Today I’m excited to share something a little different: my first guest post. Critical Incidents, Lucie Whitehoue’s latest novel, was released on December 26th, 2019. As part of the blog tour, Ms Whitehouse talks today about what it is that stands out to her when reading crime fiction and how it influenced her when writing this novel. Reading it has made me even more excited about reading Critical Incidents, which was my first book purchase of 2020.
For Emma’s Biblio Treasures January 2020
With my favourite crime series, it’s the characters I remember, rarely the plots. I come back to a writer not for devilish twists or shocking endings (I like those, too) but because I want to spend more time with a protagonist and their regular crew, to see what mess they’re in now or how certain relationships will develop. I read Ian Rankin not just because he’s a great writer but because I’ve got a bit of a crush on Rebus, frankly, and I love his dynamic with Siobhan. Having seen Susie Steiner’s hilarious Manon Bradshaw pushing forty and ‘staring down the barrel of childlessness’ in Missing, Presumed, I had to see where she went next. I want to be Chief Inspector Gill Murray of Scott & Bailey.
So when I came to creating DCI Robin Lyons, the protagonist of Critical Incidents, my new novel and the first in a series, she had to be someone worth following. She needed a rich, three-dimensional personality, a big sense of humour, chutzpah. And of course, she also needed a deep backstory, issues of her own beyond the cases she solves.
When we meet her in Critical Incidents, she’s 35 and just fired from Homicide Command at the Met. Broke (she’s never been a saver) and newly single, she has to crawl back to her parents’ house in Birmingham, which she fled at nineteen. She’s going to share bunkbeds with her teenage daughter Lennie, whom she’s brought up as a single mother, and work for her mum’s friend Maggie, a middle-aged goth PI who investigates benefit fraudsters. How the mighty have fallen, sneers her brother, Luke, delighted by it all.
Robin thinks she’s hit rock-bottom but within twenty-four hours, her best friend Corinna, the person she trusts most in the world, is found dead in her burned-out house, her husband, Josh, wanted for the murder. Of course Robin can’t stay out of it but getting involved means coming face-to-face with Samir Jafferi, Head of Homicide at West Midlands Police – and the boyfriend who loved her then dumped her savagely at nineteen, casting a shadow over her life ever since.
How Robin deals with her new situation and whether or not she can reconcile her past with her future and find a way forward is the backbone of what I think of as my Second City series. I hope readers will enjoy finding out how she gets on as much as I am.
CRITICAL INCIDENTS by Lucie Whitehouse is published by 4th Estate (PB | £7.99)
Thank you to Lucie Whitehouse for the guest post and to Midas PR for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.