DCI Lorimer is back in the next gripping atmospheric police procedural by international bestselling author Alex Gray.
When Chief Inspector Lorimer returns from holiday on the island of Mull, he feels a welcome sense of calm. But that doesn’t last long. Kelvin Football Club’s new star midfielder is found brutally stabbed to death in his own home, and with his wife apprehended trying to leave the country, a seemingly straightforward new case begins. But the grisly murder of a referee after a Kelvin match throws light on some dark secrets. And when the newest player who signed to the club becomes the latest victim in a string of killings, Lorimer knows there’s a serial killer on the loose—one that’s only beginning to show his true colors. As lies emerge and tensions build, Lorimer must discover the truth before one of the players or managers become the next Kelvin fatality.
Keeping the mystery alive in a series
by Alex Gray
I didn’t expect to be writing a series featuring a tall, dark haired detective when I began with Never Somewhere Else back in the 1990’s. My only concerns were to authenticate my work and make sure that the story was written to the best of my ability. That it won a major literary prize for the best opening chapters of a first novel was a real spur to finishing it, however! Then came the task of finding a publisher, quite another story altogether.
To say that I fell in love with my main character would be an exaggeration but he intrigued me, nonetheless, this guy who cared deeply about each victim and had a tenacious grip on the cases as they unfolded. He was a person I could relate to in several ways (okay, so some of me filtered into him; his love of birding, his claustrophobia) and he was a man of great integrity, good humor and had a happy marriage to his English teacher wife, Maggie. Hey, almost sounds like my husband when I come to think of it! This is one important ingredient for maintaining a series: to really be fascinated by your protagonist and see him or her develop with each subsequent novel.
Unlike some other writers I rarely had a storyline that persisted from one book to the next, each book being a stand alone but with the same four central characters: Lorimer, my detective, his wife, Maggie, Solomon Brightman the psychologist and sometime criminal profiler and his pathologist partner, Dr Rosie Fergusson. I think maintaining these four as a group of friends whose different focuses on the same murders works really well, though I do have to take care that Maggie isn’t excluded since her profession is outwith the parameters of the criminal investigations. That was one reason why Glasgow Kiss, the sixth in the series, is set at Maggie’s own High School.
Settings are very important too, in keeping a mystery series alive and Glasgow is the place where most of mine are set. Now, my home city is a wonderful place, so friendly and full of different aspects of culture as well as being a place where violence sometimes erupts. I was quite tired of reading crime novels that depicted my beloved Glasgow as just this latter sort of place and showing the mean dirty side that any city has. No, I decided from the start, I am going to show my readers all the different facets of my Glasgow and so I created settings to reflect this. And, you know, I think that did help enormously to keep alive the interest in the stories. Beginning with the Glasgow Art world I ventured through it medical scene, its classical music (I was a singer in its main concert hall for many years), the world of business, sport, education, diversity in its population, its red light district, its student life, its prison (HMP Barlinnie is the biggest jail in Scotland and has an amazing history) and even into the way policing was run in the 1990’s when I wrote a book that was split in two time scales to absorb a cold case for Lorimer.
Things never stay the same and I have had to research constantly to remain on top of the changing technologies that affect criminal investigations. Thankfully I have built up a large network of helpful cops, forensic scientists and pathologists etc. who are very willing to give me their time and expertise. I have also undertaken two university courses to build up my own knowledge of forensic medical science and forensic psychology. Keeping a series alive means keeping abreast with all of the changes in science and technology!
A big change occurred here in Scotland when the regional police forces were disbanded and Police Scotland was formed instead. Some crime writers were appalled at this but I saw it as an opportunity to take my hero out of Glasgow and to other parts of Scotland though much of the action does still feature in my home city where Lorimer is based. Here, I told myself, was a way of keeping the series alive and letting my readers see the bits of Scotland I loved best. In Keep The Midnight Out I take Lorimer and Maggie to the Hebridean island of Mull, which is one of my favorite places in the world and was where my mother was born. I loved writing that book and took delight in sharing the landscapes and island life with my readers as I wrote that particular mystery.
Recently I have noticed that in a q and a session some of the audience wanted to know if the series will ever come to an end or if I will “bump off” Lorimer. That was never my intention and I always laugh and reply that I will probably hop off my twig long before he does, as he is so much younger than I am! Besides, I usually have the idea for the next story long before finishing the one I am currently writing and at the moment I have a lovely idea for the book that would be published in 2019. I did introduce a different character a few books back, a younger female cop, and that has also helped to mix things up and keep an interest going. But my plans for her are … oops! No spoilers!
The most important thing, however, in keeping a series alive is down to the writer’s own love for her characters. If a writer became bored with them it would definitely show and perhaps that is why some of my writer friends have two series or more that they write turn about. Maybe my own boredom threshold is different or perhaps I am a little bit in love with Lorimer? Once, at a book event, I was asked; “Who would you prefer to go out on a date with? Solly or Lorimer?” My immediate response, not pausing even to consider the answer was, “Lorimer!” And, I suppose that says it all.
Alex Gray, Scotland 2017
|Source:||Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours|
|Publisher & Date:||Witness Impulse, March 7, 2017|
|Genre:||Mystery & Detective|
|Series:||A DCI Lorimer Novel|
Never Somewhere Else
A Small Weeping
Shadows of Sounds
Five Ways to Kill a Man
Sleep Like the Dead
A Pound Of Flesh
The Swedish Girl
The Bird That Did Not Sing
Keep The Midnight Out
The Darkest Goodbye
Check Out This Awesome Giveaway:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Harper Collins. There will be 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Pitch Black by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on March 20th and runs through April 21st 2017.
Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.
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