Saturday Series Spotlight-Steven Dunne

Hi everyone,

Today, I am joined by none other than Steven Dunne as part of the series spotlight post. I have only read The Reaper (review HERE) which I loved, and I have most of the others on the TBR. Needless to say I was thrilled that Steven agreed to take part in this feature!

About the author:

Steven Dunne was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He went to the University of Kent after A levels and studied as little as possible, yet somehow emerged with a second class honours degree. He began writing articles for quality newspapers on dull subjects before writing the book for the Latchmere Theatre’s award-winning fringe production of Hansel and Gretel in 1989. He co-also co-wrote the revue, It’s Mad Mad World, We’re Plastered performed at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking the previous year and played the role of Teddy in the same theatre’s production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming the same year.
In the 1996 he moved up to his adopted home town of Derby. In 2007, he self-published Reaper, a thriller set in the city, featuring the hyper-intelligent but mentally troubled detective, DI Damen Brook. The rights were optioned by Harper Collins and four more critically-acclaimed books followed. He has also published the 6th book in the DI Brook series, entitled Death Do Us Part and the 5th in the series, A Killing Moon, won the coveted literary prize the East Midlands Book Award in 2016.

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Visit Steven’s Amazon UK Author Page here and here’s the DI Damen Brook book series in pictorial order:

And without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the man himself…

GOLDEN AGE DETECTIVE?

 

This year at Crimefest in the beautiful city of Bristol I was on a panel dedicated to ‘Detective Fiction from the Golden Age’ and featured, among others, the award-winning Christopher Fowler, whose Bryant & May series is so highly regarded, and Guy Fraser-Simpson responsible for the Mapp and Lucia series. And sitting on the panel, I admit I was puzzled as to why I’d been selected for it. After all, my detective is DI Damen Brook, a mentally fragile, middle-aged CID officer on the trail of contemporary serial killers in modern day Derby. Yes, the golden age queen of crime, Agatha Christie, is one of my two favourite crime series but I believed my books were more styled on those of my other favourite crime writer, Thomas Harris, writer of The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon and other gritty thrillers featuring Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling and Will Graham.

 

And although Brook lives in the rural quiet of the Peak District so he can tramp around the hills to sooth his overburdened mind, he travels each day into Derby to hunt down clever and ruthless serial killers in baffling and often bloody cases. And he has done so since the first book of the series, The Reaper, released in 2009.

 

Now onto its sixth instalment – out in kindle and paperback last month – Death Do Us Part has the same high body count as the previous books and, while I’m not a fan of the gratuitous lingering over such violence, the crimes I depict are realistically portrayed. So I admit I was perplexed to be on the golden age panel and felt out of place. It was then that I hit upon something that hadn’t occurred to me before and which showed the panel organisers actually knew more about my series than I did.

 

It suddenly became clear that, without realising it, my thrillers combined elements of BOTH modern and golden age schools of crime. How? Well, fans of my work will recognise that Damen Brook is an old school copper who believes in the classic method of detection deployed by Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Miss Marple and many others from an earlier time – use of the brain to sift through clues and find the unknown killer. And, unlike many contemporary detectives, Brook has other claims to be from a different era. He is rarely, if ever, violent, has a fondness for well-spoken English and, most unusually, he never swears because to do so would betray, in Brook’s own words, ‘a mind that is not under control. And control is what they pay us for.’ In every case he solves, Brook prefers to use what Poirot called ‘the little grey cells’ in the search for justice.

 

Not only that. At the heart of each of my serial killer thrillers is a baffling mystery in the Agatha Christie tradition and one that most readers will fail to solve before Brook, using his brilliantly analytical brain, has laid out the solution for them – you have my personal guarantee on this but if you’re sceptical, please check my reviews.

 

Thus, Brook leads his squad of detectives, pitting his wits against the Deity killer, the Pied Piper and of course the Reaper, amongst others. In Death Do Us Part, Brook is on the hunt for a killer who targets married couples as well as dipping into an unfathomable cold case which has come to his attention. To find the culprits, Brook must use his intelligence in the tried and tested golden age tradition. And thank you to Crimefest for making me realise this.


What a fab post! Huge thanks to the lovely Steven for taking part!

Also, I have to mention that Steven is signing books today at Chesterfield Waterstones from 10am if you are in the area and fancy meeting him! 🙂

You can also find Steven online;

Twitter @ReaperSteven

Facebook- Steven Dunne

Website- http://www.the-reaper.com

 

The Reaper by Steven Dunne

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I was feeling a little rebellious last week, in that I decided to cheat on my TBR because I have so many books I want to read and following on from Make Me I moved onto Steven Dunne’s The Reaper!

I finished The Reaper earlier this week, and it’s taken until now for me to sit down and try to formulate a review. I just don’t have the words!!! This was my reaction when I had put down the book! 🙂

 

About the book (via Goodreads):

A damaged detective.
A case he’s trying to forget.
A killer who won’t let him…

Detective Inspector Damen Brook thinks he’s left his past behind him in London. But it seems a serial killer has followed him north…

Brook’s seeking sanctuary. Years in the MET have left their mark – so much so that he’s fled to Derby leaving behind his marriage, his teenage daughter and very nearly his sanity to wind down a once promising career in the peace of the Peak District.

But one winter’s night, Brook is confronted by a serial killer he hunted many years before – The Reaper – a man who slaughters families in their homes then disappears without a trace.

To find this killer Brook must discover what the Reaper is doing in Derby, why he’s started killing again and what, if anything, connects the butchered families.

As Brook becomes entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse, he is forced to face his own demons by confronting a past that destroyed his family and destroyed his family and nearly cost him his life…

 

My thoughts:

When I first started reading The Reaper I had absolutely no idea what to expect. All I knew was what I had read from the blurb, and the rave reviews fellow bloggers and friends had written also got a look in as well. I’d had The Reaper on my kindle for AAAAAAGES, and seeing as how it was recommended to me again recently, I decided it was about time I met DI Damen Brook.

Brook is undeniably flawed, but it is borne from previous experiences and it really adds to the melancholic air of his character. I love a good protagonist, and I really enjoy finding out their backstory and what made them the way they are when the reader is introduced to them. That’s another reason I like to start at the beginning with series.

Brook is in Derby, working on the murders of a family which he finds bears many similarities to a couple of cases of is from way back before he relocated from London, which the aforementioned Reaper was the perpetrator.

The Reaper reads like a cat and mouse game at times, with both sides having the upper had at various different points in the story. It adds a sense of tension and menace to the already fraught narrative.

Though this is the first in the series, the author has done a very good job with the history and backstory of the characters. With the story jumping between the past and present, we get glimpses into Brook’s breakdown, and the events surrounding the investigation of The Reaper which lead up to it.

I’m not going to lie, The Reaper made my brain work overtime while I was reading it. At times, I found it quite difficult to separate the past and preset investigations, but it didn’t deter my enjoyment of the book. It’s safe to say I’ll be reading the following 5 books in the DI Damen Brook series. I thoroughly enjoyed The Reaper, giving it 4 stars on Goodreads. It’s available to buy and you can purchase from Amazon by clicking the link below:

The Reaper by Steven Dunne

Happy reading! 🙂