Sharp and atmospheric; a rural take on the noir thriller. A vivid new voice.
Dan Matlock is out of jail. He’s got a choice. Stay or leave. Go back to where it all went wrong, or simply get out of the county. Disappear. Start again as someone else.
But it’s not as simple as that.
There’s the matter of the man he killed. It wasn’t murder, but even so. You tell that to the family. Especially when that family is the Mintons, who own half that’s profitable and two-thirds of what’s crooked between the Wolds and the coast. And who could have got to Matlock as easy as you like in prison, but who haven’t touched him. Not yet.
And like Matlock found out in prison, there’s no getting away from yourself, so what would the point be in not facing up to other people?
It’s time to go home.
East of England blends a rural take on the noir thriller with a fascination with the British industrialised countryside that lies east of the Wolds, between the Humber and the Wash. Unlit byways rather than the neon-bright and rain-slicked city. A world of caravan parks, slot machines, and low-rise battery farms.
The flatlands of the east coast; decaying market towns and run-down resorts, and the distant throb of offshore windfarms. Where the smell you’re trying to get out of your clothes is the cigarette taint of old phone boxes and bus shelters, and where redemption, like life, is either hard-earned or fought for, one way or another.
Dan Matlock stepped out into the real world again. Somewhere behind him, the guard who had opened the door shouted ‘See you soon,’ but Matlock was already walking away from jail.
There was no-one waiting for him.
He wasn’t expecting Joe to be there. Not really. But it might have been nice. Would have made things simpler.
Lindum County Hospital is opposite the city’s prison.
Matlock crossed the road without looking left or right. It was early. He’d have heard something if there was any traffic.
The car park on the far side of the road was a third full. Six-to-two workers, overnighting bedside vigilants, keen bean suits.
Scant remnants of a hedge led to a muddy incline down to the tarmac. Matlock scanned till he found the right kind of car. Something old, something uncomplicated.
A once-red hatchback, its paint faded to a blush. No-one around. Matlock put the bag with his belongings from the prison tight up to the driver’s side window. He punched through the bag to quell the noise and to not get cut.
The glass gave way like it wanted to.
Matlock chucked the bag onto the passenger front seat. He snapped the plastic trim away from under the steering column, and found the right wires. Some tricks you never unlearn. The car coughed into life. The radio lit up; local news chatter.
Okay. Deep breath. It had been two years since Matlock had sat behind the wheel of a motor. Last time he’d done so, he had killed the wrong man.
He swept away the worst of the glass into the passenger foot-well, then wound what was left of the window right down. It’d pass a glancing inspection.
Matlock pulled off towards the car park exit. An early morning smoker - IV stand and dressing gown – lurked far enough from the sliding main doors to deter a jobsworth coming out to grumble something about this being a smoke-free site. Matlock passed the patient, turned right towards the main road.
He slowed to give way at the car park exit, even though there was no road traffic coming in either direction.
He could turn right. Back to where it had all gone wrong.
Where it might be worse than ever, and waiting for him, fists balled.
Or he could turn left, make his way through Lindum city centre, and be out of the county within half an hour. Put the last two years and more behind him. Family, lost loves, the lot of it. Head west, as if chased by the racing sun. Make up a name. Fall into something or other somewhere else. Shed his old skin.
Was that ever really an option?
Matlock didn’t indicate. Turned right.
East of England - quick update
Monday, 19 November 2018
Here's where we are with East of England.
First, I've had a few proof copies printed up. These are for review and advance promotional purposes only, so that folk can sample the book in advance of publication (and hopefully garner a few supportive quotes for publicity use along the way). They turned up today, and I've posted the first few out, so hopefully, they'll get a positive response…
East of England's publication date is ...
Thursday, 1 November 2018
... 24th January 2019!
That's a Thursday, by my reckoning.
Those who've pledged to support the book should get their copies by that date, by which time it'll also be available through Amazon and the other places in which books - digital and physical - can be bought.
It also means there's a bit of time left to place pledges/pre-orders for copies via the Unbound website at https://unbound…
East of England - creeping ever-closer
Thursday, 18 October 2018
Here's where we are with East of England. Editorial processes are all-but complete in that I've now seen a proofed and ready-to-print version all typeset and ready to go; there's a couple of small amends to make but they're the work of minutes. Also ongoing is design work for the book's cover. Once there's something to show you on that, then I'll preview the eventual cover design first here…
Books, benches and Elvis.
Wednesday, 3 October 2018
A few snippets about East of England, and related writing stuff.
First, the novel has completed the copyediting stage, and is now being proofread as a last error-check, and will then be typeset. That means I should have sight of a draft print-ready kinda version in a couple of weeks, to verify and hopefully sign off on. The next area to sort out is cover-related...
I'm appearing this…
Copy edits and whatnot
Thursday, 20 September 2018
East of England is now being copy-edited by the, er, copy editor, to ensure consistency of writing and that I've not made any daft continuity errors. From here we'll move towards proof-reading and prepping the cover artwork for the novel.
In other/related news, I'm appearing - with a couple of dozen other Unbound-affiliated writers - at this event at Nottingham Waterstones on Saturday…
8th September - and the edits are back out again
Saturday, 8 September 2018
A short update on where we are production-wise with East of England. I'm through the structural edit phase, and the book's been passed on to the next stage of things, which is copy-editing. That's where the manuscript gets double-checked for things like story consistency (making sure left-handed characters don't become right-handed, that sort of thing), consistency in writing, and so on…
East of England update 31 Aug 18 - the edits are in
Friday, 31 August 2018
A swift update on East of England, and a couple of other bits of business. The news on the progress of EoE (as almost no-one is calling it) is that the editor has returned the manuscript to me, and a few tweaks and revisions are now afoot. That means we're about *here on the steps-in-making-a-book-ometer below:
Funding target reached
The final draft of the manuscript is delivered.
Update 17th / 24th July, depending
Tuesday, 24 July 2018
I'd originally sent this out via Unbound on the 17th, but it didn't appear in the book's updates list on their website, so I'm assuming it's got lost in a computer snafu. No matter. Apologies for the repetition if you did get this the other day!
Here's where we are with East of England. Those of you fine folk who have already pledged to the support the book should have received an email…
7th July - preparations are being made
Saturday, 7 July 2018
The manuscript of East of England is getting a final/first polish over the next few days before going off into the critical-but-constructive hands of its editor. Part of this is working into the narrative the names of those who kindly bid (or won, in one case) for their (or a loved one's) name to be included within the novel. While I might chuck in an Easter egg here or there, most of this…
Funded. Phew. Thanks very much!
Monday, 2 July 2018
Just a quick note to confirm that East of England is 100% funded, and so it's full speed ahead towards publication!
You'll get information from Unbound and from me separately about how this all proceeds from here. As soon as I know stuff, I'll tell you.
In the meantime, it's still possible to pledge to the project; this is because until the book actually goes to print there's an…
9 days to go ...
Monday, 25 June 2018
4th of July looms like a pair of club bouncers over a teenager with false ID. And that's it, really. East of England will be funded by then. As simple and straightforward as that. So, if you're minded to use your charm, persuasion, social media links and/or capacity for meaningful glances to help the book over its finish line, then that'd be hugely helpful. Details, as ever, are here.
17 days to go ...
Sunday, 17 June 2018
As of Sunday lunchtime (a very pleasant ham, cheese and mustard sandwich, since you ask) on Father's Day, East of England is 87% funded, so there's less than £500 to raise to hit its funding target. The book's on course to achieve this by 4th July, which is all good, though if it gets there sooner, even better!
This means that with a fortnight or so until the funding bit is initially…
25 days to go...
Saturday, 9 June 2018
I've put a red line under the crowdfunding for East Of England, to ensure that the book is funded sooner rather than later. My deadline's 4th July which is - at the time of writing - 25 days away. So, there's plenty of time for folk to get on board, but the end's in sight. Even once 100% funding is achieved, there'll be some time for folk to get involved, as there's an inevitable delay…
11th May - East of England funding progress update
Friday, 11 May 2018
A short update on funding progress for East of England: we're at 57% funded. That means that we're still on course to have the book financed by the end of June, when the post-production malarkey will begin.
You can help speed up the process by spreading the good word about the book, mentioning it to generous reading-friendly chums down the pub, and by marching up and down your local…
22nd April, and almost halfway there...
Sunday, 22 April 2018
At the time of writing, East of England is 48% funded, so a small handful of pledges will push the book over the halfway mark and the book will start careening towards publication. Blimey. Big thanks for your support and patience thus far!
I'm currently employing all manner of special weapons and tactics to get to the magic 100% mark, but have devised some further dark strategies to do…
System glitch - email sent again in error!
Monday, 9 April 2018
Apologies for you having been resent an email dated 1st April. Not sure what's happened there. Will contact Unbound HQ and find out what's going on.
Happy Easter! East of England update 1st April 2018
Sunday, 1 April 2018
Hi all, and a happy Easter to you if you're having a break, be it a religious festival, a few days off, a handful of chocolate eggs, or any blend of the preceding.
In terms of project progress for the funding of East of England, we're at the 37% mark, which means there's £1500 banked with the publishers and £2500 to go. There's 88 supporters for the book already - which is fantastic - so that…
East of England update 14 March
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
The ongoing crowdfunding's just hopped over the 31% complete mark, so the book is very nearly a third of the way to its funding target. Being this far into the funding starts to make the book a reality, and it throws up a couple of interesting problems for me to figure out.
One of the higher-level pledges is to have a character in the novel named after you (or someone of your choice…
Cover artwork concepts for East of England
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
And if you like what you read and see about the book you can support it into life by pre-ordering here.
East of England update 2: on the way - 14th February 2018
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
We're three weeks into the crowdfunding for East of England, and the stats show we're at the 19% mark, with just over 50 backers for the project. So, another huge thanks for the support you've shown for the book (and for me). In a day or so I'll be emailing back with a link to an audio file for the first part of the book as a small listening gift for you. This contains the first ten…
East of England Update 1: getting going - 29 January
Monday, 29 January 2018
Ths is the first of a series of project updates I'll be posting online about my Lincolnshire-set noir-ish thriller novel East of England, which is crowdfunding now via Unbound. As the project has only been live a week, there's not a whole lot to report on, so this is just to first say a huge and heartfelt thanks to those who've pre-ordered the book by pledging towards its crowdfunding costs…
These people are helping to fund East of England.