There's so much to like about this novel. So often, a writer tries to pull off a stand-up interplay between joint protags - and fails. I expect the author has developed the two characters in his previous work (which I haven't read). I like to dabble myself, and I'm envious of how Mr Crowther has juxtaposed Matt and Nathan, a couple of dark horses who cannot help but become embroiled in the tangled webs of a more than shady collection of Mancunians - not that they'd have it any other way. - WriteIntoPrint.co.uk
From the very first page of As the Sun Turns Black, it is clear that something is very rotten in the city of Manchester.
Two young girls are missing – then one is found dead, covered in blood and swan-feathers. The murdered child turns out to be the daughter of Matt Spears’ friend, Eddie, who appeals to him to find the killer.
Matt refuses to get involved – he’s having enough trouble trying to stabilize his business and keep his relationships alive. But then, the hated and heartless journalist, Garry Corless arrives back in town, prompting Matt to wonder whether the girl will be found dead or alive before the killer dubbed 'Red' strikes again.
Matt begins to make a series of terrifying connections to a string of murders reaching into the past; driving him into a tangled web of police corruption, violence, blackmail, sexual obsession and fraud. From the upper echelons of high finance to the gritty underbelly of the Lancashire shadows – no one is safe.
Question & Answers with Barry Crowther
Q: When did you first realise and/or decide you wanted to write novels - and why?
BC: I've been writing for around twelve years. Initially it was all short stories, some published, some not and I felt very comfortable with the work. For several years I tried to write a novel but kept somehow hitting a dead end or wrote myself into a corner. This was brutal after many months of trying it was like unraveling a huge ball of elastic bands. Somehow something shifted in my thinking and I wrote a three sentence outline, expanded it and that became an 85,000 word novel. That was 'Missing' and I never looked back from there. I have a system that works for me, and I'm sticking to it.
Q: From what I have read, you seem let the reader construct their own images of the characters. Do you do this consciously, as you write?
BC: For me it's a choice that I don't describe the characters too closely. I want the reader to form their own lead, become their own casting agent and then see the characters for what they are. In terms of the look of the characters involved I usually drop a hint or two, nothing more, very subtle cues that give the character some appearance, but for the most part, I want the reader to choose to like or not like the characters involved. If I'm skillful enough they will like the good guys and see the bad guys for what they are. That being said, I switch the tables a few times ... actions speak louder than words.
Q: Will you be writing any more novels that include the rapport between Matt and Nathan?
BC: I have three ideas right now to continue with Matt and Nathan. Matt and Nathan I can see being a constant in my future. Even though shadows have clouded my thoughts lately of killing off a major character in the not too distant future. I honestly don't want to do it, but I want the readers who follow me to know that no one is safe not even Matt.
Hannah, Matt's long suffering ex-fiancee, will return in the next one which involves more of a road trip from Scotland to London. Matt has to pick up a mysterious figure from one of the Scots isles and transport him to meet some people in London. What Matt doesn't know about this guy is that just about everyone doesn't want that to happen. All the old gang are back including some new bad guys who are proving far darker than the previous bunch of nefarious characters.