The United States appears to be full of attorneys who dash off bulky legal thrillers at will. In the UK, by contrast, there are relatively few lawyers – solicitors or barristers – who combine full-time professional life with writing crime fiction. There have been some great exceptions to the rule, of course – Cyril Hare, Michael Gilbert and more recently Frances Fyfield spring to mind. But some lawyers who appeared destined to make a mark a decade or more ago, the likes of Dexter Dias and the duo who wrote as Rankin Davis (not Ian Rankin and Lindsey Davis, I hasten to add!) seem to have moved away from the genre.
But one newish name to note is that of Neil White. Neil is a Yorkshireman by birth, who now works with the Crown Prosecution Service in Lancashire. I met him again at Crimefest recently, although my happiest memory of being in his company has to be that memorable night when I won the CWA Dagger for best short story a couple of years back.
Neil started his writing career with a little known book, Salem, which I’m happy to have a copy of, but he then moved into the big time with a contract for a series of paperback original thrillers, featuring his regular characters Jack Garrett and DCI Laura McGarrity.
The latest, Dead Silent, is just out. It is published by Harper Collins and the premise is this: ‘Twenty years ago Claude Gilbert buried his wife alive and then killed himself – or so everyone believes. But as Gilbert disappeared on the night of the murder, the mystery has remained unsolved. Until now….”