Power, corruption and lies would be a suitable sub-heading for Nick Quantrill’s hard-hitting crime novels. In The Dead Can’t Talk, as in his cracking Joe Geraghty trilogy, Quantrill tells the story of a criminal investigation which digs below the city of Hull’s surface to reveal a dirty underbelly.
The Dead Can’t Talk introduces us to two new protagonists – cop Anna Stone and ex- soldier Luke Carver. They are brought together to look into a murder, and an apparent suicide but all is not as it seems, of course.
Quantrill again gives us a perfectly paced criminal investigation but the tension is greater and the twist and turns are tighter this time. The characters are all typically well drawn, most notably the city of Hull itself. This is a novel of deceptive breadth and scope.
The Dead Can’t Talk is the start of what is sure to be another great social-realist crime fiction series from Nick Quantrill. Highly recommended.
PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication, “Bang Bang You’re Dead”, in 25 words or less?
NQ: It’s about the decisions a young man makes when he’s released from prison. Some are easier made when you have a gun in your pocket…
PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?
NQ: I’m not a big TV watcher and never have been. That said, I’ve enjoyed Jimmy McGovern’s “The Accused” and I’m hoping the new series of “The Thick Of It” will be brilliant.
In respect of film, I went to the cinema for the first time in ages to see the new Batman film. It was ok – the plot and characterisation wasn’t all it could have been, but it looked fantastic on the big screen.
The last great book I read was “Weirdo” by Cathi Unsworth. It had the lot for me – plot, character, pace, grit – just brilliant. I’m currently reading “A Dark Place To Die” by Ed Chatterton, a fine slice of Brit Grit split between Liverpool and Australia.
PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?
NQ: For me it is. I still get a lot of pleasure from the act of reading. As a writer, I don’t think you ever switch off completely when you’re reading – I’m always looking to work out what the writer has done that’s so appealing (or not), but sometimes I read something so good it completely takes me outside of myself and leaves me wondering how I’ll ever measure up. But that’s the challenge, surely?
PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?
NQ: I’ve had a little dabble with writing for the screen and it was enjoyable, even if I was very much the bumbling fool. I don’t think it’s something I would actively seek to do at the moment, but if an opportunity presented itself, I’d look at it seriously. I see myself as a novelist, and that’s the focus.
NQ: Hopefully, just as much as it needs. With “Bang Bang You’re Dead” I didn’t really need to do any. It’s set in the part of Hull where I grew up, so it was well framed in my mind. I don’t think I did much more than have a slow drive around the area, just to make sure I remembered certain things as clearly as I thought I did. I had to take some liberties with the geography to make the story work as I wanted, but it was definitely the easiest thing I’ve written in terms of research.
PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?
NQ: I genuinely don’t know. It’s great to be in touch with other writers for networking and keeping up to date with news. It’s also great to be able let people know what you’re doing, but I certainly don’t want to annoy. I’d be mortified if it was said I was doing too much on the self-promotion front. It’s difficult to make an impact, but it’s very easy to get it wrong.
PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?
NQ: It’s really just about finishing up the third Joe Geraghty novel, “The Crooked Beat”. After that, I’m not so sure. It’ll be on with a novel, and I’m pretty sure what it’s going to be and I have the synopsis partly nailed down, but it’s nice to feel there’s nothing definite at this moment in time. I could write another novella, I could change my mind on the next novel…we’ll see…
“Bang Bang You’re Dead” is available 17th September as part of Byker Books’ Kindle-exclusive novella series, “Best of British”.
This is a cracking book. It’s the story of a man- Joe Geraghty- and a city – Hull- that have taken many a good kicking and are trying to get back on their feet. Realistic and romantic – in a Strummer way – it takes you by the lapels and drags you along from the beginning to the end. It’s the story of a Private Investigator following a muddy and bloodstained trail through a battle scarred Northern city.
Joe Geraghty, Private Investigator, is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull.
Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times. When Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry.
As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends. With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.
Nick’s Website – Hull Crime Scene – is here