Author of the Month

Name: Sheila Quigley

First Novel: Run for Home

Most Recent Book: The Road to Hell

'...a gripping, epic saga from beginning to end...'

Di Lorraine Hunt has a past. One that has given her nightmares for many years... and one she hasnít even shared with her loved one, Luke. But that is all about to change when a murder victim - strangled, raped and bitten to death - throws Lorraine back to that fateful night when she had come across a body with exactly the same bite marks. Then, as now, Lorraine knew the victim well.

And then, the past begins to hem Lorraine in from all angles. Dave, who was with Lorraine on the night of her birthday, is soon hideously deformed by fire. Another friend is also targeted - and a face that disappeared on that very night appears years later. As another body surfaces, old grudges long held begin to make their way in to the light.

Quigleyís latest novel finds her series heroine, Lorraine Hunt, the centre of the investigation with her life in danger along with those she loved long ago. But the night when some of her friends didnít survive threw the remaining friends apart, most not seeing each other for years. With short, sharpm snappy chapterisation, Quigley leaps into this tale at the deep end and with amazing relentlessness cranks up the pace to the mad, full-throttle ending.

Despite the plot racing like a stallion at Ascot, Quigley manages to bring into play a jumble of emotions from Lorraine at the various predicaments she finds herself in as her past begins to crash around her into the present. The Road to Hell is a gripping, epic saga from beginning to end and had me flying through the pages to the breathtaking climax. This is an astounding book and one that sees Quigley change up a gear and press her foot firmly on the throttle.

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating


1) What makes a truly great crime/thriller novel?
Suspense, danger, and fascinating characters.
2) Now that the crime/thriller genre represents the largest section of fiction sold in the UK and Ireland, do you think we do enough to celebrate the quality and diversity of the writing?
No where near enough. Although it is starting to spread, we need some more big festivals like Harrogate and Bristol crime fest further North. Sometime in the autumn would be good.
3) ĎThe Road to Hellí takes us back to Lorraine Huntís own past. Why did you decide to involve Lorraine in the incident that makes such an impression on the present?
Because the same characters run through each book, not just the detectives Lorraine Hunt and Luke Daniels, but the lives of the people who live on the Seahills, I get e mails everyday from people worrying about their future, whatís going to happen next. And what was Lorraine and the gang like when they were younger, a lot of these questions are answered in The Road To Hell.
4) Sam Knightly is such an intriguing character Ė violent, emotionless (except with his daughter) ruthless. How was it to write about such a violent person and will we hear more about Sam?
Samís character was shaped by the events in his youth, and by the guilt that he couldnít contain. And yes when it came to writing about Sam, I had to keep taking a break, a breath of fresh to clear him out of my head. I think he will be back, too good of a baddie to leave in the cupboard. I get asked if Mrs Archer from Run For Home will ever be back, these two together, explosive!
5) ĎThe Road to Hellí is a very emotional investigation for Lorraine as she is linked to all the victims in the case. Was it hard to juggle the emotional aspect with the logistics of moving the plot along?
Not really as this is book five with Lorraine in, itís like Iím totally inside of her head, I know how she will react what ever the circumstances.
6) ĎThe Road to Hellí is your first book with a new publisher. How exciting/daunting is that for you?
Both. Tonto books have published a beautiful book that I am very proud of. We are in this together and so far I am really enjoying the ride. Stuart Wheatman is tireless and deeply involved with every book he publishes. The Road To Hell isnít just my baby itís Stuís as well.
7) All your novels have been based in and around the area of Seahills/Houghton-le-Spring and you write as people speak in the area. How important is it for you to catch the right tone and dialect of the area and people? And why did you choose to write about the area on your doorstep?
The Seahills estate is set on a large empty field opposite the Homelands estate where I used to live, where I would still live if they hadnít pulled it down around me. As for the dialect, I use a smattering, trust me if I was to put the full whack into my characters mouths, no one would understand a word. Itís enough to give a flavour.
8) As you are writing from such close quarters do people often ask you if they are in your novels and do they try to recognise themselves in your books?
I used to run a youth club, when Run For Home came out all the kids on the estate wanted to know if they were in the book. They all bought it and read it. Now in-between my books they stop me and ask what they can read until my next one. Iím quite proud of this as I know these kids, now adults would never have picked a book up in their lives.
9) What do you think drives a story best Ė plot or characters?
Got to chicken out on this one and say both, because itís no good having a good plot with wooden characters, and vice versa.
10) In a dream scenario who would you like to direct and star in a film/TV adaptation of your book?
Not sure about director, but Jill Halfpenny would make a fantastic Lorraine Hunt.
11) What is your favourite movie adaptation of all time of a crime/thriller novel?
Rear Window. Fantastic. They donít make them like that any more, too much blood and gore. Not enough left to the imagination.
12) What is your favourite crime/thriller novel of all time?
Psycho and Steven Kings The Stand.