Today I’m delighted to revisit my Five on Friday interview with crime writer and fellow Hullensian Nick Quantrill. This which was first posted in December 2018 and has been brought up to date to reflect Nick’s latest publications.
Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire. His Private Investigator novels featuring Joe Geraghty are published by Fahrenheit Press. The fourth in the series, ‘Sound of the Sinners’ represents a new direction for both Joe and Nick and kick-starts a series of new cases. A prolific short story writer, Nick’s work has appeared in various volumes of ‘The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime’ alongside the genre’s most respected names.
Over to Nick:
Which piece of music/song would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
The Beatles – “I Should Have Known Better” – I could go on forever about the band – their body of work is just the most interesting, innovate and freshest collection of sounds you’ll ever hear – but I’ll stop there. I can still remember hearing them for the first time as a child in the back of my dad’s car (probably his Ford Capri).
Grandstand – “Theme tune” – Nothing transports me back to my childhood and being an absolute football obsessive like the Grandstand theme music. It takes me back to my gran frying fish and chips before I would walk down to Boothferry Park, home of Hull City, and meet friends for the match. I can also hear it being played over a tinny Tannoy at Oakwell, Barnsley, my first away match and birthday treat as I turned thirteen.
Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana were the first band who were ‘mine’, that band as a teenager who magically understand you and what you’re going through (oh, the drama etc). They obviously were only built to shine for a short period, and although I rarely return to their music, they opened the door to all manner of possibilities. It didn’t take long for the music press to suddenly look appealing, a portal to dreaming, and live music.
Lithium Joe – “Appearances” – Growing up in Hull, it wasn’t easy to consider writing as something you could, and potentially make a career from, but it’s easy to pinpoint the moment it changed. The Hull Adelphi is an absolute institution, a small music venue which is also a hotbed of people creating all kinds of art. Music is all about personal taste, and Hull’s Lithium Joe were very much to my taste, but the fact they created their own record label, booked their own tours and generally succeeded on their own terms planted a seed that anything was possible…
Baby Shark – I hope by the time this piece is published, the song will be a distant memory. But I doubt it. I live with it every day…
What (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Coffee – anger, frustration, a sense of putting the world to rights…all powerful ways to fuel a novel, but underpinning it all, it’s caffeine.
Books – from cradle to grave, an absolute given.
Football – you need somewhere you can go and shout, let out of the frustrations of trying to write a novel, right? Another from cradle to grave constant.
A good night’s sleep – I know writers are supposed to enjoy burning the midnight oil. I am not that writer.
Chocolate – enough said, surely?
Can you offer a piece of advice for your younger self?
I’m not sure he’d listen, but the big one (no pun intended…) is try not to be so self-aware about being tall enough to look Lee Child in the eye. You’ll never quite shake it off, not even now, but short of chopping half your legs off, you can’t do anything about it. Try to enjoy the advantage is brings you in a crowd.
It’s maybe a bit trite, but things do generally turn out ok once you figure out that the only person who can bring about change is yourself. It’ll take you six years to get your Open University degree, but it’ll impact on everything for the better.
Be patient. It takes a while to find what you really want to do in life, find your tribe, but it’ll be worth it.
Play football a little longer. You used to love charging around the Hull Sunday League pitches, acting like a dickhead. Your ankles might be knackered, your legs might not so willing, but when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Listen to your parents when they tell you turn down your music. You won’t have to say, ‘pardon?’ quite so much now…
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
I enjoy doing the ‘big shop’.
I can’t get along with audio books.
I’m a dreadful car passenger and *will* be sick in yours.
I’d rather die of thirst than drink tea.
I’m so tall, you probably won’t see my rapidly enlarging bald spot.
Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.
I don’t know…really…writing has given me opportunities beyond what I could have ever imagined. I’ve seen my sporting teams play at Wembley, I’ve traveled a bit, I have my health. I can’t complain. As much as I wouldn’t mind writing a bestseller, it’s amazing to watch my daughter develop dreams of her own and I’m happy watching that.
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Broken Dreams (Joe Geraghty Book 1)
Joe Geraghty is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull.
Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times.
The case soon becomes anything but routine when Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry.
As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends.
With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.
The Late Greats (Joe Geraghty Book 2)
“Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s is making a comeback…but not everyone is happy…”
Having been convinced by their manager, Kane Major, to put their acrimonious break-up behind them and launch a comeback, New Holland, Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s, is reforming.
Allowing one privileged journalist to document the process. Joe Geraghty is employed to act as a liaison between the different camps. What appears to be a straightforward assignment sees him neck deep in trouble when singer, Greg Tasker, disappears leaving behind a trail of people who wanted him out of their lives.
Geraghty has to choose sides and the investigation penetrates deeper into the city. As the rich and famous rub shoulders with the poor and vulnerable, the stakes increase.
Forced to keep his friends close but his enemies’ closer still, the case could see Joe Geraghty lose everything.
The Crooked Beat (Joe Geraghty Book 3)
When Joe Geraghty’s brother Niall finds himself in financial trouble, it’s only natural that he turns to the private investigator for help. But when it relates to a missing consignment of smuggled cigarettes, it’s not so easily sorted.
A consignment of smuggled cigarettes have gone missing and as Joe is drawn into the murky world of local and international criminals around the busy port of Hull, Geraghty knows the only way to save his brother is to take on the debt himself.
As Joe attempts to find a way out of the situation, it becomes clear that the secrets and conspiracies he uncovers are buried deeply in the past and that the people he’s investigating are willing to do whatever it takes to keep them that way.
As the pressure mounts we see Geraghty’s relationships with those closest to him start to unravel but Geraghty can’t let his family down and when the past crashes into the present Joe is in until the bitter end.
Made in Hull (Joe Geraghty Books 1-3)
THE FIRST 3 JOE GERAGHTY NOVELS IN ONE SINGLE VOLUME
This bumper 530 page volume includes:
Book 1: Broken Dreams
Book 2: The Late Greats
Book 3: The Crooked Beat
Sound of the Sinners (Joe Geraghty Book 4)
In SOUND OF THE SINNERS we find Joe Geraghty leaving his new home in Amsterdam to attend the funeral of his former business partner and mentor Don Ridley who was found dead shortly after asking for Geraghty’s help.
With a heavy heart and weighed down with guilt, Joe returns to Hull, a city he thought was in his past.
Don’s death points to his days with the police and an off-the-books investigation into the unsolved ‘Car Boot Murder’ decades previously. As Geraghty investigates the circumstances of his friend’s death he uncovers dangerous secrets and a conspiracy of silence – Hull might have had a makeover during Joe’s absence, but clearly some things never change in the northern sea-port.
With his own life on the line, and with a debt of honour to be repaid, Joe is unable to stop in his quest for the truth, but powerful people with vested interests will always seek to ensure some stories never see the light of day.
The Dead Can’t Talk
How far will Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer on the brink of leaving her job, go to uncover the truth about her sister’s disappearance?Approached by Luke Carver, an ex-Army drifter she’s previously sent to prison, he claims to have information which will help her. As the trail leads from Hull and the Humber’s desperate and downtrodden to its great and good, an unsolved murder twenty-five years ago places their lives in danger, leaving Stone to decide if she can really trust a man who has his own reasons for helping.
Off the Record : Compilation
38 writers, 38 short stories based on classic song titles…
The best writers from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, come together to produce an anthology of short stories, with all proceeds being donated to two Children’s Literacy charities.
In the UK, National Literacy Trust.
In the US, Children’s Literacy Initiative.
At the Movies : Compilation
Will Carver, Steve Mosby, Helen FitzGerald, Adrian McKinty, Matt Hilton, Stav Sherez, Claire McGowan, Sean Cregan, David Jackson, Mel Sherratt, Nick Quantrill, Maxim Jakubowski, and many, many more…
47 writers from around the world. All coming together to raise money for two children’s literacy charities…
In the UK, National Literacy Trust.
In the US, Children’s Literacy Initiative.
From Crime to Fantasy, Taxi Driver to Weekend at Bernie’s, there’s something for everyone in this collection of 47 short stories.
True Brit Grit : Compilation
“The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots. Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp, blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel and comedy that’s as black as it’s bitter—this is BRIT GRIT!”
45 British writers, 45 short stories. All coming together to produce an anthology, benefiting two charities…
Children 1st – http://www.children1st.org.uk/
Francesca Bimpson Foundation – http://www.francescabimpsonfoundation.org
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 8 : Compilation
The must-have annual anthology for every crime fiction fan – the year’s top new British short stories selected by leading crime critic Maxim Jakubowski.
This great annual covers the full range of mystery fiction, from noir and hardboiled crime to ingenious puzzles and amateur sleuthing.
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 9 : Compilation
Maxim Jakubowski has once again compiled a blockbuster collection of the year’s most outstanding short crime fiction published in the UK. His aim is always to present the whole breadth of crime, mystery and thriller writing, from gentle stories of detection to puzzling historical labyrinths full of devious characters and sharp social comment about our imperfect society in some savage, and often scary stories.
Last year saw a fifth Crime Writers Association Short Story Dagger award for the series – for ‘Homework’ by Phil Lovesey, whose work features again in this year’s collection.
There is a new story by Ann Cleeves, whose fictional sleuth Vera Stanhope has created such a buzz in ITV prime-time drama Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn.