Fresh Blood

Name: David Harrison

Title of Book: Sins of the Father

'...the dialogue quickly rockets us into the gripping drama. '

Nick Randall is the son of the famous Eddie who was a film star back in the 1960ís. Eddie may have been a well-known star, but he had some unsavoury habits and knew some equally unsavoury people. Now a biographer is threatening to expose Eddie as a very bad boy with some very upsetting sidelines. He wants Nickís support along with his younger sister, Diana. Their approval will validate his findings. Then Nickís life is turned upside down.

First Nickís wife, Sarah leaves him as a result of a past indiscretion. He knew he shouldnít have slept around but, after all, he is his fatherís son. Sarah dies in what appears to be a tragic accident, then evidence begins to point to murder. Who would want to kill Nickís wife? Has it got to do with an insurance scam he is uncovering with a lot of vicious characters involved? Is Sarahís death a warning to lay off the scam? Or is it to do with something Nickís father did more than three decades ago? Soon Nick is caught up in a whirlwind of deceit, double bluffs and a very evil and unscrupulous mind, with only vengeance and murder in focus.

Sins of the Father has been in my Ďto readí pile for a while now. However, while in Brighton, recently, for a weekend I thought it a good opportunity to read this crime novel based in the same town. Within the first few pages Harrison manages to set up the feel and style of the book. He quickly draws an evocative picture of the 1960ís and 70ís. The moment we reach the present day, however, the dialogue quickly rockets us into the gripping drama.

The characters that populate the book are well drawn even though some do appear a little bit clichťd - Kevin the Rottweiler? David Harrison used to work in insurance and includes a very clever insurance scam as one of his main twists within the book. His expertise makes the plot work well and itís frighteningly believable! Each chapter usually ends on a Ďcliff-hangerí Ė a tried and trusted technique that works very well here, and certainly gets the reader turning those pages. Towards the end of the book, the events take on an even greater urgency that makes you career spinning towards the end.

This is a sterling effort from a new face on the crime scene and I am definitely looking forward to seeing David Harrison as a name to be reckoned with in the crime scene.

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating

Fresh Blood Questionnaire

1) What type of crime would you say you write?
My aim is to write fast-paced thrillers with a good mix of action and well-drawn characters.
2) What type of crime novel do you prefer? Series or standalone?
Judging from my bookshelves, it looks like series have the edge. As a reader itís very comforting to revisit a familiar cast of characters, but as a writer I feel a bit wary of the restrictions imposed by a series. And I do think that even the best ones go off the boil after a while. Itís perhaps easier to stay fresh and inventive when you have the far greater scope offered by standalones.
3) Have you always had ideas to write a crime novel?
Iíve always tended to write the kind of fiction I most enjoyed reading. In my teens that was mainly science fiction. Then I moved into horror/supernatural fiction and from that to crime and thrillers. Iíd written one other crime novel prior to Sins of the Father, which had some interest from a publisher but didnít quite make it.
4) What influenced you to write a crime novel in the first place?
See question 3. I also think it depends where your imagination leads you. If youíre essentially drawn to dark and morbid subject matter, then any idea you have is likely to go down that route.
5) What is your favourite crime read of all time?
Sorry, I canít narrow it down to one. These are all good contenders:

James Ellroy - American Tabloid

John Fowles - The Collector

Thomas Harris Ė Silence of the Lambs

Ian McEwan Ė The Cement Garden

Carol OíConnell Ė Flight of the Stone Angel
6) Would you describe yourself as a Crime fan and if so, which authors do you most admire?
Iím a big fan of crime fiction. In addition to the writers mentioned above, my favourites include Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, David Lindsey, Martin Cruz Smith, Pete Dexter, Mo Hayder, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham Ė and Iíve recently discovered the brilliance of Lee Child. But the writer I admire most in any genre is Graham Greene.
7) What is your favourite movie adaptation of a crime novel?
Probably The Shawshank Redemption, though since I have young children, Iíve almost forgotten what itís like to watch a film that doesnít feature a garish CGI creature complete with a fast-talking, irritating sidekick.
8) Without giving away the ending, which book included your favourite plot twist of all time?
Thereís a great one in an early Jeffrey Deaver book called A Maidenís Grave. His work has taught me a lot about the techniques of crime writing, particularly misdirection.
9) Nick Randall is an insurance agent. How much of you and your expertise in insurance wound up in the character of Nick Randall?
Thereís very little of me in the character, but I did use some experience of investigating staged motor accidents. I spent a few years managing a claims office in Leeds, where I dealt with a number of complex cases, working with the police and on a couple of occasions giving evidence in court. Unfortunately itís very-time consuming and expensive to prove fraud, and often both the insurers and the police lack the resources to pursue it thoroughly.
10) Much of the action takes place in and around Brighton. You must have a great love for one of the most famous British cities in the world?
I do. I was born in Sussex and I have a huge affection for the whole area. Brighton itself is a fascinating place, and somewhere I intend to explore more fully in future work
11) What made you place Eddie Randall as a 1960ís British film star of such films like the Carry On series?
The initial inspiration for the book came from watching a TV documentary about a much loved comedy actor of that era whose family saw a very different side of him. During my research I discovered that the filming of Carry On Camping perfectly fitted into my timeline, so I used it in the prologue. And Iíve always had a fondness for the earlier British comedies by Ealing, Launder & Gilliat and the Boulting Brothers. Perfect rainy afternoon movies.
12) Are you planning another book involving Nick Randall or will new characters be introduced?
At the moment I have no plans for another Nick Randall book, but I certainly wouldnít rule it out. The book Iím just finishing is a standalone thriller, set in a fictional Sussex village. The protagonist is a young woman who walks into the middle of a Hungerford-style killing spree.
13) Where do you see crime fiction going next?
I think itíll continue to diversify, perhaps to the point where the sub-genres become so large and distinctive that weíll no longer be able to talk about a single genre. The irony there is that if each sub-genre has its own dedicated readership, writers may end up with less freedom to experiment or move beyond the boundaries of the category for which theyíre known. I hope that doesnít happen. I think itís important to be able to try different things, not simply churn out fifteen or twenty duplicates of your first novel.