Paul JohnstonPaul Johnston
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Body Politic
The Bone Yard
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The Bone Yard

Now available as an ebook.

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Author's Introduction

Ah, that difficult second novel! People ask if there was extra pressure on me when I was writing The Bone Yard since Body Politic won the Creasey Award for best first novel. The simple answer is no - because, due to the way the timing worked, I had already delivered The Bone Yard when I won the award. But that isn't to say writing a second novel is straightforward. For a start, most novelists are still holding down another job at that stage in their careers (I was doing academic research - into the process and practice of reading, if you must know). And if their first novel has made a splash, as mine was lucky enough to do, especially in Scotland, the levels of expectation are already high. That's why all the publishing manuals advise you to finish your second book before your first one comes out. Of course, all that does is put extra pressure on the third one - there's no escaping pressure in this business!

And there's yet another problem. If you establish a series in your first novel, readers will want more of the same in the second so it's not the place to be too experimental. Looking back at my first two books, I see them as parts one and two of a single entity rather than separate books. Most of the characters introduced in Body Politic reappear in The Bone Yard and the political concerns are broadly similar. I hope the characters develop, and I tried hard to vary the plot lines. There are also new themes - nuclear power, drugs that enhance sexual performance (Viagra had just come on to the scene, so to speak), a new hard-line government (New Labour had get the picture).

I was nervous about the response to The Bone Yard, but it got some of the best reviews I've ever had. It is very much a homage to Conan Doyle (note the Holmesian opening with the seemingly crazy client arriving to consult the detective) - perhaps that explains its warm reception, at least in part. Anyone who turns their nose up at Holmes and Watson is no friend of mine!

UK Hardback ISBN 0340694920 published July 1998
UK Paperback ISBN 0340694939 published April 1999, new edition June 2001
Foreign editions    
USA St Martin's Press 2000
Germany Knaur 2000

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