Today, I am delighted to start a series of blog posts about Nick Quantrill. He will be chatting to various bloggers all week about his work and Hull. I finished the novel last night and will review later this week.
Starting a new series (by Nick Quantrill)
In many ways starting a new series feels like an act of madness. All that work building up a set of characters, building up their story and thinking what their futures might hold goes to one side. But after writing three books featuring Private Investigator Joe Geraghty, and making the decision to do just that, it’s something I’ve been thinking about.
I’m a huge fan of Ian Rankin’s Rebus series. It’s twenty or so books deep, but it still feels like there are layers of Rebus to be peeled back. Ditto with Michael Connelly’s exemplary Harry Bosch series. The list goes on, but these writers know when to pull back and recharge their batteries by writing a standalone. It’s all good, but George Pelecanos’s method of writing a mixture of trilogies, quartets and standalones really appeals and offers a different route forward.
Writing a character you know well is like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. You can place your protagonist into a situation and know how they will react. Joe Geraghty has rolled with the punches across three novels and just about come out on the other side. But how many times will he take on jobs, a regular northern man trying to make a living, knowing he’s opening himself up to a whole world of physical and mental pain? The end of the third novel, “The Crooked Beat”, leaves him in a place to reassess and start again. Maybe he just needs a break before he finds himself totally broken.
As a writer, freshness is undoubtedly good. It’s what keeps us at our laptops, telling more stories. My home city of Hull is undergoing major change and being 2017 UK City of Culture will put us out into the world like never before. It’ll bring money, profile and prestige, so I wanted characters that could walk through more doors than a Private Investigator could.
Anna Stone and Luke Carver are different, but also the same. They come from very different backgrounds, but share a commitment to justice. Stone is a Detective Constable with Humberside Police, but the start of “The Dead Can’t Talk” sees her on a sabbatical not of her choosing after the disappearance of her sister. Questioning her future, she’s brought back into contact with Luke Carver, a drifter she’d arrested some years previously. He’s fresh out of prison, but there’s more to his conviction that meets the eye. Carver has in his possession a videotapewhich might just give Stone the answers she craves about in relation to her sister.
How far will they go together? I have lots of ideas, but they feel like the right people to be exploring the city with as it changes further. Maybe even Joe Geraghty will feature in one of their novels. Change is always a risk, a gamble, but I hope readers will come along for the ride.
You can buy or read more about the novel here
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