14 February 2014

National Crime Agency

The NCA became operational in October 2013.

This may not mean much to you but I'm a crime writer and I'm getting pretty excited about this new organisation. It appears to be the UK equivalent of the American FBI which has provided a rich source of stories and characters for us writers.

Remember Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs? Since the mid 1930's and J Edgar Hoover, the FBI has been at the forefront of novels, film and television.  The arrival of an UK equivalent is a momentous event in crime fiction history.

As a novelist writing stories set in the present, I can't ignore current events and still retain credibility. If the local police force turn up to investigate and the reader knows full well it ought to be the NCA it's not helpful to the plot. As both Due Diligence and Proceeds of Crime involve organised crime, which is the remit of the NCA, I've been following its inception and formation for several years. I've read extensively, watched Keith Bristow, the NCA Director General, appear before the Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee, made sure I'm up to date with developments.

I discussed money laundering over lunch with a senior NCA official who then asked for copies of both Due Diligence and Proceeds of Crime so that they could check them for authenticity. I also suspect that they were very interested by some of the things that Jenny Parker gets up to. So don't go copying her for heaven's sake, you're bound to get arrested.

It's all part of the craft of crime writing, though most readers won't realise how much research has to be done in order that we present them with a believable story. Which is how it should be. My novels aim to excite and entertain. If they're also informative, that's a bonus.

Here's a sample review of Due Diligence:

5.0 out of 5 stars Thumping good thriller
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
For a debut novel this was fantastic, more please! I read this in 2 days and really felt for Jenny. Life has a habit of kicking you when you're down but she survived all of it. Gripping and full of action, secret recordings, punch ups, dodgy dealings,fast paced, well written and as a thriller reader this kept me turning the pages. Please though give the poor woman a decent brew!!!!!