"A fast-paced crime novel that will keep you guessing until the very end"
"White has come into his own with this book. I have seen Neil White compared to Peter James, but he's far better than that."
"Every bit as excellent as White's previous offering, Fallen Idols, with plenty of excitement, character development and tension ... this book will make you squirm."
"A thrilling murder mystery"
Deccan Herald, India
"Intelligent, fast-paced thriller"
Hindustan Times, India
My second book made me nervous. I knew I would be given some latitude by reviewers with my debut novel, and maybe even by readers, but I knew that wouldn't apply to my "difficult" second novel. I should have been more relaxed, because I realise now that the pressure increases with each book, as I strive to make each one better than the last.
Lost Souls sees Jack Garrett and Laura McGanity based in the north, with Laura getting a transfer to the town of Blackley, the nearest large town to Jack's boyhood home, and the setting for Fallen Idols, Turners Fold. The town of Blackley is based mainly on Blackburn, but with bits of other Lancashire cotton towns thrown in. There are bits of Burnley and Accrington thrown in there too, hence the name, with the Black of Blackburn and the ley of Burnley. This has caused some confusion, as there is a Blackley in north Manchester, but the Blackley in the books is fictional.
Another reason why I had to make the location fictional is that I was still working as a Senior Crown Prosecutor in Blackburn, and it would have been inappropriate to base crime stories in the town in which I worked, as it would have involved writing about the police and lawyers (and defendants) I had to work with on a daily basis. That is not to say that real events do not make it into the books, but they tend to be the snippets, the asides. I have never based a book on a case I worked on as a prosecutor.
Lost Souls was inspired by a documentary I saw a few years ago about an art lecturer from the south coast called David Mandell. He seemed a genuine enough old man, and for years he has been painting his dreams. If he has a particularly vivid dream, he jots it down on canvas and then goes to his local bank, who allow him to be photographed under the bank's electronic calendar, thus giving it a date stamp. Mr Mandell believes that some of the events that he has dreamt about have come to fruition.
I thought he would be a good basis for a central character, someone who imports himself into an investigation as he believes that he has dreamt about it, and points to his earlier paintings as proof of his ability. What interested me about David Mandell was that he seemed to paint the later media images, such as the famous class photograph of the children from the Dunblane massacre, and not the incident itself.
Lost Souls took me into a whole world of precogntion, ie, those people who believe that they dream the future, and the basis premise for the plot was that children were being abducted and then returned unharmed a week later, unsure as to where they had been and with whom.
I tried to make it very much a northern story, and so there is plenty of grit and grime.