Crime Writers’ Day – Real Jobs, Fictional Worlds Panel: Lisa Cutts, Simon Michael and Anna Mazzola

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How do authors get to the nitty gritty of criminal law procedure? Most will speak to the experts – those dealing with real crime day in, day out.

For this panel though, we bring together the experts themselves, whose non writing profession informs their fictional crime writing through first hand experience.

Our Patron, Lisa Cutts, has over 20 years experience as a serving detective constable with Kent Police and has investigated over 50 murders during 10 years with the serious crime directorate.

Her debut novel, Never Forget, the first in the DC Nina Foster series, won the 2014 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for Best Thriller. Remember, Remember is the second book with a third in the series well under way.

Mercy Killing was published in 2016 by Simon and Schuster and is the first in a new series of East Rise Incident Room crime novels. It features some new characters together with a few more familiar ones and the second in the series, Buried Secrets, was released last year, with the third Lost Lives due for release later this year.

Lisa works in Kent and also lives there with her husband and scatty Labrador. She writes a monthly column for Writing Magazine answering police procedural questions from other writers.

Lisa Cutts, Patron, Rochester Literature FestivalTwitter @LisaCuttsAuthor

Facebook: Lisa Cutts Crime Writer



Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: a barrister for 37 years, he worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy.

The 1960s was the “Wild West” of British justice, a time when the Krays, Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted evidence and took a share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers genuine court documents from cases on which he worked on the big stories of the 1960s.

Simon was published here and in America in the 1980s and returned to writing when he retired from the law in 2016. The Charles Holborne series, The BriefAn Honest Man and The Lighterman, have all garnered strong reviews for their authenticity and excitement. Simon’s theme is alienation; Holborne, who dabbled in crime and in serious violence before becoming a barrister, is an outsider both in the East End where he grew up and in the Temples of the Law where he faces daily class and religious prejudice. He has been compared to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, honourable men surrounded by corruption and violence, trying to steer an honest course.

The fourth book in the series, Corrupted, takes actual political events from the 1960s to create a frighteningly topical crime thriller of sexual abuse by people in positions of power, and an Establishment cover-up.

simon michael

Twitter: @simonmichaeluk

Facebook: Simon Michael Author



Anna Mazzola is a writer of historical crime fiction and, probably due to some fault of her parents, is drawn to peculiar and dark historical subjects. Her debut novel, The Unseeing, was published to critical acclaim in 2016 and is based on the life of a real woman who was convicted of aiding a murder in London in 1837.

Her second novel, The Story Keeper, will be published this July. It’s about a collector of folklore and missing girls on 19th century Skye. Andrew Taylor describes it as ‘A chilling and refreshingly inventive Gothic novel that constantly subverts the reader’s expectations.’

Anna studied English at Pembroke College, Oxford, before accidentally becoming a human rights and criminal justice solicitor. She lives in South London, with two small children, two cats and one husband.

214B8480Twitter: @anna_mazz

Facebook: AnnaMazzolaWriter



This panel will be chaired by Dr. Kate Bradley, a senior lecturer in social history and social policy at the University of Kent.

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Kate researches and teaches on a range of areas in justice and social policy in the twentieth century, from the development of the juvenile courts to youth leisure and welfare after the Second World War. She has just finished a book on the history of legal aid and advice, which will be published by Manchester University Press in 2019/20.  Kate lives in Rochester, and is an avid reader of crime fiction in her spare time.



Join us all day on October 6 for five panels of crime writers, with time after each one for signings. Tickets will available in due course and you can be the first to know when by signing up to our email newsletter.

The Crime Writers’ Day will take place between 11am-6pm at the Rochester Community Hub, Eastgate.

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