Hi and welcome to my stop on Nick Louth’s The Body on the Shore blog tour!
With thanks to Ellie Pilcher @ Canelo and to Nick Louth for writing the following guest post for us…..
Character or plot
Which comes first, character or plot? The truth is that it is different for different writers. In most of my books it is the plot, the germ of an idea which forms the nucleus of the book. Though I know right from the start what the main characters are there to do, how I develop them will depend on the course of the plot. So for example in Heartbreaker, my second thriller, the basic idea was to turn a terrorist plot into a story which straddled one particular family, turning the abstract threats of bombings and mayhem into a very personal and particular conflict in which love, hate and guilt all had recognisable faces. Uncovering the plot goes hand-in-hand with delving into the back story of Chris Wyrecliffe, the main protagonist. Wyrecliffe is a BBC Radio Four correspondent, as familiar to listeners as their morning tea and toast. But he has had a chequered history, including a time as a war correspondence during the 1980s Lebanese civil war, during which his driver, a local man, was killed by militia. It is Wyrecliffe’s attempts then to make amends for the guilt he feels that draws him into a deep web of emotional and ultimately political conflict.
With my two DCI Gillard crime thrillers, the second of which was published this week, the role of the police protagonist is much more central. As is normal with crime fiction, the reader can see the worst of humanity while peeking over the shoulder of the investigating officer, someone they feel they can trust. Gillard is a rock-solid investigating officer, physically capable and without any of the obvious afflictions of alcoholism, drug dependency or marital difficulties which to some extent have become a literary cliché. He is not without weaknesses however. In The Body in the Marsh, the first book, Gillard displays emotional weakness when he discovers that the murder victim is his first love, Liz Knight. His attempts to deal with that wind right through the story, even as the reader discovers the kind of person this woman really was. Can the DCI accept that reality? Part of the book’s dramatic tension comes from the conflict between those two perspectives. With Gillard already an established character, the second book The Body on the Shore is much more plot driven. I worked really hard on this one not only to create an unusual background, by setting part of the book in Albania, but also to give a final twist which would really shock the reader. There is really plenty of information in the book which justifies this twist once it is revealed, but I’ve relied on the readers’ natural emotional reaction to draw them in other directions and away from the truth. That, of course, is the writers job!
Title: The Body on the Shore
Author Name: Nick Louth
Previous Books (if applicable): Heartbreaker and The Body in the Marsh
Genre: Crime Fiction, Police procedural
Release Date: 3rd September
A killer is at work in the supposedly-safe commuter belt. DCI Gillard needs answers, fast…
Promising architect Peter Young is shot dead at his desk. DCI Craig Gillard is quickly on the scene, looking at what appears to be a brutal and highly professional hit: two bullets, fired with ice-cold calm.
Gillard knows that the most crucial question in solving the crime is one word: Why? Two weeks later, on the Lincolnshire coast, another body is found on a windswept beach. In this case there is no identity for the young man, just a curious brand burned into his neck….
As the mystery deepens Gillard is plunged into a case without answers, finding himself up against dark forces, people who believe in only two things: blood and a warped code of honour. This time lives are on the line, children’s lives – and his own.
Written at breakneck pace with a jaw-dropping twist you won’t see coming, the suspense-filled second DCI Gillard crime thriller is perfect for fans of Robert Bryndza, Patricia Gibney and Faith Martin.
Links to Book:
Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.
Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.
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