Guest Post: Setting a Crime Fiction Book in Liverpool by Luca Veste

Monday 20 October 2014
I'm genuinely excited to be part of the blog tour for Luca Veste's second novel, The Dying Place. I am from and live in Liverpool and have always been disappointed by the lack of crime fiction set in the city. I read Dead Gone last year and knew I had found a new talent in Luca that could not only tell a fantastic story, but set it in Liverpool! Plus he's just been snapped up by Simon & Schuster which is massively exciting given the crime authors they publish.

You only have to read the Liverpool Echo to know there's plenty to write about if you set a crime novel in the city, yet Luca raises some interesting points in this guest post that definitely got me thinking.

I'll be sharing my review for The Dying Place on Thursday but until then enjoy this post.

Setting a Crime Fiction Book in Liverpool

I was asked recently if I felt I had painted myself into a corner by setting my books in Liverpool. It was a genuine question - from someone at an event in Liverpool perhaps surprisingly - but one I hadn't really considered before. When I started writing the Murphy and Rossi series, it never occurred to me to set them anywhere other than the city I knew so well. Liverpool was simply the only place I could see those novels being set. Never mind that Liverpool hasn't had serial killer in over 100 years, or that we're generally known for having much more low-level crime than the type you would see generating mass coverage on 24 hour news channels. Liverpool was just the setting I gravitated towards writing within.

Liverpool is in some ways a vastly different city than the one I knew when I was younger - twenty years or so ago - yet, in many ways, remarkably similar. We still have pockets of deprivation and relative poverty, but also a bustling city centre which has undergone rapid change over the past decade. You can travel around the city, spend a few hours on the roads in and out of the centre, and see new complexes of glass-fronted office buildings reaching up higher than the Liver Birds building, towards council estates in an endless state of decline, to leafy suburbs with large detached houses. It's this disparity which interests me about the city and provides the inspiration for any number of stories to be told. The haves and have-nots living side by side. It's where those two cultures clash where my eye is drawn to.

In 'The Dying Place' the culture clash between generations is what drives the story. A certain group from an older generation who possess what they deem to be a different set of values and ideals. A group of teenagers who are viewed as "scroungers" "scallies" "scum" and other words beginning with S. I have seen that clash across many places I've lived in Liverpool and wanted to explore what would happen when one of those groups took power over the other... and, of course, the inevitable violence which would follow.

For me, there is no better place I would rather write about than Liverpool right now. There is so much to explore within the city - the people, the places, the history - I can't imagine I'll be short for stories to tell for a long, long time.

Thanks to Luca for this guest post!

The Dying Place is released on October 23rd and is published by Avon.

About the book:

Once inside…there’s no way out

A fate worse than death…

DI Murphy and DS Rossi discover the body of known troublemaker Dean Hughes, dumped on the steps of St Mary’s Church in West Derby, Liverpool. His body is covered with the unmistakable marks of torture.

As they hunt for the killer, they discover a worrying pattern. Other teenagers, all young delinquents, have been disappearing without a trace.

Who is clearing the streets of Liverpool?

Where are the other missing boys being held?

And can Murphy and Rossi find them before they meet the same fate as Dean?

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