Untainted Blood by Liz Mistry
An unmissable new crime thriller
In a city that is already volatile, tensions mount after a Tory MP in Bradford Central is discredited leaving the door open for the extreme right-wing candidate, Graeme Weston, to stand in the resultant by-election.
However, Graeme Weston is not what he appears to be and with secrets jeopardising his political career, he must tread very carefully.
Meanwhile, a serial killer targets Asian men who lead alternatives lifestyles and delivers his own form of torture.
As DI Gus McGuire’s team close in, the deranged killer begins to unravel and in an unexpected twist the stakes are raised for Gus.
Are the murders linked to the political scandals or is there another motive behind them?
DI Gus McGuire and his team are back and this might be their toughest case yet.
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) I moved to Bradford from Scotland when I was in my twenties, met my husband and stayed. I taught in inner city Bradford Primary schools for a long time and absolutely loved it … until the government decided they knew more about teaching than the teachers did. I’ve got three children, the youngest is learning to drive … how scary is that? I still don’t know where the time went.
Untainted Blood, in some ways, is my creative response to recent political events; the General election, Brexit, the Scottish Indie Referendum, and Trumps presidency in the USA. The world isn’t in a good place at the minute and regardless of your politics, I think most people feel uneasy.
Untainted Blood is the third in my Gus McGuire series and is set against the backdrop outlined above. A forced by-election in the fictional Bradford Central ward sees a far-right candidate, Graeme Weston, from Albion First stand. He is charismatic and surrounds himself with a mixture of respectable business men and thugs. However, all is not as it seems in the Weston household.
Throw into the mix a serial killer who targets young Asian and black men and tattoos swastikas on their groins and DI Gus McGuire has his work cut out. That’s unfortunate for Gus because he is at the lowest point he’s ever been. His temper is frayed, his team are decimated and he can’t seem to find his equilibrium. I like to think Untainted Blood shows the good and the bad sides of Bradford.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A) I’m one of those writers who does a lot of thinking (my husband, Nilesh and the kids call it ‘doing nothing’, but I beg to differ). I got my first tattoo when I turned fifty (four years ago) and, although after childbirth, it was a walk in the park, I got to thinking about how skilled the tattoo artist was and how horribly painful it would to have an amateur do it (think Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo … you know the scene I mean!)
I left the idea festering in my subconscious until late last year when I started to pad it out a bit more. I already had the idea of Graeme Weston’s wife and her storyline in my head from years previously, so I pulled it out and dusted it off … I love that story line.
I also loved that I was able to bring some of the non-police characters from Uncoiled Lies back for Untainted Blood. They just slotted in so well and it was nice to become reacquainted with them and see how the intervening months had treated them.
I have to say I don’t do very much plotting. I have a few ideas in and an ending in mind but what happens along the way depends on how the characters pan out. I delivered a sucker punch to Gus and his family near the end and I must admit, that was a very last-minute idea
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A) This one could take a while … I’ve just finished Rob Ashman’s Mechanic trilogy and I loved it and I hear he’s working on a new one so I’m happy about that.
I adore Stuart MacBride. I think I’m a prime candidate to play Roberta Steel if his novels get televised (hint, hint Mr MacBride) – I’m up for bacon rolls, crotch groping, bra fiddling and generally disgusting behaviour.
I love a good Faye Kellerman with her Lazarus/Decker series and Val McDermid’s Hill/Jordan series is great … I’ve got her knew one, Insidious Intent, ready to read for review on The Crime Warp
However, at this precise minute, there are two books I’m gagging to get my hands on … the first is Graham Smith’s The Kindred killers which is due out in September … his character Jake Boulder is HOT! The second is Stuart MacBride’s Now We Are Dead which is out in November and is a standalone spinoff featuring Roberta Steel (did I mention that I’m first in the casting queue when the McCrae/Steel series gets televised?)
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr Pinkwhistle books as a young child (I’ve heard they’ve been banned…. No idea why). He was a little disapparating gnome who could become invisible. Loved those stories. I progressed to the Famous Five and the Secret Seven before moving on to Nancy Drew. Then, of course, Agatha Christie. I inherited a lovely picture book of Heidi from my sister. Heidi was chubby with curly black hair and I loved that book. I also inherited all the Little Women and What Katy did books from my sister.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) There’s been loads. When Betsy from Bloodhound Books gave me my first two book deal, I was over the moon. I was in my fifties and had almost given up hope of ever being published so that was brilliant. Holding the first copy of Unquiet Souls in my hands was amazing … I cried … (I do a lot of that). Meeting the Bloodhound Books family was fantastic. We are so supportive of each other and Betsy Fred and the team are fab!
My most recent highlight was being asked to do a panel at Bradford Literature Festival this year. Bradford is my adoptive home city and I was so proud of that. It was amazing to have people come up and tell me I’d done a good job and that they’d enjoyed reading about their city through my eyes. Very emotional… (I cried then too)
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) My family are amazing. My husband is so supportive of me and is by my side all the time. I suffer from depression and about five or six years ago I had a particularly bad spell which lasted for years and really incapacitated me Nilesh was there the whole time and now that I’ve been published and am basically living my dream he couldn’t be prouder of me. My kids keep me grounded and are quite liberal with their hugs …
*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.
*Untainted Blood is available free to members of Kindle unlimited and currently at the Ebook #Bargain price of just 99p*