The killer is closing in… can she find him before he finds her?
When Detective Nikki Parekh receives a set of threatening postcards, she knows it can only mean one thing… The man who escaped arrest after murdering her mother two years ago is back.
Each postcard has a similar message: You’re next Parekh.
As the post marks on the cards gradually get closer to Bradford, Nikki must do everything she can to protect her family and catch the killer before it’s too late.
But when human remains are found in a remote barn on the icy Yorkshire moors, Nikki’s attention is pulled away from her family. When a tattoo on the victim’s arm – the only means of identification – leads nowhere, the team have already met a dead end.
What Influenced Dying Breath
I often try to pinpoint where the idea for my work in progress come from and mostly, I realise that the influences or themes that I develop in my writing often come to me as a series of disparate snapshots that in isolation are intriguing enough to me to stick in my mind and then end up in my books. Sometimes, for example an overheard conversation in a pub, a newspaper article, a scene in a film, or something I observed on a walk pique my interest and stay stored away in my mind until I’m sat behind my desk, fingers posed ready to rattle out a few hundred words of my work in progress.
With Dying Breath many such ‘snapshots’ became the basis for some of the scenes or themes or storylines in the book and I’d like to share a few of these ‘snapshots’ with you.
The Dismembered Tattooed Arm Snapshot
Now, this little snapshot lurked in the deep, dark recesses of my mind for years (about 5, I think) before making it onto the page in Dying Breath. It was a talk given by Professor Sue Black at an event in Newcastle where she spoke about how a detached tattooed limb could be matched to its body because the lymph glands in eg the armpit of the corresponding arm, would store traces of the colour of the inks used in the tattoos. This fascinated me so much, however it wasn’t until some other elements of Dying Breath came to me that I was able to incorporate this nugget into the story.
Illegal Dog Fighting
Before I talk about this element I want to make it clear that I have been really careful not to include any graphic scenes of dog abuse in Dying Breath. However, because I was so appalled and incensed by a news report (again from years ago) on how some corrupt breeders deliberately make dogs aggressive in order to make them fight for amusement and money-making purposes, I felt I wanted to highlight the morally abject depths some people will go to for money without making it the focus of the novel.
This news report combined with an incident when I was out walking when I witnessed two groups of lads each with a dog on a lead, who were baiting each dog to strain to attack the other, again stayed with me for a long time. (I did report the incident with the lads inciting the dogs to be more aggressive)
Those of you familiar with my writing will know that Nikki’s family life always plays a key role in my writing and Dying Breath is no exception.
Aside from the ongoing threat from Nikki’s father, closer to home, Charlie, Nikki’s daughter is going through a bit of a rebellious time of her own.
Now anyone with kids or experience with teenagers will know that even the most level-headed teenager has their moments and that’s what I wanted to show in Charlie’s ‘acting out’. Of course, the influences from this go back to my own teen years where I remember with shame, some of the crap I pulled on my parents and of course my own experiences with my own kids when they were teens. So, the Charlie, regular Nikki readers, will recognise as being stable, responsible and reliable has gone through a bit of transformation in Dying Breath. Although she’s not wildly acting out, Charlie is being a bit bolshy and argumentative as she pushes against her mum’s rules designed to keep the family safe from Nikki’s awful father Freddie Downey. Most of this is down to the fact that Charlie has found herself a love interest; one she wants to keep secret form her mum and Marcus for now.
I really enjoyed writing Dying Breath, mainly because I got to spend time with Nikki, her team and her family whilst highlighting some things that trouble me personally. As always it’s a pleasure to share my books with you. If you read and enjoy Dying Breath, I’d love it if you left a review on Amazon and Goodreads. These reviews really help readers to connect with new books.
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.