It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Death Rope by Leigh Russell. My thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press for the invitation to join. Author Leigh Russell stops by the blog today to talk about the appeal of evil. But first, here is what the eleventh instalment in the DI Geraldine Steel series is all about.
Author : Leigh Russell
Title : Death Rope
Series : DI Geraldine Steel #11
Pages : 386
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : July 26, 2018
THEY SAY SUICIDE. SHE SAYS MURDER.
Mark Abbott is dead. His sister refuses to believe it was suicide, but only Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel will listen.
When other members of Mark’s family disappear, Geraldine’s suspicions are confirmed.
Taking a risk, Geraldine finds herself confronted by an adversary deadlier than any she has faced before… Her boss Ian is close, but will he arrive in time to save her, or is this the end for Geraldine Steel?
The Appeal of Evil
My detective, Geraldine Steel, is the protagonist in eleven of my books so far, with a cameo role in three more crime thrillers. Had I been more forward thinking, Geraldine might have arrived in the first book of her series as a fully formed character, with a back story in place and a future planned out. But it was the story of the killer which interested me in my debut novel, and that fascination has continued to drive my writing, as I explore what might motivate someone to kill.
A fictional killer’s behaviour has to be sufficiently complex to take time to unravel, but his motive has to be clear and follow some kind of logic, however demented. In a crime novel it is really not satisfactory to explain away the villain’s behaviour by simply writing him off as crazy. There has to be more to it than that, or the detective’s job would become quite random, and the reader would have no chance of solving the mystery.
Some of my books are ‘whodunnits’ in the traditional sense of the word. In other books my readers discover the identity of the killer early on, and in these books the suspense is built through dramatic irony as the reader watches my detective trying to solve the case.
But all of my books have one key element in common: Geraldine Steel. When I introduced my detective in my debut novel, I had no inkling of how popular she would become, or how many books she was going to feature in. Now it seems my original pipe dream of writing twenty books in the series might actually come true.
I’ve always found my villains at least as interesting to write about as my detectives. In some ways, writing about people operating outside the parameters of normal behaviour is quite liberating – although I’m not sure I would go quite as far as William Blake when he said, nearly two hundred and fifty years ago: “The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.” I like to think that good people can write about the evil aspects of human nature!
Each of my books works as a stand alone, so anyone can read Death Rope without having looked at the books in the series, but Geraldine remains a constant throughout, and I’m still enjoying exploring her story. And now, I’d better get back to work as I’ve left her in the middle of complex case…
Leigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series: Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi and Class Murder. The series has sold over a million copies worldwide. Cut Short was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes with Stop Dead and Murder Ring selected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.