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Chris Merritt stops by today with an exclusive interview. Life or Death is available in all the usual formats. It was published by Bookouture on the 24th of January, 2019.
💫 Life or Death by Chris Merritt
Never forget. Never forgive.
As a detective in the Metropolitan police, Zac is no stranger to murder cases, but this one is different. This is his daughter’s murder.
Years after Amelia died, Zac is still trying to trace the police office involved in his daughter’s death.
And whilst Zac is prepared to break every rule to find the man responsible, his young and ambitious deputy, Kat, is working on a high profile case of her own. But she knows Zac is keeping secrets from his team so she’s following his every move.
When one of Zac’s informants is killed, he knows he’s close to catching his man, but before he can act, he receives a call about his son which blows his world apart… And this time, he knows he’ll stop at nothing to save his family.
‘Zac is back and better than ever! I have enjoyed this whole series and would definitely recommend if you are a fan of crime books. From the first page it had me hooked… This was an action-packed page-turner of a book.’ Booking Good Read, 5 stars
‘Life or Death is an absolute nail-biter of a read… I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough to see if things end well… A series that every crime love should have on their book shelves.’ By the Letter Book Reviews, 5 stars
💫 About the Author
As a psychologist who has worked in the NHS with both victims and perpetrators of crime, I write stories that explore why people commit serious offences and how their victims are affected. I try to bring these perspectives together with lots of rich, authentic detail about London and its many communities to let readers discover the city I love.
I always wrote – whether blogs, psychology articles or travel pieces – but it wasn’t until 2014 that I began writing fiction. I’d spent several years working as a diplomat in Iraq and Jerusalem before I decided to go back to university and retrain as a psychologist. I completed a doctorate in psychology at King’s College London in 2016. Now, when I’m not writing, I work on the Wellcome Trust’s African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI) at King’s College in south London, where I live.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Life or Death is a fast-paced crime thriller set in present day London. It pits detectives Zac Boateng and Kat Jones of the Met Police against a villain known only as Kaiser. During an operation to counter gun crime in London, Boateng uncovers a lead that links the mysterious arms dealer Kaiser to the unsolved murder of Boateng’s daughter six years earlier. Determined to get justice for her, he investigates unofficially with Jones’s help. But the danger he has unleashed is much closer to home than he knew… and now everyone he cares about is in the firing line.
- Who would your book be perfect for?
If you love London or you’re interested in the city, the book is a great way to find out about some of its more unusual sides – places you never knew existed and people you might never meet. And, of course, Life or Death would also suit crime and thriller readers, particularly fans of Mark Billingham, Lee Child and Mark Dawson.
- Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?
This photo was taken in March 2018 at the launch party for my first book, Bring Her Back. It was a special moment to have all my friends and family gathered there to celebrate. The picture shows me with two of the key people in my team: my editor, Helen Jenner, and my agent, Charlie Viney.
- Did you have a favourite character to write?
Though Zac Boateng was my first ever literary creation and is the lynchpin of the series, I loved writing Darian Wallace again. He’s a highly intelligent, aggressive but vulnerable young man. Though he has strong psychopathic personality traits there is some good in him, and the prospect of redemption for his crimes. I also really enjoyed developing the character of Kat Jones – a talented young detective who’s grafting to get on in her career. She’s trying to rise above the casual sexism of her working environment and prove to everyone how much they’ve underestimated her.
- What has been your proudest bookish moment?
The one that stands out is the day that my first novel was published. I remember being online, looking nervously at social media and book blogs. When I started to see people reacting positively to it in posts – sharing, rating and reviewing it – I felt a real sense of reward for all the hard work that had led to that point. It was incredible to see the story taking on a life of its own outside my laptop!
- Do you have any questions for your readers?
After his appearance in Bring Her Back, Darian Wallace returns in Life or Death. Which other characters from Bring Her Back or my second book Last Witness would readers like to see again?
- What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
For non-fiction, it would have to be The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski. He was a Polish journalist who travelled and wrote for decades in Africa. I love his open-mindedness, his curiosity for the cultures he encounters, and his way of writing – which was all about people. In fiction, I have so many – with William Boyd, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham among my favourite authors. But if I had to choose one piece of crime fiction, it would be Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo. It wasn’t his most successful book but to me Blood on Snow is a near-perfect thriller. It has a tight, captivating plot, relatable characters, beautifully sparse prose and tension from start to finish. I thoroughly recommend it to any crime and thriller fans.
- What are you working on now?
I’m developing new ideas for my next book(s) – though nothing has been confirmed yet about these, so I can’t give any details away! Keep an eye on my Twitter page, though, for news in the coming weeks.
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