Maps of Hell
Maps of Hell is a handbrake turn of a novel. Everything that readers know about Matt Wells is put on hold as he tries to work out who and where he is. As his memory gradually returns, he manages to escape from captivity, only to find himself in the frame for a series of gruesome murders. The story unravels exclusively in the US - something of a challenge for a British writer, but very much a longstanding ambition. After all, the US is the home of gritty noir and hard-nosed police procedural - any crime novelist worthy of the name would want to take on (in all senses) the country that produced Hammett, Chandler, Macdonald and Kojak (sorry, my Greek interests may have slipped in there). Then there are the movies to be referenced - in this novel's case, The Manchurian Candidate (also a remarkably weird novel by Richard Condon) - film-wise, I prefer the original - and The Bourne Identity (the
original movie, let alone the novel, is much less classy than the first Matt Damon outing).
Exploring the landscapes and townscapes of the eastern US was also a challenge for the writer, though I have been to most of the locations - Matt himself hasn't a clue where he is at the outset, so he learns from point zero. But how much can he trust what's in his head, never mind the people he meets? Cranking up the jeopardy was an interesting technical exercise - and a lot of fun. Oh, and there are Nazis. And Satanists. Rock and roll!
So, see what you think. Is Matt's sojourn in the US convincing? Worthwhile? (Hope so, because he's there in the next book; too…) As always, I will try to reply to every message.
|US mass-market edition
||Published by MIRA Books May 2010
|UK paperback edition
||Published by MIRA Books August 2010