Tell us about Implant.
Implant is the third book in the IMP series (each having a one-word title beginning with the letters IMP)
The novel is designed to make you think about where the world is heading, about how much we all rely on technology, which we believe makes our lives easier. We all have smartphones and TV’s and everything we become involved in depends heavily on that technology. Young people run their entire lives on their phones: Internet banking, online buying, social media: almost everything they do is through that phone. If they lose it they are virtually shut down themselves.
But think about what would happen if suddenly, that sophisticated machinery fell into the wrong hands and was used against us: if someone was clever enough to manipulate it, and in turn use it to exploit us – especially an enemy. How much damage could one person cause by turning something as small as a phone into a weapon: if a killer was clever enough to use it in such a way that he or she didn’t even have to be anywhere near the crime scene? How tough would that be for the investigating detective?
Implant was very challenging because I’d opened myself up to a whole new world of research with medicine and technology, both of which I found fascinating because I know very little about them in the first place. Luckily for me I have a number of friends who specialise in those subjects who were able to offer expert advice.
How derivative and sanitised do you think crime fiction is and does it need to be changed?
I think all fiction, whether it’s crime, horror, historical or any other genre, is derivative. We are all influenced by something we read, see or hear. I’m not sure it needs to be cleansed, what I believe to be important is presenting a new slant on an old theme – how far can you push the boundaries to achieve something that no one else has thought of?
One of the things I love to do is weave together fact and fiction with myths and legends, in the hope that your audience can’t tell what’s true and what isn’t. The second book in the IMP series, Imperfection was set in the world of film and theatre, featuring a killer who had an obsession with the one time film idol, Lon Chaney, otherwise known as The Man of a Thousand faces, which the killer was able to use to great advantage. The research on that book was very absorbing and time consuming but I learned so much about a world I love, allowing me to blend fact and fiction to support what I wanted to say.
It’s also a format I employ when writing short stories. Double Dragon published a collection of mine entitled, A Detective’s Dozen, where most of the stories had a background steeped in myths and legends. A particular favourite was one entitled Soul Survivor. I had spent some time in Brittany where I happened to chance on a country inn. I booked in, had a meal and then settled down in the bar. It must have been popular amongst the locals because after dark the place filled up. As the night closed in and the witching hour approached a few of the older citizens treat the younger element to some real folk tales.
One in particular struck me. Well, it must have done, because for the half hour it took to draw it out of the toothless old codger I never once touched my drink. His subject was the silent walker’s of the night, whose appearance on the roads of Brittany presages death for those who see them pass by. Needless to say, I was pleased I had the only room on offer that evening. After that, I was going nowhere…
I believe that these are examples of how one can manipulate – or sanitize, if you prefer – the crime genre. Although your story is not fully original, you can present in a way that it looks as if it is.
One of the best exponents of this is the author Graham Masterton, who wrote a two wonderful books, one entitled Family Portrait, which brought a new slant to Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray: the other, entitled Mirror, was based upon Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass.
What inspires you as a man?
Self-made men, and stories of self-made men inspire me: people who have made it, against the odds, proving to me that if they can, I can. A real life case in point here is perhaps horror author, Stephen King, who at one time did not have enough money to pay his quarterly telephone bill. Clearing out the attic one day his wife asked about a manuscript called Carrie. He replied he’d sent it to many different publishers with no luck. She told him to send it again. The rest is history. Another author who had a tough start was J.K. Rowling. She wrote Harry Potterin a local café in order to keep warm, making a couple of drinks last as long as possible. Jeffrey Archer is an author who continuously writes stories about self-made men, Kane & Abel and The Fourth Estate being two examples. The Sons of Adam by Harry Bingham is another fine example. Stories like these inspire me to do better, write better, to be the best I can be.
I find being fit and healthy inspiring. Waking up every day in good health should be an inspiration to all of us but often, it’s something we take for granted. I like to use that to help people less fortunate than me. All sorts of people have all sorts of health problems, none of which they ask for. Doesn’t it make you feel better if you can help them?
What else is on the cards for you this year?
I work very closely with a group of filmmakers called Edge Ways, who produce trailers for my books, so one of the jobs yet to complete is a trailer for Implant. I have also finished a novella entitled Ryder On The Storm, which is a cross genre story, blending crime and the supernatural, mixing myths and legends with facts, which will hopefully be out later this year.
Here is the synopsis:
In 1855 the discovery of a body on a railway track sets off an investigation that runs into a dead end: an unsolved crime.
160 years later, the key to the solving the puzzle lies in a haunted house.
Based upon a true incident, Ryder On The Storm is a stand-alone supernatural crime novella from the author of the IMP series, featuring one of the popular characters, desk sergeant Maurice Cragg.
And I am currently two thirds of the way through another in the IMP series, entitled, Imperceptible, which examines the possibility of what you do when one of your own goes rogue, but that’s all I can give away for now lol.
Thank you Ray for taking the time to tell us about yourself and Implant.
Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the border of West and North Yorkshire: a place where people tend to keep to themselves. A death they can understand. A murder they can t0lerate. But a crucifixion, well that’s something else.
Monday morning, as the clock strikes 9:00, Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly come to the end of the line, a series of puzzles they have been trying to solve for six hours, which has led them to the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen. Above his head are two plain white envelopes.
They do not contain any answers, only further problems.
The scar however, hides a very sinister secret, and Gardener and Reilly think the death may have something to do with organ trafficking.
But they are wrong!
Alex Wilson is a well-known drug dealer, and they begin their investigation by arresting Jackie Pollard – another drug dealer known to the local police – found outside the shop.
Within twenty-four hours, their efforts culminate in one body, one suspect – with a motive but no evidence – and a number of other possible suspects, all of which, are missing.
With all the information they have, the detectives consider the murder to be drug related: a deal that has probably gone to the wall, with someone seeking revenge.
But they are wrong!
When one of their missing suspects finally turns up in a much worse predicament than Alex Wilson, the clock is ticking.
By the time they are forty-eight hours in, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims: no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence.
Gardener and Reilly now realize that it’s time to answer one very important question. Considering everything that has happened, are the residents of Bramfield – who can understand a death and tolerate a murder – actually prepared for one of history’s most sadistic serial killer’s, The Tooth Fairy?
The Tooth Fairy: a children’s fable – or an adult nightmare?
Ray’s website: www.thelordofmisrule.net