Review~ Rubicon by Ian Patrick and Author Q&A!

About the book:

Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.

Sam Batford is a corrupt undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply.

DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets.

Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Published by Fahrenheit Press, you can get your copy here.

About the author:

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Educated in Nottingham, Ian left school at sixteen. After three years in the Civil Service he moved to London for a career in the Metropolitan Police.

He spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes.

Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

 

I spent many of my, younger, years travelling as my father was in the forces. My secondary education was in Nottingham where I scraped through the education system and left school at sixteen. After a short spell in the Civil Service I moved to London, aged nineteen, for a career in the Metropolitan Police. I spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command. I had a varied career mainly investigating sexual offences within Operation Sapphire, child protection and, pro-active, paedophile investigations. I retired as a detective sergeant. I now live in rural Scotland with my family enjoying life by the beach!

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

 

I’ve written for fun for over twenty years. A life in policing is a life of writing! I had never considered turning my hand to novel writing until a few years ago. Rubicon is my second book, I have another one down, but unsure whether it will see the light of day.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 

Life. I have seen so many sides to the human psyche that it became impossible for stories to cease arising in my head.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

Raw. I seem to have found a voice that I enjoy writing in and wish to develop this as far as I can. I don’t dwell on unnecessary description. I know readers want concise language not words for words sake. As a reader it’s something I notice, so figured my writing would reflect that. I also like a book to keep me gripped. It’s my hope my writing will achieve this goal, but I will have to await the response from those reading it!

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

 

I have a love hate with social media. I have returned to Twitter after deleting an old account that just seemed to draw me in too much and detracted me from writing. This is a personal thing though. I tend to operate in extremes and need to find a middle way with it. I really enjoyed being back on Twitter for publication day and it’s great connecting with readers here. It has to help in drumming up publicity but I do believe in moderation and not ramming your book down people’s timeline every few tweets. That becomes tedious and unnecessary.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

 

I have been in public service since I was sixteen and see this as another branch of it. The best thing for me is that I can, hopefully, give people a break from everyday life and immerse them in a decent read. We all need space every now and then to just enter an alternative world.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

 

I haven’t found one yet! Being an author is a privilege and I feel very humbled to have the chance to be one.

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

 

Great question! One of my old DCI’s asked the same thing when I was accepted onto a child murder, investigative, team. I was always looking at the next way I could develop as a detective and I wish to see how much I can develop my writing over this time. It’s a major achievement to be taken on by Fahrenheit Press. If I can still be with this publisher in five years time then I’ve done very well as he doesn’t take on poor writing regardless of whether you’re an author with him or not.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I’m working on the next Batford novel and at the editing stage of a first draft.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

 

You can’t write unless you voraciously read. I read a book a week and that’s voracious enough for me. I read across genres although I draw the line at romance! I love books that make you want to invest your time in connecting with the pages. If I don’t like a book I’ll stop reading it. I’m not one for carrying on in the hope it gets better. I love books by Cormac McCarthy, Ed McBain, Phillip K Dick and George Orwell. Sven Hassel was my favourite author as a youth. I read Epiphany Jones by Mike Grothaus, recently, and really enjoyed his writing.

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

 

The Road by Cormac McCarthy followed by Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

 

The Road. An incredible book that evokes fear, and anxiety, with every page. A superb example of human struggle and love. McCarthy defies convention in the way he writes. Be your own voice.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

 

I have a young family so they’re a priority. We have a springer spaniel that requires a significant amount of attention too! We live on the coast so walks are a joy.

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

 

I’m passionate about photography so indulge in this whenever I get the opportunity. I never leave the house without my camera; it’s become a part of me.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

 

I loved going to Bali. Such a beautiful place, and full of culture. I can recommend Scotland too.

 

Favourite food?

 

At the moment it’s the venison meatballs at The Clachan Inn in Dalry.

 

Favourite drink?

 

Coffee!

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

 

I had to retire from policing due to a diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy. This is a rare, degenerative, disease that affects the muscles. Aside from mobility problems it comes with fatigue and pain that can mean a day in bed. At these times I found that if I didn’t have a decent book to read, the pain was worse. You’re focused on the pain and not distracted by words. I chose to write in the hope that my writing will provide some escape for those having a bad day and just want to escape into another world and spend some time there.

*Huge thanks to Ian for answering my questions! 🙂


My thoughts:

I don’t know where to start with this review to be honest. I’ve written and deleted it more than once. Not because I didn’t enjoy Rubicon, but because I couldn’t put the bloody book down once I started it, I was hooked!

Rubicon is quite a book. It is dark, gritty and packed with action. The main characters, Sam Batford and Klara Winter are like chalk and cheese, so I really enjoyed their brief interludes during the course of the story. Both after the same thing, but for wildly different reasons, their story arc was really fun to read!

Batford is an undercover officer, corrupt as you like, and not one bit sorry. This attitude translates really well into his story as it makes him almost a bit of a lad, in terms of his cockiness and general devil-may-care approach to certain things. He’s a bit of a renegade, let’s be honest, but he is also my favourite part of the story!

I really enjoyed reading Rubicon, not least because the author’s previous experience in this line of work really shines through, but also because it’s not my usual kind of crime read. I tend not to read these gangland-y (not a word, I know!) books but I am SO glad I got to read this little gem.

Ian Patrick has a great writing style. Short, pacy chapters mean you’re constantly turning the page to see what the hell Batford is going to do next, and because he’s a bit of an asshole, you know he’ll be up to no good. Can’t wait to see where the author takes us with his next one.

Highly recommended!

 

~Blog Tour Review~ Part 2~ In The Still by Jacqueline Chadwick

Hey guys,

Back again with part 2 of today’s Fahrenheit Press blog tour for In The Still (published today!!!)! In this post, I’m sharing my review with you all!

Jackie C

*Many thanks to Chris at Fahrenheit for my review copy!*

About the book:

When Ali Dalglish immigrated to Canada she left behind her career as Britain’s most in-demand forensic pathologist & criminal psychologist.

Now, eight years later, Ali feels alone, and bored, and full of resentment. Suffocated and frustrated by her circumstances and in an increasingly love-starved marriage, Ali finds herself embroiled in a murder case that forces her to call upon her dormant investigative skills.

As she’s pulled deeper into the case of ‘The Alder Beach Girl’ and into the mind of a true psychopath, Ali is forced to confront her fears and to finally embrace her own history of mental illness.

In an increasingly febrile atmosphere Ali must fight hard to protect those she loves from the wrath of a determined and vicious predator and to ultimately allow the woman she once was to breathe again.

Click HERE to get your copy!

 

My thoughts:

In this crime debut, we meet Ali Dalglish, who emigrated to Canada 8 years previously with her husband and two children. Before moving to Canada, Ali worked as a forensic pathologist and a criminal psychologist. Considered to be a child prodigy, highly intelligent Ali ended up leaving the UK at the pinnacle of her career to re-locate to Canada, and as a consequence, is filled with resentment and totally unfulfilled with her life as it is now.

Living in the quiet town of Mochetsin, Ali gets drawn into a murder that sends shock waves through this idyllic seaside town. The killer wont stop at one,and refuses to be caught. What follows is a manic and grisly game of cat and mouse. Can Ali rise to the challenge and put her old skills to good use to help the investigation?

In The Still is a graphic and evil crime thriller. Usually, with all of the crime books I read, I tend to read with detachment as I’ve become desensitised to violence between the pages, However, In The Still is different. It got under my skin. It made my heart pound. I was afraid to turn the pages to see what fresh hell Jackie Chadwick would unleash on her unsuspecting readers. The antagonist is so sick and twisted, yet unbelievable clever. That is what kept me hooked from beginning to end.

Jacqueline Chadwick has a very descriptive writing style, lots of big beautiful words to describe the absolute horrors taking place in her book. Another thing about her writing is the dry humour that is interspersed in the narrative. It gives welcome relief to some of the heavier parts, and it really endears Ali to the reader. It takes skill to inject humour into something so disturbing, but it is carried off with ease by the author. There is something infectious about foul-mouthed Ali, she’s definitely someone I’d love to hang out with!

With Ali in particular, there is a constant and honest undercurrent of her battle with her own mental health. It is referred to a few times and I liked how the author described her almost daily battle with her issues as it made her even more human and relatable. It shows that Ali, beneath her hard exterior, is trying to deal with her own mental health on top of everything else. Family life and the investigation clearly take its toll on her but I’d like to think she’s strong enough to get through it all and come out fighting.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading In The Still. It kept me gripped, made me feel more than a little uneasy and screwed with my head. Ali is a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see where she takes us next! Loved it!

Highly recommended!

 

~Blog Tour Part 1~ Q&A with Jacqueline Chadwick

Hi everyone,

Today I’m doing something a little different to celebrate publication day for In The Still by Jacqueline Chadwick, the brilliant crime book published today by Fahrenheit Press. In this first post, I’ll be sharing a Q&A that I got to do with Jackie, and then later in the day, I’ll be sharing my review with you all!

About the author:


Jacqueline Chadwick is probably best known for her work in British soap operas.

Jackie appeared in ITV soap opera Emmerdale, as Tina Dingle from 1994–1996. For this role she was nominated for Most Popular Actress at the 1996 National Television Awards.

Jackie next appeared in Coronation Street in 1998 as factory machinist Linda Sykes. The storyline involving her character’s relationship with Mike Baldwin won Best Storyline at The British Soap Awards in 2001. She left Coronation Street in 2001.

In 2002 she relocated to Canada with her husband and family.

In The Still is her first novel.

You can follow her on twitter @JackieChaddy

About the book:

Jackie C

When Ali Dalglish immigrated to Canada she left behind her career as Britain’s most in-demand forensic pathologist & criminal psychologist.

Now, eight years later, Ali feels alone, and bored, and full of resentment. Suffocated and frustrated by her circumstances and in an increasingly love-starved marriage, Ali finds herself embroiled in a murder case that forces her to call upon her dormant investigative skills.

As she’s pulled deeper into the case of ‘The Alder Beach Girl’ and into the mind of a true psychopath, Ali is forced to confront her fears and to finally embrace her own history of mental illness.

In an increasingly febrile atmosphere Ali must fight hard to protect those she loves from the wrath of a determined and vicious predator and to ultimately allow the woman she once was to breathe again.

You can get your copy bu clicking the link below:

In The Still (Ali Dalglish Book 1) by Jacqueline Chadwick


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

At the risk of boring you to death: I am forty-two, Scottish, I have two children and too many dogs. I have a fabulous husband who is a firefighter. I grew up in Birmingham where I became an actress at the age of 11 and continued in that field until I was 26. I left acting to focus on motherhood and to homeschool my kids. I moved to Canada in 2009 were I work as a writer and miss the U.K. every day.

 

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I have always loved writing. During my years as an actress, writing was my dirty little secretand I would sneak off to my dressing room and write plays and TV scripts and screenplays. Nowadays I like to write novels, especially ones that are just a little bit twisted.

 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The inspiration for my first novel, In The Still, was a combination of  two things: a secluded nature trail near my house and my husbands job as a first responder. I wanted to know, if a murder victim was discovered in the sleepy municipality where I now live, how would it be handled? Who would be first on scene? Would they bring in specialists? Then, once I started to describe the setting, it became clear to me that a killer could operate undetected for a long time, perhaps forever, in such a place as long as he chose his victims carefully and didnt get clumsy.

 

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your books?

I am fascinated by the dark side of human nature. I love to explore the notion of evil. I get excited writing things that are grim and sometimes uncomfortable. Im happy with certain chapters only when I have to take a break after writing to have a drink of water and let my nausea subside. My central character is a brilliant woman called Ali Dalglish but what I especially like about her is that she isnt perfect, she is flawed and about as far away from sorted as you can get.

 

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Since In The Stillis my debut, I am green to the industry and to social media. Although Ive become totally addicted, I am a Twitter newbie and so youll have to ask me that one in the future.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Writing every day. It is my idea of heaven on earth. I love every moment of it from the first chapter to the very last.

 

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Well, as I said before, Im learning as I go but I have noticed that, once your work is out there, you have frequent moments of self-doubt and sheer panic. However, thus far its been nothing a glass of wine cant fix.

 

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

Id like to have written another five books.

 

What’s next for you?

Briefly Maidenand Silent Sisters(books two and three in the Ali Dalglish series) are being published by Fahrenheit Press later this year and Im currently working on a fourth thats set in Britain because Im just so damn homesick.

 

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I read every day. At the moment Im working my way through the works of the Fahrenheit Press family and Im thoroughly enjoying them all. Crime fiction is my favourite genre and always has been since I was little but I like to read a mix of styles and genres, both modern and classic.

 

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

There are many books I love but one in particular stands out as my favourite: Hannibalby Thomas Harris. I remember reading it on the train and my face getting hot as Harris introduces Mason Verger, it was the first time I had to shut a book just to steel myself for more.

 

 

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Hannibal.

 

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I have always homeschooled my kids. My daughter is twenty and so shes all done but I still work with my son, Jamie. Theres always crap to do around the house (especially with four dogs) but nowadays I can slip off to my desk, dive into a new chapter and leave it for tomorrow.

 

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

Oil painting and furniture restoration although, since Ali Dalglish took up residence in my skull, I havent done either for a while.

 

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

My husband and I have always taken the kids to Disney but right now, given the chance, Id go to Britain – Im dying for a proper fish supper, some tattie scones and as much Irn Bru as I can take.

 

Favourite food?

As above!!!

 

Favourite drink?

I love beer but its too fattening (Im five foot and so every pound just takes me closer to that barrel-shape Im genetically destined for) so I stick to vodka and cranberry and the odd glass (bottle) of red.

 

 

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

Whenever I dont write, even if for just a few days, I go more than a little bit crazy. Its something I am compelled to do. I bloody love it!


Huge thanks to Jackie for answering my questions! 🙂

Make sure to check back in later to read my review for her brilliant debut, In The Still…

Blackwater by GJ Moffatt

*Many thanks to Chris at Fahrenheit Press for my review copy!*

About the book:

Deputy Sheriff Early Simms of the Blackwater County Sheriff’s Department knows about the violence that incubates within the souls of men – and that sometimes it needs a release. As a high school football player he relished inflicting pain, until he made a tackle that left a promising young athlete dead from a broken neck. Early did not play another game and his dreams of leaving the small town that he grew up in never materialised. Instead, he followed his father into the town’s police force.

Now older, Early is outwardly content with the life he has made for himself in Blackwater. But that life is about to be turned upside down. Kate Foley, his high school girlfriend, arrives in town on the run from an abusive husband and it stirs feelings that Early thought he had forgotten.

Jimmy and Marshall Cain are brothers – men with the capacity for the kind of violence that Early Simms knows all too well. A botched home invasion by the brothers goes horribly wrong, leaving a man and woman dead and their teenage daughter kidnapped.

Events spiral further out of control, with the brothers embarking on a killing spree that leads them to a confrontation with Early Simms and an FBI task force. At the same time, Kate Foley’s husband is armed and on the hunt for his wife.

Early is about to find himself in a fight not just for the life he has known, but for the future he has glimpsed in stolen moments with Kate. And to defeat the maelstrom hurtling towards him, he must once again confront the violence in his own soul.

Blackwater by GJ Moffatt

My thoughts:

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of American crime fiction. Most especially when it takes place in small towns. Something about a tight-knit community and the sense that everyone knows everybody’s business really appeals to me. Needless to say, I was eager to read Blackwater as it sounded exactly like the kind of book I would love.

I was not disappointed!

Early Simms is the Deputy Sherriff of Blackwater, a relatively quiet little town on the east coast of America. Chaos descends onto his doorstep initially with the arrival of Kate, his old high school girlfriend, who happens to be on the run from an abusive husband. Naturally, this stirs feelings in Early both as a professional and in a rather more protective capacity too.

Alongside this arrival, there is a much more dangerous duo who have appeared, the Cain brothers, fresh from a home invasion that went dramatically wrong. Violence seems to be their method of communication, and they are intent on wreaking havoc in Blackwater. This causes a host of problems to Early and the residents of the town.

What follows is a riot of action, violence and mayhem. These bursts of drama are interspersed beautifully with rare moments of calm through vignettes into Early’s life both now, and in the past. I genuinely loved Early as a character as he is so well-drawn that its nigh on impossible not to become invested in his fate and that of those he cares about. The reader is rooting for him from the beginning, willing him on and hoping that he can prevail over the evil that the Cain brothers are intent on bringing to Blackwater.

American crime fiction at its best and most gripping, Blackwater will grab you by the throat from the first chapter and won’t let go. Addictive as f***!

Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

 

Dead is Best by Jo Perry

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*Many thanks to Chris at Fahrenheit Press for my review copy*

About the book:

Charlie and Rose are back in their much anticipated new adventure.

Charlie’s step daughter lies dying on a beach. She needs help. Some serious help. But how did she get there and what can on earth can a dead guy and his dead dog do?

Plenty as it turns out.

As Charlie & Rose ride to the rescue in their own unique way it soon becomes clear that the body on the beach was only the beginning….

Dead is Best is published by Fahrenheit Press. Click HERE to get your copy!

About the author:

Jo Perry earned a Ph.D. in English, taught college literature and writing, produced and wrote episodic television,
and has published articles,  book reviews, and poetry.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, novelist Thomas Perry.

They have two adult children. Their three cats and two dogs are rescues.

jp2

My thoughts:

I’ve had this on my kindle for too long, and I couldn’t leave it any longer. I broke my TBR rules to squeeze this beauty in and I wasn’t disappointed. Charlie and Rose are the coolest, deadest crime fighting duo on the block. And Dead is Best is proof of just how great they are.

Preceding each chapter is a quote about Death, and I absolutely love it because it’s morbid but brilliant at the same time. Death is different for everyone, but Jo Perry has written yet another book that gives death the finger. Charlie and Rose might be dead, but they are super cool with it.

In Dead is Best, Charlie and Rose are confronted with his stepdaughter, who is alive… isn’t she?

Caught up with bad kids, and a bank rolled lifestyle, Cali is in trouble. Big trouble. The kind that you end up dead because of. Someone gets an attack of conscience though, and Cali is brought back from the brink. But that’s not the end. Because that would be to easy right? Goddamn right!

What follows is yet another harrowing journey through both life (Cali) and the afterlife (Charlie and Rose) and it was one which I wasn’t prepared for. Something about the #DeadDog book make me get a little emotional. They touch on some tough subjects, even though they are dealt with really well, they can be a little sad to read.

I cannot recommend these books highly enough. If you haven’t read them, you really should. Different, brilliant and all round awesome, this series just gets better and better. I can’t wait for book three!!!

As Fahrenheit are prone to say, “just read the damn books” 📚

Previous Jo Perry posts:

Dead Is Better by Jo Perry

**Exclusive Author Interview- Jo Perry**

Fahrenheit Press is 1! Giveaway Time!

One of my fave publishers turned one and they are just growing up so fast! 🙂 To celebrate this milestone, Fahrenheit are giving away a subscription to their Book Club, which means the winner will receive all the books published in 2016, 50+ books in case you were wondering!!! More on this in a bit!

Fahrenheit Press is the brainchild of Chris McVeigh. And to be fair, he’s a bit of a rebel… Here’s some info from their website.

About Fahrenheit Press:

“Hot Punk Publishers”

 

That’s what they’re calling us and who are we to disagree?

The brains behind Fahrenheit Press have worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years and we figured it was time we created the publishing company we always dreamed of. We shoot from the lip and we call it like we see it – if that rubs people up the wrong way we can live with that.

Fahrenheit Press are a brand new publishing house founded by international publishing veteran Chris McVeigh.

“We’re intent on doing things differently and we’re building a publishing company that’s heavy on curation and deadly serious about marketing.”

After many years helping the world’s biggest publishers build authors and create best-selling titles we’ve decided the time is right to step out from behind the curtain, set up our own publishing house and do things the way we think they should be done. We definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but that’s just the way we like it. If we’re not ruffling some feathers, we reckon we’re doing something wrong.

“It’s fair to say I’ve never looked much like a traditional publisher. I’m not suited, I’m not booted, and the nearest I’ve come to tweed is the Jean Paul Gaultier kilt I wore for a few years back in the nineties.”

For sure our punk ethos runs through everything we do but don’t mistake our tone for unprofessionalism – over the years we’ve helped shift literally millions of books for some of the biggest publishers in the world.

We’ve only just started out on this journey and we really appreciate all the support you’ve given us so far – it’s been a real blast – we have no idea where this will take us but we promise you the ride will never be boring.

 

I’ve been folllowing Fahrenheit since they first appeared, and I’ve been very lucky to be a part of some of the cool stuff they have done!

In a world first, Fahrenheit Press uploaded a book to Amazon with no title, no author and no description. And that book now has my name in it, as well as the other people who took a chance and bought what turned out to be The Lobster Boy and the Fat Lady’s Daughter by Charles KrielThis book was one of my top reads of 2015!

As well as Lobster, I’ve also had the privilege of having both Jo Perry and Paul Charles join me on the blog and you can see those here:

Dead Is Better by Jo Perry

**Exclusive Author Interview- Jo Perry**

Saturday Series Spotlight: Paul Charles

You can check out the absolutely stellar line up of authors published by Fahrenheit Press HERE.

And the full list of books HERE.

***GIVEAWAY***

To celebrate turning one, Fahrenheit Press are giving one of you lucky folks a subscription to their Book Club. This means that you get every book published by Fahrenheit in 2016, which hopefully will be 50+ books! (Click HERE to read about it on their website). How awesome it that for a prize?! All you have to do to be in with a chance to win, is comment on THIS blog post!

It is THAT EASY!!!

Good luck everyone 😊📚

*Giveaway is ebooks only, there is no alternative. Competition closes at midnight on September 16th. Winner will be notified accordingly.*

Saturday Series Spotlight: Paul Charles

So, as you will have noticed, this feature has changed both in name and in scheduling. The Saturday Series Spotlight will run weekly and feature posts from authors and bloggers alike. This week, I’m thrilled to have Paul Charles on the blog.

About Paul:

Paul Charles was born and raised in Magherafelt in the north of Ireland and divides his time between writing and working in the music business in London. He is the author of ten critically acclaimed Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy mysteries, set in Camden Town, the most recent of which was A Pleasure To Do Death With You.

In addition to his distinguished writing career, Paul is one of the UK music industry’s most respected figures. In a career spanning over 30 years, he has been the agent for a wide range of quality music acts.

Author_Paul

 

Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the man himself….

Another Series.

 

So far I have worked on four series of books. The D.I. Christy Kennedy series – 10 mysteries so far; The Inspector Starrett – the 3rd book has just been published; McCusker just one so far, and then of course the Castlemartin titles. One of Our Jeans is Missing (Fahrenheit Press) is the third and final Castlemartin story

 

I started work on this book a long time ago, as was the case with the other two Castlemartin books (The Last Dance and The Lonesome heart is Angry). Castlemartin is a fictitious village, located about four miles away from (the very real) Magherafelt, on the shores of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland, where I spent the first seventeen years of my life. All three books are set in the mid to late1960s. In One of Our Jeans Is Missing, however, David Buchanan, the main character, moves from Castlemartin to London and… well perhaps there’s a wee bit of: you can take the man out of Ulster but you can never take Ulster out of the man.   

 

In one of his many classics, Paul McCartney famously asked, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?”

 

Well let’s see now. DAVID BUCHANAN is from Castlemartin in Mid-Ulster; MARY SKEFFINGTON is from Bath; JEAN SIMPSON and JEAN KERR – yes that’s the two Jeans – are childhood best friends from Matlock in Derbyshire; JOHN HARRISON is from Scotland. All are in their late teens – so late, in fact, that they will soon leave them and (hopefully) their innocence behind.

 

David meets up with Mary, John, Jean and Jean and they start to enjoy each other, and music, and each other a bit more, and then one of them disappears. At least two of remaining quartet start to consider what might be the perfect murder.

 

I had the title from the get-go for this book. This isn’t always the case for me. Tanita Tikaram an artist I was managing at the time visited China for a holiday. She took her two best friends with her. Both of her friends were (in fact still are) called Gillian.  One day Tanita telephoned me from China in a panic.

 

“One of our Gillians is missing,” she gushed.

 

I laughed. In my defence I laughed, not so much at the fact that one of her best friends was missing in a foreign land, but more at the way she had put it.

 

“No PC,” Tanita pleaded, “she’s seriously missing!”

 

When I set the phone down and had got D.I. Christy Kennedy, Inspector Starrett and McCusker, on the missing Gillians case, I started to think that ‘seriously missing’ – as opposed to ‘casually missing,’ or even just, ‘missing’ – would be a great title for a book, but for some reason or other when it came time to write it up in my wee ideas book I only wrote, ‘One of our Gillians is missing.’

 

Sometime later when I had the idea for this story of David Buchanan and his four fellow teenage exiles in 1960s’ London, the title presented itself to me at pretty much the same time. In fact the original working title for the book was, One of Our Gillians is Missing. Then I started to date a lady called Gillian (yet another one) for a while, and so in order to protect the three Gillians I changed the title to One of Our Jeans is Missing a.k.a. OOOJim (pronounced ‘Oh Jim!’

 

Apart from being exiled from the home you grew up in, another of the main themes of the story is how music, big pieces of music, becomes very important as soundtracks to parts of our lives. I suppose the other important point to mention here is that we are all equally passionate about the music we dislike as we are about the music we love. A lot of the music references in the book – Dylan,  John Lee Hooker, The Spencer Davies Group, Taste and Stevie Winwood – have all had major influences in my life and, along with quite a few other artists, helped me during my move from Ulster to London in 1967. Yes, music certainly helped me deal with the potentially debilitating illness known as homesickness. Even today every time I listen to Neil Diamond’s classic, I Am… I Said, I can still recall vividly the intensity of the helplessness of the bed-sitter days. With hindsight if I had been a doctor I would have prescribed a twice weekly listening session of I Am… I Said, one or Mr Diamond’s most soulful statements.  Just to know that others had suffered and were suffering from your ailment could be a comfort.  With the benefit of that same hindsight I would probably add a thrice weekly visit from Jean Simpson into the potent healing mix. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean should you visit the pages of One Of Our Jeans Is Missing.

 

This is my first title to be published by Fahrenheit Press.  I found main man Chris McVeigh refreshingly straightforward to deal with.  His view seemed to be that if he read the book and liked it (and assuming that I could spell Fahrenheit) he would publish it without any publisher interference, fuss or delay.  His only other observation was, “If you want to be treated like a delicate little snowflake we’re definitely NOT the publisher for you – try Faber & Faber, they’re lovely.”  That was certainly good enough for me.  

 

Going back to the series of books theme for a minute, for me one of the all-time great series of books would have to be the Colin Dexter Inspector Morse collection of 14 books (including one volume of short stories) published between 1975 and 1999.

 

I got into this series thanks to John Thaw’s superb work on the small screen. I remember seeing that he was involved in a new police series but I hadn’t bothered to check it out because the Sweeney and their “crash, bang, wallop, ‘Right you’re nicked!’ wasn’t really my cup of tea. I was touring Italy with an American singer songwriter and my friends back in London were sending me various videos to help while away the hours on the tour bus and there was so much travel each day I was happy to be distracted by anything. So I set up the Morse video. One hour and forty minutes later (the video used to be a great way of missing the adverts!) I was totally floored. There was one scene I remember vividly. Morse (John Thaw) and Lewis (Kevin Whatley) had just been to the scene of the crime for their initial visit and they leave the SOCO unit to complete their work while the two detectives drive back into Oxford to start into the investigation. On the drive back through the countryside they stop off at by the gate to this field before them is this incredible scene where you have the famous burgundy coloured Mark 2 Jaguar, the golden field of corn, the green hedges and trees and all set off by a stunning beautiful blue sky with white fluffy clouds. Morse and Lewis (with backs to the camera) lean on the gate gazing over this incredible inspiring picture. This particular scene was about three minutes long but there was no dialogue, just Barrington Pheloung’s soulful soundtrack. The point of it was to allow Morse, Lewis and the TV audience a chance to reflect on the life that just been lost and the details of the case so far.  I thought it was incredible brave television and I immediately started to wonder if it was the writer, Colin Dexter, or the director who had been responsible for such powerful work.

 

I resolved to try and solve this puzzle and so the next day in Milan in a dusty book store with a humble English language section, I tried to track down some of the work by Colin Dexter and eventually (but nearly not) I managed to purchase two Morse paperbacks, namely, The Dead of Jericho and Last Bus to Woodstock.  Anyway I discovered that if the scene had come from the director the mood had most definitely come from Colin Dexter. I absolutely loved both books. I became aware of slowing down my reading pace just so I could savour the experience.  That’s one of the great things in the world isn’t it? You know, discovering the work of an author you previously hadn’t read but then when you do and realise how much you love their work and then you find that they have a an entire series of book with the same characters waiting for you. Oh just sheer bliss.

 

Paul Charles

    


 

I have a couple of Paul’s books on my TBR and I can’t wait to read them! Here’s a few links if you want to check out some more of Paul’s work…

Paul Charles Books website

Fahrenheit Press– Paul’s ultra cool publisher

Thanks for reading! 🙂