Crimesquad (the excellent web-based review site for crime writing in all its forms) has published the first online review of the #Youdunnit novellas by Nicci French, Tim Weaver, and me. Four stars out of five. Not bad for an entrée! Click here to read it on their website, or scroll down for a copy of the review…
Nicci French, Tim Weaver and Alastair Gunn – #Youdunnit
“Here are three delicious entrées by three successful writers of their chosen genre. ”
The people of Twitter have spoken! They were asked what they would like to find in a crime story. And they responded in their thousands!
By the end of the week the body had to be found at an abandoned railway station, a bicycle chain found nearby. Even the victim’s name and age and the season: Autumn had been decided. The ‘hero’ had to be a photographer with a penchant for python-skin cowboy boots.
All that was needed were some crime authors to put these random strands together and create a crime and an investigation. Enter, stage right: Nicci French, Tim Weaver and new boy on the block, Alastair Gunn.
It is very innovative and also very brave to put a plot in the hands of thousands of people on a social media website. Penguin, in association with Specsavers asked their many followers to pitch in their ideas for the perfect murder. When all the ‘evidence’ was collected it was dispatched to three crime authors. Three crime writers given the exact same details and yet all three delivered totally different stories in concept and feel.
Nicci French give us what I would think of as the archetypal crime story with a very smart little puzzle at its centre. French’s novella ‘The Following’ was decidedly gripping and in some parts, quite emotional. This is a real treat for French’s fans as well as a good introduction to this author’s work for newcomers.
Tim Weaver’s was the more panoramic of the trio, being set in South Africa. Weaver’s main character, Raker does make a cameo appearance although I think the story would have been better without him. Weaver wonderfully brings to life the character of Ben Zill and I could have read a whole book about this detective. This story had a marvellous sense of place and again, had a great sense of heightened emotion attached to the story.
‘Hashtag, Bodybag’ was Alastair Gunn’s contribution and I believe the closest of all to the actual brief as suggested by the Twitter followers. Here, Lucinda Berrington (I know, whoever chose that name…) very much takes centre stage and Gunn delivers a nice couple of bodies as well as a gripping good thriller.
All three novellas bring something to the table and you have to give them all a huge round of applause. It must have been daunting to have to dream up a crime story with factors you had no control over.
Here are three delicious entrées by three successful writers of their chosen genre. The fact that these stories are currently free is certainly an added bonus and any reader of crime fiction should take advantage of that immediately. Enjoy!
Reviewed by: C.S.