The omni-talented Barry Forshaw, head honcho of Crime Time ( and author of Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction, British Crime Film and Guns for Hire: The Modern Adventure Thriller, among many others, asked me to get involved in this round-robin called The Next Big Thing.

The idea is that I answer the following questions about my writing then recommend other authors who also answer the questions and they in turn recommend other authors until the world begs for mercy. You can find Barry’s answers on the Crime Time website, and my “tag” authors at the end of the questionnaire, who should be posting within the week.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Dead Man’s Land, out on January 3.

 2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Dead Man’s Land is inspired by a line from Conan Doyle’s His Last Bow, set in 1914, in which Sherlock Holmes says that Watson intends to ‘rejoin his old service’ – by this time the Royal Army Medical Corps. So it is Dr. Watson’s adventures in WW1.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Historical thriller.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

The central character is Dr John Watson – Holmes’s sidekick – but without the Great Detective. It roughly follows Conan Doyle’s (sometimes wayward) chronology of his heroes, so I need an actor in his 60s, someone like Tom Wilkinson, martin Shaw or Michael Kitchen. I’m thinking Kelly Riley (too young?) or Alex Kingston as his flame-haired nurse.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

With thousands dying every day on the Western Front, what better place to commit a murder..

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It is published by Simon & Schuster.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About seven months.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Despite having Dr Watson in it, not Conan Doyle, more Len Deighton or early Robert Harris.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My editor at S&S, Maxine Hitchcock said they were looking for a novel based on ‘a detective in the trenches’. She set me on the road to recalling that Dr Watson had served in WW1.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Winston Churchill is a pivotal figure in the novel, because after Gallipoli he went into the army and served on the front line.

To see how other authors tackle this list, go along and visit:

Dean Crawford, a British Michael Crichton and author of science-thrillers Apocalypse, Covenant and Immortal at

Howard Linskey, who brings Get Carter and crew bang up to date in The Drop, The Damage and The Dead on

Frank Barnard, ace WW2 flying chronicler (Blue Man Falling, Band of Eagles, To Play The Fox) and, with A Time For Heroes, WW1 as well, at

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