The past catches up in latest thriller from West Sussex author
Former Angmering teacher Graham Minett offers what he calls a redemption novel with his latest book.
The Syndicate by GJ Minett will be published by Bonnier Zaffre at eBook £3.59 and paperback £8.99 on July 9.
“Essentially it will be marketed as a thriller but I hope it covers more genres than just crime.
“Its central character is Jon Kavanagh, an insular and solitary man who for the past 20 years has found some sort of peace and a sense of community, running a bookshop in Wareham, Dorset and staying fit by running each morning over Durdle Door.
“It has taken the local community a long, long time to get to know him but he has earned their acceptance; they respect his privacy.
“What they do not know is that 20 years earlier his life was very different, working as an enforcer for a leading crime syndicate in London, led by a man named Maurice Hayes. The established rule is that no one is allowed to walk away from The Syndicate but Kavanagh, feeling betrayed by Hayes, has amassed incriminating tapes and documents which he has threatened to release if there is the slightest hint that they are coming after him.
“It is a fragile truce which has held for all these years but in London 20 years is a long time and things are changing.
“The Syndicate is now run by a man who views his defection as a dangerous precedent which might encourage others to try their luck as well.
“The Syndicate has always known where he is. Now they’re coming for him.”
In writing it, the character of Jon Kavanagh came first.
“Then I happened to spend a few days near Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and decided that would be a good setting.
“While doing my research, I stumbled across a ghost village nearby called Tyneham which was just perfect for what I had in mind. Then it was a question of knowing Kavanagh well enough to identify his Achilles heel and come up with a storyline that would put that weakness under extreme pressure.
“It’s definitely a standalone. I wouldn’t rule out writing a series at some stage featuring the same character.
“But all four of my novels so far have been one-offs.
“I enjoy creating new characters rather than tweaking old ones.
“I have three other books already, The Hidden Legacy (its opening chapter won a national competition for unpublished authors), Lie In Wait (which is set in the Bognor/Chichester area) and Anything For Her (set in Rye, Camber Sands and Winchelsea plus a place called Peaks Island off the coast of Portland, Maine)
“I’ve always written, even as early as primary school.
“I wrote my first novel in my 20s which was accepted by an agent. But my teaching career made it difficult to find the time to really make a go of it.
“What made the difference was the MA at the University of Chichester. That was primarily responsible for turning a promising writer into a published one.”
Completing the course in 2008, he gained a distinction for the dissertation under the guidance of novelist Alison MacLeod and almost immediately won the Segora Short Story Competition with On the Way Out.
For 25 years, Graham worked at the Angmering School, initially as head of sixth form, then as assistant head teacher and for the final ten years as the school time-tabler.
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