Happy New Y…

I won’t even go there. Think I’ll just leave the greeting until April or May. Pushing luck to do anything else, I feel.

Rogue Target, the second book in the Holm and da Silva series, has been out for a month or so. Good reviews. Sales so so. It’s tough out there at the moment. Apparently book sales are up, but to be honest I’m not seeing that. Hoping things will change with Charlotte Savage book number seven which should be out around Easter. Meantime going to keep my head down and try to stay out of trouble. You do the same, right?

One Week

Just seven days until The Sanction is released into the wild blue yonder. It has been a long time coming and is somewhat of a departure for me as I’m venturing from the crime genre into the realms of the thriller. Fingers crossed that you, the reader, will like it.

Current projects include writing the sequel to The Sanction, working on DI Savage number 7, and sketching out another crime novel/series that will be my next book after CS 7. Like many writers I’m struggling a little to get much down on paper at the moment, and having several projects on the go helps to ensure there is always something to work on. Here’s hoping we can all get back to normal (albeit a new type of normal) in the near future. Until then if you’ve got a spare hour or three, The Sanction awaits…

The Sanction

New Beginnings

Been a long time. Weeks and months. Been working in secret. On DI Charlotte Savage and on other stuff too (Charlotte’s fine, by the way. Sends her regards. Says stick to the straight and narrow… or else). And yes, there will be another DI Savage, but as you may have guessed from the title this post is about something different.

The “something different” is a new series which will be published by Canelo. The first book, The Sanction, will be out on 23rd April. Here’s a cover reveal and a little about the book:

 Rebecca da Silva, former crack sniper in the British Special Forces stationed in Afghanistan, is languishing in a dead-end job.

Stephen Holm, an intelligence analyst, gambles his position upon the capture of the ruthless Taher, a terrorist so elusive that MI5 are not convinced he exists.

But then a deadly terror attack in Tunisia changes everything, setting them on two interconnected paths, one born of revenge, the other of obsession. How do you stop a terrorist you can’t find? Their discoveries, and fight for survival, will go to the very heart of power… To the White House.

The Sanction is book one of at least two in the Holm and da Silva thriller series and is somewhat of a change in genres for me. I’ve written six police procedurals and one stand alone psychological thriller; The Sanction is more of a espionage novel, but I’ve very much enjoyed writing it and you’ll find the style very similar to the DI Savage series. Watch this space for details of the second book. Meanwhile you can preorder The Sanction here.

Slowly

Not much to report other than the latest DI Charlotte Savage is coming along, albeit s.l.o.w.l.y. About halfway through at the moment and as usual with me lost in a Dartmoor-sized mire of various plots. Honestly, if I get to this stage in a book and have a clear idea of where I’m going I get worried. The magic doesn’t happen until I’m so lost that I almost give up. Then my muse taps me on the shoulder and points to the screen and says “Why don’t you do XYZ” and the whole thing takes off. Planning? Not for me. Where’s the fun if you know exactly where the journey is going.

I can’t give you a publication date but let’s say I’ll be disappointed if it isn’t before the end of the year. And yes, I have a title, but it’s so good I don’t dare share it lest some unscrupulous writer (there are one or two) nicks it. 

Heavy…

 

I’ve picked up a little light reading over the weekend, Ian Kershaw’s biography of Hitler (further thoughts when I’ve finished). My interest was piqued when reading Graham Hurley’s excellent Estocada, the third part of his Wars Within series. I really rate these books (although as a massive Hurley fan I may be a tad biased), and Estocada is in my opinion the best so far. Set in the months leading up to the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the cast includes many of the figures whose names were to become indelibly written into twentieth century history.

I realised I knew little about this period, or much about Hitler himself, and I wanted to know more. Hence the purchase. One thing this is clear from what I have read so far (and appropriate since yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day) is that comparisons between events taking place in the world today (Trump, Brexit, rise of populism, etc.) and the situation in Germany post WW1, are trite and even offensive. Could a country behave like Germany did, the end result of which was a war that claimed the lives of seventeen million people? Yes, but a special set of circumstances conspired to create the greatest horror of modern times, and while we must always be on guard, the world is in a very different place now.

Given the subject matter in Kershaw’s book, the question is am I all of a sudden going to be writing some kind of historical thriller? Well, never say never, but given the enormous amount of research necessary for such a novel, I don’t think so! 

A Plan

A belated “Happy New Year” to all readers. 

So, my plan for this year. I’ve just handed my agent (well, she’s in New York, so not exactly “handed”…) the draft of my new book. Since self-publishing The Sum of All Sins, I’ve been working hard on completing a new thriller. Finally it’s done and should be hitting the desks of publishers soon. Hopefully it will find them in an acquisitive mood and keen to find the “next big thing”. If that is the case then this year I’ll likely be completing a sequel, once again on the rollercoaster ride that is the publishing calendar. The one downside to this is I won’t have very much time to write the next DI Savage novel, so I can see one or two of my readers down on their knees, praying this new book is slipped quietly into the waste bin. Because if the new book doesn’t sell then I will be writing the seventh Savage novel this year. 

Whatever happens, I’m not done with DI Savage yet. There’s life in the ol’ girl and plenty of serial killing scum to sweep off the streets. Not to mention the sub plots building: Kenny Fallon wants payback for what happened at the end of The Boneyard, Councillor Alec Jackman is still in the background, and Chief Constable Maria Heldon thinks Savage is a loose canon and wants her off the force. Then there’s Malcolm Kendwick’s body. Fallon said he disposed of it but how much care did he really take? I don’t usually do much planning when it comes to writing, but I have sketched an outline for book seven and I’m excited by it. I can say no more…

So, whether your year is planned out or not, let’s hope it turns out to be a good one.

Radio Silence

It has been a while since I posted here and that’s simply for the reason there isn’t much to say! I’ve spent the last few months completing a new thriller, this one has broken free from Devon and flits between various countries including the UK, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Italy, and the Netherlands. I can’t reveal much about the book except it isn’t a Charlotte Savage novel (boo, hiss). Yes, yes, yes, I know one has been promised and eventually one will turn up (or perhaps, like buses, three…), but writers have to try and make a living and at the moment DI Savage does not have a publishing home. I do have a name for the next Savage book and a plot, so it is not all pie in the sky… honestly!

But back to the future. Here are a couple of pictures of places which feature in the upcoming thriller. No clues, but having given you a number of different countries above, I don’t think you’ll have much trouble guessing the exact locations. Answers at the bottom of the page.




Answers:

 

down…

 

down…

 

down…

 

Here: Port of Rotterdam, Kabul, the Amalfi Coast, Thames House London (home of MI5). Did you get them?

Out Today!

I’m pleased to say that The Sum Of All Sins is out today. Click here to buy from Amazon, Kobo, or Apple.

You can read a sample of the book by clicking the preview link below:

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Finally…

It’s been a long wait, but finally I can announce that my first standalone thriller is now available for preorder:

The Sum Of All Sins

The Sum Of All Sins is a psychological thriller cross crime mystery cross rural noir. Set on Dartmoor, it’s a tale of a couple who move away from London in order to forget their troubles and seek a new start. Unfortunately for them, escaping the past isn’t so easy…

You can buy The Sum Of All Sins on preorder from Amazon UK (Kindle, Kindle apps, paperback), Kobo (epub), and Apple (iBooks). Release date is 8th May. (review copies available for bloggers, etc. Please contact me).

While this is a standalone, it has all the usual “Sennenesque” elements, albeit in a different setting. There’s Dartmoor (of course), offbeat characters, a shocking crime, and a pacey denouement. I was tempted to call it The Girl On The Moor but that would have just been lazy (though possibly good marketing, but see my previous post on lack of originality in book titles).

I’ve really enjoyed working on this book and it’s been refreshing to take a break from the Charlotte Savage series… but, of course, I miss her, sob.

Terrible Titles

What is it with publishers and book titles these days? They seem to have run out of creative steam or else are frightened to do anything other than follow the crowd. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you obviously haven’t perused the crime and thriller section on Amazon recently. Title after title have the same basic theme: sister, wife, friend, husband, daughter. As I write there are four books with wife in the title in the top forty. If it’s not the mention of a relative or such then there’s a preponderance of I, you, she. Then there’s the ridiculous way a subtitle is added. Usually something like “the most gripping, addictive thriller with an absolutely amazingly brilliant twist that you won’t see coming” (hint, you won’t see it coming because it is either totally implausible or the writer has played a trick which it is impossible to guess).

Confession: my latest book The Boneyard even has one of these silly subtitles, despite the fact that I asked my publisher to put “A DI Charlotte Savage novel” since this was used on the previous five books.

What’s going on?

I like to think these titles are not the first suggestions provided by authors and are the result of marketing winning over creativity. There’s a follow-the-herd mentality and editors are reluctant to stray too far from the path. Far safer to just stick to the same-old, same-old then if the book doesn’t sell they won’t get the blame for being original. Still, I think we are approaching saturation point (the silly title threshold) and there will be a backlash. I already filter out these titles as I browse through,  knowing they’re unlikely to provide me with an original story.

As an illustration, my favourite book in the top 100 on Amazon at the moment is The Dry by Jane Harper. No wife, husband, you or I to be seen, just an intriguing title for a great novel (although the publisher has added “The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year 2017” as the subtitle).

With that said, I am pleased to announce the title of my next book will be: My Brother’s Wife’s Daughter’s Sister’s Father’s Brother: A shockingly tautological thriller with a twist which will leave you breathless (as you run round in circles).

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