Today I’m delighted to feature crime author Dave Sivers. Dave grew up in West London and has been writing all his life. His books include the popular crime series featuring the Aylesbury Vale detectives, DI Lizzie Archer and DS Dan Baines. The Scars Beneath the Soul and Dead in Deep Water were both top three bestsellers in the Amazon Kindle Serial Killers chart. His next novel, In Ink, introducing DI Nathan Quarrel, will be published later this year. Dave lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife, Chris, and is a founder of the annual BeaconLit festival of books and writing.
Over to Dave:-
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts by Bob Dylan. – This is a sort of bridge back to the early (‘swinging’) 60s. I was at primary school and the music scene was exploding in exciting new directions. I’m ashamed to say that my much younger self rather dismissed Dylan when I first became aware of him: I thought he was a pretty good songwriter, but couldn’t sing worth a damn. Fast forward a decade or so. I’d not long met my future wife, a huge Dylan fan, and she made me listen to his latest album, ‘Blood on the Tracks’, from which this track comes. The scales fell from my eyes. As any fool know, Dylan writes AMAZING songs. And, while I still don’t think he can sing, boy, the man can sell a song. This diamond is a 14-verse story that combines a western with a crime novel and more besides. If you haven’t heard it, find it and listen. You’ll want to listen again and learn all the words. It’s fabulous storytelling in any medium.
Blockbuster by The Sweet. – The early 70s was one of the great times of my life. I and my mates were getting out and about to places where there was beer, girls and music. It was a time of godawful clothing fashion, but the pop music of the time was amazing fun. My great mate, Al, modelled his look on The Sweet’s lead singer, Brian Connolly. Neither of them are with us any more, and I still miss Al – this record always reminds me of him and the great times we had.
When The Foeman Bares his Steel from ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ by Gilbert and Sullivan. – I’m not sure when I fell in love with G&S, but I think it might have been at a fundraiser when the cabaret included several of their songs in their repertoire. ‘Pirates’ is still just about my favourite operetta, and this is such fun – the timid policemen, decidedly reluctant to go up against the notorious pirates, urged on by the (well-meaning?) ladies, “go ye heroes, go and die”.
Lonesome Day by Bruce Springsteen. – The Boss got the inspiration for his iconic album ‘The Rising’ a few days after the 9/11 attacks, when a stranger in a car stopped next to him, rolled down his window and said: “We need you now.” It’s an album full of loss and hurt. 4 years later, on 7/7, it was London’s turn. That morning, I interrupted my commute to Aldgate on an impulse: it was a hot, sticky day and I decided to grab an iced coffee at Euston. Whether it was actually a ‘sliding doors moment, and that coffee saved me from being on the wrong train at the wrong time, I’ll honestly never know, but it reminded me, not for the first time, how often life can turn on a sixpence. It was a bloody awful day, when I couldn’t stop thinking about the people who wouldn’t be going home to their loved ones. I found myself playing ‘The Rising’ a lot in the days that followed. I could have chosen any of the tracks, but this is the first on the album and I seem to associate it most with that dark time.
Dixie Toot by Rod Stewart. – This would play over my closing credits – I definitely want it played at my funeral! It’s from the ‘Smiler’ album. The whole song is so infectiously joyous, with New Orleans jazz and Chris Barber on trumpet, lyrics about Mardi Gras and just having outrageous fun… what’s not to like? In the words of the song, “when the man upstairs he calls me… tell all of my friends that I had a good time.” If I can’t say that at the end, I’ll be disappointed.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
Something to write with (computer or pen and paper). A bit obvious.
Books. Also obvious.
Cake. Tough choice between this and chocolate.
Music. If I’m not listening to music I’m playing tracks in my head. Whittling down the ‘soundtrack to your life’ was one of the hardest challenges ever.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t worry about what people think about you. Just be the best self you can.
Don’t listen to people telling you that you can’t.
If you can control something, then control it. If you can’t control it, there’s no point stressing about it.
The people you love are the most important thing you have. Everything else is just stuff.
Trying to get into a little boat on a kids’ boating lake when you’re blind drunk is a terrible idea (this is the exception to 2 above – sometimes you DO need to listen to those people). No, I’m not going to explain.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
A special ‘Kangaroo Prize’ was invented for me at primary school for jumping from the bottom six in my class into the top six in the end of school exams.
Things I wanted to be when I was a kid included RAF fighter pilot and F1 driver. It seems hilarious now.
I’m horrendously short sighted, my spectacle lenses are thicker than milk bottle glass, and I was shy and lacking in self-confidence until I switched to contacts when I was 21. These days I’m a secret introvert, but I hide it well.
I used to be a beer enthusiast but became allergic to the stuff 20-odd years ago (it gives me migraine). This breaks my heart at the end of a long walk on a hot day.
I used to be able to tell you which year something happened by knowing who played in the cup final that year and/or what records were popular at the time. These days, as my quiz team-mates will testify, I’m often a year out.
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do/achieve.
See a tiger in the wild.
See the Northern Lights.
Learn to play guitar properly, not just my current couple of scales and handful of chords.
Write a country music album and have it performed/recorded; I and a collaborator have talked about this for years, but we both have a lot on the go and the time has never been right.
Take a trip on the Orient Express. This is a bit of a makeweight, to be honest. The first 4 are probably the real wants. #5 could have been one of several dozen things, but I do like a swanky train.
Thanks for having me, Jill. Great questions that really made me think!
My pleasure Dave it was lovely discovering more about you. Always good to find another Rod fan, Smiler is one of may favourite albums. My OH keeps trying to get me to listen to Blood on the Tracks so better make sure he doesn’t read this. I can’t beyond Dylan’s voice! I definitely need to know about the drunk trip on the boat – I shall try and remember to ask the next time I see you! Well done on the ‘Kangaroo Prize’ – that was no mean achievement. Good luck with crossing those items off your wishlist. Perhaps lockdown will give you the time to pick up that guitar and write that album!
In a quiet market town in Buckinghamshire, a brutal killer strikes, shattering any illusions Detective Inspector Lizzie Archer might have had about her new patch in Aylesbury Vale being a sleepy hollow.
Disfigured in the line of duty, Archer has transferred in from the Met, hoping to make a fresh start in her life and her career. The last thing she needs is an awkward colleague, but that is what she seems to find in Detective Sergeant Dan Baines.
Baines bears scars of his own, the kind that cannot be seen. Eleven years ago, his family fell victim to a serial killer, and recently his life has fallen into fresh turmoil. Haunted by dreams and visions of his still-missing son, and confused by feelings for his murdered wife’s identical twin sister, he finds himself resenting a new boss who knows nothing about the area.
HOW MANY MORE VICTIMS?
But the killer shows no sign of stopping and with no obvious connection between the victims and the body count rising daily, Archer and Baines must put aside their differences and work together if they are to stop a maniac whose appetite for slaughter seemingly knows no bounds.
When a teenage Olympic swimming hopeful is found drowned in a water-filled disused quarry in Buckinghamshire, it looks as if fears that the local swimming hole was an accident waiting to happen have been fulfilled in the worst possible way.
A few days later, a small-time thief turns up on an allotments site a few miles away, his head bashed in with a spade. Thefts from Aylesbury Vale allotments have been rife, and now it seems that an elderly vigilante may have made good on his threats to take matters into his own hands.
NO EASY ANSWERS…
But murder is never simple. As Detective Inspector Lizzie Archer and Detective Sergeant Dan Baines investigate, they realise that neither case quite adds up. The truth, and the motive behind each death, is much darker than they could have imagined.
And some people will go to any lengths to make sure the truth stays buried.
EVEN THE DEAD HAVE THEIR SECRETS
A reformed teenage gang leader is gunned down in cold blood and an angry DS Dan Baines, who knew the victim well, reckons he knows who is responsible. But his boss, DI Lizzie Archer, wants to know the identity of the mystery man who died with him – and whether he was intended victim or innocent bystander.
When an officer from the National Crime Agency turns up and declares the case off limits to Archer and her team, its clear that there is more going on than meets the eye. Several conflicting agendas are in play and the body count is rising.
And Archer and Baines realise that the only people they can truly trust are each other.
SOMETIMES THE PAST IS BEST LEFT ALONE
The quiet Buckinghamshire village of Houghton is reeling. Soon after twelve year old Leanne Richards is killed by a hit and run driver, the two classmates who were with her that night disappear, one by one.
Jade and Becky said they couldn’t identify the car or the driver. Does someone want to make sure it stays that way? Or are other, darker motives in play?
As DI Lizzie Archer and DS Dan Baines search for the truth, buried pasts and secret loves begin to reveal themselves. But is time running out for the girls? Or is it already too late?
THE BAD GUYS ARE KILLING EACH OTHER. YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE.
After an explosion rips through a block of flats in a Buckinghamshire town, investigators make a grisly discovery.Even as DI Lizzie Archer, DS Dan Baines and their team attempt to identify the body that has lain buried in concrete for more than a decade, a much fresher corpse turns up on the notorious Northfields Estate. Reading gangster Kit Meredith looks like the first victim in a cross-county gang war that threatens to use Aylesbury Vale as its battleground.
As Archer and Baines struggle with both cases, and the body count rises, they have to face personal demons and make tough choices, with the stakes higher than they’ve ever been.
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