Whilst I was recuperating I decided to reschedule some of my earlier posts to reach the wider audience that they have now. They’ve been ‘made-over’ to include the YouTube videos that are now a standard feature and the booklist has been brought up to date.
Although I’m now officially back, I still need time to organise my new ‘Fives’ as I held off sending out invites as I didn’t know when I’d be back in the fray. Consequently, I’m keeping my revisited posts as a feature until the end of the year. That gives my invitees time to respond and allows me time to get those posts up and running. I already have several up my sleeve so I can guarantee getting 2022 off to a great start!
Today I’m delighted to feature David Evans, one of the several authors (and now friend) that I met at my first Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate (2017).
In 2012, David gave up a successful career as a professional in the construction industry to try and achieve his aims of publishing his book.
In May 2012, he self-published a version of Trophies. The following year (2013) he gained a terrific boost with the follow-up novel, Torment, being short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger. Although he signed a 3 book publishing deal in 2016 for the first three books in the Wakefield Series, he took the decision to regain the rights in 2018 and re-publish all three, TROPHIES, TORMENT and TALISMAN. In 2019, he added book 4 in the Series, TAINTED.
In between times, David published the first book in his Tendring Series, set in and around North Essex in the 1970s with DISPOSAL the first, set in 1976.
The second in this series, DISTRESSED, set in 1977, has also now been published.
Over to David:
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
I suppose the first piece would have to be Perry Como’s MAGIC MOMENTS. This was one of the first songs I remember as a small child, learning the words after I’d heard it on the radio and being able to sing it.
Ray Davies is one of my all-time favourites and amongst a huge catalogue of wonderful songs there is one which I think is his absolute best. The Kinks CELLULOID HEROES, about our aspirations and dreams is Ray at his lyrical best.
I discovered Eva Cassidy (as did most in this country) through Terry Wogan’s producer, the late Paul Walters. This was a posthumous discovery by Paul and I always feel moved when I hear her sing, such a sad loss and so much unfulfilled promise. I would have to choose FIELDS OF GOLD – her rendition is flawless and always fills me with emotion. This is one good example of where a cover version is much better than the original (The same could be said of her version of Over The Rainbow too, of course.)
Paul Rodgers still has an amazing rock voice and I was delighted to see him earlier this year. I loved all the bands he’s featured in, from Free, Bad Company, The Law and I even saw him when he was guest singer with Queen a few years back. But it would have to be Free and ALL RIGHT NOW which would be in my five.
Rod Stewart’s MAGGIE MAY. That means so much to me for reasons I can’t make public. When I was at Uni, one of the guys I shared a flat with brought in his grandfather’s flatback mandolin. Our challenge one term was to be able to play the mandolin solo from Maggie May. I did manage it (in a fashion) and it always makes me mad when it’s played on the radio and they cut it off just as that part starts – aaarrghhh!
What 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
I suppose beer would be too much to do without. Not that I drink an awful lot but I do like a nice pint of ale. I often say I like my beer like my tea – Tetleys, but I do love all of the Adnams range and other similar smaller brewery’s beers.
Countryside. I couldn’t bear it if I couldn’t get out and about in the fresh air and enjoy what this great island has to offer, from the west coast of Scotland, the border country, the Pennines, Suffolk and the west country, as well as Wales and all places in between.
Humour. This is a fundamental part of human nature in my view. For me, the reason Coronation Street scores over Eastenders every time is because it has that underplayed northern humour weaving through other more serious storylines. It’s vitally important in my writing too, to provide the all-important balance of light and shade that reflects true life.
Friends. Another vital part of my life are the true friends I have made over the years. I lost a good one to cancer earlier this year and it brought home to my just how important they are. You don’t have to be in contact every day or every week but just knowing they are there to call if you need to talk and obviously the same is true in reverse.
Good health. Without your health, enjoying much else would be so difficult, if not impossible.
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
My dad died when I was 17, just as I was beginning to know him as an adult. I wish I’d started talking to him sooner about his life and all sorts of other things a father and son should discuss.
One other regret I think about now and again is that when I was a student in Manchester in 1973, season 1973/4 was the last to feature Best, Law and Charlton in the Manchester United team. I never went to see a game there and I wish I could go back and see them play.
I wish I’d begun writing earlier in life. I know people say you need experience of life to be able to write but I wish I’d started sooner. When I finally decided to devote my time to the activity, I said I didn’t want to be ten years older then wish I’d taken that decision ten years ago.
In complete contrast to the last three points, look forward, don’t look back too much and always try to have some sort of plan.
Enjoy the moment. Grasp your opportunities. Don’t waste time on irrelevant things. Life is too short.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you
One claim to fame is that I have taken a film star for a walk. When I was around ten, my dad asked if I could amuse this dog for a while as it was a bit yappy and its owner had to present prizes at an athletics meeting. The owner was the Chief Constable of Edinburgh & Lothians Police and the dog had appeared in a starring role in the Disney film of Greyfriars Bobby.
I played football to a reasonable standard in younger life. I was a goalkeeper and harboured dreams of becoming a professional but it wasn’t to be.
I worked for a year in Benghazi in Libya on a hospital construction project when Gaddafi was in power. One day I saw him in a motorcade as it swept past the site – not in the blacked-out limo where you’d expect, but driving a Range Rover about three vehicles behind. Interesting times.
I was arrested in Poland in 1984. My wife and I were on a train travelling from Szczecin on the Baltic back to Poznan where we would connect with a train to Hook of Holland. Accompanying us was a Polish friend we’d met whilst working in Libya. My wife was in the compartment with him, jotting down some personal details so we could invite him to come to Britain. I was in the corridor taking photographs of the steam engines still in daily use back then. A guard saw this and became suspicious and so the train made an unscheduled stop at Wronki where, unbeknown to us was a notorious prison. We managed to sort things out and, after a mad taxi ride to Poznan, made our connection to Holland.
When I left school, for a summer job I worked for a local ice-cream company. As well as some time in the factory, I used to drive one of their ice-cream vans around the area. One lunchtime, I wandered in to one of the outbuildings at the rear of the premises and spotted a shape under a tarpaulin. When I lifted it, there was the company’s original van – a converted Rolls Royce. Years later, I discovered it has been restored to full working order.
Tell us 5 things you’d like to do or achieve.
My dad was a mechanic in the RAF in the war with 614 Squadron, County of Glamorgan who were based for a while in Macmerry, East Lothian. That’s where he met my mum. I would dearly love to fly in a Spitfire in memory of him.
I’ve always been fascinated by railways from being very small. I would love to drive a main-line steam locomotive. I feel they are living, breathing things. Definitely art in motion.
I’d love to meet Ray Davies (see music section above) and give him a poem I wrote about him some twenty years ago.
As a writer, I would love to be able to go into a mainstream bookshop and see my books on the shelf. It has happened in my local independent shop but it would be great to see them more widely available.
I’d like to travel to more places. Although I’ve been fairly fortunate to see a lot of countries, there is still an awful lot more to see.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
The Wakefield Series
When DI Colin Strong interviews a man on suspicion of handling stolen goods, he’s convinced he’s heard their voice before. Nearly 25 years earlier, the tape of Wearside Jack taunted West Yorkshire Police and the suspect fits the profile. Then the body of a known burglar shows up and a mysterious metal case is discovered at the scene which leads to the realisation that a series of attacks on women over the previous twenty years had gone unconnected.
Strong turns to his close friend, journalist Bob Souter, and embarks on an awkward alliance to probe areas he is unable to explore openly. As the murder suspects start to disappear, Strong must discover just who the shadowy figure enciting fear and panic amongst those he encounters is. Strong wants to bring a murderer to justice and Souter is hungry for a story. Who will get to the truth first and can their friendship remain intact?
A message left in error on a young woman’s answering machine is the catalyst for uncovering some dark deeds. Three young women are missing, luxury cars are being stolen, and just what did happen to two young schoolgirls, missing since the 1980’s? DI Strong and journalist, Bob Souter are drawn into murky and dangerous worlds.
A man’s body found naked and shackled to a frame in a house fire; a body lying undiscovered in a bath for over a year; massive European funding for a controversial construction project. Is there a link between the bodies and the business deal? And what exactly is the Talisman Club?
In the third instalment of the Wakefield series, DI Colin Strong and best friend, journalist Bob Souter must work together to bring the guilty to justice before time runs out.
A botched attempt to extort money has tragic consequences.
An embarrassing DNA match to an unsolved rape and murder twenty years before means DI Colin Strong has to use his best diplomatic tactics.
Simultaneously, journalist Bob Souter is tasked with writing about that same case to re-focus public attention. Will the newspaper’s actions help or hinder the police?
Meanwhile, Strong’s team has two separate murder enquiries to run.
With their friendship under duress, will Souter and Strong be able to work together?
The Tendring Series
August 1976 and it seems as though the long hot summer will never end. Early morning at Clacton on the north Essex coast, a light aircraft takes off from the airstrip but struggles for height and crashes into the sea. First on the scene, Sgt Cyril Claydon pulls the pilot’s body from the wreckage. But something else catches his eye. A bulky package wrapped in black plastic is on the passenger seat. Returning to investigate, he makes a grim discovery – another body. And so begins a series of events that puts him and others in danger as he is drawn into the investigation, having to work alongside DI ‘Dick’ Barton, a man with totally alien attitudes.
Can they work together?
1977. Clacton-on-Sea on the north Essex coast. Despite previous friction between them, DS Cyril Claydon can’t believe his DI, John ‘Dick’ Barton, is involved in a murder, despite evidence linking him to the victim and the crime scene. When Barton is the last person to visit his old boss in hospital before he too dies in mysterious circumstances, Cyril and Barton wonder if there is some sort of vendetta going on.The complicated entanglement of an old crime with suspected rule bending and a new killer on the loose, means Cyril and the team have their work cut out to get to the truth.
Dark Minds : A Charity Collection of Short Stories from Some of Your Favourite Authors
Do you think you know darkness? Think again. Bloodhound Books presents Dark Minds—a collection of stories by authors who have come together to produce an anthology that will lure, tantalise and shock its readers. What took place By the Water? What goes on behind A Stranger’s Eyes? And what is so special about Slow Roast Pork? From master authors such as Lisa Hall, Steven Dunne, Louise Jensen, David Evans and Anita Waller, readers can expect a one hell of a ride . . . All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to Hospice UK and Sophie’s Appeal. Dark Minds is a collection of 40 crime and thriller short stories.