Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it.
Degrees of Darkness is due in September. It was not an easy book to write, so I’m hoping it also makes for an uncomfortable read. It features ex-detective Frank Rogers, who ends up becoming involved in the manhunt for a serial killer who murdered Frank’s young son, before abducting his daughter as well. The killer had abducted young girls of the same age before, but the moment they start turning up dead, Frank knows he has a race against time to rescue his daughter before she too becomes a murder victim.
We see things from Frank’s perspective as he has to try and reason with a man who just killed his son, from the daughter’s perspective as she has to fight to live, and from the point of view of the man who aims to mentally torture Frank and have his fun. Behind all this runs the thread of what the deranged lunatic actually does to the girls before, during or after he kills them.
I think people should read it because despite the unsettling nature of the crimes, there are human tales being told along the way. I think the reader will feel a whole range of emotions for Frank as he attempts to emerge triumphant from the ruins of his life. I think the reader will want to spend time with Laura, Frank’s daughter, as she calls upon every last morsel of strength to survive her daily ordeal. I also think people will want to know how and why a sadistic monster became the way he is, and to discover whether he has any weaknesses Frank can exploit.
If someone were to write your life story, what would the title be?
Perhaps Don’t Stop Believing. There’s the Journey song massacred by the Glee TV show, a song which features in the final few scenes of The Sopranos, and then there’s my journey towards publication. I actually did stop believing, but I should not have and I regret the fact that I did. It’s more of a cautionary tale, I guess.
What’s the strangest fan request or question you’ve received?
Sadly, I am too unknown of to have fans who make requests. Therefore, I think the strangest has to be having members of my own family asking me to sign copies of my first book, Bad to the Bone. That reaches pretty high on my weird-ometer.
If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?
It would have to be Michael Connelly, just for the insight into that crime-writing brain of his. The man is a genius and a legend, for me the best American crime writer of them all. It would be impossible not to learn from the man who gave us Harry Bosch.
Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!)
I was fortunate enough to meet my hero – guitarist Steve Lukather, master session musician, permanent member of Toto, the man who played the Michael Jackson ‘Beat It’ riff that runs throughout the whole song. I went to the aftershow party when Toto were in London in 2006, and met the entire band. But Lukather is my favourite axeman, and although the established wisdom is that you should not meet your heroes, the man was humble and generous with his time.
Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.
The Late Show, by Michael Connelly. Why? It’s Michael Connelly of course.
The Black Hornet, by Rob Sinclair. Why? Ron is a fellow kennel mate from Bloodhound Books, I like espionage thrillers, and I have to say the blurb sucked me in – terrific book, too.
Gunmetal Gray, by Mark Greaney. I am a huge fan of The Gray Man novels, although I have to say I struggled a bit with this one.
Who is Tony J Forder:
Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller Bad to the Bone, the first in a series featuring DI Jimmy Bliss and DC Penny Chandler. The second book in the series will be released early in 2018, with a third currently being written.
Before that, on 28 September 2017, Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will also be published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone novel set to chill the blood of all who read it.
And in November, Tony will publish his new fast-paced action thriller, Scream Blue Murder. This is the first novel in an intended series.
Some years ago, Tony won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books. The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale. It was the start of Tony’s publishing journey.
Tony is now signed to Bloodhound Books for a minimum of four books, but there is much more to come from the Bliss and Chandler series.