Today, I’m hosting a stop on the blog tour for Dead Lands by Lloyd Otis and it is my absolute pleasure to welcome the author to the blog. Before I hand over to Lloyd Otis, here’s a little information about the book!
Author : Lloyd Otis
Title : Dead Lands
Pages : 320
Publisher : Urbane Publications
Publication date : October 12, 2017
When a woman’s body is found a special team is called in to investigate and prime suspect Alex Troy is arrested for the murder. Desperate to remain a free man, Troy protests his innocence, but refuses to use his alibi. Trying to protect the woman he loves becomes a dangerous game – questions are asked and suspicions deepen.
When the prime suspect completes a daring escape from custody, DI Breck and DS Kearns begin the hunt. Breck wants out of the force while Kearns has her own agenda and seeks revenge. Breck has his suspicions and she wants to keep it from him, and a right-wing march provides an explosive backdrop to their hunt for Troy.
Dead Lands – the finance behind the fiction
The decade of the 1970s in which Dead Lands is set, was a time when politics and fashion slapped you firmly in the face, a time when music’s voice grew louder through the punk movement, and when the thought of being PC was nothing but a distant dream. All true but the something else happened too. The country’s economic situation had improved from years gone by. How much? Well enough for me to feel comfortable in letting the cloak of finance attach itself to some of the main characters involved in the story.
The late 1960s saw the UK economy struggle, growth stalled and inflation rose. But the country had strengthened by the early part of the 1970s after entering the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. That move soon revived the economy and most would agree that Britain’s foray into Europe increased trade.
The first victim in the story has a finance background and the prime suspect has a finance background too. I think that my own experience of working within the financial square mile for several years for one of the Big Four, enabled me to be confident enough to set it up this way. Although the story is set a few decades ago, many facets are still relevant such as attitudes, ways of thinking, and incentives to maximise profit, aligned with ambition. By placing the first victim in the story within a financial culture, I wanted to set her status for the reader from the off. That of a successful career woman in her own right, and there was no better way to display that than having her be a director at a large city company, amidst a climate of male chauvinism.
Putting Alexander Troy, one of the main characters, also in that environment, allowed me to easily cultivate his image of a city high flier. One that the general public wouldn’t easily point to as a suspect in a crime, and the surprise and shock is evident when the news of his suspected involvement is broken to his superiors.
That cavalier relationship with money becomes both a factor and a distraction from the truth. How can a person who earns a good salary, possibly be desperate enough to commit a crime for money? The detectives in this, Breck and Kearns, see beyond the stereotypes, but for many, it’s hard to. The shadow of big city money in the Dead Lands serves as a constant reminder that crime doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, and one or two other questions are thrown in too. For example, the mere suggestion of social class prioritisation for an investigation.
Having Troy committed to a strong and respectable career was important. He needed to have a white-collar background, and his place of work and the colleagues within it, set the tone – allowed me to manipulate the mystery when I needed to. Yes, I could have delved deeper into the inner workings of the financial environment but this crime fiction story didn’t require me to do that.
Today, the UK economy is once again under the spotlight with all eyes on the Brexit negotiations and discussions on whether or not there should be a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit. If I placed Troy into this modern-day scenario, I wonder what he would make of it, and where he would see his opportunity to take risks and climb the career ladder.
Thank you so much, Lloyd for this insight and for taking the time out to visit the blog! And also, many thanks to Abby for the opportunity to join the tour!
Lloyd was born in London and attained a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication. After gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, he completed a course in journalism. Lloyd has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block. Two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology, and he currently works as an Editor.
Make sure you check out these other awesome bloggers on the tour!