In her very first case, criminal psychologist Lena Peters is confronted with a killer on a murderous vendetta. And though she is unaware, Lena will play a prominent role in his deadly mission. Lena knows what makes killers tick and all about obsession, for she has been close to the edge herself. But soon she will become the hunted.
Today I am thrilled to welcome Hanna Winter to my blog! This is her first book in a new series and the first of Winter's books to be translated into English.
So what are Winter's top tips for Crime Writing? What are the essential Do's and Don'ts? Read on to find out!
Do’s & Don’ts of crime writing
First of all, this is what I do and don`t, what works for me. It might not, will probably not, work for everyone. If you have something that works for you – and neither man nor animal has to suffer because of it – do that. This is what works for me:
· Create your own working rhythm. Write daily if you can, but at the very least try to establish a fixed working and writing schedule.
· If you are not in the mood to write, listen to an audiobook. It doesn’t matter what kind of book – although I would not recommend a medical textbook – but just five minutes of listening to a story being told can be enough to get you in the mood to tell your own.
· That drinking or drugs can increase your creativity or help you with writing is a myth. It might help when you think you are the next Jackson Pollock and splash around with colors, but it definitely does not work for writing.
· Trust in yourself and in what you write. Don’t take rejections personally and keep trying. Be stubborn.
Thanks so much Hanna! Succinct advice but clear and easy to follow! Thanks for joining my blog today and good luck with the release of your book!
And here is my review of "Sacrifice":
This is the first in a series from German author Hanna Winter and translated into English.
The book opens in Berlin with Lena Peters - our protagonist- feeling as if she is being chased. We hear how she "briefly considers calling the police" but then decides to deal with the situation herself, "just as she had always done". From these scant details, it is clear Lena is a woman who thinks nothing of putting herself at risk, of facing danger and obviously feels strong and capable enough to defend herself. The phrase "just as she had always done" suggests there is possibly a dark, hidden past to Lena which is compounded by the way a few drops of blood evoke a memory of the day when her parents had been burned to death in a car crash while herself and her twin sister Tamara were crushed in the back seat.
"All the time the fire-fighters were trying to free Lena, she clung to her mother's bloodied hand....refusing to let go....not even as the flames burst up around her mother."
So Winter sets the scene with our main character; a criminal profiler, a single woman who has moved to a new flat, new area and a new job investigating a series of murders. Lena is clearly talented. She has an "impressive academic background....outstanding marks in psychology and criminology but also excellent research into criminal profiling." However, there is an implication that Peters is damaged as "there are certain people that think this series of murders might be too much for you to handle," as well as Lena's own thoughts that she has her "own strategies" for solving the situation. Therefore the reader is comfortably prepared for a story in which the mystery behind the protagonist will be as intriguing as the mystery they are trying to solve. As the story progresses, Lena frequently has a feeling that she is being lied to or not being informed by the police of everything that is relevant to the case. This encourages empathy from the reader and a desire for her to succeed.
Peters pairs up with retired Police Officer Belling. It is an unlikely partnership but one that works well and gives Winter a chance to add a little more complexity to the plot as they both have backstories and interesting personal situations.
The murders are gritty and graphic, sadistic and perverted. The "Mutilator", as he comes to be called, uses drugs to inflict temporary paralysis of the muscular system so the victims cannot scream but can still feel pain. His anonymous voice which narrates some of the chapters suggests this is a man deluded and ultimately being controlled by someone else - or trying to impress someone else. He appears to be someone "outwardly conventional" who will behave in an "inconspicuous manner" which means he may be harder to catch. Lena's profiling is astute and Winter describes her exceptional observational skills which rival Sherlock Holmes.
As Winter clearly plans more books in this series, we are only given some details about Lena's past and her relationship with her twin sister. I actually found this part of the book really interesting and would love to read more about their history - I think it would make a good novel in itself!
The chapters are exceptionally short giving the book pace. The last line is a complete cliff hanger-obviously paving the way for part two- but it really is a killer ending! The language is clear, simple, blunt and makes for a very easy read. I don't know how much of this is down to the translation from the original or whether it is a fair reflection of Winter's prose, but it is very accessible and straightforward. For me personally, I didn't feel Berlin had quite the appeal of some of the "Nordic Noir" novels but the book doesn't really focus much on the setting or location and Berlin didn't feel like a "character" in the book. In fact, I felt that when the story moves to Edinburgh, there was much more physical sense of place.
As this is an honest review I feel I need to say that although I found the ending exciting and I did like Lena as a character, I would have liked to see a bit more character development and a little bit more about her back story. However, I am certain this is to come in the subsequent novels and "Sacrifice" is a mere teaser of what is still to come. Occasionally the prose was a little stilted and cliched which again, could be due to translation, but I'm sure that this will also become more polished with the next novel. Winter evidently understands the necessary ingredients for a captivating crime thriller and can employ them effectively; I'm positive that she is a writer to watch out for.
Winter definitely has enough here to develop a series. I don't think this is the last we've seen of Lena Peters and I for one will be keeping an eye on her career as a criminal profiler.
My thanks to Bonnier Publishing for providing me with a ARC via NetGalley in return for an honest and fair review.
For more recommendations and reviews, you can find me on Twitter @katherinesunde3 (bibliomaniacuk) or sign up to receive future posts via email.