It’s eight o’clock on a bitterly cold, frosty and snowy morning here in Manchester, but the STAC Mysteries are glowing with warmth.
All five have established themselves in the UK Kindle Brit Detectives chart. Murder at the Murder Mystery Weekend sits at 14, The Filey Connection is knocking on the door of the top 20, A Murder for Christmas is stable in the top 30, A Halloween Homicide has rocketed up the chart overnight to 37, and The I-Spy Murders is lagging slightly, but only as far back as number 56.
And naturally, my thanks go out to all the readers of these cosy, light-hearted whodunits. Last night, for a few hours, you managed to put all five in the top 50.
I have to confess, I have great fun writing them; finding new ways for Sheila and Brenda to wind up Joe, new puzzles to tax their joint intellect and powers of observation, and of course, it’s a different town in every book. I may be freezing here in Manchester, but Joe and the gang are enjoying themselves in Weston-super-Mare right now, and it’s not freezing. It may be raining but it’s not the middle of winter.
My Deadly Valentine, next in the series, is due out in February, and the current work in progress,The Chocolate Egg Murders, should see the light of day by Easter. Both will be shorter than usual. Owing to a string of circumstances, most of them of my own making, the deadlines were a little too tight. The length of both books will be more in keeping with A Halloween Homicide than The I-Spy Murders or Murder at the Murder Mystery Weekend.
With all this in mind, this Friday sees the release of another title… but it’s not a STAC Mystery. It’s the re-publication of The Handshaker, coming out under the Crooked Cat Books imprint.
This is not a cosy whodunit. It’s a hard-bitten thriller, a story of serial abduction, rape and murder with paranormal overtones. Not for the faint hearted, it asks an age-old question: how far can a hypnotised subject be pushed?
Conventional wisdom says a hypnotised person is still in control of events. My research leads me to conclude that is not necessarily so, and from that starting point, the tale of The Handshaker developed
Originally conceived for television in the 1990s, after repeated rejections, I transcribed it as a novel at the turn of the millennium and touted round the publishers. I had one or two sniffs of interest, but nothing serious, and in 2011, I self-published it on the Kindle, where it did rather well. Crooked Cat looked at it, felt they could take it on, and that’s how we end up where we are right now.
The Handshaker is launched this Friday, January 18th, and there is the usual launch thrash on Facebook. You’re more than welcome to join us.