Well the serial killing panel went really well, I thought you might be interested to see the notes I had in front of me....
Hi, welcome, thank you for attending and not being too desperate to get to the bar.
Our topic is serial killers.. why do we love them?
The most common definition, the 'gold standard', used in the UK is a killer with three or more victims in a period of not less than 30 days.... with the slight caveat that there should be no connection between the victims apart from the person who brought about their demise. So if you kill every member of your family over a ten year period you might inherit their dosh but you will not get the serial killer 'blue peter' badge.
So on this deadliest of topic, I have four lovely and scary men...
I'm sure Matt Hilton needs no introduction, creator of the fantastic Joe Hunter novels. In Blood and Ashes, I stopped counting the bodies at 38..... and they were all killed by the hero! But he saves the cat....'The pace rattles along with the intensity of a disgruntled rattlesnake.'
Xavier Marie Bonnot, a new author to me and a very pleasing discovery, very academic sophisticated crime thrillers...then somebody gets an arrow through the head. Gripping fast paced and intelligent. The protagonist, Michel De Palma has been compared to Harry Bosch but I thought he was more like Morse... but with much better luck with the ladies....
David Marks. His first novel Dark Winter a Richard and Judy pick, and followed by the best seller Original Skin. And he has a totally original detective, Aector McAvoy. The big friendly giant of crime fiction.
And indeed, another original detective is Damon Brook, written by the scariest person on the panel ... Steve Dunn, writer of The Deity The Reaper and The Disciple. The Deity has one of the most unsettling first chapters I have ever read. His writing has often been compared to that of Thomas Harris.
We then chatted about the fascination of the serial killer and agreed with Prof David Wilson- it's not that they are the epitome of evil but that they are the banality of evil.
Have any of you met any real serial killers? Xavier told us that he had filmed a documentary about a French serial killer, interviewing him in prison many times. He was deeply manipulative, Xavier admitted he had to keep reminding himself that this man had killed seven children.
Lifting the mood slightly .....
Now interestingly Scotland has produced more serial killers per capita than any other country in the developed world (United Nations). Scotland also has the highest percentage 40% , of the population carrying the melocortin 1 receptor gene (the recessive gene for being a redhead)
We had a bit of light hearted banter about that - one of the panel had a redheaded wife, I have a redhead for both agent and editor- we were on dangerous ground.
Looking around, films from 1974 to 2006 about serial killers were typically somebody killing a lot of other people and somebody trying to catch them. But from 2006 onward for every traditional one there is another where the serial killer is the avenger of a greater atrocity....
We chatted about this for a while... the Dexter effect... indeed all of us on the panel had a baddie who was in some ways more worthy than the victims.
Which serial killer - real or fictional - would you like to invite for dinner, a 'come die with me...' I choose Jack The Ripper so I could make a fortune by writing the story of his life. Then maybe Harold Shipman... as many thought he was a good doctor, a kind and decent man until the truth came out. A real Jekyll and Hyde. Inviting Ted Bundy round seemed to be popular... just to ask him... why?
We chatted about setting -Hull, Glasgow, Arizona, Marseilles, Derby.
And if psychological profiling was a load of tosh!
I never did get round to asking who would win in a fight between Joe Hunter and Jack Reacher?