Rock Fiction isn’t a well known genre, but it is quickly becoming my favorite. My guest today captures this genre brilliantly, combining mystery and suspense with the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Even better (for me!) is much of the musical references transport us back to my favorite musical era – the seventies. The author is Geoffrey West and the book is Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide. Geoffrey is going to share the inspiration behind this story. First, let’s meet the man behind the words:
Geoffrey West is a freelance journalist and author living in Surrey, England. Educated at Dulwich College, he has written five non fiction books for Crowood Press, and written a number of crime fiction novels, one of which (Deadly Contact) was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. Rock’n'Roll Suicide is the first of a series of crime thrillers featuring Behavioural Investigative Adviser and writer Jack Lockwood.
Connect with Geoffrey in the following places:
*** Action packed thriller/mystery filled with murders and twists. Whilst researching the suicide of rock queen Maggi O’Kane in 1980, ex-criminal profiler Dr Jack Lockwood discovers evidence suggesting that she and her band were murdered to suppress facts she found out about John Lennon’s assassination. First of a series of Jack Lockwood mysteries.
***And here is Geoffrey West, on what inspired this book:
I was always interested in the concept of someone dying and their reputation being unfairly trashed by others, so that, I suppose was the genesis of my book Rock’n’Roll Suicide.
The idea began when I thought of a writer commissioned to do a book about rock star deaths, everything is going well, it’s nearly done, but the least known high-profile rock star death isn’t he discovers, as it seems. The (fictitious) singer, Maggi O’Kane, is reputed to have murdered her band, including the father of her young child, then committed suicide. Everyone wants Jack to leave things be, to let Maggi be remembered as a vicious suicidal killer. But being stubborn, and determined to defend Maggi’s memory, he discovers she may have been murdered to suppress a (fictitious) conspiracy involving the death of John Lennon.
I love Raymond Chandler novels, the concept of a hero such as Philip Marlowe who takes on powerful enemies and is always determined to right a wrong, who is lonely and flawed, and seems in some ways lacking in ambition and ability, but, above all, determined to never give up. Most crucial to his character is that he has integrity: he never lets anyone down, he always helps anyone he can, and he never plays a dirty trick. Raymond Chandler actually went to my old school, Dulwich College, and the name Marlowe is also the name of one of the school houses (for sports), in turn named after the famous Elizabethan playwright. So I thought there would be no harm in making my hero, Jack Lockwood, an ex-student of Dulwich. Quite a touch of irony that Chandler was a great writer, who was one step removed from modelling his most famous hero on another great writer and master spy, the dramatist and adventurer Christopher (Kit) Marlowe, reputed by some to have been the ‘true’ William Shakespeare.
I also love Dick Francis and Robert Goddard novels. Both of these writers usually feature a ‘man in a mess who has to get out of it’. Crucially, for me, the hero of a book has to be likeable, he has to be someone you’d enjoy chatting to over a cup of coffee, the kind of guy who’d probably look after a hungry dog, or help an old lady cross the road, and defend anyone in trouble. The type of person who’d bawl you out to your face, but defend you behind your back.
It always seems uplifting to me that in every culture in every country, the human qualities admired most are decency, loyalty, kindness and bravery. The school sneak, who informs on others, is universally hated. The tyrant who misuses power to terrify others, is also loathed. For me, a hero will certainly make mistakes, trust the wrong people, tell secrets he shouldn’t, even lie and cheat for the right ends. But what he or she must never do is betray his ultimate integrity, they should always try to do what’s right. Once a hero takes a bribe, turns a blind eye to injustice, or treats someone badly for no good reason, I lay down the book. Personally, I cannot abide cruelty to animals and if a character in a book hurts or kills an animal, I am actively hoping he quickly meets a sticky end. If an animal goes missing, I have to skip forward to make sure it comes home safe.
What struck me about Darcia Helle’s hairdresser character Skye in her book The Cutting Edge, was that while she hated many of her customers, even fantasised about killing them, when she actually had the chance to kill her worst enemy she couldn’t do it, nor did she even want to. When it came down to it, like all good heroes or heroines, she did the right thing.
That sums it up for me. The hero in a crime novel can be flawed, a failure, weak in many ways even, and often tempted to break the rules of decency. But he or she never actually crosses the line. They always, when it comes down to it, always do the right thing.
And thanks very much Darcia, for letting me guest blog on her site. I hope she might write something for my blog sometime, though my blog is in its infancy.
And Doppelganger, the next Jack Lockwood mystery, will be available very soon.
Jack Lockwood, my hero in Rock’n’Roll Suicide, wanted to say a few words:
‘When I left school I knew I didn’t want to go to university, so instead I worked with my hands, became a labourer on building (construction) sites and learnt building crafts, such as carpentry and bricklaying, the hard way. But after a few years of that I was bored, and wanted to use my mind, not just my hands and my fists – fights often broke out amongst the navvies I worked with, and I had to learn to defend myself. So I went back to study as a ‘mature student’, miraculously winning a place at Oxford, where I studied psychology, even going on to do my doctorate. At the time ‘criminal profilers’ were coming in for a lot of criticism, so it was decided that a new profession, allied to the police force, should be formed, that of Behavioural Investigative Adviser. I worked with the police as a BIA for a while, until various unpleasant things happened which I won’t go into here. My career hit a dead end until I was offered one chance of a change of direction.
‘On the whole I’ve failed at plenty of things. I’m often lonely, I haven’t had much luck making money, I’m divorced and so far I’ve always been unlucky in love. My big problem is that even though I’m trained to see human weaknesses I tend to see only the best in people, and it gets me into a lot of trouble. I always try to do the right thing, but circumstances often combine to make my life hard, and earn me enemies I don’t deserve. . . But one thing I’ve always maintained: once you start something you should never give up.’
***Thank you, Geoff and Jack, for sharing your world with us!
What are your thoughts on the various John Lennon conspiracies? I’d love to hear what you think of the Lennon twist Geoff incorporates in Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide!
I hope you’ll take the time to connect with Geoffrey and explore his writing world.
Thanks for reading.
Tags: Author Interview, Conspiracy Theories, Criminal Profilers, Doppleganger, Fictional Heroes, Geoffrey David West, Geoffrey West, indie authors, Indie Authors on Kindle, Jack Lockwood Mystery Series, John Lennon, John Lennon Conspiracy, Mystery Authors, mystery series, Raymond Chandler, Rock 'n' Roll Suicide, rock fiction, Suspense Authors, Writing Inspiration