Tim Weaver Guest Post and Giveaway
I’d always wanted to write, from a very young age. I was the weird kid who asked for a typewriter for his tenth birthday, and not something cool like the Millennium Falcon, or Optimus Prime. (Although my mum and dad will tell you that I asked for both of those too.) Writing felt very natural to me, in that I loved doing it, and found it incredibly rewarding, but it wasn’t until I read The Black Echo by Michael Connelly in my mid-teens, that my head was fully turned by the possibilities of the crime and mystery genre. Maybe a couple of years after that, I finished The Poet, John Connolly’s Every Dead Thing and Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan, one after the other, and my love for crime and mystery thrillers became something different again. Suddenly, I didn’t just want to read those books.
I wanted to write them.
The decision to do a series, rather than a standalone, was an easy one. In Connelly’s novels, I loved how Bosch changed from story to story. Each time he was slightly different. I was also excited about the scope a series character could give you: you could build a world, and you could progress it, rather than having to build it from scratch from the ground up, every time. One day, perhaps, I’d still liked to have a bash at writing a standalone, but the dynamics of a series appealed to me then, at the start, and they still appeal to me now, as my fourth novel Never Coming Back, arrives in the States, and my fifth is set for release in the UK in August. To me, a series is like different seasons of a TV show: the events of one season impacts on those that follow, changing the character you get to know so well, in subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) ways.
Yet, despite the books that have inspired me, I was pretty clear from the beginning that I never wanted Raker to be police detective or a PI, at least not in the traditional sense. He has some of those traits – of course he does – but the reason I made him a missing persons investigator and not a cop, or an ex-cop, is because there were blockbuster authors already covering very similar ground, and I felt like I’d need something a little different.
Missing persons has a very emotional core: as parents, as children, as friends, we can imagine what it must be like to see a person you love dearly vanish into thin air, never to be seen again. How do you begin to cope with that when you don’t know if that person is even dead or alive? It’s loss, but a skewed sense of loss, and one with no closure. You can’t move on if you don’t have a body to bury. I thought that would give the books, and Raker himself, some heart, some emotional centre. There’s plenty of hardness in crime fiction, and you need that element, but I wanted Raker to have empathy for the people who came to him, and be a kind of sympathetic action man. For me, he’s a psychologist as much as an investigator.
In fact, if anything, he was a reaction to the type of characters I’ve seen in crime fiction over the years. I love the Lee Child books, for example – they’re brilliant novels written by one of the smartest writers around – but Reacher is a god. He’s the Terminator. Fill a room full of thugs and he’ll deal with them one by one, while calculating the trajectory of each bad guy’s punch. He’s even got a clock in his head! I wasn’t sure I could write a book like that (and, to be honest, what sane person would want to go up against someone as good as Lee Child, anyway?), so decided to go the other way, creating a character who was a little more vulnerable, maybe a little more human.
In the end, my hope is that the Raker books reflect my deep love for the crime and mystery genre, and for the authors who inspired me to write thrillers in the first place.
Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie’s house to find the front door unlocked, dinner on the table, and the family nowhere to be found—Carrie, her husband, and two daughters have disappeared. When the police turn up no leads, Emily turns to her former boyfriend David Raker, a missing persons investigator, to track the family down. As Raker pursues the case, he discovers evidence of a sinister cover-up, decades in the making and with a long trail of bodies behind it.
Tim Weaver’s thrillers have been hugely popular in the UK, and now Never Coming Back will introduce his beloved character David Raker to American audiences. Set in Las Vegas and a small fishing village in England, the novel is a smart, fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing until the very end.