BALTIMORE, WASHINGTON, INSIDE OUT, THE ANNIVERSARY MAN, THE DARKEST RIVER AND THE SAINTS OF NEW YORK.
A convoluted title to this blog entry, but it makes sense, believe me!
Well, it seems like an age since I have had a moment to sit down and write a proper blog entry. I have many excuses, but excuses are merely that and nothing more.
So what’s been happening?
Well, as you can see from the two photo galleries (‘Bouchercon 2008’ and ‘Sights and Scenes of Baltimore’) I came back from Baltimore with numerous pictures. I wanted to get them on the site before I wrote another blog, just so I could stop saying ‘I have nearly got around to the pictures…promise!’ Well, my wife took on the job of updating the galleries, and she sat and uploaded and titled every one. The bulk of the pictures feature my very good friend Ali Karim, editor of Shots Magazine, and you should check out his own blog for some of the anecdotes from our trip.
That was Baltimore. Now we come to Washington. I am off to Washington in the early part of next year for Barrack Obama’s inauguration. I will be there for a couple of days, no more than that, because we are filming a short piece for a BBC program called ‘Inside Out’. Considering the fact that ‘A Simple Act of Violence’ is set in Washington, we felt it was apropos to do a feature piece on the book in the city of its setting. Tying that in with the inauguration of the most important President-elects in the better part of a century, I think it will be an interesting feature. It will be aired on BBC Midlands ‘Inside Out’ program sometime towards the end of March, and then it should be syndicated to the other regional networks. It will also be accessible online, of course, on the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ program web link. As soon as I have a transmission date I’ll let you know.
And so to ‘The Anniversary Man’, the book slated for publication in June 2009. I am sorry to have to inform you that the release has been moved to October 2009. I don’t know what to tell you about this apart from the fact that it was a purely strategic decision on the part of my publisher. The book is done, is ready to go, the title is agreed, the cover is designed, the job is finished, but due to the fact that the paperback version of ‘A Simple Act Of Violence’ is coming out in April 2009 they felt that releasing a new hardback two months later would be too soon. All I can do is apologize. There is nothing I can do to change this, and though I would have liked to have released the book in June, delaying it does make sense from a business-orientated perspective, and it is a business after all!
Next is ‘The Darkest River’. Well, I have received so many, many e-mails from people asking when there will be another book like ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ – the sort of smalltown drama-type thing, that I have written one. Completed about two weeks ago, its working title is, as mentioned, ‘The Darkest River’. Set in the small town of Monticello in northern Florida, the book begins a week before the assassination of Jack Kennedy, and ends approximately a week afterwards. It is the story of Lewis Hunter, a young man accused of murdering a black girl, and the investigation that ensues. Drawn into this drama is his father, the writer Paul Fredericks, a man who – until November 1963 – was utterly unaware of the fact that he had a son. Due to go to Dallas to interview President Kennedy and the First Lady on November 22nd, Fredericks is diverted to northern Florida by the young man’s mother, and as a result of his own sense of emotional responsibility, also his curiosity about whether or not his ‘new-found son’ was actually the guilty killer, he stays for the duration of the Police investigation and the subsequent aftermath. Cutting through these events is the assassination of JFK and the events of November 22nd in Dallas. Similar in length to ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’, and perhaps a little less ‘prose-driven’, it is nevertheless a story in a similar sort of vein, certainly from the emotional angle, and – if all goes according to the new schedule – it should see the light of day somewhere around the tail-end of 2010.
Lastly, we come to ‘The Saints of New York’, my working title for the 2011 book which I have recently begun. A contemporary setting – New York. A troubled and harassed homicide detective, Frank Parrish, not only having to contend with daily consultations with the Precinct Counsellor for his wayward and subversive behaviour, is also investigating the deaths of a number of teenage girls. Through his daily discussions with the counsellor, we learn of Frank’s father, John Parrish, a much-decorated member of the Organized Crime Control Bureau and the Brooklyn Organized Crime Strike Force. Despite his many commends and citations, despite the endless record of successful arrests and convictions, John Parrish was not who the world believed he was. A member of the ‘Saints of New York’, a handful of corrupt and self-serving NYPD officers who collaborated with organized crime networks, John Parrish was involved in some of the most important heists that took place in the 70s and 80s, including the infamous Lufthansa heist, which was – at the time – the largest robbery ever to take place on the United States mainland. Netting the better part of six million dollars, only one hundred thousand dollars was ever recovered. I shall not say anymore, ‘cause I ain’t written anymore!
So that’s where I have been and what I have been up to. ‘A Simple Act of Violence’ is selling, and has been received well. A review from The Guardian said ‘This is an awesome achievement – a thriller of such power, scope and accomplishment that fanfares should herald its arrival’. Well, I couldn’t have asked for a better response.
So I leave you my thanks for all your continued support and encouragement. I have received a wealth of e-mails, and I have answered them all, and will continue to do so. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.
We will speak before Christmas, I am sure, but – being a huge fan of Christmas myself – I want to take this opportunity to wish you all the most wonderful time before anyone else has a chance!
I am looking forward to 2009, not only from the viewpoint that another book will find its way out into the world, but also that I will have the chance to speak to so many more of you in person at the numerous events we are planning.
Take care my friends.
(p.s. An update - considering the hugely prohibitive cost of accomodation in Washington during the week of the inauguration, we have decided to go a week later, and stay for longer. We are planning interviews with homicide detectives, a trip to Arlington Cemetery, the Washington Monument, the White House and Capitol Hill. I am not certain of the broadcast date, but it should be some time in March.)