DCI Jack Callum Mysteries Book 2
A body of a man wearing theatrical make up is found hanging from a tree on Norton Common in Hertfordshire. He has been tortured and his throat has been cut.
DCI Jack Callum, a veteran policeman with his own rules for procedure, heads the investigation into this puzzling crime. The clues lead him close to the answer, but the solution remains elusive.
Why was the man killed?
What were the victim’s links to London’s gangland bosses?
When an unsolved murder is uncovered that appears to be connected to the case, Jack realises he must use his team to their full strength to separate the innocent from the guilty.
Jack also faces a challenge he never expected as he is accused of an improper relationship with a young Detective Constable on his team, Myra Banks.
In a breathless climax, Myra puts her own life on the line to deal with a figure from Jack’s past, who has now become a lethal threat in the present.
When and where do you prefer to write?
For years I used to write whilst commuting from home to work in the city of London. So, writing while travelling was challenging, I still managed to write over twenty books in those circumstances. Now I’m retired I can write, whenever I feel like it, in the comfort of my study. Is it any easier? Not really. I used to enjoy the hub bub and the sheer chaos of the trains. There was one famous comedy writer who had no office but would go out each morning, catch a Circle Line underground train and spend the day writing as the train took him on circuit after circuit of the system. I did consider recreating my daily commute just to feed my muse and keep her in her comfort zone, but common sense prevailed. I moved to an apartment overlooking the Letchworth to London railway line instead, so now I have the best of both worlds.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
See above. But with one proviso. I can’t write and listen to music at the same time. I know some who do, who have rock music, or even the classics blaring out as they compose their stories, but I find it a distraction. I’m either playing air guitar, drums or keyboards, or just singing along and typing out the lyrics instead of writing my story.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I spent forty years writing in collaboration with my best friend and erstwhile business and writing partner Michael (Mick) Sims. We started off writing short stories, sometimes co-authoring the more difficult ones. When we moved into writing novels we gave up co-authoring after a handful of dubious collaborations, and decided that novels needed a single voice if they were to succeed. However, we had built a brand using our surnames, so Maynard Sims books continued even when the link was tenuous to say the least. In fact, the first three Jack Callum books appeared in a shorter form with different titles, under the combined name, even though they were very much my own creation. When Mick retired from writing it was time for me to start using my own name and so the Len Maynard brand began, and I have no desire to write with anyone else. Mick and I are still firm friend and he is the reader I primarily write for. He’s my harshest critic and staunchest supporter and the Jack Callum books would be much poorer without his scrutiny.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
An interesting question and one I for which have no definitive answer. I think I would be flattered in either case. It might be nice to play a thoroughly despicable villain though. Casting very much against type!
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Roy Hudd. He died quite recently so it will never happen now, but his books on old time music hall and variety acts. Of the past have been by go-to reference books for some years now. He was steeped in the subject and I would have loved to spend some time with him, hearing the wealth of anecdotes and stories he had gathered over the decades. The sixth book in the Jack Callum series, Into the Fire, plundered the world he introduced me to and would have been a much weaker book without his guiding hand.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
Mostly in the bathroom. If I try to read in bed, I fall asleep and I’m usually too busy during the day to indulge myself. I usually have three books on the go at once. A biography, a non-fiction title and something else. I rarely read fiction these days, but if I do it’s usually something far removed from the type of thing I write. My fiction of choice at the moment are the Thomas Constable Eizabethan spy thrillers by Paul Walker, a cracking series of books that take me far away from the world of Jack Callum.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
In a different room of my apartment. With the Covid lockdown I’m not going out. I have a computer in every room, so the means to write is always at my fingertips. I’m lucky that writing is never a chore, and if I’m reading and not enjoying it I’ll just stop. I have no interest in wasting time when I could be reading something good. Life’s too short.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
It’s always a buzz. I love the thought of the unknown, that I might be entering a world that will enchant or excite me.
How do you come up with a title for your book?
Now that’s something I can’t answer with any great clarity. I’ve always been lucky enough that the titles have just dropped into my mind without a great deal of conscious thought – much like the plots of my books. My sub-conscious usually provides an info-dump into my head usually in the early hours of the morning when I’m tossing and turning during one of my regular bouts of insomnia. Titles magically appear in the same way.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
Now that’s something I don’t have a hand in. The only times I’ve had some input into the cover is when I have published my own books. Otherwise, I’m at the mercy of the publisher. Some of them have shown good taste, but there have been others over the years… ’Nuff said.
Thank you, Len Maynard and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
Born in Enfield, North London in 1953, Len Maynard has written and published over forty books, the majority of them in collaboration with Michael Sims. Ghost story collections, the Department 18 series of supernatural thrillers, stand-alone horror novels, the Bahamas series of action-adventure thrillers, as well as a handful of stand-alone thrillers. As editors they were responsible for the Enigmatic Tales and Darkness Rising series of anthologies, as well as single anthologies in the horror and crime genres. The DCI Jack Callum Mysteries are his first to be written under his own name.
Website “The DCI Jack Callum Mysteries”: https://jackcallum.com