when flying up in a helicopter? If you’d like to try, then there are many trips you can take if you have the stomach for it. Or if not, you can off course go by car and then sit at the base and READ.

Take a picnic and park yourself here. It can get a bit windy so bring your Vera style mac
Take a picnic and park yourself here. It can get a bit windy so bring your Vera style mac

 

7. The city centre beckons now – so we’re off to the Sage for a great reading space – the centre for musical excellence as well as some of the most atmospheric reading experiences you will ever have.

 

The Sage
The Sage (c)the booktrail

 http://www.sagegateshead.com/

Ooh another excuse to sit down and spend time reading in somewhere with a view and most likely a musical soundtrack? Its only the Sage in Gateshead. Make the most of the approach by carrying your book across the Millennium Bridge and walking up the stairs for the full effect. Then sit back and enjoy. A walk along the Quayside , along the banks of the River Tyne- stomping ground for both Kate and Vera – will provide many points to stop and read.

 

8. If you’re feeling peckish at this point, why not head out to The Living Room on Grey Street where Kate Daniels met for a meeting to discuss a case –

The Living Room pub on Grey Street
The Living Room pub on Grey Street

 

Don’t have much time to linger in the city centre – that’s the topic for another tour – now we’re off to the coast. On the Metro – careful as you don’t want to end up as Margaret Krukowski did in the latest Ann Cleeves novel Harbour Street – but a nice long ride on the Metro can give commuters some very nice reading time indeed. Just as well there is no stop called Mardle as there is in the book…..

9. Jump off the metro and we’re in Tynemouth for some ‘Light beside the Seaside’ –

Read a novel about a lighthouse and recreate the atmosphere. Hear the seagulls, feel the sea spray on your face, watch out for a lost rowing boat....
Read a novel about a lighthouse and recreate the atmosphere. Hear the seagulls, feel the sea spray on your face, watch out for a lost rowing boat….

Feel the sand in your feet and sit on the rocks recreating the scenes and sounds of The Light between Oceans. Not only are the rocks a great place to sit but the beaches are too!

 

10. Last but certainly not least – let’s head off to North Shields for one stop you will not want to miss – Keel Row Bookshop http://www.keelrowbookshop.co.uk/

Otherwise known as Book Narnia
Otherwise known as Book Narnia

I left this until last as the last time I went I got so lost that I ended up staying for four days and nights. Its that full of books that I could not get out as I could not find the door – nor did I want to to be honest. I would live here if I could. There are gazillions of books and the owner knows exactly where they are. I’m sure he’s read all of them. There is even a miniature version of the shop in the children’s room. So even if you’re tiny there is a place to sit and read

 

Were there ever such welcoming words as 'More books this way'?
Were there ever such welcoming words as ‘More books this way’?

The North East really is a book lover’s paradise.

For more information on the books featured – please pay Kate and Vera a visit –

Kate Daniels – http://www.marihannah.com/ 

For Vera – http://www.anncleeves.com/vera/

For more information about the places featured, then please contact info (at) the booktrail.com. We can customise a trail or itinerary and pick the ideal places for you. This is only a taster of where we read! Welcome to the North East of hidden reading spaces. Hope to see you soon.

 

 

A chat over tea with Mari Hannah and me

Mondays are always difficult when you head back to work after a lovely weekend, so I’ve decided to post this charming interview chat I had recently with Mari Hannah to cheer you all up! Sit back with a cup of tea and relax….

Hello Mari!

Mari Hannah - author of the Kate Daniels series of books - Murder Wall being the first
Mari Hannah – author of the Kate Daniels series of books – Murder Wall being the first

Right, kettle on, fancy a piece of cake? Thanks for stopping by to chat with me.

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1. Well, I must start with congratulating you on your wonderful nomination on being shortlisted for the Polari First Book prize http://www.polariliterarysalon.co.uk/Polari/Polari_First_Book_Prize.html How do you feel about this recognition?

Thank you. I was completely blown away when I found out. The Polari First Book Prize is a very big deal for me, validation after years of hard work and for having written a lesbian in a lead role. Kate is the character I always wanted to write about but I did wonder how she’d be received. The shortlisting is my answer.

2. When does the final result get announced and what would it mean for you to win?

The winner will be announced on 13th November at the Polari Literary Salon in the Southbank Centre. I’m hoping to be there in person to meet the other four contenders – any one of them would be a worthy winner. I’m so grateful to have come this far but it would be amazing to go all the way, so fingers crossed.

3. The Murder Wall was the feature of one of my book trails   https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/booktrail-around-newcastle-mari-hannahs-the-murder-wall/     where I travelled to the major settings and places in the novel. Do you agree setting is important in a novel and why did you set it in the North East?

A sense of place is vital in any novel. It plays a major role in all my books. I write about the North East because, even though I wasn’t born here, it’s where I live and where my heart is. I’m lucky because Kate is a detective in Northumbria Police, one of the biggest forces in the country. That means I’m able to ring the changes as far as locations go. It keeps the books fresh, taking my readers to new destinations every time.

 4. You showcase the region well. In particular the area of Jesmond where Kate Daniels lives. What is your connection to the area if any?

Before I moved to the Tyne Valley in 1996, I used to live on the edge of Jesmond Dene. I still visit as often as I can. I use real street names where possible, although I would rename a key building if I had – for example if anything awful was to happen. I’ve not left any dead bodies there . . . yet! Many Jesmond shops, bars and cafés make an appearance in the books.

A screenwriter friend of mine recently put together a presentation of writers and their connection to Jesmond. If memory serves, you were also there when it was delivered. I can’t tell you how proud I was when he included me. Can you spot my flag on his map?

Spot the streets where Kate Daniels would walk down
Spot Mari’s flag on the Jesmond map of honour

5. I loved the character of Kate Daniels. And I hear she’s off to the US! Congrats on that too! If her books were made into a movie, do you have an idea as to who would play the characters?

I’m thrilled that The Murder Wall, Settled Blood & Deadly Deceit have been acquired by Witness Impulse, an imprint of William Morrow/Harper Collins, a major US publisher. I can’t wait for 15th October when the first title goes live.

If a movie was made (I assume you mean a feature film in the US, not the UK) I’d rather not speculate. I don’t think I’d have any say in picking the leads and we all interpret characters differently. It would be interesting to see which actors the producers came up with.

People often tell me that my books would make a great crime series for television. In fact, The Murder Wall was written for TV as part of the BBC Drama Development Scheme long before I adapted it. I hope they make it to the small (or big) screen one day. If a TV series was commissioned in the UK, I’ve been touting Jill Halfpenny to play Kate. She home-grown Geordie talent and I think she’d be terrific.

6. Another congrats is due (phew!) on the inclusion in Diva magazine where you say you had a struggle to get Kate’s story heard due to her sexuality. Are you proud to think that now she is leading the way for strong female leads?

Oh yes, proud that my Diva article The Birth of a Crime Series was one of the magazines ‘most viewed stories’ in June, and delighted that Kate is viewed in such positive terms.

7. Can you tell us about your next book? 

Monument to Murder will be published by Pan Macmillan on 21st November 2013, five months ahead of schedule, and will be launched by Forum Books in Corbridge on the evening of 20th. I have a mini North East book tour scheduled throughout the month of December.

The intriguing title of Mari's new book
The intriguing title of Mari’s new book

8.  And your upcoming events?

In mid-November, I’m in Bedlington Community Centre duelling with fellow Pan Mac author, Dave Jackson, whose wonderful novels are set in New York. That should be a lot of fun.

At the end of November/beginning of December I’m appearing on consecutive days at Newcastle Central Library’s Books on Tyne Festival. I’ll be in conversation with bestselling author Ann Cleeves and Gail-Nina Anderson on 30th November, and on 1st December, I’m appearing with romantic novelist, Hazel Osmond.

Details of all events area available here: http://www.marihannah.com/events

9.How do you go about plotting your novels? Do you have a system?

This is a question I get asked a lot. Once I have an idea, I tend to flesh out it out in an elongated synopsis to make sure it has legs. It’s the way I was taught screenwriting and it stuck with me. Having said that, I’m using a card system for the book I’m currently writing, the obvious advantage being that I can move them around at will, altering the position of scenes or even whole chapters. Then I add them to my murder wall, just as a detective would solve the puzzle of a real murder case, and try and make sense of them. I’ve yet to find two writers who use exactly the same method.

10. What is the best thing about being a writer.

There are so many upsides: doing what I love, working from home, meeting readers who have enjoyed my writing, knowing I have what it takes to entertain. There’s no other job I’d rather have.

Thanks Mari for taking the time to chat with me. Can’t wait for the next installment of the Kate Daniels series!

You can find Mari at: http://www.marihannah.com and on Twitter: @mariwriter