Detective Inspector Andy HortonAndy Horton is a combination of many men I have met during my adult life primarily those who I have met through my husband’s career as a fire fighter, fit, fearless, caring and with a strong sense of duty to the public. Andy Horton has all these qualities and along with being tough and resilient he is also deeply empathetic.
His empathy enables him to put himself in a victim’s shoes, to imagine events from their perspective (even the moments up to their death), making leaps of deduction few would be able to. And he’s most often right. But it also makes him vulnerable. He carries a lot of personal baggage as many people do, men especially, who have difficulty in unburdening themselves and sharing their problems.
Abandoned by his mother at the age of ten, with no knowledge of his father he's been raised in children's homes and in care. This has made him a very self-contained person, who finds it difficult to trust. He is especially tough on bullies, or people who abuse their power or position, as they remind him of the people in the children’s homes. When this happens, when his guard slips, he’s like a raw nerve. He fears his emotions will betray him.
He feels a duty of care to the victims of the crimes he investigates and often feels like he’s the only person looking out for them; the only one who can bring the guilty to justice so that the dead can rest. No one cared about him when he was a child; he won’t let that happen to anyone else.
There are currently 14 in the DI Andy Horton series with DEAD PASSAGE the latest which was published in October 2018.
And what about Art Marvik?
With Marvik I wanted a character who was not bound by the official rules of the law, but who was nevertheless on the right side of it and the Marvik novels had to have all the hallmarks of my brand – a troubled hero, the sea, boats, interesting and diverse characters and lots of action.
Marvik, like Horton, is also fit and tough, but he is a former Royal Marine Commando, Special Boat Services officer while Andy Horton is a copper. Whereas Andy Horton is emotionally scarred, Marvik is physically scarred having incurred facial injuries in combat. He’s also desperately trying to adjust to a new life outside the services and this can be very difficult for a number of veterans (and fire fighters) who have seen a lot of action and trauma and experienced many high adrenaline fixes.
Marvik thought he’d be able to adjust and carve out a new career for himself on the sea, but his first job as a private maritime security operative goes very wrong when the luxury motor cruiser he was travelling on and had been detailed to guard, gets attacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean, and Marvik finds himself with a bullet in his shoulder and the boat’s owner dead. He’d failed on his first mission in civilian life, and SILENT RUNNING opens with him reeling from it. When he’s invited to work undercover on dangerous assignments for Detective Superintendent Crowder’s National Intelligence Marine Squad, Marvik grabs it with both hands.
Marvik's role is to go into a mission with the minimum of information, to probe, ask questions, stir up trouble and provoke the truth and a killer into the open. There are currently three in the Marvik mystery thriller series, Silent Running, Dangerous Cargo and Lost Voyage.
Introducing the latest fictional sleuth - Scotland Yard's Inspector Alun Ryga
DEATH IN THE COVE introduces Inspector Alun Ryga. It is set in 1950, England, a country still suffering the physical and mental scars of six years of war in the grip of austerity and rationing. Recently promoted to Inspector at Scotland Yard, Ryga,a former Merchant Navy seaman and German prisoner-of-war is despatched to the Island of Portland in Dorset to solve an unusual and baffling case.
The 1950s is a fascinating period where memories of the war are very strong, and the fear of more world conflicts haunt people. Society and policing in the 1950s was vastly different to today, no mobile phones, no dashing about and no computers so it was extremely interesting to research and write.
Scotland Yard were frequently called in to investigate murder cases around the UK so rather than have the novel (and series) rooted in London I could move my detective around the country to help solve crimes. Once again, though, I wanted to feature the sea in my crime novels - my trademark or brand if you like - so I created a character with an intimate knowledge of the sea, a former Merchant Seaman.
In addition, I didn't want to make Ryga an action hero but sought to differ him from DI Andy Horton and Art Marvik by creating a man who was more reflective. Neither did I want someone who had been hailed as a war hero but who had been forced to suffer the war in captivity. Ryga, therefore, is one of many who had no option but to wait and hope for endless days, months and years that the war would end and the Nazis would be defeated.
Ryga’s background, and the years of incarceration, have made him unique in his approach to solving coastal based crimes. His experience at sea and four years spent in MILAG (Marine Internierten Lager) after his ship was seized by a German Raider has made him watchful, analytical and reflective and given him insights into his fellow man, along with a promise to himself to keep an open mind.
The war has also unexpectedly resulted in opening up a new career for Ryga. Encouraged by a fellow prisoner to study, Ryga with the help of his mentor made the transition from the Merchant Navy to the Thames River Police. Before DEATH IN THE COVE opens Ryga has been involved in two highly successful criminal investigations at the Port of London and as a result had been catapulted into the Metropolitan Police and then into CID in Scotland Yard. Now he is being called upon to utilize his vast knowledge of the sea on his first solo investigation out of London to discover why a man dressed in a pinstriped suit has been stabbed in the neck and ended up dead on the beach of a small cove on Portland on the Dorset coast.