Black Moss by David Nolan
In April 1990, as rioters took over Strangeways prison in Manchester, someone killed a little boy at Black Moss.
And no one cared.
No one except Danny Johnston, an inexperienced radio reporter trying to make a name for himself.
More than a quarter of a century later, Danny returns to his home city to revisit the murder that’s always haunted him.
If Danny can find out what really happened to the boy, maybe he can cure the emptiness he’s felt inside since he too was a child.
But finding out the truth might just be the worst idea Danny Johnston has ever had.
One of the main characters in the book isn’t a person at all – it’s the landscape around Manchester. It dominates. You can even see the hills from the city centre – they cup Manchester like a horseshoe. You can’t get away from them. The moors around Oldham, in particular, are especially bleak and unforgiving. In parts there isn’t even a tree to break up the view. The vista is as intimidating as anything you’d get in Scandinavia and sometimes almost as snowbound. It’s not necessarily what you’d think of when the word ‘Manchester’ is mentioned is it? But it’s true.
We’ve had plenty of ‘Scandi Noir’…Black Moss is ‘Manc Noir’.
The original idea came to me when I was out walking. I came across a reservoir way up in the hills that had a beach. Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses has a famous quote: ‘Manchester’s got everything, apart from a beach.’ It appears he was wrong. Here was a beach. I had a notion: ‘If I was going to dump a body somewhere, this is where I’d do it.’ Then I thought: ‘What a really weird thing to cross my mind.’ I looked at the map to see what the reservoir was called. It was called Black Moss.
Such a great name. Black Moss. Wow.
I couldn’t see another human being as far as I looked in every direction, yet in the distance I could see the skyline on Manchester City Centre. I thought that if anything happened to me here, I’d be done for. Yet I can see Manchester. Help is near, yet so far away. It gave me the chills. It all started from that thought, though there were several years between me seeing the beach and starting the book.
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