The Leaden Heart On Ebook (Read An Excerpt)

May Day.

A time to celebrate workers, and the fact that everywhere, The Leaden Heart is now available on ebook. Fair makes you giddy, doesn’t it?

Certainly, the reviews from the last couple of days have made me smile. Kirkus called it possibly my “finest” yet, and then there was this.

MPTLH

Is that enough to convince you?

Then maybe an extract from the book would persuade you to part with your hard-earned money. I hope so, because one’s included here. Whatever ebook platform you use, go and get it – and thank you!

 

‘Superintendent Harper.’

The voice was a bellow, the sound of someone used to giving orders and being obeyed. He stood at the entrance to the office, Tollman looking helpless behind him.

The man was as big as the noise he made. A hefty paunch held in by an expensively-cut suit and waistcoat, jowls sagging on his cheeks, and a double chin that shook as he spoke. Small, dark eyes that seemed to absorb the light.

‘Councillor May.’ Harper stood, slowly extending a hand to a visitor’s chair in his office. ‘You should have let us know you were coming. What can I do for you?’

‘I’m on the Watch Committee.’ He glared, fire in his eyes. ‘I don’t need an invitation to see how one of the divisions is spending the public’s money.’

‘Of course not. Tea?’

May waved the idea away. He remained standing, a heavy, looming presence in the room, eyes moving slowly around until his gaze settled on the map.

‘What’s that?’

‘Related to a case.’ He wasn’t about to offer a word more than necessary.

The councillor snorted. ‘These murders?’

‘Yes.’

‘Something else you’re wasting time and good brass over. What’s happening about the burglaries? I’ve got people telling me they’re terrified to go out.’

Harper didn’t believe a word. May could conjure outrage from the empty air. He loved nothing better than stirring a crowd by appealing to its prejudices. Nobody named, just a wink, a nod, a hint; he knew how to work them. He despised the police, insisting he was on the Watch Committee to keep them in check.

This was the first time since Harper made superintendent that May had stirred himself into Millgarth. And it wasn’t a friendly visit.

‘We’re working on that. We have some suspects.’

‘Some suspects?’ He shouted out the question. ‘What good is that to honest people who are scared they’ll come home to find all their valuables stolen?’

Harper gritted his teeth and forced himself to smile.

‘As I said, Councillor, we’re making progress.’

‘Not enough.’ He moved around the room as if he owned it, picking up a piece of paper, glancing at it then putting it down again. He seemed to fill all the space, to take all the air. ‘In case you don’t already know, a number of us feel you shouldn’t be in this job.’ A lower voice now, more intimate and threatening. ‘We’ve taken our concerns to the chief constable.’

‘So I’ve heard.’ He wasn’t going to show any trace of fear. He wouldn’t give May that satisfaction.

‘We’re going to keep on with it until he replaces you, Harper.’ The words came out in a hiss.

Harper stared at him. ‘That’s your privilege.’

‘I’ve been on the council for a long time. Plenty of people owe me favours.’ May gave a thin, hard smile. His eyes glittered with hatred. He took a step closer. Harper could smell his breath, whisky and red meat. ‘That’s how politics works. And when you’re ready, you collect them. It’s easy to ruin a career. Just like that.’ The snap of his fingers sounded like a gunshot.

‘I can’t stop you trying.’ The man was goading him. Harper bunched his fists, but he didn’t move. He wasn’t that stupid. Hitting a councillor? Instant dismissal, no appeal.

‘I know you can’t.’ The dark smile returned for a second and vanished again. May loved the sound of his own voice. ‘And I’ll win. Do you know why? Because I have power and you don’t.’

He extended his hand. Without thinking, Harper took it, and May dragged him close. A whisper that fed like poison into his ear. ‘I know men in this city who could make you disappear for five pounds and give me change for the pleasure of the work. Think on that, Harper. Imagine how your Godawful, jumped-up wife and little girl would feel when you never came home.’

A hard squeeze of the hand, a final, bitter look, and May was gone, only the stink of him trailing in the air.

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The BIG News

I don’t often have a post full of news, mostly because there’s not often much to tell. But I have five – yes, FIVE – big pieces of news for once.

West Seattle Blues comes out June 30th on ebook and audiobook, and it can now be pre-ordered. I like Laura Benton, and I still love Seattle. But then, I lived there for 20 years…Find it here in the UK and here in the US, and listen to the trailer here.

Gods of Gold, the first in my new Tom Harper series set in Leeds during the 1890 Gas Strike, comes out late August in the UK. You can pre-order it here.

The second book in the series has just been accepted by my publisher. It will come out in 2014.

There’s going to be a big launch in Leeds for Gods of Gold, on September 11, 6.45 pm at The Leeds Library on Commercial St. They’ll have a display of newspaper and magazine articles relating to the Gas Strike, artefacts, and more. And there will be wine and probably cake. Admission is free, but you’ll need to book a place. It’s a fabulous place, occupying the same premises since 1808, and well worth seeing. I’ve been here once before and the place was packed, so please book early. Call them on (0113) 245 3071, or by email.

And last but not least, I’m teaching a weekend workshop on  historical fiction in September in the Lake district. I do hope you’ll book (so they’ll hold it, so I can visit). Details here

 

 

 

What Is Success?

So what is success?

For the month of March, my publisher arranged with Amazon for The Constant Lovers, the third of my Leeds novels, to be part of the Kindle 100 deal in the US. So what, you think? Well, it’s a pretty big deal, as Amazon promotes the books with Tweets, emails, and quite probably several other things.

Does it work? Yes, it certainly does. It’s at a low price ($3.99, so still not a complete giveaway) and with the push behind it, the book’s currently 2,606 in overall Kindle sales and in the Top 20 for historical mysteries. To me, that last figure’s the really important one. It’s like…it’s like having a bestseller. I know, it’s still not going to give me Ian Rankin sales status. But each success is relative.

Merely having a book published was a success. Having a second, even more so, and when that book was named one of the 10 best mysteries of the year, I truly couldn’t believe it. Then, last year, after the audio book of The Broken Token was issued, to have it listed as one of the Independent on Sunday’s audiobooks of the year…that was me floored once more. I was up there with writers like Ian Fleming, J. K. Rowling and Mave Binchy. Big names, household names. I’m still not exactly sure how it all happened, although huge thanks to Stephen Pacey, who did such a wonderful job on the narration.

In fact, it’s perhaps time to give thanks to people who’ve believed, to Lynne Patrick, who took the first chance on me, to Kate Lyall Grant and everyone at Crème de la Crime, to Ali and Lorelei at Creative Content, to the reviewers who’ve liked the books. And to the people who’ve bought them – and seem to still be buying them.

I imagine I’m like most writers- the tales I put down are the ones I’d like to read, the movies that play in my head. When I’m sitting there, getting the words on the computer, I’m doing it because it’s a need, and ultimately for myself. I dig into myself, sometimes down into the parts that might be better left unknown.

But that people are putting their money down to read these words. That’s still the most staggering thing on earth to me. And it’s real success. Thank you all. Truly. And to those of you who’ve written to me to say you’ve enjoyed them, each of you makes my day with an email.

Oh, and I guess I should say this…all the Richard Nottingham ebooks are on sale on both sides of the Atlantic for the rest of March.

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