I’m delighted to wish Dave Sivers ‘Happy Publication Day’ as he launches Die in the Dark into the world. Available in paperback and eBook, it marks the sixth outing for DI Lizzie Archer and DS Dan Baines, in his Aylesbury Vale based, popular crime series.
What’s it About?
THE NIGHTMARE’S JUST BEGINNING…
A rainy night in Buckinghamshire. A vicious homophobic attack in the centre of Aylesbury sees the start of a new investigation for detectives Lizzie Archer and Dan Baines. As they search for answers, another woman is found left for dead, her partner missing – and this time the victims are closer to home for the team.
Amid a desperate race to find the missing woman, Baines finds himself once again confronted by the demons he hoped he was finally putting behind him. It’s a distraction that could cost him his sanity – and a friend her life.
The latest in the popular Archer and Baines series, perfect for fans of Val McDermid and Peter Robinson.
How I discovered Archer and Baines
I first came across the series by accident. I spotted The Blood That Binds on Kindle offer and opened up the sample to have a look as I’d never read anything by the author before. It started well for me,
Judith Rawlson had always been a bit of a maverick.
Millet Wood, on the outskirts of Wendover, was popular with walkers. joggers and dog walkers, but she’d discovered a less-used part of the woods in which to ramble with George, her little Jack Russell …
You may wonder what it was that hooked me, well it was very personal. We have friends that live in Wendover and when we go down to stay we like to go walking. So I was initially taken with the setting. Secondly, our beloved, (now sadly departed) dog Fergus, was a Jack Russell. As I read on, I was back, walking in the woods around Wendover, as Fergus single-mindedly snuffled and scrabbled in the undergrowth – just like George. So quite simply, I clicked on ‘buy now’. Of course I then saw that this was book 4 and, being a bit anal about reading a series in order, thought I’d best start from the beginning. Luckily for me, the rest were on offer so I clicked away and bought them all.
It proved to be a happy accident as I really enjoyed discovering Archer and Baines and, while I’m not up to date with the series (you all know what my reading mountain is like) I’m delighted to see a sixth outing and will be adding it to my pile – in anticipation.
Sadly, since lockdown, visiting our friends and enjoying the delights of Wendover and the surrounding area has been off the agenda. Thankfully reading has allowed to travel in heads, if not in real life. Dave has joined me today to share his experience of lockdown with its negatives and positives
My Year in Lockdown: The Dark and the Light by Dave Sivers
When Die in the Dark comes out on 2 March, it will be my tenth published title, my ninth novel, the sixth in the Archer and Baines series, and my third publication inside nineteen months. It will also be the second book I’ve published during the Covid-19 pandemic, against a background of lockdown.
The last year hasn’t been easy for anyone, and everybody’s experience has been unique. It’s certainly been year of complications, challenges, ups and downs. And contradictions. So many things have had their dark and light sides, sometimes almost at the same time. I thought this might be a good moment to try to capture some my own experience.
Looking back to the beginning of 2020, we all remember how the news started coming in of a new virus. I don’t think many of us appreciated in those early days how comprehensively the world was about to turn upside down. I was in the final straight of knocking In Ink – DI Nathan Quarrel book 1 – into final shape. Starting to plan the launch. Already working on the first draft of Die in the Dark.
The Dark: The news started getting a great deal scarier, and the panic buying kicked off even before the first lockdown was announced in March. Suddenly, it was impossible to hear, think or speak about anything else. I was feeling incredibly unsettled. By now, fortunately, In Ink was finished and ready to go, publication planned for early May. I was able to do what was needed in relation to the launch, but getting the creative side of my head around Die in the Dark was another matter. The muse, my mojo, call it what you will –had deserted me even before we went into lockdown.
The Light: Launching In Ink was not so different from previous books. So far, I’ve never done a physical launch. So, as usual, I organised a Facebook launch party, issued press releases, and tried to find some new promotional angles. It was fun and it gave me a lift, and the feedback and reviews of In Ink proved very positive. It’s a book I’m very proud of. And Die in the Dark? Somewhere along the line the muse/mojo returned without fanfare and by the end of the summer I was immersed in the story, reconnecting with Lizzie Archer, Dan Baines and the rest of their world.
Sometimes it takes a crisis to truly appreciate that the people in your life are the most important thing you have. When you have a busy life, it’s too easy to put things off, imagining there will always be another day, another year…
The Dark: Like most people, I’ve missed seeing my oldest friends in real life, and Zoom and the telephone are just not the same. As a writer, I’ve been missing my tribe, too. No physical book launches, and all the book festivals where writers mingle cancelled. And, so much worse, I’ve seen friends getting Covid – some of them were, and in some cases still are, very ill. Some died. Others have had vital medical treatment horrendously delayed because the NHS was getting overwhelmed. You don’t need me to tell you there have been grim days.
The Light: I said Zoom and the phone were no substitute for seeing people in real life, but if the last year has taught me one thing, it’s to make more effort to keep in touch with people who matter. Technology has made that so much more possible than if this had happened 25 years ago. And I’ve rediscovered what I already knew: the more you put into relationships, the more you get back.
There’s been nothing normal about this. But that doesn’t mean it all has to be bad.
The Dark: Like everyone else, my world had shrunk. It wasn’t just writing related events that had been cancelled: our travel plans, theatre, museum and gallery outings, annual get togethers with friends were all written off. I started to yearn for just sitting in a café with a cappuccino and a cinnamon bun. And not having to plan a necessary shopping trip for quieter times. Even the few sorties I have made into London, where I’ve lived and/or worked one way or another all my life, have been tinged with: parking where I like in a station car park that was often full up by 8am; train carriages to myself; an echoing Euston Station, with the police outnumbering the travellers; streets that are normally rammed with people eerily deserted; extraordinarily light traffic in the heart of the capitol. In many ways, it’s been good. No fears about lack of social distancing, and no fighting through the crowds. But mostly, it’s just been so sad to see all that vibrancy stripped away, like an old friend stripped of its soul.
The Light: We’re luckier than most: we live in a lovely part of the world, with some great country walks, we have an allotment, and we have a garden. In the first lockdown, there was nothing better than walking in my beloved Chilterns on a sunny day with hardly anyone around, no aircraft, next to no traffic; just birdsong and the buzz of insects. I’ve also leaned a whole bunch of new skills: techie stuff like videoconferencing, making videos and posting them on YouTube. But also I’ve got into baking. Perhaps my greatest triumph in that department has been making my own cinnamon buns! And the brief easing away from lockdown at least allowed us to do a few different things before the brakes started going back on. We even managed a wonderful week in the Lake District.
A year on, there’s the hope the vaccines offer, but the are still difficult days ahead. I’m trying to enjoy the good things and not stress about what’s beyond my control. I’m looking forward to seeing Die in the Dark finally out in the wild, and next up is DI Nathan Quarrel book 2. I need to finish the plotting it, and then get down to what I love the most: the writing. I’m at a point now where I’m itching to do that.
About the Author
Dave Sivers 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. In Ink, published in 2020, introduced DI Nathan Quarrel in a new series set in West Hertfordshire. Dave lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife, Chris, and is a founder of the annual BeaconLit festival of books and writing.
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Catch up with the rest of the series