To celebrate the release of The Dead Can’t Talk, the lovely Nick Quantrill has been popping up in blogs all over the shop.
Today it’s all about provincial crime, a subject close to my heart…
Writing provincial crime (by Nick Quantrill)
I’ve always written about Hull. It’s my home city, the place I live, work and try to understand. It’s also a hidden corner of England in a very literal sense. Situated on the eastern edge of Yorkshire, its isolation means you need a reason to visit. It also makes it ripe for untold stories. As a reader, I’ve always loved reading about and experiencing London and other major cities on the written page, but England is a large country with so many different voices and perspectives.
Other writers have accepted the challenge of writing about their home cities, regardless of their public perception. Eva Dolan’s unflinching Peterborough series examines an area on the brink of breakdown and marginalised people via a Hate Crime Unit. Jay Stringer’s work explores the economic devastation felt in the Black Country, and add in David Mark, another voice from Hull, and this body of work is adding a dose of reality to the myths about the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.
Showing the reality of life in Hull remains important to me. The Joe Geraghty trilogy chronicled the city going from the UK’s “Crap Town” in 2003 to being crowed “2017 UK City of Culture”. But I felt like I needed fresh eyes to explore my city as it continues to change. My Private Investigator has doors slammed shut in his face, places he can’t access without the right contacts. As money and important people are increasingly spotted in Hull, I needed more.
One of my new characters, Anna Stone, is a disaffected Detective Constable scared by the disappearance of her sister, a journalist for the local newspaper. Approached by Luke Carver, a drifter fresh out of prison, he claims to have evidence that will unlock the mystery. It’s a plot which stretches back twenty-five years and probes the area’s great and good as well as the downtrodden and poor. Stone and Carver give me the opportunity to go deeper under the city’s skin.
If the saying about writing what you want to read is true, I’m certainly enjoying myself. The next big thing on the radar in Hull is the year-long celebrations the title of being ‘UK City of Culture’ will bring. With a large budget, important visitors and the eyes of the country on us, it’s also ripe for exploring within the context of a crime novel. Hull and the Humber, as well as Anna Stone and Luke Carver, contain many more stories I want to tell.
“The Dead Can’t Talk”
How far will Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer on the brink of leaving her job, go to uncover the truth about her sister’s disappearance? Approached by Luke Carver, an ex-Army drifter she’s previously sent to prison, he claims to have information which will help her. As the trail leads from Hull and the Humber’s desperate and downtrodden to its great and good, an unsolved murder 25 years ago places their lives in danger, leaving Stone to decide if she can really trust a man who has his own reasons for helping.
The Dead Can’t Talk is available here: Amazon
Nick Quantrill can be found here: www.nickquantrill.co.uk
Tweet Nick here: www.twitter.com/nickquantrill