Genre: Fiction / Crime
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Number of Pages: 356
Series: Ben Cooper & Diane Fry #9
On a rain-swept hillside, hounds from the local foxhunt discover the body of a well-dressed man. At that exact moment, an anonymous caller reports the same body . . . lying half a mile away.
It’s only the first in a series of baffling clues as Ben Cooper and Diane Fry-partners and rivals on the detective force -plunge into a case involving horses, spectacular wealth, and a mysterious “plague village” where a centuries-old outbreak of Black Death has been transformed into a modern tourist attraction.
As the spring rain falls and the body count rises, Cooper and Fry’s investigation twists back to the recent past. A killer lurks in the shadows there-a killer now hiding in plain sight . . .
Atmospheric and ingenious, packed with suspense and secrets, The Kill Call is an unforgettable thriller from an unforgettable writer.
Read an excerpt:
Stephen Booth is an award winning British crime writer, the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry, who have appeared in twelve novels set in England’s beautiful and atmospheric Peak District.
Stephen has been a Gold Dagger finalist, an Anthony Award nominee, twice winner of a Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel, and twice shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year. Ben Cooper was a finalist for the Sherlock Award for the best detective created by a British author, and in 2003 the Crime Writers’ Association presented Stephen with the Dagger in the Library Award for “the author whose books have given readers the most pleasure”.
The Cooper & Fry series is published all around the world, and has been translated into 15 languages. The latest title is DEAD AND BURIED, with a new book, ALREADY DEAD, published in June 2013.
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events? I think characters can only be created from personal experience. Current events do give me ideas for background subjects – since I try to make my characters as real as possible, I want them to be reacting to events in the real world. For ‘The Kill Call’, one of these subjects was the illegal trade in horses. But I’ve never based a novel on a real-life crime. I don’t think that’s fair to the people involved.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you? I never know how a novel is going to end. I start at the beginning – with a place, a set of characters, and a situation that puts them under pressure (which usually involves a dead body,
f course). Then I let the characters create the story. So it’s a discovery process for me. This is a much more exciting way of writing than knowing what’s going to happen all the time. For it to work, I think I have to take a step back and not try to control my characters too much, but allow them the freedom to do whatever they want. I rely very much on Ben Cooper and Diane Fry and their colleagues to do their part of the work. They’re the detectives, after all – it’s their job to discover what happened!
Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day? I’ve never done anything else for a living but writing and editing. There’s probably nothing else I could do anyway! I worked as a newspaper journalist for 27 years, and the first two Cooper & Fry novels were written while I still had the day job. But I gave up my newspaper career just before the second book was published. I was very lucky to be earning a living from my books right from the start. Writing novels was always what I really wanted to do, but journalism taught me a lot and was great experience.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies? I write mostly during the evening, often right into the early hours of the morning. I developed this habit when I still had the day job, since it was the only time I had available to work on my novels. Although I’ve been full-time for about 13 years now, I find there are too many distractions during the day. And perhaps the evening is just my creative time anyway? I listen to music sometimes, but also to dramas and documentaries on the radio (the BBC is wonderful for this). Although it might just seem to be on in the background, it’s amazing how often a sentence or phrase I hear will register in my thoughts and give me an idea for the story I’m writing. It’s a way of leaving my sub-conscious open to ideas, even while I’m concentrating on something else.
Who are some of your favorite authors? There are so many great crime novelists whose books I’ve been reading for years – and lots of new ones coming along the time too. Some of my old favourites include Peter Robinson, John Harvey, Reginald Hill and Ruth Rendell. Among the Americans, I particularly admire Michael Connelly. In fact, anyone who writes a series with a really strong central character and an interesting background.
What are you reading now? I’m re-reading several of Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series, as I’ve been asked to write an appreciation of her for a special collector’s edition of her latest book.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it? The summer is publication time for me in the UK, with the latest paperback out in May, and new Cooper & Fry novel published in June. So I’m in promotion mode at the moment, with lots of events to do. But this is also the time when ideas for the next novel go through a sort of gestation period, when something will grip me and I know what I want to write about next.
Although I have some themes in mind, I still have to find the right location to set the book in. The Peak District settings have become very important for readers over the years. Other than that, I have no idea where the story will go!
If your novel were a movie, who would you cast? I’m asked this kind of question often, since Cooper & Fry are currently in development for a TV series. But I really have no idea! My characters are very clear in my mind, and there are no actors just like them. Fortunately, the casting will be someone else’s job!
Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard? I work almost entirely on a keyboard – and I have done for 30 years, since we were computerised very early in the newspaper business. The only exception is when I’m out and about in the Peak District doing location research, when a small notebook is essential.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby? Walking has always been a favourite leisure activity, and that’s how I discovered the wonderful Peak District. Anything to do with animals and nature I find very relaxing – I live in the country, and I enjoy pottering in the garden or watching the birds from my office window. I also have three cats, who are a very important part of my life.
Favorite meal? I love Chinese food, so probably a nice Dim sum.
Thanks so much for visiting us today, Mr. Booth! We look forward to seeing your televised creation as well as your next book!