Thrilled to have the ever-lovely Marnie Riches on the blog with a great guest post for you all in time to celebrate the publication of The Girl Who Had No Fear. First though, here’s all the super important bookish info:
About the author:
Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester. She learned her way out of the ghetto, all the way to Cambridge University, where she gained a Masters degree in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser. Previously a children’s author, now, she writes crime and contemporary women’s fiction.
Marnie Riches is the author of the best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime-thriller series, published by Maze and Avon at Harper Collins. The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die – the first outing for crime fiction’s mouthy, kickass criminologist – won the Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location at the Dead Good Reader Awards 2015, whilst the series was shortlisted for the Tess Gerritsen Award for Best Series in the Dead Good Reader Awards 2016. With the latest installment being “The Girl Who Had No Fear”, the books have garnered both a loyal readership and critical acclaim.
Her brand new Manchester series – a must-read for fans of Martina Cole & Kimberley Chambers – is coming in paperback as well as digital format. Born Bad will be released 9th March 2017 and will be available in all good bookshops. It is already available to pre-order via all good e-tailers.
In her spare time, Marnie likes to run (more of a long distance shuffle, really) travel, drink and eat all the things (especially if combined with travel) paint portraits, sniff expensive leather shoes (what woman doesn’t?) and renovate old houses. She also adores flowers.
About the book:
Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?
Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?
Click HERE to get your copy!
Meet The Family – Marnie Riches
Family has always been important to the George McKenzie series, and I think it’s because the book grew out of a short story called Glass that I had written back in about 2007 or 2008 – a couple of years before putting the finishing touches to The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die. Glass was my attempt to put into words my experience of having been petrol bombed as a teen around the time of Christmas Eve. Everything that happens to Ella and Letitia in one particular chapter, where a Molotov cocktail is thrown at the front door and where the back window is smashed in its entirety, happened to my mother and me. We suffered the violence as a family unit. We coped with the fear as a family unit, chewing the aftermath over in my Aunty’s kitchen over cups of strong tea. So, I guess this story always had its roots in family, because I, the author, have been shaped in part by my early family life – though I hasten to add that my mother, who sadly passed away earlier this year, was not Letitia.
Importantly, George’s upbringing has everything to do with the person she becomes as an adult. She’s tough, because her home-life was tough. She has a shady past and has upset a lot of dangerous people because of the petty criminal circumstances and the impoverished area in which she grew up. But she’s loving, and if you take George in the context of her extended family, which includes the selfless and maternal Aunty Sharon and cousins, Tinesha and Patrice – a functional, nurturing environment that becomes a second home for George – you can see why George loves fiercely and is utterly loyal to those very few she counts as nearest and dearest. Also, her family’s ethnicity as Black British people of Jamaican descent must undoubtedly leave its mark on George, though we see more in The Girl Who Had No Fear of how her long-lost father’s Spanish heritage manifests itself in George’s character.
There’s no doubt that George’s family do become an Achilles heel of sorts, given she chooses to become a criminologist. I think it’s entirely realistic that, if George had rubbed shoulders with powerful criminals in the past and had grassed to the police, however understandable her reasons may have been, her family would be continually at risk of also falling in the firing line whenever George crops up on some crime lord’s radar. I personally know of barristers who have to be extremely careful about exposing their family or revealing their family’s identity and whereabouts to people they have prosecuted in the past. So, this phenomenon would not be strange to George, though perhaps when she first ventured down the criminologist’s career path, given her identity-change, the risks would not have occurred to her. George’s problem is that she gets personally involved in cases – as we see in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows. When she gets involved, her family, with whom she lives part of the time, gets dragged in. We particularly see this in The Girl Who Had No Fear. George is just a character who will always attract trouble! And of course, the antagonistic relationships between George and Letitia and between Letitia and her sister, Sharon will always generate strife too!
Van den Bergen’s little unit at the police station, which consists of IT Marie and Elvis, is not really a substitute family. After years of working together, they still know hardly anything about one another’s private lives, which makes revealing more of Marie’s and Elvis’ subsidiary characters in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows and The Girl Who Had No Fear a joy. They have so many secrets! You could say that Van den Bergen views both his junior detectives as surrogate children, but he’s a well-meaning yet detached parent, too wrapped up in his cases and his own turbulent private life to take any interest in theirs. Where he has been encouraged to overstep his professional boundaries by George (who has no compunction in putting her happiness before what she’d consider to be arbitrary workplace codes of conduct that don’t take human emotions into account), he maintains those boundaries meticulously with Marie and Elvis. The three of them are therefore necessarily the polar opposite of George’s family members, who all live in each other’s pockets. But professional loyalty still binds Van den Bergen, Marie and Elvis together. And I like to think that George and Marie have a sisterly alliance, of sorts.
If you loved the fraught relationship between Letitia and Sharon, wait until you see what family strife is brewing in The Girl Who Had No Fear!
Huge thanks to Marnie for joining me today and for this brilliant piece!
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