On ungentlemanly and criminal behaviour

2019 has been one of my busiest years yet, with two books published and another one on the way. In November, my latest crime fiction novel, ‘Alice Teale is Missing’ will be published by Penguin Random House.

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2018 and all that

I had a very busy year in 2017 with two books published. My most recent crime novel ‘The Search’ featured on CBS Reality’s true crime TV series ‘Written In Blood’ and ‘Hunting the Hangman’, my WW2 novel, told the true story of the assassination of Nazi General Reinhard Heydrich. I was also writing ‘The Chosen Ones’ which is published by Penguin on June 14th. This is the fourth book in my north east crime series, featuring DS Ian Bradshaw and investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney. It had a name change along the way and was previously known as ‘The Disappeared’ but I really like the new title and Penguin’s cover design is superb. I hope the story lives up to it.

Once again, I will be judging the ‘Pen to Print’ Novel Writing contest this year. This is a fantastic initiative from Barking & Dagenham Council to encourage aspiring authors and I was honoured to be asked to choose the best books from the short list of finalists, though it was very far from easy last time. We managed it in the end and our worthy winners received their prizes from none other than the legendary Martina Cole at a special awards ceremony in London.

As always, I’m really looking forward to the Theakstons Harrogate Crime Festival in July and hanging out with my fellow crime writers there. For some reason we all seem to like a drink, so most of that socialising tends to occur in the bar of The Old Swan Hotel or on its lawns outside. Then there’s Bloody Scotland in Stirling in September, where I will once again don an England shirt to join Mark Billingham’s England Crime Writer’s football team to do battle with the Scottish Crime writers, while being roundly booed by a hostile home crowd, whipped into a frenzy by their captain Ian Rankin. It’s a great game and win, lose or draw the beers afterwards with the old enemy are always well earned.

Of course, I’m already working on book five in the series, which will be published in 2019. There’s just the small matter of finishing the bloody thing, which is always a daunting prospect but whenever I get doubts, I remind myself I have had eight novels published so far. There were times when every single one of them felt like it would never be completed but I kept going and got there in the end. The able assistance of my agent, editor and the superb team at Michael Joseph keeps me on track. As I always say, this writing lark might be hard but it certainly beats working for a living.

The Disappeared

I’ve been incredibly busy lately completing ‘The Search’, which is the third in my series of crime novels for Penguin Random House, featuring Detective Sergeant Ian Bradshaw and investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton. I’ve also been putting the finishing touches to my first historical novel, ‘Hunting the Hangman’, for No Exit, finally bringing to an end my obsession with the plot to assassinate Nazi General, Reinhard Heydrich, in Prague in 1942. Now that both books are complete and set for publication in May 2017, I can turn my attention to the next one in my north-east-set crime series. I’m delighted to announce that I have signed a new two book deal with Penguin, the first of which, ‘The Disappeared’ will be published in 2018. If you would like to know what this one is all about then please read on to see what Penguin has to say about it.

When she woke to find herself imprisoned in a large metal box the only thing that terrified her more than the prospect of her captor returning was the thought that he might not. Then she would be trapped, at least until she ran out of the things she needed most; food, water, air.


Book 4 in the Ian Bradshaw, Helen Norton and Tom Carney series

DS Ian Bradshaw and investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney must combine once more to unravel a chilling secret that links two generations of women who vanished without trace or explanation.

These are not teenage runaways or drug users, vulnerable prostitutes or victims of domestic abuse, there is no strife at home or problems at school. There are no leads or explanations and, crucially, no bodies are found. The only thing that links these ordinary women is what they leave behind; distraught families, devastated partners, shocked friends, all longing for the same answer; what could have happened to The Disappeared?

The disappearance of seemingly normal women. The blackmail of someone with a dark secret. The mind of a reluctant killer twisted by years of abuse. The Disappeared is the dark and compelling new novel from Howard Linskey and is available to preorder now.


Joining Penguin

Been sitting on some big news for weeks that I’m finally allowed to announce. I’ve just signed a three-book deal with Penguin Random House. My latest book has some new characters and is set in County Durham. It involved about a year’s slog and not a little self-doubt along the way but I got there in the end and thankfully Emad Akhtar from Penguin really liked it. Of course the hard work on the second draft and the next two books starts here but for now here is the press release from Penguin. I'm off for a cold beer. 
Penguin Press Release

Michael Joseph and Penguin Random House are delighted to announce the acquisition of a new crime series by Howard Linskey. Editor Emad Akhtar has bought World English Language rights for three novels in a deal with Philip Patterson of Marjacq Scripts Ltd.

The first book, to publish in 2015, follows journalist Tom Carney who returns home to the north-east of England after being suspended by the London tabloid he works for. Working with new local reporter Helen Norton, they investigate a string of disappearances of young girls in the area.

 Working the same case, outcast Detective Constable Ian Bradshaw struggles with guilt for his past mistakes and the fear that the only thing this investigation will unravel is himself. When a body is found, everyone is shocked to learn it’s not one of the missing girls, but a decades-old corpse. The search for answers uncovers years of buried secrets, while in the present-day a killer who seems unstoppable must be brought to justice.

 Emad Akhtar, Editor at Michael Joseph, says: “Right from the beginning I felt that this is a story that has everything you want in a crime novel. It’s a truly gripping plot, with characters you completely believe in, told in an unpredictable and hugely satisfying way. The balance between the cold and current cases was superbly handled and keeps the pages turning like very few books ever do. This is a brilliant new series by an author who will be a joy to publish.”

Author Howard Linskey says, “This is a story that I believed in from the beginning. Every author dreams of writing a book that is snapped up by a big publisher and for me that long-held dream is now a reality.  It doesn’t get any bigger or more iconic than Penguin books. I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining them. ”

“I’m delighted that Emad Akhtar shares my enthusiasm for the story and characters and I’m really looking forward to working with him on the new series and finding out where the characters will go next.”

 Philip Patterson of Marjacq Scripts added, "I am thrilled that Howard Linskey will be published by Penguin Random House. We have both been very impressed by Emad Akhtar's vision for the series and are looking forward to working with him."


Howard Linskey’s first novel, The Drop, was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of 2011 by The Times Newspaper. His second, The Damage, was a Top 12 Best Summer Read in the same newspaper. Both books reached the top five in the Amazon Kindle charts and the David Blake trilogy has been optioned for film by Harry Potter producer, David Barron.

Launching 'No Name Lane'

I’ve had a busy few weeks launching ‘No Name Lane’. My local book shop, Waterstones in St Albans, kindly invited me to sign copies on launch day and we had a bit of a do in the evening at this lovely store, taking over their café and most of the first floor. I got the chance to say thanks to my editor at Penguin, Emad Akhtar, my literary agent, Phil Patterson and my lovely wife, Alison, and very special daughter, Erin for all their support. Our host, Gemma Sealey, gave me a lovely introduction and a lot of great friends kindly came along on the night to raise a few glasses and help me celebrate my first book with Penguin Random House. 

I then went on a tour of the north east where my books are set, signing copies in branches of Waterstones and WH Smiths in Newcastle, Sunderland, Darlington, Northallerton, Durham and the Metro Centre. I met a lot of great people and it was terrific to chat to so many enthusiastic book sellers and readers. The north east public are extremely supportive of local authors and I got a terrific reaction from the folk in County Durham, where ‘No Name Lane’ is set and, in particular, readers in Newcastle, a city that is always in my mind and close to my heart, no matter how bad my beloved Newcastle United are doing (eight defeats in a row at time of writing!). Newcastle Waterstones Emerson Chambers branch had sold out of all of their copies of ‘No Name Lane’ days before I arrived and had to order more in for my signing, which was lovely to hear. The Evening Chronicle, Journal and Northern Echo all kindly ran articles about the new book and I went on the lovely Anna Foster’s show on BBC Radio Newcastle to talk about it too. 

I had a nostalgic evening towards the end of that amazing week when we held a north east launch event in the legendary Strawberry pub right next to St James Park. I have always loved this place, which if you don’t know it, not only serves a fantastic pint but is also a shrine to the club, with framed, signed photographs of NUFC legends all over its walls. I owe a big thank you to owner Michael Hill for allowing us to take over the best pub in Newcastle for a night. We filled the place that evening and I signed lots of books. Actor Dave Nellist, a good friend who provides the authentic Geordie voice of my David Blake audio books, just completed a year-long run starring in the West End production of ‘War Horse’ (or ‘Wor Horse’ as we tell him it should be called) and was back in the city. He kindly gave me a night off by reading extracts from ‘No Name Lane’ live in the pub he worked in as a teenage barman way back in the eighties. It was a fantastic night and one I will never forget.

I was back in Newcastle for a superb event at the beginning of May. ‘Newcastle Noir’ was a weekend of crime fiction, with lots of authors appearing on panels together. I was invited to talk about ‘Northern Landscapes’ along with fellow northern lads and familiar faces; David Mark, Nick Quantrill and Luca Veste, and one Scot, Craig Robertson, who seemed to think we are all actually southerners. Later I had a chance to catch up with fellow, long-suffering Newcastle fan and best-selling author, Mari Hannah, whose terrific books are set in the area. It was good to see Susi Holliday, Eileen Wharton, Mark Billingham and Martyn Waites in the pub afterwards too but, as usual, Martyn and I tried to avoid talking about football as he is a long-suffering Geordie. 

Next stop it’s Crimefest in Bristol for a panel on Saturday 16th May called ‘The Wrong Side of the Law’. If you’re going, I’ll see you in the bar.