#BlogTour GuestPost ~ Deadly Lies by Chris Collett @crime_crow @JoffeBooks @Books_n_all

DEADLY LIES by CHRIS COLLETT

Discover a new detective in a tough city. DI Tom Mariner thinks he’s seen it all, but now he faces an investigation which will push him to his limits.

Journalist Eddie Barham is found dead in his home. A syringe in his arm and a note by his side reading, ‘No More.’

Open and shut case of suicide? Not for DI Mariner. Hours before, he saw Barham picking up a prostitute in a bar. Mariner discovers Barham’s younger brother, Jamie, hiding in a cupboard under the stairs.

Jamie must have witnessed his brother’s death, but his severe autism makes communication almost impossible. Mariner is determined to connect with Jamie and get to the truth. And is the journalist’s death related to his investigation of a local crime kingpin?

What other dark secrets does Jamie hold the key to and can Mariner keep his relationship professional with Barham’s attractive sister, Anna?

In a nail-biting conclusion Mariner races against time to prevent more lives being lost.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. This is the first book in the DI MARINER SERIES, more books coming soon!

THE SETTING
Birmingham is a city of stark contrasts with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Playing a key role in the industrial revolution, it helped shape the nation’s manufacturing industry

But with its many green spaces, Birmingham also borders on the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, is just a few miles from Stratford on Avon and a short drive from the wild country of mid-Wales.

Birmingham’s population is large and ethnically diverse, and while urban regeneration has forged a modern and culturally vibrant city, the decaying remnants of the industrial past and 1960s concrete jungle give it a unique and gritty character; the dark underbelly policed by DI Tom Mariner and his team.

THE DETECTIVES

Detective Inspector Tom Mariner is, on the surface, an average dedicated policeman, but his experiences as a younger man have given him an insight into life on the dark side, and a clear sense of right and wrong. Mariner has little interest in material things. He lives in a modest canal-side cottage, enjoys the occasional (real) beer and game of dominoes and drives an old car. He is most at home in the outdoors, with an OS map and a compass, and in times of crisis, will take off and walk for miles in any weather.

Police Constable Tony Knox has recently transferred to the West Midlands force and finds himself back in uniform following an undisclosed transgression. A scouser with the gift of the gab, and an irrepressible ladies’ man, Knox is initially wary of the inscrutable DI Mariner, but, when a need arises, is grateful for his unquestioning support and the lack of curiosity about his personal life.

PRAISE FOR MARINER
I really couldn’t put it down’ Raw Edge Magazine 

‘Collett is a wonderful writer, subtle, clever, strong on atmosphere and character. This is a fitting follow-up to her debut and reassures the crime fan that the police procedural is in safe hands. More, please’ Yorkshire Post

About the Author

Chris Collett grew up in a Norfolk seaside town where she worked in a boarding house (now defunct) a local bakery (closed down) and a crisp factory (razed to the ground). Graduating in Liverpool, Chris has since taught children and adults with varying degrees of learning disability, including autism. She is now a university lecturer, with two grown up children, and lives in Birmingham; DI Tom Mariner’s ‘patch’. She has published short stories, teaches creative and crime writing and is a manuscript assessor for the Crime Writers Association.
Find out more: Website Twitter

Many thanks to Chris for answering some questions .. I agree totally with Enid Blyton 🙂 

What was your inspiration for the character DI Tom Mariner?

I’m often asked about where my inspiration for Mariner came from, but like the man himself, it’s hard to pin down. All I knew about him at the beginning was that I wanted to avoid the (at the time) clichés of the hard-drinking, chain-smoking, overweight and womanising cop. Though I’m not sure he’d thank me for his difficulties in the bedroom. He seemed to evolve during the writing of the first book in the series; Deadly Lies and, like all of us, is a product of his upbringing; something that emerges gradually. And while he has his flaws and his relationship problems, he’s altogether a more complex character than that. His name also went through several incarnations, though none of them felt quite right until somewhere from out there in the ether, ‘Mariner’ appeared and seemed to fit straight away. It’s not an especially common name, which hopefully makes it memorable. And given that my great, great grandfather was a trawler man, I rather like the idea that my protagonist is a Mariner.

Why have you chosen Birmingham as the setting for your crime novels?

I’m not sure that I chose Birmingham, but rather it chose me. It’s somewhat ironic, as I grew up by the sea and land-locked Birmingham was one of the last places I would have ever wanted to end up. But I married into it thirty years ago and having got to know the city well I often these days find myself coming to its defence! Although it’s founded on a rich history, the rapid evolution, especially in the last twenty years, and its diverse population means that it retains a brash, edgy and slightly dangerous feel. As I began writing it was obvious that this was a city just crying out for a fictional crime fighter. Not everyone agrees of course. An early publishing offer was made on the proviso that the novel was re-written to be set in London. I turned it down. Do I regret holding on to Birmingham? Not a bit.

Where do your ideas come from?

Hand on heart? I haven’t a clue! Usually the central idea for a book emerges from a subject or issue that snags my attention coupled with the inevitable ‘What if…?’ question. With Deadly Lies the character of Jamie, who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder, was key, and the question was ‘what if the only witness to a serious crime had ASD and was unable to communicate what he had seen?’ Given my day-job working with young people with special needs it was, I suppose, an obvious starting point. Once the premise of the story is established I find that the ideas can present themselves unbidden, sometimes at the most peculiar of times, and from there the detail of the plot emerges. The sub-conscious is a wonderful thing.

How do you research your novels?

Not always very systematically! Over time I’ve developed contacts with serving and former police officers who are brilliant at helping me out with the procedural side of things and otherwise, like everyone else it’s the library, the Internet and sometimes news items that can be followed up, depending on the ‘theme’. Often pursuing one line of research points the way to other possible sources, so I just follow the line of inquiry as far as I can, in much the same way as Mariner would. Once I’ve gathered exhaustive notes, the important thing is to include enough information to enable readers to understand the context, make sense of the plot and satisfy curiosity, without getting carried away with irrelevant detail that might get in the way of the story. What is finally included in the book tends to be the tip of the iceberg.

What, in your opinion, makes a good crime novel?

For me, a good book of any kind is one that effortlessly takes me to another time and/or place, in the company of ‘real’ characters, using language that is mostly invisible, but sometimes surprising, original and clever. It’s a book that I can’t wait to get back to at any opportunity, that leaves me with a sense of satisfaction, but that I’m sad to finish. Characters I care about, a credible story, with twists, turns and suspense, and an atmospheric setting that has been clearly evoked by the writer.

Did you have a favourite childhood book?

There were very few books in our house when I was growing up, and most of those were bibles, but my parents did visit the local library fortnightly, so reading was very much endorsed as ‘an activity’. Most of the books I owned as a child were given as gifts. One of the earliest and most influential was ‘Katy Country Mouse to the Rescue’ a rip-roaring adventure in Ladybird book format, whose main protagonist is female and of mature years, albeit a rather impractically dressed mouse. I still have my original copy of the book, and still think it’s a terrific read. As I got older Enid Blyton became a favourite, especially the Famous Five and the Adventurous Four.

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