I wrote my first book when I was ten, stuck in a miserable, north London boarding school where reading and telling stories were my only lifeline. Every time I write a new book, I have the same sense of urgency that I had then. I knew without any doubt that I would be an author. Perhaps it helped that I wasn't much good at anything else.
Cut forward to the present and now I have over forty-five published novels to my name. The game changer for me was Stormbreaker, the first Alex Rider adventure, published in 2000. There were eleven more books in the series - the latest, Never Say Die, was published in 2017 - and they are now being developed for TV. I have plenty of other children's books out there - I was delighted to discover my Power of Five series (Raven's Gate, Evil Star etc) on sale in a tiny bookshop in Elounda, Crete only a few days ago.
But as I grew older (and my original audience entered their twenties) I felt a need to move into adult writing. This began with two Sherlock Holmes continuation novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty, followed by my entry into the world of James Bond with Trigger Mortis. A second Bond novel is on the way. An original thriller, Magpie Murders was published last year and got some of the best reviews I've had. One of the joys of Twitter, incidentally, is that it allows readers to contact me directly and these 140-character exchanges are as valuable to me as what the professional critics have to say.
I also write for TV. After cutting my teeth on the hugely popular show, Robin of Sherwood, I moved on to work with David Suchet and his brilliant portrayal of Hercule Poirot, writing about nine or ten episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot. I was the first writer on Midsomer Murders and then went on to create Foyle's War which I worked on for the next sixteen years. Somewhere along the way, I also created a five-part series for ITV called Injustice which very much influenced the book I'm publishing now.
The Word is Murder is hopefully the start of a long-running series. It introduces a detective by the name of Daniel Hawthorne - a rather dark and dangerous man whom I actually met on the set of Injustice. At least, that's my version of events and that's what counts here because, very unusually, I actually appear in the book as his not entirely successful sidekick; the Watson to his Holmes.
The whole point of being an author is that you're in control. But here I am, writing a book in which I have no idea what's going on, following in the footsteps of a character who refuses to tell me anything. What I'm trying to do is to give the traditional whodunit a metaphysical twist. I hope, if you read it, you'll enjoy all the clues, the red herrings, the bizarre range of suspects and the occasionally violent twists. With a bit of luck you won't guess the ending (nobody has so far). But at the same time, The Word is Murder offers something more. It's a book about words as much as murder, about writing crime as well as solving it.
Other Books By This Author
A Line to Kill
The Twist of a Knife
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