An off-duty detective gunned down. A dead woman. A student missing, feared dead. And now, a former policeman in search of his past. All these people, dead or alive, have one thing in common. D.I. Carl Sant must discover what it is.
A series of cold-case enquiries leads D.I. Sant and his colleagues to investigate a botched assassination plot dating back to the 1980s. The deeper they dig into the case, the more secrets are revealed, including shocking connections to the infamous National Front.
Meanwhile, the memory of former P.C. Tanner, survivor of the assassination horror, is beginning to recover. Sant must find Tanner, and find out who is behind it all – before his superiors lose their rag and more lives are lost.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
No set routine or anything like that. I write in short bursts. A few days later I’ll return, completely rewrite, try a bit more besides. Where I write doesn’t matter. It’s more about the mind than the matter. Home is sometimes best avoided when my teenage boys get rowdy. I try to write when they’re not around.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
A full stomach, preferably off the back of a big breakfast, is as close to a ritual as I get.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Once I’m in full flow I don’t feel hungry or thirsty. Although a cup of tea is always a blessing. Too much coffee doesn’t agree with me, whereas I drink tea like water. All types. Green, black, white, herbal… you name it, I like it.
– What is your favourite book?
Loads of favourites. If I had to choose one from the crime/mystery genre it would be Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. Published way back in 1929! It’s certainly stood the test of time. It’s both a novel, and a series of short stories within the novel, rolled into one. The bookish equivalent of a Russian doll.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I’m happy writing crime thrillers for now, but young adult fiction appeals to me. Maybe a saga. With plenty of mystery. The sort of thing my boys might read, though they’ll be men by the time I get around to it.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Not consciously. It’s harder to do justice to an actual human being than to dream one up. The central protagonist in my CHLOE novels, Inspector Carl Sant, is a figment of my imagination. I use a random Google photo to represent him. But who the man in the photo is I’ve no idea.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Well now, my pocket diary is essential for said purpose. More scribbles than day-to-day appointments are contained there. I change diary colour each year, so I don’t get confused.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
Literary fiction. Pretentious nonsense.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
No idea. I write on my own. That won’t change. Co-writing is not for me, though I’ve seen it work very effectively. Authors need to live together for it to work out.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I travel to Thailand every year and do quite a bit of writing in the humid heart of downtown Bangkok. Research? The States would be the obvious choice. Somewhere urban, with plenty of noir in the air. So many great crime writers have been inspired by American cities.
Thank you, Dan Laughey and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Dan Laughey is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where he teaches a course called ‘Youth, Crime and Culture’ among other things. He has written several books on the subject including Music and Youth Culture, based on his PhD in Sociology at Salford University. He also holds a BA in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds.
Dan was born in Otley and bred in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a hop and a skip away from the Leeds setting of his Chloe novels.
His crime writing was purely academic to begin with. He’s written about media violence and tackled the age-old concern about television and video games influencing patterns of antisocial behaviour in society. After years of research and theoretical scrutiny, he still hasn’t cracked that particular nut.
He’s also written about the role of CCTV and surveillance in today’s Big Brother world, the sometimes fraught relationship between rap and juvenile crime, football hooliganism, and the sociocultural legacy of Britain’s most notorious serial killer – the Yorkshire Ripper.
All in all, Dan’s work has been translated into four languages: French, Hebrew, Korean and Turkish. He has presented guest lectures at international conferences and appeared on BBC Radio and ITV News in addition to providing expert commentary for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.
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