Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nightmare, with Angel

Four of my backlist titles are lined up for launch, and the first of them is now up and available as an Amazon exclusive; Nightmare, with Angel will be followed over the coming weeks by paperback and ebook editions of White Bizango, The Spirit Box, and Red, Red Robin.


Nightmare, with Angel is the manhunt/Eurothriller that earned me the 'finest British writer of bestselling popular fiction to emerge since John le Carre' quote from John Williams in The Independent. It's been used by my publishers ever since and no one's ever heard me protesting. But I don't think anyone's ever sought out le Carre's opinion on the matter, either.

It's set in the months following German reunification. A while ago (on my own blog) I posted an account of the research behind the book; if you weren't around for that, here it is again.

Nightmares and Angels

Just after the Berlin Wall came down, I threw a bag into the back of the Volvo and drove down to the Hamburg ferry. Not quite as spontaneously as that, of course. I had a plan. I'd lined up meetings with Hamburg's Sex Crimes division and detectives in the Criminal Investigation department of the Dussseldorf police. I had places to look at, questions to ask, and a date with the Senior Pathologist in the morgue at Heinrich Heine University.

But in the most ambitious part of the trip, I headed East. Right across Germany, through the border, and into territory that had, only months before - weeks, even - been sealed off, self-contained, an enigma to the West.

For someone raised on spy fiction, this was no small deal. In Cold War mythology, East Germany was enemy territory. In reality the border was a zone of tension, and people died trying to cross it.

What I found was empty checkpoints, broken barriers, watchtowers with their windows stoned-in... there were concrete blocks that had been placed to prevent any vehicle from making a dash through, forcing the car into a zigzag path that no longer served any purpose. This once-fearsome locale now felt like a corner of an abandoned airfield, already becoming overgrown...

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