Today I’m delighted to introduce mystery writer Jack Byrne. His first novel Under the Bridge (Book 1 in The Liverpool Mystery series) was published in February this year by Northodox Press. The Liverpool Mystery Series will be four novels. He is currently writing Fire Next Time , and The Wicklow Boys will follow next year.
Jack was born and raised in Speke Liverpool, one of eight kids in an Irish catholic family. He left school without qualifications at 16, and started university at 40 after years of factory work, trade union, and campaign activism. He is married with two kids, two cats and a dog.
Over to Jack:
Which piece of music/song would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
I have broken the rules with the first answer here couldn’t limit myself to 5. Sorry!
OOh hard…. The Beatles not just cos I’m a scouser, and played the old cartoons to wake up the kids for school. Try the film Across The Universe if you haven’t seen it, some great versions of Beatles songs, a Blues Let It Be, and Joe Cocker doing Come Together.
New Radicals- You get What You Give (whole album is great); The Buzzcocks, Ever Fallen in Love; Freak Power- Freak Power and finally Plan B- She Said. I think there’s one from every decade from the 70s to 2000s.
Then I realised I hadn’t mentioned Coolio’s Gangster’s Paradise, Warren G or The Fugees, and I couldn’t sleep with out Fairy Tale of New York, and Nothing Compares to You, and the soundtrack to the book I am writing now The Old Triangle, by Brendan Behan. (on youtube)
Ah but I get to decide which 5 are featured Jack!
The Beatles – And I Love Her
The Buzzcocks, Ever Fallen in Love
New Radicals- You get What You Give (whole album is great)
Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares to You
Brendan Behan – The Auld Triangle, the soundtrack to the book I am writing now.
What (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Tea-cigarettes and alcohol easy in comparison- ciggies gone, alcohol still here (golden rum)
Newspapers, youtube news- news junkie, political programmes and commentary.
Currys- I need a good one every so often or I get withdrawal symptoms.
A pint outside on a sunny day, with a book or company.
Movies, series, books on rotation, I go in phases.
Walking the dog my old one Ben a collie, died after 15 years, now I have a scruffy urchin and orphan of a mongrel who followed the postwoman here. She asked us if we could keep him because otherwise he would get run over following her around all day. We kept him.
Can you offer a piece of advice for your younger self?
Let it out.
Don’t be so hard on people.
Take your time.
Think about your own needs.
Sit back relax, enjoy the ride
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
If I practised I think I would have made a good artist.
I can’t sing but would love to.
I am deaf in one ear with reduced hearing in the other and have always struggled with it.
I wrote loads of poetry when I was younger- all gone now.
I have led strikes and campaigns, built and lost companies.
Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.
I would like to finish and publish the The Liverpool Mystery Series I am working on now. One book published three to go.
I would like to write full time, a bit further to go on that one.
I would love to have a place in Ireland.
I would like my books to be appreciated for more than ‘crime or mystery’ novels. Not that there’s anything wrong with the genre, but for me the mystery is not the crime, but how we allow society to continue this way.
Thanks for joining me today Jack, I enjoyed your music choices, but sometimes rules are rules and I’ll only feature 5. As I count dogs as family I’ll also let you sneak them in! Great advice to your younger self and equally applicable to out older selves. I wish you well with The Liverpool Mystery series, that’s no mean target you’ve set yourself to write another 3. But perhaps that dream of writing full time might come to fruition and that will speed the process, ideally in a little place in Ireland. That latter is a also a dream we both had.
Under the Bridge – A Liverpool Mystery
WHEN SECRETS RESURFACE THE PAST REACHES OUT…
The discovery of a body in the Liverpool docklands unearths long forgotten secrets. Reporter Anne McCarthy is keen to prove herself and dives into the case with abandon. There she finds Michael, an old Irish caretaker who knows far more than he’s letting on and may have
a connection to the body.
Vinny Connolly is starting a postgrad degree, researching Liverpool’s migrant history and a burgeoning Scouse identity. But Vinny has been neglecting his own family history and stranger Michael might know about
his father’s disappearance in the 70s.
Escaping poverty in Ireland and fresh off the boat, Michael falls in with Wicklow boys Jack Power and Paddy Connolly, who smuggle contraband through the docks, putting them at odds with the unions. While organisers rally the dockworkers against the strikebreakers and rackets. A story of corruption, secret police, and sectarianism slowly unravels.
But will the truth out?
As the conflict heightens, Michael questions the life sprawling out ahead of him, while in the present, Anne races to solve the mystery, but is she prepared for what she’ll find?
The One Road : One Journey, Many Lives
A dark comedy, a buddy story, and a road trip all in one.
The opening story in this collection follows Vinny, Kevin, and a mourning family from Liverpool on a journey to Wales to bury a friend. What should be a simple trip turns into something much darker. A cross between Roddy Doyle and Ken Follett, this political storytelling meets you wherever you are on life’s journey, and stays with you.