Review: If I Tell You…I’ll Have to Kill You Edited by Michael Robotham

Title: If I Tell You…I’ll Have to Kill You: Australia’s Leading Crime Writers Reveal Their Secrets

Author: Edited by Michael Robotham

Published: Allen & Unwin July 2013

Status: Read from July 26 to 27, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Crime fiction is one of my favourite genres and I am not too choosy about the type – police procedurals, cozies, detective fiction, psychological thrillers – as long as there is a crime involved, I am willing to pick it up. My bookshelves were once dominated by authors such as Ed McBain, Jonathon Kellerman, Patricia Cornwall, Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton but slowly they are being edged out by the homegrown talent it has taken me a shamefully long time to discover.

If I Tell You…I’ll Have To Kill You is a fabulous collection of essays from some of Australia’s best crime writers. I was pleased discover I was unfamiliar with only one of the contributors and thrilled to learn more about some of my favourite authors like Malla Nunn, Adrian Hyland, Katherine Howell, Kerry Greenwood and of course, editor Michael Robotham.

If I Tell You… is undoubtedly a valuable resource for aspiring crime authors, offering a plethora of advice about plotting, character and more, followed by the author’s own list of self imposed ‘Rules’. Shane Maloney’s rules are pretty simple and includes ‘Read some f**ing books’, Lenny Bartulin recommends you ‘Do not drink more than one bottle of red wine per day – Unless you Can’, Angela Savage, more sensibly suggests, ‘Carry something to write on at all times…’ and Gabrielle Lord bluntly advises ‘Make writing your first priority. It comes before everything else.’

Even if you are simply a fan of crime fiction, like me, you will find these author’s stories fascinating. I was surprised to discover Peter Corris has never accepted an advance for any of his 30+ Hardy novels because he dislikes the pressure of deadlines, and I was also amused by Leigh Redhead’s account of her first foray into the seedy world of peepshows and strip clubs.

Each author has also been asked to nominate five Must-Reads which will grow your wishlist exponentially. The book mentioned most often is Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, though surprisingly The Lord of the Rings is also listed more than once.

If I Tell You…I’ll Have To Kill You is a great collection, both informative and entertaining and I think it is a must have for Australian crime fiction fans. In addition, the royalties from the sale of this book are going towards the Australian Crime Writers Association which runs the annual Ned Kelly Awards. Show your support for our talented Aussie crime writers and purchase a copy today.

Available to Purchase from

Allen & Unwin I BoomerangBooks I Booktopia I Amazon Kindle

via Booko


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country...
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 18:45:31

    LOL Shane and Lenny!!!!!!! Love it.



  2. brendat59
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 19:16:02

    Good round-up Shelleyrae…I was wondering about this one!



  3. Book Blather
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 19:34:39

    Ned Kelly Awards?! 🙂 This book sounds great. I don’t aspire to write crime fiction but it appears to me that some of the advice in this book is pretty universal. Love the review. I will definitely keep this one in mind.



  4. samstillreading
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 21:02:23

    LOL at Shane Mahoney- but completely true (or that’s what I hear). Sounds good, a nice one to read on the train to zone out from the commuter crush.



  5. The Australian Bookshelf
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 21:22:45

    This sounds like a great read Shelleyrae. I like Katherine Howell and I’m still yet to read Malla Nunn.



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