I’d like to mention a couple of new books which have just appeared under the imprint of my own publishers, Allison & Busby. One is Flipping Out, the third novel by American Marshall Karp. It features a bestselling mystery author, Norah Bannister, who has developed a lucrative sideline in buying and improving houses. I haven’t had a chance to read my copy yet, but I’m looking forward to it: Michael Connelly and James Patterson are the big names who have given it an endorsement.
Richard Jay Parker’s Stop Me examines how technology - emails and websites - can be used for macabre purposes. He told me recently:
‘Everyone suspects there’s something sinister about email chain letters. This is what mainly inspired me to write Stop Me. It begins with an email chain letter from the Vacation Killer. It describes a girl and must be forwarded. If it ends up back in the killer’s inbox he won’t slit her throat. Nobody takes it seriously to begin with until the jawbone of a prostitute is sent to the police. The missing prostitute fits the description in the email. But the real story of Stop Me is in the relationship between two men via a website.
John R Bookwalter claims to be the Vacation Killer and runs a website based around this alleged delusion. He’s never left the state of Louisiana and the Vacation Killer has killed around the globe. He’s dismissed by the police as a crank but claims to have Laura, the wife of Leo Sharpe. She disappeared in London and the Vacation Killer was suspected. However, her remains were never sent to the police and Leo wonders why – did the email get back to the Vacation Killer’s inbox?
But as everyone around Leo gives up on Laura ever being found Bookwalter is the only person talking about her in terms of her still being alive. A bizarre relationship ensues and Bookwalter comes up with the most plausible theory of how she was kidnapped.
Leo has to decide whether he should accept Bookwalter’s invitation to fly to Louisiana to find out if there’s any truth in what he’s saying. That’s what the title Stop Me refers to - more than the emails. It’s about being drawn submissively into something you know you shouldn’t.’
Sounds very promising, I think. I hope it marks the start of a long and successful crime writing career