Anyway, just to cheer you all up, here is an early draft of the cover for the next Heck novel, which will be published in May 2014.
As mentioned, THE KILLING CLUB details the return to Britain of the most vicious gang Heck has tangled with to date - the Nice Guys, a ultra-ruthless bunch of one-time mercenaries and kidnappers, whose main source of income is the international rape club they operate. For the right price, a client can have any woman he wants - and do anything he wants to her - and the Nice Guys will clean up the mess afterwards.
Those who follow this series, published by Avon Books (HarperCollins), will know that Scotland Yard-based Detective Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg first encountered these felons in STALKERS, and though there was something of a sort-out, as we say up here in the Northwest, their firm wasn't completely broken.
It was always my plan to bring the Nice Guys back again - how could I not? - but while this novel was originally scheduled to come fifth in the series, there was such demand from readers and reviewers to see 'round two' between Heck and these reprobates that a decision was taken on the top floor at Avon to fast-track it forward - and hopefully it won't disappoint. THE KILLING CLUB is now written and working its way through the editing stage. But I think I can honestly say, hand on heart, that this is the most action-led of all the Heck novels to date, with a exceptionally high body-count. As usual, the action takes us from one end of the country to another, and takes in a variety of real life locations. In some ways, it's more of a revenge thriller than a police procedural, but obviously I don't want to say too much about that yet for giving away too many spoilers. Perhaps I'd better shut up and let the back-cover blurb do the talking:
Take the most memorable detective since Luther, the dark wit of Stuart MacBride and the action of Lee Child. Add brutal, vicious murders, and brace yourself as you turn the pages of a living nightmare. Welcome to The Killing Club.
Stalkers ended in a bloodbath. Countless people were dead; DS Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg was seriously wounded. And whilst the ringleader of The Nice Guys – the kidnap and rape gang he’d been pursuing – is behind bars, Heck knows that this depraved organisation stretches far beyond UK shores.
It’s time for Heck to end this once and for all. When brutal murders start happening across the country, Heck knows the Nice Guys are at work again. But having been so close to the case the first time, Heck’s life is now in serious danger and he is put into protective custody for his own safety. However, soon weary of watching from the sidelines, Heck breaks out.
He goes after the Nice Guys, hunting them down in his own inimitable ‘lone wolf’ way, either killing or arresting them. But even greater forces are at work here, as Heck is about to find out …
Just in case you're wondering, the publication of the novel originally slated to be third - HUNTED - has only been delayed, not cancelled. HUNTED, which has already been written, will now be released in 2015, not 2014. Those who've already pre-ordered it, please don't be concerned. Your orders will still be fulfilled.
In the meantime, if I don't reappear on here before next week, have a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.