Pick up a free crime book - and join in the Big Read

The Black Echo by Michael Connolly is the book chosen for this year's Big Read
The Black Echo by Michael Connolly is the book chosen for this year's Big Read

The biggest celebration of crime writing in the world is to tour libraries across the North of England with its annual Big Read later this year.

Mari Hannah, author, programming chair, and reader in residence at this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, will hit the road to host the North’s biggest book club.

She will be discussing thriller The Black Echo by Michael Connelly.

The Big Read, supported by the Arts Council, aims to encourage crime fiction fans, and entice reluctant readers, to read and discuss the same book.

It offers opportunities for social meet-ups, making new friends and meeting like-minds.

Mari Hannah said: “American thriller writer Michael Connelly’s The Black Echo (1992) is an assured debut that blew me away when I read it.

"LAPD detective Harry Bosch is such a believable character. In this book, he recognises the victim – found dead in a drainpipe at the Mulholland Dam – as former friend and fellow ‘tunnel rat' from his Vietnam days, a man he believes he let down.

"It’s this that drives him on to seek justice for the victim. The Black Echo got me into reading crime fiction. Connelly remains my all-time favourite. He never fails to deliver and I can’t wait to share the story on the Big Read.”

Thanks to his publisher, Orion, 1,500 free copies of the book are available and can be collected at any participating library plus the Harrogate International Festival Office from April onwards.

After The Black Echo, Connelly went on to sell 74 million books worldwide, with film adaptations including Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey. He is also executive producer of the Amazon Prime drama Bosch, based on his bestselling Harry Bosch novels.

Michael Connelly said: “This is very exciting news. The authors who have previously had this distinction are my favourites and the fact that people will be reading a book I wrote 30 years ago while never knowing if it would be published or that I would become an author is incredibly fulfilling.”

The Big Read will take place in libraries across Yorkshire and the North East from June 3 to 14 and is free.

Beth Walker, marketing and events assistant at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We would like to invite as many people as possible into these libraries for the 11th Big Read.

"You do not have to have previous book group experience or have read hundreds of books – everyone is welcome.

"We’re passionate about promoting reading, and the importance of libraries within communities.

"The benefits of reading stretch through a person’s life. Research shows that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved sleep levels, improved relationships with others, reductions in the symptoms of depression and dementia alongside a general improvement in wellbeing. We hope to see you there.”

Mari Hannah is the award-winning author of the Kate Daniels series, the Ryan and O’Neil thrillers, and the Stone and Oliver series of police procedurals. The first in the Kate Daniels series has been optioned for TV by Sprout Pictures.

Mari takes the helm of programming chair from Lee Child for the Theakston Old Peculier Festival, hosted in Harrogate in July. The line-up includes giants of the genre James Patterson, Jo Nesbo, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Harlan Coben.

To request a free copy of the book, please contact crime@harrogate-festival.org.uk for further details.

Join the conversation online at #BigRead2019.

The Big Read: Location and Dates

Blaydon Library Monday June 3 at 6pm

Ashington Library Tuesday June 4 at | 4pm

Northallerton Library Wednesday June 5 at 11am

Ripon Library Wednesday 5 June at 3pm

Sheffield Library Friday June 7 at 10am

Rotherham, Riverside Library Friday June 7 at 1pm

Batley Library Saturday June 8 at 2pm

Wakefield Library Monday June 10 at 11am

Barnsley Library Wednesday June 12 at 6pm

Acklam Library Friday 14 June at 10am

Hartlepool Library Friday June 14 at 2pm