In Association with

Author of the Month

Name: Meg Gardiner

First book: China Lake

Most Recent Book: Crosscut

“…the body count within the 343 pages of this book is phenomenal!”


Under duress, Evan Delaney goes to her High School Reunion. There she meets old friends, some she has kept in touch with and some she would rather never see again, in particular, her old nemesis, Valerie Skinner. The night goes awkwardly, especially when Evan reads the roll call for the students that have died since school. The list is alarmingly long. Evan starts to get suspicious about that list when an old school friend is found dead at her home. She has been brutally mutilated. Then another school chum us killed under the same circumstances. It is then that Evan begins to believe that someone is picking off students from her year for some reason. And she could obviously be one of the people targeted.

Racing from China Lake to San Francisco to Hollywood, Evan begins to uncover a conspiracy, which reaches back to her old school days. And all the time, a deadly, trained assassin is closing in on Evan and the ones closest to her.



First off I have to say that the body count within the 343 pages of this book is phenomenal! So, if you like AWOL assassin’s kicking ass then this is for you. There is a phrase, which to me, is overused. That phrase is ‘a rollercoaster ride of a book’. However, I would have to use it for this particular book. This is certainly not a slow burning book with the action gradually being cranked up. The momentum of this novel is, well, like a rollercoaster. It just gets flying from the first page when the first victim becomes a cropper.

There is not a part in this book, which you feel you should skim, even though you may want to during the slushy love scenes, but thankfully there are very few of those. It is so gripping that I read the last 150 pages into the early hours of the morning! My only small niggle was that I thought Jax and Tim, the hitman/woman for hire were obviously there to supply certain information to keep the plot rolling but, I think they could have been better used. I hope they will be expanded on in a future novel.

One of my greatest fears is being invited to a school reunion. After reading Crosscut, there is no way now that I would ever accept!!

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating


1) How would you describe your books?
California thrillers with an absurdist take on life.

2) What is your favourite crime read of all time?
A Stained White Radiance, James Lee Burke. Lucky thing it’s fiction, because I’m half in love with Dave Robicheaux.

3) Would you describe yourself as a crime fan and if so, which authors do you most admire and why?
Big fan: see above and below. I also love Carl Hiaasen, Michael Connelly, Kathy Reichs and Caroline Carver. Farce, forensics, grit and action – as long as an author grabs me with compelling characters and a riveting story, it’s all good.

4) Who, in your eyes, is pushing the boundaries of crime fiction today – and why?
People like Dennis Lehane and John Connolly, who combine powerful writing and a profound understanding of human character with truly chilling murder stories.

5) Without giving away the solution, which book included your favourite plot twist of all time?
The Empire Strikes Back.
Okay, a book: The Coffin Dancer, by lord of misdirection Jeffery Deaver. At the climax the story turns inside out, before your eyes.

6) What is your favourite movie adaptation of a crime novel?
Get Shorty. Elmore Leonard’s characters swing to life with the book’s slyness and irony intact. Cool, violent and funny as hell.

7) Your novels are based in America, but you now live in England. What made you choose to site your stories in America rather than in Britain? Have you thought about basing one of your novels in the U.K.?
California is a character in itself, and a wild one. We get fires, earthquakes – and Governor Arnold swooping to the rescue by helicopter. So I write about home, knowing the rest of the world regards it with horrified fascination.
Writing a British-based novel sounds great. Do you want the UK observed through a Californian’s crazy eye?