Tag Archives: peterborough

First thrills

This weekend I was very excited to write my first ever guest post which was featured on the wonderful cleopatra loves books site.

My post was part of a series she runs called put a book on the map. I was discussing Eva Dolan’s series of books which are set in my home town of Peterborough.

I really enjoyed writing the post, however it is very nerve wracking to see your own words on someone else’s blog. I knew when it was going to be published but I was almost too scared to look. When the comments started coming in I had to turn my tablet off and didn’t dare read them until I had a couple of wines in me. This was absurd as I don’t worry about posting on my own blog in the same way. I usually type them out and post after a quick spell check. For my guest post I wrote it and read it and rewrote it and read it and rewrote it again. I know Cleo has a much bigger following than my blog does, but honestly I spent more time on this than I ever did on any of my university essays’. Mind you this was much more interesting than anything I ever did at University.

This series is a great way of finding out about new books and brings to life the places where the novels are set. I think I even managed to make Peterborough sound like a place you should visit. Judge for yourself here. https://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/put-a-book-on-the-map-bookonthemap-peterborough/

Whilst this was my first guest post I hope it’s not the last, and next time I might not be quite so worried about the response!

 

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Questions and answers with Eva Dolan

As those of you who read my reviews know I recently enjoyed the Long way home by  Eva Dolan set in my home town of Peterborough. So I was delighted to be offered the chance of a question and answer session with Eva prior to her appearance at the festival. 

1) Why did you choose Peterborough as the setting for your novel?

The subject matter of Long Way Home – the murder of a migrant worker and the wall of silence met by the police in that community – dictated the location. Peterborough has a sizeable population of economic migrants from all over Europe and as the city is quite small it makes for an interesting social situation. It’s one of those places most people only see through a train window as they wait at the station or in the news when journalists want to look at the issues around migration, so it was familiar without being well known.
It was a new setting for crime fiction too and I liked the idea of having a city all to myself, one with a long and illustrious history based around the cathedral and a declining manufacturing industry which has left Peterborough slightly stranded and directionless in the 21st century. Also the surrounding Fenlands tugged at me. Tens of thousands of acres of black earth and steep, treacherous drainage ditches, villages standing isolated under those huge horizons – it’s a landscape built for nefarious deeds.

2) Did you start the novel knowing you were writing a series or was it something that you decided as you wrote?

I hoped it might grow into a series but writing is such an unpredictable business that I simply didn’t know what was going to happen.
Starting out I had a clear vision of my detectives, both outsiders to differing degrees, dealing with a community where the police are distrusted and avoided at all costs; DI Zigic, a family man and a solid professional, aware that his promotion to heading up the newly formed Hate Crimes department was based on his third generation status, an immigrant now in nothing but name, and DS Ferreira, born in Portugal, raised on the Fens in a series of caravans and bedsits as her parents scraped together enough money to give their children a better life. She is closer in experience to the victims they work with and her sympathy has a tendency to boil over into anger.
As Long Way Home progressed I began to realise these were characters I wanted to write more about; they kept revealing little secrets and personality kinks I hadn’t considered in my notes, while the world they were entering – of slums and brothels, gangmasters and thugs – kept moving into new, ever seedier, corners.
I wanted to stick with that world, and my characters, and hopefully readers will feel the same way.

3) Often writers say they get rejected a number of times before finally getting published, was this the first book you wrote or are there other unpublished novels that came first?

There are lots! I have a hard drive stuffed with unpublished novels, two other series spanning five books, standalone police procedurals and what would now be termed domestic noirs, countless partials and outlines. Mostly they were never rejected because nobody has seen them but me.
The book which hooked my agent is the only one which went out on submission and it received some very kind and complimentary rejections which, although disappointing, encouraged me to keep going. Ultimately that book just wasn’t good enough to stand out from the crowd and it was an important experience for me. I realised that getting published meant doing something a bit different, showing editors a world they hadn’t seen before – Long Way Home felt like that new and unusual something as I was writing it and thankfully it caught the eye of Alison Hennessey at Harvill Secker.

4) What other writers do you enjoy reading and is it mainly crime or other genres?

Too many too mention them all but I love the hardboiled classics like Chandler and MacDonald, Patricia Highsmith’s psychological thrillers, Ian Rankin, John Harvey and Martyn Waites for their social crime novels and when it’s escapism I’m hankering after, Jason Goodwin and Boris Akunin. The crime genre is positively humming with talent and the new writers coming up are producing an eclectic mix, Sarah Hilary and Luca Veste’s fresh detectives look set to run for a long time, James Oswald and Lauren Beukes are producing fantastic crossover novels and the British scene especially is bristling with gritty talent; the likes of Kevin Sampson, Howard Linskey and Tom Benn.
I think it’s important for a writer to read widely in the genre but outside it too. The author I reread most often is Emile Zola – his Rougon-Macquart series contains the whole of human nature as it slams up against modernity and mechanisation, concerns which we’re still dealing with a hundred years on. Lately I’ve really enjoyed The Unwitting by Ellen Feldman and Helen Walsh’s The Lemon Grove – both excellent summer reads for people who want a bit of substance by the pool – and I adored The Goldfinch, completely ripped through it.

5) What is your next novel about and when is it due out?

The next Zigic and Ferreira book – still stubbornly untitled – is out in early January. Here’s the blub…

‘The car that ploughs into the bus stop early one morning leaves a trail of death and destruction behind it.
DS Ferreira and DI Zigic are called in from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit to handle the investigation but with another major case on their hands, one with disturbing Neo-Nazi overtones, they are relieved when there seems to be an obvious suspect. But the case isn’t that simple and with tensions erupting in the town, leading to more violence, the media are soon hounding them for answers.
Ferreira believes that local politician Richard Shotton, head of a recently established right-wing party, must be involved somehow. Journalists have been quick to acclaim Shotton, with his Brazilian wife and RAF career, as a serious contender for a major political career, despite his extremist views, but is his party a cover for something far more dangerous?’

6) Are you looking forward to the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Festival?

I am hugely looking forward to it. Lots of drinking and gossiping with lovely writing folks and an excuse to buy a new capsule wardrobe, it’s the highlight of the summer!
Last year was my first at the festival and the atmosphere was amazing, so warm and welcoming, authors chatting with fans and bloggers, a really chilled out affair – I’d urge any crime fan who hasn’t been yet to make the trip, even if it’s just for a day. The organising committee have attracted some massive name – JK Rowling, Lynda LaPlante, John Harvey and lots more – and, being Harrogate, where the wits are quick and the drink free-flowing there are bound to be fireworks on some of the panels…
On a personal level I’m honoured and delighted to be part of Val McDermid’s New Blood event, alongside three outstanding debut novelists; Ray Celestin, Helen Giltrow and Nicola White. Their books are all very different but equally original and compelling. Hopefully we’ll keep the audience well entertained for an hour.
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Thanks very much to Eva and Vintage publishing for their time, and don’t forget to enter the competition to win a copy of Long Way Home.

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Win a copy of Eva Dolan’s novel – Long Way Home

Long Way Home pbkI’m delighted to announce that the lovely people at Vintage, to celebrate the release of Eva Dolan’s novel ‘Long Way Home’ in paperback last week, have offered 3 copies of the book as prizes to UK readers of acrimereadersblog. This was an excellent book and a review can be found here.

 

 

If you would like to win a copy all you have to do is answer the three questions below,

1) The founder of which high street pizza chain was born in Peterborough in 1929?

2) At what hotel was Agatha Christie found after her mysterious disappearance in 1926?

3) What session will Eva Dolan be speaking in at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writers Festival 2014?

To be entered into the draw to win a copy of the book email your answers along with your name and address to candic13@yahoo.co.uk. Winners will be picked at random on the 11th July and the details will be passed onto Vintage publishing who will be sending out the prizes.

Keep your eye’s peeled for a Q and A session with Eva Dolan appearing on this blog soon too!

Long Way Home by Eva Dolan

The start of a major new crime series from a CWA Debut Dagger shortlisted author featuring a detective duo from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit. A man is burnt alive in a suburban garden shed. DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are called in from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit to investigate the murder. Their victim is quickly identified as a migrant worker and a man several people might have had good reason to see dead.

Zigic and Ferreira know all too well the problems that come with dealing with a community that has more reason than most not to trust the police, but when another migrant worker is attacked, tensions rapidly begin to rise as they search for their killer.

is an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poker player.

Shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger for unpublished authors when she

was just a teenager,

Long Way Home is her debut novel and the start of a major new

series. The second instalment will be published in hardback in January 2015.

 

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Long way home by Eva Dolan – a review

Long Way Home is Eva Dolan’s debut novel. I ordered this book a while ago after seeing it mentioned on twitter. The story sounded good and the setting was interesting. It wasn’t until the book had arrived that I saw the author was appearing at the festival in my favourite New Blood panel. It’s not often I’m ahead of the crowd so I was definitely looking forward to reading this.
Long Way Home begins as is often the case with crime novels, with the discovery of a body. The victim has been burnt alive and left in the shed in the back garden of a couple. He is soon identified as a local immigrant who was quite unpopular amongst certain groups. DI Zigic and DS Ferreira work in the Hate Crimes Unit and are called to investigate. Alongside this there are other people being murdered and plenty of hidden secrets.
I really enjoyed this book. The story itself was good, although not the most complicated of plots; however the actual writing and the background made this fascinating. The story is based in Peterborough and is almost unrecognisable from the place I lived 20 years ago (and where my family still live although some members prefer to say they live in Stamford!)
Eva Dolan’s novel gives a graphic insight into the world of both legal and illegal migrant workers who flock to the fenlands around Peterborough in order to get work as labourers and farm hands. The story highlights the treatment that they get at the hands of landlords. Men are crammed 20 into one small room, whilst local residents rent out sheds and garages with no running water or heating. It was reminiscent of the slum lords of the Victorian Age. 
This novel will certainly never be a favourite amongst Peterborough Tourist Board (Is there one? I don’t remember being overrun with tourist attractions when I was a child) however the description of the places and surrounding countryside certainly add to the atmosphere of the book.
I wasn’t overly keen on the two main characters, I found Ferreira’s chainsmoking ‘one of the boys’ attitude a bit annoying, and I’m pretty certain that nowadays smoking has been banned almost everywhere a fact she seemed to ignore. Yet I suspect that they will both grow on me pretty quickly. Which leads me to my main bugbear with the book. The fact that it was advertised everywhere as the start of a series. Personally I felt this did slightly ruin the tension when one of the main characters got into trouble, which otherwise could have been a nail biting scene. However by the time I got to the end I had it enjoyed it so much I’m very glad there is going to be a second instalment. It was a fascinating read and I’m looking forward to seeing Eva Dolan at the festival.

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