Man at work.
It’s been so long since I’ve written one of these, the others are now old enough to be museum pieces. It’s not for the want of trying, I promise. I’ve started blogs a number of times, but – for one reason or another – I’ve managed to become sidetracked.
The major reason, it has to be said, is Raker #7. The follow up to What Remains is almost, almost done – but it’s been that way for a while. I’ve been hovering in and around the 90% mark on the book for six weeks or so, unable to quite see it over the line. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why – for me, the momentum normally drops away a little during the middle stages of a novel, when you’ve set everything up and have to begin the effort of drawing everything together – but, for whatever reason, what’s normally the most most pleasurable bit of a book (finally finishing it!) has become something much more torturous this time around. Well, it wouldn’t be a Raker book without a few months of fist-gnawing, spirit-sapping struggle, would it?
That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed aspects of this book. I really have. The research in particular has been fascinating. I won’t say why for now, because I think it’s too early to talk about the themes of the book – especially as it’s still a year out from release – but it’s a story that I’ve been kicking around for a while, and a subject I’ve been keen to tackle for an even longer time. Until now, I’d never felt like it was quite the right point in Raker’s timeline to tell it, but the events of What Remains seemed like a natural jumping-off point.
What Remains, of course, being the second reason why I haven’t written any blogs. It’s been out for almost four weeks now, and the response has really been lovely. Most people seem to have enjoyed it, been surprised by it, even felt quite affected at some of its twists and turns, all of which I’m ecstatic about. I felt, writing it, that this was the most emotional of the Raker books, because it was dealing with two characters who we’ve got to know over the course of five (in Healy’s case, four) stories. As well as that, they’re trying to solve a case that has been lurking like a spectre in the background the whole time; and at its centre is a man – in Healy – who, as frustrating and difficult as he is, is also tragic, lonely and broken. It’s a good combination for a piece of fiction, and – whilst I would never have been as bold as to think people were going to love it – I did at least hope it would resonate in some way, particularly with readers who have been with Raker and Healy (and me!) on the journey from their first meeting in The Dead Tracks.
At the risk of sound annoyingly teasy, there’s also a third reason things have been a bit hectic, and that’s because of a project I’m working on with Penguin that will be released towards the end of August. It’s hugely, hugely exciting, and it’s been fascinating taking part of it – there’ll be more details on this website, on Twitter and Facebook too, over the coming weeks.
P.S. Since the last blog, I've read:
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
No Name Lane by Howard Linskey
Hidden by Emma Kavanagh
The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
The Fade Out: Act 1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Author of the David Raker novels