Funny how ideas work their way into a writer’s consciousness. The idea for my recently-published DCI Jack Harris novel To Honour the Dead (The Book Folks) came, in part, from my father recounting a tale from his National Service days when a soldier won a medal for valour but was drunk at the time.
The story got me thinking about the thin line between valour and recklessness and I decided to also explore the idea that one moment of bravery can define a life and set standards which the ‘hero’ can never really live up to.
But behind the idea was an image. My grandfather used to drive me and my brother round Derbyshire when we were kids and, as I was putting together the ideas for To Honour the Dead, I had clearly in my mind the image of a village war memorial which he took us to see.
I do not know where it is, the location if ever known has long been forgotten but throughout the writing of the novel it was always there.
Novel details: The small town of Levton Bridge is beset by a spate of vandalism against its war memorials. Uniformed police believe it is just kids, but DCI Jack Harris is not so sure. And when a local WWII veteran is found murdered, his suspicions are confirmed.
With anti-war activists causing trouble in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday, top brass want the case wrapped up to avoid further bad publicity. But the obvious suspects have strong alibis and Harris’ instincts tell him there is something serious afoot.
The detective is increasingly exasperated. Preferring his beloved dogs to his colleagues and having little patience for humans in general, Harris becomes increasingly aggressive and unforgiving as the murder investigation fails to progress.
Someone in the town knows something, but the clues point to outside the region. Will a return to Harris’ old stomping ground of Manchester help him find the murderer? Or will the investigation draw a blank and Harris blow a fuse that will get him fired?
You can buy the book at
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