CrimeBits: 100 opening gambits for great thrillers & linked mystery puzzles is available to PREORDER!

CrimeBits is a unique interactive puzzle book that includes the best 100 entries that we received for the best first pages of thrillers.

Lee Child’s judge’s notes, and his introduction will be featured alongside writing challenges, crime trivia, brain-teasers, and editor’s notes. The puzzles will be created by L.A Times puzzle setter Robin Sears.

In association with the Black Spring Crime Series in 2023, we ran the The Black Spring Prize for Best Opening To a Crime Book. Incredibly, the judge for this new crime-mystery prize has been judged by Mr. Jack Reacher himself, world-famous, best-selling author Lee Child, whose books have sold over 100 million copies. 

The winner of the prize, receives £200, a one-off, hour-long online mentoring session with Luca Veste and be offered a publishing contract to further support them if they should decide to complete the novel.

The prize highlights the importance of catching audiences within the opening pages. Lee Child says,  

Long ago people would say, “This is a great book, but you need to give it fifty pages.” That's crazy now, in our hyper-fast world. Now readers give you fifty words. Your first paragraph, basically. That's where you win or lose. It doesn't always need to be slam-bam, but it does always need to give the reader absolutely no choice but to race ahead. Send your entry in to Black Spring's contest, I’ll judge the best... and if you win, I'll be first in line to buy your book.

We very much hope that this prize encourages people to start a novel, with this first page – and maybe go on to complete it. Lee Child read and judged the best 100 entries, and leading crime writer Luca Veste is the sifting judge for the first stage of the competition.