A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.
A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.
As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.
As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.
When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.
Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost?
And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?
And now Tony J Forder:
The origins of Bad to the Bone come from its unpublished predecessor, Burnout. I had wanted to write something featuring locations and crimes based where I now live, in Peterborough, UK. For some reason I had one scene in my head that refused to budge, so I jumped into my car with a pad and pen and drove to the weir at Orton Mere, about five minutes from my home. There I breathed in the atmosphere and made pages of notes. Afterwards I drove to the city police HQ at Thorpe Wood, sat outside and again made copious notes (the architecture really is as uninspiring as I describe).
I had the germ of an idea which merged a missing boy case, local politics, and a race war in which victims were burned to death. What I needed was a central character, and so DI James Bliss was born. I read a lot of crime novels, and I see a lot of cop names that spark an image of toughness. I wanted something different, and somehow Bliss was the name I came up with. Then I teamed him up with a bright and enthusiastic foil in DC Penny Chandler.
Burnout was not an awful book. It was written reasonably well, and upon reflection I think the premise was and still is a good one. Ultimately, however, I failed to inject any pace or thrills into it; more a serious of incidents leading to a conclusion. However, out of the ashes rose Bliss and Chandler. They had both taken up residence inside my head, and I liked them enough to take them with me into my next story, which was Bad to the Bone.
I am fascinated by old cases that become new ones, and for me the obvious starting point was the unearthing of skeletal remains. I like to think I’m pretty good at sketching out back story, which was what I did in order to frame the victim in my head. Once I had decided who and what she was, other characters emerged naturally, and along with them came strands woven into the storyline. For me, that’s where the tale becomes real – it’s not the story that creates the characters, it’s the characters that create the story behind the story. And even though we never get to meet the victim, to me she is every bit as real as any of those who live and breathe in Bad to the Bone. I hope and trust my readers will feel the same as the story unfolds.
My characters are human, with human weaknesses, foibles and worries. They live life as we do, they experience it how we do. It takes chunks out of them as chunks are taken from us. I know that some writers believe that when writing the story must be so pre-structured that characters should never lead the author. If that’s right, then I’m wrong, because I hope I allow my characters room to grow, to breathe, and to take me places I had never envisaged. If they do that for me, then I am happy to be surprised by them.
Bad to the Bone is ultimately a story about redemption and justice. The past has a way of haunting us all.
About the Author:
On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who will publish his new edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone this spring. It is the first in a series.
Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.
Tony has been writing stories since childhood, but it was only when he won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books, that he realised he might actually be half decent at this writing business.
The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale.
During a book singing for Dark Voices 2, Tony was seated next to author Brian Lumley. At one point, Tony revealed to Brian that he felt out of place alongside all the proper writers. Brian then told Tony something he has never forgotten: “The moment you sat down and pulled a story out of your imagination and put it to paper, you became a proper writer.”
Subsequently, Tony began to focus on novel writing. He admits that his initial attempts were exploratory and somewhat derivative, although there was some interest from an agent – who oddly enough turned out to be Brian Lumley’s wife, Dorothy.
Tony wrote Degrees of Darkness, which he was happy with. He wasn’t so happy with a follow-up, so that never saw the light of day.
As a part-time writer with a full-time job, plus some ill-health, life got in the way and, although Tony continued writing, it took a back seat to making a living.
This year, however, Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017. In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy Bad to the Bone, introducing DI James Bliss and DC Penny Chandler.
Thank you Tony J Forder. It was an honour to have you guest post today!
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