Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"Dead in the Dark" by Stephen Booth

GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Dead in the Dark
(Cooper & Fry Mystery Book 17)
by Stephen Booth

Dead in the Dark (Cooper & Fry Mystery Book 17) by Stephen Booth

Dead in the Dark is the seventeenth book in the Cooper & Fry Mystery series by Stephen Booth.


Dead in the Dark is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
How do you prove a murder without a body?
Ten years ago, Reece Bower was accused of killing his wife, a crime he always denied. Extensive police searches near his home in Bakewell found no trace of Annette Bower's remains, and the case against him collapsed.
But now memories of the original investigation have been resurrected for Detective Inspector Ben Cooper – because Reece Bower himself has disappeared, and his new wife wants answers.
Cooper can't call on the Major Crime Unit and DS Diane Fry for help unless he can prove a murder took place – impossible without a body. As his search moves into the caves and abandoned mines in the isolated depths of Lathkilldale, the question is: who would want revenge for the death of Annette Bower?

Excerpt
Chapter One
No one wants to die in the dark. To lie alone in the blackness, feeling the chill of death creep slowly over you. Shut away from the light as the fear numbs your limbs and chokes the breath in your throat. The long, long sinking into the cold depths. And then to sense that slipping away. The final slipping away into nothing.
Do you feel that stab of pain as it shoots through your chest? Try to make your breathing more shallow. You have several broken ribs, a fractured arm, perhaps a punctured lung. You can hardly know, in the dark. But you can feel the internal bleeding, the seeping blood as it squeezes your internal organs, bloats your stomach and intestines. You know your injuries are fatal.
That fear of the dark is overwhelming. Because this is true darkness, an eternal night in which your eyes have become useless. Your heart thumps uselessly as you strain to see where you’re lying. You can sense space around you, a slight movement of icy air, a shifting of heavy masses, a solid weight way above your head. A sharp, stabbing pain is in your back from something hard you’re lying on. This isn’t a grave. But it is your tomb.
Does your fear of the dark make any sense? When you’re dead, you go into endless blackness. Yet you’ve always hoped you would get one last glimpse of the light, always prayed that you wouldn’t die alone.
Well, that’s not going to happen. There’s nothing for you to see here. Not a glimmer of light, not a flicker of hope. Only the darkness.
A creak and a rattling makes you freeze. Is someone here? Or some thing? But no . . . you breathe out and release the pain. The noise has quite a different meaning. It’s something huge shifting overhead. It signals the end, the approach of your death. You’re about to be crushed completely.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt. Please note the US and UK editions have different covers.]


Praise for the Book
“I love reading about these characters. I love the world in which Ben moves and I really enjoy the cases with which he is confronted. I always look forward to the next installment of this wonderful series.” ~ For Winter Nights
“An elegant reflection of what's happening in the country at large.” ~ The Book Bag
“This is an enjoyable, very readable yet understated crime novel by an accomplished author.” ~ Crime Fiction Lover
“The Peak District setting is as striking as ever ... the ever-present threat of violence will get under your skin.” ~ Real Crime
“Clever, beautifully written and superbly plotted, this is an entertaining page-turner with a compelling twist in the tail.” ~ Lancashire Evening Post*

Guest Post by the Author
Writing a Series
It seems hard to believe now - even for me! But twenty years ago, when I set out to write the first Cooper & Fry novel, Black Dog, I didn’t know I was writing a series.
At the time, I’d written some previous, unpublished novels which were standalones, and I had no particular reason to think that Black Dog would be any different, as I didn’t have a publishing contract for it.
Yet something different did happen. During the course of the writing, the central characters, my two young Derbyshire police detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, leaped off the page and became completely alive for me. I was discovering who they were as I wrote about them and was finding them more and more interesting. By the time I got to the end of that first story, I knew there was a lot more I wanted to say about those two characters than I could possibly get into just the one book. 
This was lucky because all the publishers who were interested in Black Dog assumed it was the start of a series - and they wanted to know what the second book would be about! I already had ideas for number 2, Dancing with the Virgins, and that was what sealed my first two-book contract with HarperCollins.
Since then, I’ve never known how many books there were going to be in the Cooper & Fry series. I’ve never been in the position of someone like J. K. Rowling, who had all seven Harry Potter books planned out in advance. After those first two stories, publishers have kept asking me to write ‘two more books’, or sometimes ‘three more books’. Each time I’ve said ‘yes’ and signed the contract - without actually knowing what anything of those books would be about, except that they’d feature Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, and would be set in their ‘patch’, the beautiful and atmospheric Peak District.
So what kept me saying ‘yes’ without a plan? The characters, of course. As long I’ve felt that Ben and Diane were moving forward and developing, I’ve known that I could keep writing about them. Events are always happening in their lives, and they’ve aged over the course of 17 books (though quite slowly). It’s definitely the characters who have driven the overall story arc, without the author actually knowing where the series was heading.
This can create problems for me, as you might imagine. If I refer to an incident from Ben Cooper’s past, for example, I might find that I’ve contradicted something I wrote six or ten books ago. I’m lucky that I’ve had great editors who know the series and will spot my mistakes. And, if they don’t, readers will soon point them out!
It particularly applies to small details. Diane Fry got a new car in one book, changing to an Audi from the Fiat she’d been driving up to then. In the next book, I forgot that she had a new car, and she was back driving the Fiat. That was wrong in the early editions - but not once readers had begun writing to me to let me know my error!
But generally, it’s these small details which catch me out. The characters and their lives are so real to me still that they seem to know what they’re doing better than I do. Ben and Diane have become like old friends, who have existed in my head for twenty years now. I try to give them as much freedom as I can to get on with their lives.
So, I don’t try too hard to keep track - it would feel as though I was controlling them. Ben Cooper and Diane Fry have an independent existence, and they’ll decide where their storyline goes!

About the Author
Stephen Booth
A former newspaper journalist, British author Stephen Booth is the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, who have appeared in 17 crime novels, all set in and around England's Peak District.








Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth (read my previous blog post).

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