One of the big advantages of publishing ebooks is the ease with which you can change a cover. I’m currently doing this with my mystery novel, An Unsafe Pair of Hands. Here’s the front runner in the new cover stakes.
I’ve never been entirely happy with the original cover. I’d wanted an atmospheric picture of a stone circle – which features heavily in the book – but hadn’t been able to find anything suitable. So I’d gone for an abstract cover – aiming for something that would stand out. The result was the cover below.
This time around I’ve found the atmospheric stone circle picture – which is a shot of sunrise at Avebury (and anyone who has not seen the stones at Avebury is missing something. They rival Stonehenge in their magnificence)
And this is pretty much exactly what I wanted as the book opens with the detective being called to a stone circle in Wessex where a body has been found laid out in the middle of the circle. It’s sunrise and the stones stand like silent mourners around the murdered woman.
But worse is to come for our detective. It’s only his second day on the job. He’s spent years as a high-ranking police administrator – lecturing on theory, working on policy, handling the press – but, needing a year’s experience in the field to qualify for promotion, he’s been seconded to a rural police force as a Detective Chief Inspector. This is his first dead body. And, as he stands over the corpse, a hand pushes out of the ground and grabs his ankle. There’s another woman down there – buried alive beneath the corpse.
So begins the complex and quirky murder mystery that DCI Shand – the ‘safe pair of hands’ from London – has to unravel. But the pressure on Shand is enormous. The media is clamouring for answers, he can’t sleep, the case is baffling – why murder one woman but bury the other? And, worse, it begins to look as though the two crimes are unconnected.
Then a local journalist singles out Shand as the reason for the investigation’s lack of progress, and goads him at a press conference. Shand responds by inventing a lead, and keeps on lying – to the press, his boss, his team – telling himself that he’ll solve the case before anyone finds out.
And then another murder occurs. And had there been a third?
Shand begins to doubt his ability. He’s desperate, increasingly unpredictable, pursued by an amorous psychic, and somehow gaining a reputation for arresting livestock.
Which will break first? The case, or Shand?
Chris Dolley is a NY Times bestselling author living in France with a frightening number of animals. His novelette, What Ho, Automaton! was a finalist for the 2012 WSFA Small Press Award for short fiction. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf .
An Unsafe Pair of Hands – a quirky murder mystery set in rural England charting the descent and rise of a detective on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Which will break first? The case, or DCI Shand?
Medium Dead – a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda – a reluctant medium – and Brian – a Vigilante Demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen.
What Ho, Automaton! – Wodehouse Steampunk. Follow the adventures of Reggie Worcester, consulting detective, and his gentleman’s personal gentle-automaton, Reeves. It’s set in an alternative 1903 where an augmented Queen Victoria is still on the throne and automata are a common sight below stairs. Humour, Mystery, Aunts and Zeppelins!
French Fried – the international bestseller – true crime, animals behaving badly and other people’s misfortunes. Imagine A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.
International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth?
Resonance – “This is one of the most original new science fiction books I have ever read. If it is as big a hit as it deserves, it may well be this book which becomes the standard by which SF stories about … are judged.”