THREE MURDERS. ONE MISSING BOY. THE GAME IS JUST BEGINNING…
When a body is found at the edge of Chellow Dene reservoir Detective Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik are quick to arrive.
This is the third murder in the space of a few weeks. Each murder has a completely different MO, but there is one common theme… all the victims are teenagers. The dead boy reminds Nikki of her nephew, and she feels more helpless than ever.
But then another boy goes missing. And this time his parents have been sent a threatening package too. The pattern is different again – is the killer just playing a game? Can Nikki find the strength to uncover the shocking truth before the killer strikes again?
Blood Games: A creative dilemma
Blood Games is a Nikki Parekh police procedural crime novel which investigates a series of teen murders in Bradford. So, ‘What is the dilemma?’ I hear you ask. After all, I’m well used to writing police procedural novels and they always involve a murder investigation, so what made this one so difficult to write.
In truth, apart from the usual crises of confidence, the odd stumbling block with my mental health, Covid depression, the distraction of social media and – well, you get my drift – the actual writing of the novel wasn’t so hard. I had the idea for the plot when I started and it followed on quite nicely from Dark Memories. With Blood Games being the 4th in the Nikki Parekh series, I was familiar with my characters and could anticipate most of their actions and responses with ease. Of course there were a few surprises when some of them didn’t play nicely – but hey that’s part of the joy of writing – the buggers don’t always want to do what you anticipate they would and you learn something more about them. In Blood Games, I only intended to introduce one additional permanent character, so I was free to focus my creative energies on creating the baddies (rubs her hands with glee).
Then, it struck me. Blood Games is about teens being killed in a culturally and ethnically diverse Northern city with its share of social disadvantage and criminal activity as well as a huge variety of circumstance, political opinions, awareness and experiences. I was keen to demonstrate how these murders might affect the wider teen community. Were they scared or angry? Did they feel divorced from the killings or did they feel vulnerable? Did the murders unite them as a group of show the diversity of their points of view? I wanted to show all of these things in a simple, way, but for a long time I couldn’t work out how best to do this and this was a real dilemma for me…
That’s when I came up with #WhatsWrongWithThisShit? series of blog posts posted by BFDLASS#WWWTS. These posts inserted periodically through the novel as a commentary on ongoing events allowed me to offer the reader insight into the responses to the teen murders from a wider range of teen than the few that appeared in detail in the narrative.
Blood Games kicks off with a prologue which is a post from BFDLASS#WWWTS, titled The One With the Girl and the Acid:
The One With the girl and the acid
Posted by BFDLASS#WWWTS July 28th 14:08
Picture this – a sunny day at the start of the school holidays. A girl, without a care in the world, swings the bag of summer clothes she’s just bought from Primark in Broadway as she walks through town back to the Interchange. She’s not frightened – why would she be? She’s in a public place, surrounded by other shoppers and the sun has brought out the good in people. Ear buds in, she hums along to Justin Bieber and thinks ahead to her date with Taj later on. She doesn’t know where they come from. Doesn’t see them or hear them approaching in a rush. The first thing she smells is the sourness as the liquid is thrown into her face.
Views: 135 Shares: 31
However, it is the various responses to her post that allows me in a simple, yet effective way, to demonstrate a diverse range of responses to the incident:
JakeK4292: If the silly cow’s listening to Bieber she deserves all she gets. LMAO😂😂😂
Karryann3: @JakeK4292 WTAF! Are you a psycho or something? This is terrorism! Her attackers should be shot!😠
JakeK4292: Chillax bitch. Can’t take a joke, eh?😜
ZainK: Wanker! @JakeK4292
JakeK4292: @ZainK LSR
Jazzygirl3: Poor girl! B*****ds. Why do they do this shit?
MH616: @ Jazzygirl3 – by ‘they’ do you mean Muslims? No real Muslim would do this sort of crap. It’s not what Islam is about – get your facts right.
Jazzygirl3: @MH616 – PO. I meant the attackers – don’t care what religion they are they’re assholes.
LazyJayz04: She were shagging a Paki #servesherright #stickwithyourownkind #PakiLover
MayLee: @LazyJayz04 you make me want to vomit. You racist AH. The girl can date who she wants!
Jazzygirl3: It’s all gone to fuck! What about the machete attacks in Bradford? Not going to talk about them #WhatsWrongWithThisShit
ILuvCurry: @Jazzygirl3: IK 2 dead … FS! Reckon it’s these honour fanatics?
MH616: @IluvCurry: Why do you whities all go down the Muslim honour killing route? #EducateYourself
After, the third teen is killed, BFDLASS#WWWTS posts The One With the Boy and the Machete:
Picture this – a lad goes for a walk in Chellow Dene. It’s dark and foggy, but hell, maybe he needs the fresh air, maybe he needs the exercise, maybe he needs to relax or maybe he just wants to be outside.
It’s maybe a bit creepy in the dark, but he’s not scared. He’s done this walk many times. He knows the reservoirs like the back of his hand …
Then, he hears the noise coming from behind him. For a moment he wonders if he’s being followed, but dismisses that idea. Who the hell would follow him here?
the sting of metal slicing his skin, warm blood dripping from the wound, the smell of cheap aftershave, the whooshing sound as the machete slices and dices again and again until he’s dead …
Over FIFTY stab wounds.
Views: 102 Shares: 21
TheKhan: It’s only the doggers who go down Chellow Dene at night. The guy should’ve been more careful IMHO.
RBP: OMFG! @TheKhan #VictimBlaming Not cool. We should be safe to go where the f**k we want no matter how dark it is!
TheKhan: @RBP STFU if I’d wanted your opinion I’d have asked.
AttiyaQ: It’s his parents I feel sorry for. To lose a son like that they must be in bits RIP!
TheBossgal: I know. Such a waste. Is it even legal to own a machete…? #WhatsWrongWithThisShit. Let’s get this trending. This crap needs to stop!
Through these blog posts, the reader gains an impression of not only how these murders are affecting the teen community, but also how varied their responses to it are. I wanted to ground Blood Games, not only in the police investigation from my main characters’ points of view, but also in the reality of the multi-facetted, three- dimensional city that is Bradford. I hope I succeeded. Thanks for reading.
Thank you, Liz Mistry and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.
In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.
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A signed copy of Dark Memories (Nikki Parekh book 3)
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