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"No one stayed long enough to get near the body. As soon as they looked, they backed away, screaming."
Beyond Evil was a departure for me, because it was my first standalone book, taking myself away from the Jack Garrett and Laura McGanity series.
I was nervous about this at first, but once I got into the stride of the book I realised that it was the right thing to do, because writing a series can be too much of a comfort blanket at times. I was pleased with the finished book, and it was good to do something a little different.
The idea for the book came from reading about Charlie Manson, the cult leader from the sixties, and what interested me was the way he was able to convince ordinary people to behave in a despicable way, his influence continuing even after he was caught and put on trial, based upon nothing more than the power of his personality. To some extent, he was a product of the sixties, because his philosophies were very much of that time rather than any deeply held religious belief, but cult leaders have come and gone since, and all that changes really is the message.
I wasn't about to start setting books in the Californian desert, despite the attractiveness of the research, and instead went for the more rural edges of Lancashire, and the town of Bacup was uppermost in my mind.
So the plot, the blurb? It goes like this:
DI Sheldon Brown has never recovered from finding the body of Alice Kenyon brutally murdered, naked and abandoned. And he's never stopped pursuing his main suspect, hellraiser and lottery winner Billy Privett either. So when Billy is found dead in a hotel room, his face horrifically carved up, DI Brown's obsession is rekindled.
Who killed the notorious millionaire in such a bloodthirsty way? With jaded lawyer Charlie Barker, who desperately needs to pick up the pieces of his own life, Sheldon will uncover a world of murder, drugs, long-buried secrets and a cult with a deadly conviction to their cause ...
Beyond Evil reached the top ten of the ebook charts but was my last novel with Avon, the HarperCollins imprint. I enjoyed six fabulous years with them but the time felt right to branch out.
Beyond Evil is available worldwide in paperback and ebook, except for the USA, where it is available in ebook only.