was undoubtedly the star of this weekend's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival
. Not only did he win Crime Novel of the Year for 61 Hours
, but half of Yorkshire seemed to be packed into the assembly rooms at the Old Swan Hotel (where Agatha Christie hid out) to hear his Room 101 routine with journalist Christina Patterson.
His pet hates for the room of doom were dodgy reviews, writers who claim false credibility as being ex-FBI, ex-copper etc, the line 'There's been a murder' in any cosy mystery (totally unrealistic), the detective's sidekick (a dramatic get-out-of-jail card for writers, as the sidekick usually crops up to save the hero), and passages in which protagonists glance in a mirror and describe themselves for the reader (totally fake, according to LC, who has never once offered a description of Reacher apart from 'tall and white'). He also suggested to a sceptical audience member (and there were many) that Tom Cruise could just work as Jack Reacher on the big screen.
In addition, Child found time to mention his new ebook, out on 15 August – Second Son
is a 12,000-word short story about Reacher as a 13 year old. Dennis Lehane
wrapped up the event on Sunday, and was as popular as Lee Child, pulling in several hundred further fans, authors and would-be writers. Boston's finest was in great form, revealing how Clint Eastwood wore him down into agreeing to allow Mystic River
to be filmed (and how the Hollywood legend is addicted – to smoothies). Alistair MacLean and Elmore Leonard are two of the biggest influences on him, Lehane said.
Moreover, he said he knew one of his novels was working as a movie when he heard that a cinema-goer had so objected to the noise being made by another during the film that he stabbed him with a potato peeler. Well, Lehane's stories do get under your skin.
Next year's event will be on 19-22 July, and already Mark Billingham, Harlan Coben, John Connolly and Charlaine Harris have been announced.