Dead and Gone by D.L Michaels @Aria_Fiction AriaAddict #Fiction #Feature #BookBlog


Dead and Gone by D.L Michaels

  • Thriller
  • Police Procedurals
  • Crime
  • Fiction


In a world built on lies, who can you ever trust? A nail-biting thriller introducing DI Annie Parker. For fans of Angela Marsons and Tess Gerritson, Dead and Gone delivers twists at every deliciously unpredictable turn.

Paula Smith could have had it all… if it weren’t for her husband Danny who is resentful of her success and increasingly prone to alcoholic rages. She should leave him, but he knows something that could bring her whole world crashing down.

Sarah has found the kind of happiness with Martin she never thought possible. Yet, he has a secret that could threaten everything they share. But he is not the only one with a secret…

DI Annie Parker, mother, grandmother and widow, has plenty of baggage of her own, but she’s still determined to be the best police officer she can be. When she and her sergeant Nisha Patel hear about a 20-year-old murder that nobody knew about, nothing will stop them from tracking down the killer, even if it brings them up against one of the most dangerous crime families in the country.

| Guest Post by D.L Michaels |

Firstly, a confession. I’m a city person. Until recent years, I had no real love of the countryside.

Born in inner-city Manchester, cows and farms were things that kids like me only saw on the telly. As far as I was concerned, milk came from the Coop, not from cattle. The nearest to grass and open spaces I ever got, was a school football pitch or a day out in the summer holidays at somewhere like Heaton Park (never had enough money for the Boating Lake). Happily (very happily) I’ve spent most of my career in cities like London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, etc and have always enjoyed the hum of traffic, the babble of crowds fighting their way along pavements/sidewalks, the subterranean worlds of metro stations and the wonderful architectural amphitheater created by city centre skyscrapers.

Cities are the grand stages for gangsters and superheroes. Neon lights and smoky bars. Shady people and high-tech living. You don’t see blockbusters (period dramas aside) set in the valleys and hills of the countryside. Batman never fought crime in the orange groves of Florida. The Wire couldn’t have been set in the Yosemite Valley. Avengers: Infinity War couldn’t take place in The Lake District, The Peak National Park or The Cotswolds.

So why did I choose Derbyshire as the backdrop for my first UK-based crime thriller? It’s not that I once filmed a fly-on-the-wall documentary following a murder investigation here (though the force was the first in the UK to allow such access), it’s that for some time I’ve been developing a weakness – something I call ‘rural-itis. It’s a gradual leaning to the greener side of life. I blame my wife. A decade ago she fell in love with an old farmhouse out on the edge of The Peak District and as any guy will tell you, when that happens, you best just go with the flow. We’re talking isolated. The kind of place where fast broadband is as far away from being real as hourly trips to the moon. Our home is 70 minutes (on a good day) from Manchester or Birmingham and close to two hours on a train to London. This is End of the World Wilderness. But we have a few acres of land, a small lake full of greedy fish, and if you go to an upstairs window and peer across the hills you can see just see some stone cottages and civilization in the distance.

At first, I had severe withdrawal symptoms. For a city junkie, being out here was like being in rehab. It made me jittery. Too much peace. Too few distractions. There was almost no noise – except for animal noise! Damned pheasants that squawked across the decking at six in the morning then tapped on the windows for seed (some are now so tame they come in the house). A woodpecker that chipped at the metal chimney cowl from dawn onwards as he ‘sounded out’ for a mate. Sheep in the fields opposite and behind us that had so many bleating lambs you couldn’t count them. Not to mention the rasp of mating geese that landed every February and the constant chirp of visiting sparrows, swallows (that now nest in the garage) robins, blue tits and dozens of others I couldn’t identify. Oh, and then there was the owl that hooted from midnight to two am.

Gradually. Very gradually, I came to yearn for these country noises, instead of the sirens of police cars, honks of irritated drivers, roars of motorbikes, etc. And yes, eventually, I began to fall in love with them. And the trees. Apparently, there are dozens and dozens of different trees – not just ones that die in winter or live all year round! I found the garden populated with elms, oaks, beeches, cherries and chestnuts. Even a lemon tree (sadly killed off this winter) and a towering olive.

Then, with my green addiction growing, I began to mainline on the world outside our little farmhouse – namely the 15-hundred square kilometres of The Peak District National Park (the first in the country). Dovedale, Thorp Cloud, Jacob’s Ladder, Stanage Edge, The Roaches, Chrome Hill, Winnats Pass, Edale and of course, Kinder Scout, the home of the mass trespass in the 30’s that led to pressure to form the national park and establish a right to roam. I quickly discovered an area packed with spectacular hilltop views, gem-encrusted underground caves, ancient castles and battle sites, sprawling valleys, dense forests, labyrinthine ramblers’ trails, lakes, waterfalls, reservoirs, bird sanctuaries and spectacular country estates and gardens.

My wife, Donna, grew up amidst this unbridled greenery, in Cromford, where Richard Arkwright built his first water-powered mill and essentially kicked the Industrial Revolution into overdrive. The nearby town of Wirksworth, where both she and our son went to school, was the inspirational setting for the fictitious setting in George Eliot’s Adam Bede. And over the past decade, Donna has been my guide on eye-opening walk after eye-opening walk, through the land written about by Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott and DH Lawrence. It is of course, now the stomping ground of Dead and Gone’s Detective Inspector Annie Parker and her 20-year-old cold case will take her across some of the stunning backdrops that have featured in films and TV series such as Peak Practice, Sweet Medicine, The Princess Bride, Lady Jane, Women in Love and The Lair of the White Worm.

Maybe Derbyshire isn’t such an unsuitable place for heroes and villains after all.
By D.L Michaels for Love Books Group
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