‘If you are only going to read one novel in 2017, I suggest you make it Devour’ Culture Fly
To celebrate the UK launch of Devour, I am joined by fellow thriller author Tom Wood for a highly entertaining discussion on the dark and dangerous world of crime-thrillers. Joining us is the author of British Crime Writing, broadcaster and editor of Crime Time, Barry Forshaw.
Action and assassin thrillers are often associated with heart-pounding, high stakes plots, yet it is the central characters who win our hearts. Why did I create investigative journalist, Olivia Wolfe, and Wood, Victor The Assassin, and what is involved in writing a series?
Date and time: 7 pm, February 2017
Venue: Waterstones Piccadilly, 203-206 Piccadilly, London W1.
Here is an extract from Chapter 1 of Devour to whet your appetite:
Annoyed, Knox leaves, letting the fifty-mile-an-hour wind
slam the door for him. The field site is a swirling mass of snow.
He grips a thick rope, frozen so solid it feels like steel cable,
secured at waist height between poles sticking out of the ice
at regular intervals. Only thirty feet to the boiler. He carefully
plants one boot after another. He staggers a few times. Head
down, body bent, he throws his weight into the storm like a
battering ram. Where the hell is Vitaly? That bloody Heatherton
is probably wanking on about loyalty and reminding Yushkov, in
his unsubtle way, that he now works for the Brits. The man is
Someone takes him in a bear hug from behind. He thinks
Yushkov is mucking about, but when a cloth is held hard over his
nose and mouth, he begins to panic. It has a chemical smell he
can’t place. Confused and disoriented, he tries to turn. He feels
light-headed and his eyelids droop.
Knox wakes. He hears a high-pitched buzzing, then realises it’s
the retreating sound of a Bombardier Ski-Doo. Soon, all he can
hear is the buffeting wind. He wants to sleep, but his violent
shivering makes it impossible. He opens his heavy eyelids and
sees nothing. Just white. Where is he? The hardness beneath his
cheek tells him he’s lying on one side. Knox tries to sit up, but
his head pounds like the worst hangover, so he lies back down.
He blinks eyelashes laden with ice crystals, trying to take it all
in. Of course. The boiler. He must have fallen. Maybe knocked
This time, Knox manages to sit up and waits for the dizziness
to pass. He can’t see the horizon or the surface he’s sitting on, or
even his legs. Like being buried in an avalanche; there is no up or
down. He’s in a white-out – the most dangerous blizzard. He sucks
in the ice-laden air, fear gripping him. Ice particles get caught in
his throat and he coughs. His heart speeds up and, instead of energising
him, it drains him. He racks his brain, trying to remember
his emergency training. But his mind is as blank as the landscape.
Think, you fucking idiot. Think!
It’s pointless shouting. He doesn’t have a two-way radio.
Nobody can see or hear him. Christ! What happened? His jaw
is chattering, his body wobbling, and now he can’t feel his hands
or feet. He lifts his right arm so his hand is in front of his eyes,
but it doesn’t feel as if it belongs to him. His fingers won’t flex
and the skin is grey, the same colour as his dear mum when he
found her dead in her flat. Frostbite and hypothermia have taken
hold of him. What he can’t understand is why he isn’t wearing
a glove. He checks the left hand. No glove and no watch, either.
Nothing makes sense.
Knox attempts to bend his knees. His legs are stiff and movement
is painful. He manages to bring them near enough to
discover he wears socks, but no boots. The socks are caked in ice
and look like snowballs. His shivering is so violent that when he
tries to touch them, he topples over.
Stunned by his helplessness, Knox stays where he fell. He
places a numb hand on his stomach but he can’t tell if he’s still
wearing a coat. He can’t feel anything. He blinks away the ice in
his sore eyes and peers down the length of his body. He sees the
navy blue of his fleece. No coat. The realisation that he will die if
he doesn’t find shelter very soon is like an electric shock and his
whole body spasms. Terrified, he scrambles to a sitting position,
battling the blizzard and his own weakness.
‘Help!’ he shouts, over and over, oblivious to the pointlessness
of doing so.