Thursday, 6 September 2018

The Bad Neighbour is Out Today

Today sees the release of my sixth novel, The Bad Neighbour - also known as The Bad Neighbor, since I was fool enough to come up with a title that wouldn't work on both sides of the Atlantic!  It represents a lot of firsts for me, and a huge departure from everything that's come before.  My first standalone novel.  My first novel to get a hardback release.  My first serious stab at writing a thriller, and my first significant dabbling with writing crime.  My first book to be set wholly in the real world, and my first to draw significantly on aspects of my own life.  In fact, The Bad Neighbour is a good deal more personal than anything I've put my name to before now.  One of the early reviewers found it a little implausible that somebody would spend all of their money on buying a run-down house in an unfamiliar, impoverished area, as my protagonist Ollie Clay does, but that's exactly what I did seven or so years ago, and the reason I had a base from which to write this very book.  Of course, it worked out a hell of a lot better for me than it did for Ollie.  My neighbours haven't always been brilliant, but I've never had to deal with anyone like Chas Walker, the right wing thug who makes Ollie's existence a living hell, and I've certainly never gone quite so far off the deep end as Ollie ends up doing.

Which reminds me of another first: I don't know that anything else I've written has addressed current affairs quite so directly.  I wrote The Bad Neighbour in what seems, now, to be a very different and rather more innocent time.  When I conceived the book, and when I decided to write in a small way about some of the toxicity I saw bubbling away beneath the nation's surface, Brexit wasn't even a rumour, and I'd no way to guess how much of that bile would soon be gushing forth.  Less than a year after finishing the final draft, I came home from holiday to find out that my local MP, Jo Cox, had been murdered in the street by a far-right domestic terrorist, and suddenly what I'd written didn't seem half so dramatic or implausible.  Ollie's story has become, for the most part, shockingly likely, though I dearly wish it wasn't.

On a far happier note, one last first: this is also my debut with a new publisher.  Indeed, a new publisher in both senses: today marks the true birth of extremely exciting upstart Flame Tree Press, who also happen to have five other books out today, the first wave of what's set to be a truly astonishing catalogue.  So you might want to grab a copy of Tim Waggoner's The Mouth of the Dark, J. D. Moyer's The Sky Woman, Hunter Shea's Creature, Jonathan Janz's The Siren and the Spectre, or the legendary Ramsey Campbell's latest, Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach, while you're shopping for The Bad Neighbour.

Which is totally a thing you should do!  You can pick it up from Amazon UK and Amazon US in paperback, hardback, e-book and audio formats, and Waterstones have it here.  And as ever, early sales are especially crucial, so if you fancy it, don't wait!

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