Kicking off Monday I have a guest post from author Nick Louth giving us a little look at the background to his new book Trapped.
Two desperate criminals. Something she never saw coming. A searing suspense thriller from bestselling author Nick Louth
In Manchester, two hardened gang members on the run take Catherine Blake and her one-year-old son hostage at gunpoint. She is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Held in a Transit van, Catherine needs a plan fast. But it means diving into her captors’ risk-drenched world, and playing them at their own game.
Catherine has been through cancer, miscarriages and five draining years of IVF in order to have her son Ethan. He is the most precious thing in the world. She may be terrified out of her wits, but she’d do anything to protect him. Anything, no matter the cost…
A nerve-shredding suspense thriller you won’t believe until you have experienced it yourself, Trapped is perfect for fans of Cara Hunter, JP Delaney and Rachel Abbott.
I first wrote Trapped more than a year ago, as a straight edge-of-the-seat narrative, combining the overtones of a psychological thriller with plenty of action. It was designed to be read in a single sitting, and a short enough at 57,000 words, for this to be manageable. Having completed this basic straight story, I realised that excitement and tension alone were probably not enough. I needed a twist. It took me quite a long time to come up with something that would do the trick, and I believe it is probably the most powerful shock that I’ve ever delivered in a novel. That jolt comes from ripping away at the utter conviction with which the story of Catherine and her young son Ethan are relayed to the reader, and the narrative device that I have used. Catherine is not particularly glamorous, nor under usual circumstances courageous, but within herself she finds an astonishing bravery when the life of her son is on the line. My intention is that the reader should be rooting for Catherine from the word go. She is after all just like any of us, thrown into awful circumstances where the question always would be: what would I do? But her revelation two thirds of the way through the book forces us to reappraise everything that we believe about her.
Trapped has been through many titles. It started being called Van, which as a three letter word title gives marketing plenty of space to describe the type of book it is. (These are important considerations, believe me!) Then it morphed into Deadly Proximity, which though longer carried more of an impression of threat. Finally, it became Trapped, a title which certainly describes the predicament of its heroine.
Research for Trappedinvolved considerable use of Google Maps and Street View, to lay out the appropriate area of the inner-city in which the action takes place. I deliberately chose recognisable places, from the Old Trafford football stadium, the ring road, and the Asda superstore in Hulme. I took a few liberties for the sake of the plot with the supermarket layout, but otherwise most streets mentioned actually exist. Likewise, I benefited from the professional expertise of Dr Amy Grubb of Worcester University, who is an expert on police hostage negotiating strategies. Retired detective inspector Kim Booth was equally helpful on procedural aspects. This is the first book in which a one-year-old baby is a significant character, and I spent a fair amount of time trawling Mumsnet for anecdotes about children’s behaviour under stress, as well as observing the one-year-old child of one of my friends. What came across to be very clearly how incredibly variable the developmental trajectory of young children is, and how their responses to fear, and threats against loved ones not quite as predictable as many of us might imagine.
Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.
The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017.
Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.