I met Steven Dunne at York Library, where he was talking to Peter Robinson and David Mark at the small but perfectly formed ‘crime on tour’ event last Summer, it was here that I picked up his latest novel called Deity.
Deity could almost be read as two completely separate stories. The book starts with the discovery of a nearly naked dead body. The body has had their internal organs removed, he is soon found to be a local homeless man. More bodies follow, all of whom are linked to the local homeless population. Each body has had their internal organs removed, and it soon seems that someone is practicing their killer skills.
In addition a group of students have gone missing, initially no one is too concerned and its assumed they have just run away. But as time gets on it becomes obvious that things are not quite as simple as they first seemed, the teenagers laptops and mobile phones have been left behind – unthinkable to todays kids. Then the Deity website comes to light. Soon DI Brook has two big cases on his hands as well as the detective tradition of a tricky family background.
This is the first of Steven Dunne’s books I had read (the third he has written) and I was pleasantly surprised, I thought the book was excellent.
I did skip over some of the descriptions of the homeless victims, but not because of bad writing but purely because I couldn’t wait to find out what was happening to the teenagers which personally I thought was the best story. This book had some fascinating insights into today’s culture and youth. One discussion between Brook and his newly returned daughter was around the phenomenon of vampires and how kids see them as the idea of perfect love as they will never change.
The story was an interesting take on the idea of fame, and the ‘Live fast, die young’ motto. With the advent of the internet everyone can be famous, but people need to come up with more and more extreme ways of standing out. It showed how desperate teenagers can be to gain fame and fortune, and also how the idea of failure for them can be totally destructive.
I really enjoyed this book, and read it in two sittings. Although I was slightly disappointed with the fact that the killer when he came out was obvious to spot (In the same way that when watching ITV dramas the killer is usually the most well known actor making their first appearance in that particular episode) however the rest of the book was excellent. I’ll definitely be reading this authors first two books.
Last Wednesday (after an exciting day full of steam engines and train rides at York Railfest) I went to York Library to see the Crime on Tour event.
Peter Robinson, creator of the DCI Banks series which starred Stephen Tompkinson on tv was presenting a ‘New Blood’ Panel discussion. Alongside him were new authors Steven Dunne and David Mark. Sadly there were only about 10 people attending which is always a shame when these kind of events are put on but then the obsession with reading and crime doesn’t extend as far as I’d like I suppose.
Despite low attendees the event was great. It was a very informal evening, introduced by Peter where the authors talked about how they had both got published, and how their respective settings had reacted to the book. It was interesting to hear how their publishing journeys differed, David was previously a journalist and ‘The dark winter’ was his first novel. Steven however had written previous books and was now on his third novel, but his first with a more mainstream publisher.
All three authors were very entertaining and there were some great snippets of information. For example Sky TV wanted to commission the DCI Banks tv series, but only if they could have Ross Kemp as the lead role (there’s something to be grateful to ITV for!)
There was a big discussion over the difference between paper novels and e-books. David was quite vocal about the fact that he only felt like a real author once he saw his novel in print. I completely agree, whilst I love my kindle I still prefer real books when I can. Where we did differ though was him saying how upset he gets when he sees people mistreating books by folding the corner over, or putting them face down to keep the pages open. I love books and I love the whole process about them including seeing them on my shelves, but I can’t say my books are kept pristine. They have soggy pages from reading in the bath, battered edges from carrying them in bags, broken spines from leaving them open next to the bed. Books are about the content, appearance is secondary is all contexts.
There was an opportunity for questions (which is always the point my mind goes blank, and I desperately try and think of something witty and intelligent to ask. What are you having for tea? is probably not the question they want to hear) There was some interesting discussion around how they chose their main protagonists, and why they chose the settings they did.
Seeing these authors talking was a great taster for the full festival at the end of July, and I’ve got two new books in my ‘to read’ pile!