My Derbyshire police detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry are on holiday at the moment (I think they deserved it after 18 novels and all those murders!).
So my next book, due out in the UK in August, will be something different - a standalone novel with a historical theme, called DROWNED LIVES.
This is set in Derbyshire's neighbouring county, Staffordshire, and in particular around the fascinating city of Lichfield, which is packed with history.
DROWNED LIVES is a story of family secrets and a centuries-old feud, told against a background of the often dark history of inland waterways, from their origins in the industrial revolution to the restoration projects of recent decades.
Even now, the West Midlands region of England contains more than 500 miles of canal, which run not only through countryside but right into the centre of major urban areas like Birmingham.
Canals are very appealing as a setting for crime fiction. They may appear very peaceful on the surface, but they attract all kinds of crime. And who knows what's under the surface? When something (or someone) disappears into water, we tend to think it's lost for ever. But we may be wrong...
I've always loved to explore the ways the past can affect the present, and in DROWNED LIVES council officer Chris Buckley is about to discover a lot of things from his past which he might have preferred not to know.
I set this book in the late 1990s. That's only 20 years ago, but it feels like a historical period - there were no smartphones, and the internet was just becoming more popular. Remember the dot.com bubble? Companies like eBay were starting up, but a lot of investors in other internet start-ups got their fingers badly burned.
The point where the 20th century was about to give way to the 21st felt like an interesting time to explore the buried secrets of the past.
DROWNED LIVES will be published by Sphere in hardback and ebook on 15th August 2019, along with an audio download.
I hope you enjoy reading something a bit different!
DROWNED LIVES can be pre-ordered in all the usual places, including your local bookshop or online here:
The Book Depository:
*The Book Depository offers free shipping to readers in the USA (and many other countries).
Of course, I'll also be doing a number of events and signings following publication, including:
THURSDAY 15th August, 11am - 1pm
Retford Library, Churchgate, Retford, Nottinghamshire DN22 6PE - book signing for DROWNED LIVES (in conjunction with Bookworm of Retford). To reserve a signed copy, phone 01777 869224 or email: email@example.com
SATURDAY 17th AUGUST, 9.30am onwards
Chesterfield Library, New Beetwell Street, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S40 1QN - Derbyshire Noir one-day crime writing festival, with many other local authors including Sarah Ward, Roz Watkins, Sophie Draper, Jo Jakeman, Fran Dorricott, Caroline England, Tony R. Cox, James Ellson, Andrew Lowe, and Sylvia Marsden.
Tickets available now. Book online here:
SUNDAY 18th AUGUST, 1-3pm
High Peak Bookstore, Ashbourne Road, Brierlow Bar, near Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 9PY - signing for DROWNED LIVES. http://highpeakbookstore.co.uk/
TUESDAY 20th AUGUST, 7 for 7.30pm
Bakewell Bookshop, Matlock Street, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1EE - talk and signing for DROWNED LIVES. Tickets £5 including glass of wine and nibbles. To book, phone 01629 812818 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.thebakewellbookshop.co.uk
THURSDAY 29th AUGUST, time tba
Gillingham Library, High Street, Gillingham, Medway, Kent ME7 1BG - talk and signing.
(Details to follow)
SATURDAY 24th AUGUST, 2 - 4pm
Scarthin Books, The Promenade, Cromford, Derbyshire DE4 3QF - book signing for DROWNED LIVES. http://www.scarthinbooks.com/
SATURDAY 31st AUGUST, 12 - 2pm
Reading Matters Bookshop, 48 Market Street, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire SK23 0HY - signing for DROWNED LIVES. https://readingmattersbookshop.co.uk/