First, the story behind our books and our two main characters, Eddie Malloy and Frankie Houlihan. Eddie is the main character in five stories, Frankie in one, and in Bet Your Life, they team up to solve a mystery.
The books were first published in the 1990s: five by Hodder Headline, the other two by Harper Collins. When the publishing rights reverted to us, we decide to completely rewrite all seven books (authors are never happy with previous work!) Anyway, they are now available on Kindle and we are steadily publishing them too in Amazon's paperback range.
It's well worth bearing in mind that, although there are used versions of our titles available from resellers, we are certain that the rewritten versions, all bearing the same background cover, are much more enjoyable. The reviews reflect this and increase our confidence in that claim. In at least two of the new versions, 20,000 words or more have been removed from the originals, new characters added and plotlines altered. Feel free to buy whichever version you choose, but please bear in mind that our reviews are based on the rewritten books.
All books can be read as stand-alone stories, so you can join the series at any point. Some reviewers feel it's been a benefit to read them in the order they were written:
The Third Degree (on long term hold: see blog http://pitmacbooks.com/?p=247)
For Your Sins
Bet Your Life
Eddie tells the story in the first person in those first four books. We feel this gives added insight for the reader who hears at first hand what it is like to ride half a ton of highly charged muscle and bone over tough fences in the most competitive country in the world for steeplechasing.
Richard was a top jockey in the 1970s, winning some of the most famous races and suffering defeat in the shadow of the post in what many believe was the greatest Grand National ever run - 1973. In that race, Richard rode the huge black Australian horse, Crisp, carrying a leg-buckling weight over those 30 majestic fences only to be caught, after leading throughout, by the greatest Grand National horse of them all, Red Rum. (In YouTube, type "Horse Racing 1973 Grand National" to see the finish)
Dick Francis fans will find Eddie's world a familiar place, and many reviewers have mentioned this. We did not set out to copy Dick Francis. Richard knew the great man very well. Joe grew up reading Dick's books again and again so it's inevitable that some of the Francis style will have crept in. But Eddie Malloy is a much less gentle character than most of the DF heroes. Eddie's hatred of injustice stems from his experiences as a child and as a budding jockey. He does stupid things in anger, incapable of looking at himself with any objectivity. We think he will calm down some in the next run of three books - Dead Ringer, Dead Cert and Deadline. Dead Ringer and Dead Cert will be on sale before Christmas 2013; Deadline in early 2014.
Frankie Houlihan makes his first appearance in For Your Sins. Frankie is a gentle character whose life is turned cataclysmically upside down in the first part of the book. The key question after that is how will he cope with what has happened. Lacking Eddie's manic savvy and fiery ambition, Frankie is a soul cast adrift in the world for the first time.
In Bet Your Life, we broke the sequence of Eddie Malloy stories to bring him together with Frankie. Crazy as it might sound, authors often have no clue what will happen when characters meet, but reader reaction to Bet Your Life was most encouraging and there will be more Eddie and Frankie stories after the three 'Dead' novels which feature Eddie in his early thirties.
As for us authors, we're based in the UK where our novels are set. Richard, who you see in the picture above, lives in the south of England close to the famous racing village of Lambourn, which features so strongly in our stories. Joe lives in his native Scotland. We first met when we worked for racing broadcaster SiS, although Joe had been an avid teenage follower of Richard's riding career.
Richard doesn't use social media much, but Joe is an avid tweeter - at least during the UK National Hunt season - under the twitter handle @steeplechasing. We have a dedicated twitter feed for the books @pitmacbooks and our website is pitmacbooks.com
We'd love to hear from you. One of the joys of Amazon is being able to read reviews and discover what readers feel about the stories and about Eddie and Frankie. Your feedback helps shape future stories. Feel free to email us email@example.com or to join in the twitter chat @pitmacbooks.
If you've read any of our books - thank you. The money from sales helps, of course, but we're delighted that more people are following the lives of our characters; that's why we write. If you haven't yet read one, please do. We hope you'll enjoy them - Warned Off alone has had close to 60,000 downloads.
ALERT: Every reader has his or her own idea of what is 'offensive'. There is some cursing in some of our books, all of it, we believe, in character and none of it gratuitous. We don't do sex; mainly because neither of us can write it worth a damn! There are some male/female scenes where sex is 'in the air' but there is nothing in any way explicit.
There is violence in most of our books, most of it perpetrated by 'imaginative' criminals, none of it, we hope, off-putting, although it is mentioned in reviews from time to time. That's something we'll bear in mind for future stories.
Richard & Joe