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‘Ice-pick-sharp, packed with intrigue, action and spine-chilling suspense. Devour will keep you gripped from the very first page’ Kathryn Fox

Larkin's Latest

Welcome to my blog, Larkin’s Latest. News on thriller authors and great books to read, the writing process and festivals, incredible people I interview and exciting story locations, courses I run, and things that make me laugh!

The literary award nobody wants to win

November 16, 2014

It’s a tough life at the top of your literary career, as author Richard Flanagan has just found out. Is his nomination for the UK’s Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award 2014 a touch of sour grapes I wonder? After all we are talking about the 2014 Man Booker Prize winner. Or maybe I’m just being a touch protective?

Flanagan is one of ten nominees, and here is an extract from the scene in question:

Whatever had held them apart, whatever had restrained their bodies before, was now gone. If the earth spun it faltered, if the wind blew it waited. Hands found flesh; flesh, flesh. He felt the improbable weight of her eyelash with his own; he kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world. As they lost themselves in the circumnavigation of each other, there came from nearby shrill shrieks that ended in a deeper howl. Dorrigo looked up. A large dog stood at the top of the dune. Above blood-jagged drool, its slobbery mouth clutched a twitching fairy penguin.

I leave it up to you, and the judges, to decide, but before you scoff, perhaps have a go at writing a sex scene yourself. Are you going to err on the side of caution and adopt the ‘heaving bosoms’ and ‘throbbing members’ of some romance novels or will you cut to the thrust, so to speak, and get dirty? Either way, writing good sex scenes is incredibly difficult.
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This photo has melted people’s hearts

October 23, 2014

The inspiration for Monty the dogtective, the star of my new mystery, MONTY AND ME, is in fact a duck-toppling, burger-munching, fishing dog, and this photo of him in his fishing Doggles has melted many hearts.

So here he is. Deep, deep undercover.

Enjoy!

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‘Monty And Me’, a new dog-tective series

October 20, 2014

Have you ever wondered what your dog is really thinking? You’re about to find out.

Most of you will know me as thriller author L.A. Larkin, but in November 2015 my new cozy mystery series kicks off with MONTY AND ME, featuring loveable dog-tective, Monty, and DC Asha Sidebottom. I am over the moon to be working with my new publisher, Katy Loftus from Avon (a Harper Collins UK imprint).

Katy Loftus says, “The dogs vs cats debate is set to rage on, with Monty set to show off his detective skills and warm heart. I am delighted that we will be publishing Louisa’s charming and gripping tale about (wo)man’s best friend.”

I am also delighted that the German rights have been bought by Kirsten Nägele of Heyne.

I’ll be writing as Louisa Bennet and a new website, Facebook page and Twitter handle will be launched soon for The Monty And Sidebottom Mysteries. Watch this space!

Set in a fictional English town, Monty must help rookie policewoman, Asha, track down his master’s killer. Little does she realise that Monty is much more than a duck-toppling, burger-pinching, failed guide dog. When Asha starts barking up the wrong tree it is up to him to help her crack the case. M C Beaton meets Spencer Quinn meets A STREET CAT NAMED BOB, MONTY AND ME is both a page-turning mystery and a heart-warming tale of the love between a dog and his owner.

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Paris – protests, moped-riding pooches and too many pain au chocolat

September 21, 2014

I’m in St-Germain-des-Pres enjoying the fine September weather, amazing food and the quirky traditions and French style of the Parisienne. But apart from the irresistable cakes and pain au chocolat in the boulangeries – my favourite boulangerie is Paul – I’m in Paris researching the plot for my next thriller in the Olivia Wolfe series. I’ve had to veer away from the relaxing cafes and the magnificent architecture and focus on the seedier side of Paris, exploring dark alleys and crypts and parks known for their dark secrets, such as the leafy Bois de Boulogne. But it is hard not to be distracted by the vibrancy of the local people whom I love, and the opulance and extravagance of the magnificent building and art. I was at the Musee d’Orsay when I took this photo through the clock, out over the Seine, of the Lourve opposite. It’s easy to overdose on culture and fail to observe everyday life – the people who live here.

And the dogs, of course, who have a certain confident attitude, are mainly off leash, trotting along with their owners, unfazed by the traffic and the busy narrow streets. As I am also writing a new murder mystery series about a young female detective and her dog, Monty, I have watched these French dogs with great interest. In an antiques shop, with thousands of Euros worth of gold antiques, a sleepy golden retriever opens one eye to size me up, as if he is the gatekeeper and I have to pass his wealth test. I think I failed, as he closed his eye, and went back to sleep. Of course, he was right. I was just window shopping. The dogs are also very mobile, like this jack russell, who hops into a bag and happily enjoys the wind in his fur as his owner zips through the Paris streets on his moped.

And I can’t visit Paris without encountering at least one street protest. One morning I found myself drawn to loud shouting, whistles and horns outside the Palais de Justice, a stunning building, within which are the law courts.

The protest was very middle class. With my limited French, I managed to gleen that the baliffs and lawyers were protesting about the deregulation of the baliff system in France. Men and women in their long black gowns waved copies of a thick red book, The Civil Code, much like Chairman Mao waved his considerably smaller red book at his people. It’s not often you see lawyers carrying banners through the streets. Good on them for making their voices heard! The police presence was heavy and it made me smile to think that they have to keep a group of rowdy lawyers under control, outside the law courts.

As I’m standing in the crowd, listening to the speaker, I imagine a chase scene in which Wolfe darts through the protesters in a desperate attempt to escape her pursuer.

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A big thank you to Gatwick Airport police

September 4, 2014

The co-operation of experts and sources is essential for a crime fiction author because it not only contributes to a story’s credibility, but it helps me create well-rounded and interesting characters, to bring locations to life through the bricks of detail, and often results in a whole new set of ideas and plot twists. I have been incredibly lucky with the help I have received from people like retired Detective Chief Superintendent David Gaylor, who met me at Gatwick airport yesterday and introduced me to a number of the airport police. The officers were very generous with their time and, after some initial trepidation about revealing security information, really got excited about the climax of my next thriller, set – you guessed it – at an airport. I don’t want to give the climax details away but I now know something about the three thousand security cameras at the airport (yes, 3000!), the firearms they use, and the dangerous security issues they have to deal with. These officers do an amazing job!

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