This week the star of my FEATURE FRIDAY is Steve Parker. Steve is a new addition to the fantastic group of authors published by the awesome JOFFE BOOKS. I am very excited to share with you an article written by Steve where he tells us all about himself. I know you are eager to read on so I will leave you to it. I hope you enjoy it! Do read on to find out all about his brilliant debut thriller: THEIR LAST WORDS.
A few things you might be interested to know about me by Steve Parker
I’m not as sick as you may think! The reaction to my first book has been…interesting. Those who know me well and were involved in reading the early drafts of my books look at me like I’m a complete stranger to them. They seem to think that I’m hiding some kind of dark side and even my wife looked at me a bit funny when she read the first one! I’m not hiding a dark side at all. I’m just writing about the life I know and feel most comfortable in and even though I’ve retired, that blue streak runs deep and I still consider myself to be a copper (weird, eh?).
I was forced to retire early due to injury. When I was quite young in service I found myself somewhat outnumbered in a street fight which resulted in some brave soul kicking me in the back. After getting myself back to some level of health I got into another fight and got pushed onto the corner of a fireplace and it jabbed me right in the same place. That did it. I couldn’t stand for three months. Amazing what you can do with a positive mental attitude, a truck load of physio and a deep desire to find the little B who pushed me (I did). Every day’s a painful day but, that’s life. I can stand and I can run so I’m winning. Moral of the story: be a better fighter!
My primary characters are, of course, an amalgamation of people I have known and crossed paths with over the years. I really did know two millionaire policemen and God knows how many Johnny Clocks’s!
I try not to get hung up on the procedural bit in my books although I accept that there is some of it. All I want to do is tell a story that I hope will engage people and keep them entertained and it is the story that drives me. I do, like most storytellers, gild the lily a bit and to those people who say ‘yeah, that wouldn’t happen in real life,’ don’t be so sure (apart from the bits where Commissioner Young comes out to play. An office rof that rank coming out from behind his desk? That would never happen!). I also like to try and throw a bit of humour into my stories because that’s how police cope. We find humour in the darkest of corners and sometimes… we just see some funny stuff and it would be unrealistic if my characters didn’t see the humour in things.
Someone once said that as an author I was the lovechild of Martina Cole and James Patterson. I love that!
I believe that those of us who write about crime do so out of a need to show people what the world is really like beneath the veneer of the ordinary. We wrap it in what we hope is an entertaining, thrilling story but what we’re really saying is ‘there be monsters out there and the slippery buggers look like me and you. Watch yerself!’. The things that police officers see and do, mark us on some level. My second book will drive that point home.
On a cheerier note; my writing influences? Hard to say. So many. I actually learned to read from the comics my dad used to bring home for me every Friday when he got home from work and I learned to read at a very young age. Dad used to read a lot of Stephen King and I picked them up when he’d finished but I preferred crime and gravitated toward Ed McBain and his 87th precinct books. Joseph Wambaugh’s ‘The Choirboys’ had a big influence on me and made me want to be a copper. It seemed like a laugh…
I have no real form of writing routine. I just write wherever I can. Of late, I’ve been hanging the iPad over the steering wheel of my car and typing with a bluetooth keyboard. Have wheels, will travel. I tend to write wherever I can and edit at home on a laptop on the dining room table.
My first published works was, wait for it… articles in Health magazines. Whilst I was still a police officer I trained as a clinical hypnotherapist and eventually went on to teach the subject in my spare time. My specialist subject was in the treatment of trauma using something called EMDR. You can look that one up online if you’re interested as it would take far too long to explain here!
I am an avid photographer and had my first exhibition when I was 18. I have sold to magazines around the world and one or two of mine are in private collections. My first love is for black and white and I seriously, seriously, miss my old darkroom.
My wife and I have been married since time began and we have two incredible boys who are off-hand now and live happy and very productive lives. As a parent, that’ll do for me. We moved to the coast a few years ago and have a cockerpoo as a surrogate child! It’s whilst walking along the sea shore (shingles, really – did I mention it was the south coast?) with her that I get to thinking…what if?
What do I think of my publisher?
I’m a newbie to Joffe books but I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for them I would still be writing into a void. My first book was self-published and after a promising start, tanked into oblivion. I sent it to Jasper and to my surprise, he accepted it! In a very short space of time that book was re-titled, re-covered and in the Top 100 on the Amazon bestsellers chart and I found myself in a list that contained the likes of Lee Child, James Patterson and J.K Rowling! I’m still bewildered.
What I do like is that there is no pressure on me. Jasper wants me to write the best book I can before handing it in for editing and I appreciate and respect that. There is no deadline imposed upon me to produce and I’m not expected to just churn them out.
What I am suprised about, and grateful for, is the camaraderie amongst the other Joffe authors and the way that they all band together to help each other. Writing is a lonely business and it’s a great feeling to know that there’s someone out there willing to help or just talk to when things go a little bit wonky-donk with the story. And, not just any old authors – massive selling authors with zero ego and an eager willingness to help. How bad’s that?
I’m also deeply grateful to all of the bloggers and reviewers who take the time to help us to get noticed under the watchful eye of our very formidable launch team. The works these guys do is hugely important in the life of us authors and their contribution to our success does not go unnoticed. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that that sort of help and support isn’t so readliy available to ‘traditionally’ published authors.
As I said, I’m a newbie with just one book under my belt so I don’t know yet what’s in store for me but I like to think that somewhere, in that innovative and clever mind of Jasper’s, there’s a plan for me, for all of his authors and for Joffe Books itself. Whatever his plan is, wherever I go, I’m honored to be a part of it. Take a look at the bestseller charts. Dominated by Joffe authors. Owned!
THEIR LAST WORDS (Ray Paterson #1) by Steve Parker
Available from Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon Australia Amazon Canada
Discover a crime thriller full of shocking twists by one of the most exciting new authors you’ll read this year.
A VICTIM. A MUTILATED BODY. A SINGLE WORD.
A young woman is found dead on the streets of London. Her throat slashed, her body mutilated, and one word carved into her flesh: “DON’T.”
Detective Superintendent Ray Paterson is assigned to the case. Young, handsome, and from a well-off background, he’s tipped for the top. He joins a team based out of Bermondsey, South London. It’s meant to be a stepping stone to his next promotion, but this case will threaten to bring down his career and everything he thought he knew about policing.
Paterson is put in charge of the dead girl’s investigation and quickly discovers he must rely on his friend and mentor, Detective Sergeant Dave Jordan to guide him through.
THEN ANOTHER BODY IS DISCOVERED. ANOTHER WORD CUT INTO THE VICTIM’S CHEST.
The police realise they may have a depraved serial killer on their hands. The murderer is trying to send them a message carved in his victims’ bodies. But who’s the message for?
How many more must die? Detective Paterson may be the only man who can stop this vile killer . . . if he can survive long enough.
This is the first in a series of action-packed, edge-of-your-seat crime thrillers, with an ending that will have your heart in your mouth.
Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Mark Billingham.
PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A HEAVILY REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “THE SKY IS CRYING.”
TWO DETECTIVES WHO HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT EACH OTHER MUST WORK TOGETHER
Detective Superintendent Ray Paterson, is a young and (thanks to family money) wealthy womaniser, separated from his model wife and tipped to be the youngest ever commissioner of police. He knows he’s weak when it comes to practical policing and struggles to find a place among his peers, desperate to be a good policeman and not just a ‘climber’.
Detective Sergeant Johnny Clocks is a foul-mouthed, working-class officer. He grew up surrounded by rogues and villains to become a first-class thief taker with the Met police. However, his childish attitude has short-circuited his career and he spends his days antagonising as many people as he can.
Detective Sergeant Dave Jordan is an old-school copper who trusts his instincts but relies on evidence. He is typical in that his marriage has broken down and he’s been unable to form a relationship since.
Steve Parker is a retired police officer who served for 20 years in numerous high-profiles squads.
Bermondsey is an area of London nestled on the banks of the River Thames. It once had a reputation for housing more armed robbers, murderers and career criminals than anywhere else in the country. Now one of the most upmarket places to live and work in London, it has all but severed itself from its working-class roots. Home to the iconic Tower Bridge and crammed with expensive apartments, art galleries, fancy restaurants and famous residents. But for the police, those who truly know, Bermondsey never lost its roots . . . or its reputation.
What the readers are saying:
On the Shelf Reviews
This also has a little twist on the usual crime books, as the superintendent is one of the main characters investigating the murder. I can honestly say I haven’t seen before, usually they’re in the background making it harder for people to do their jobs. Also Ray Paterson is a bit flash, driving round in an Aston Martin wearing Gucci shoes and posh suits, coming from money he doesn’t really have to work either unlike your usual copper. Read more here
Linda Strong Book Reviews
This is the first in a series of action-packed, edge-of-your-seat crime thrillers, with an ending that will have your heart in your mouth. Read more here
Joanna Larum’s Reviews
Ginger Book Geek
Blimey oh riley, this was one hell of an unpredictable and scary rollercoaster ride of a read. The story hit the ground running and maintained the pace throughout. As soon as I read the first sentence I just knew that I was going to become addicted to reading this book and so it proved. For me ‘Their Last Words’ really is a ‘CPID’ (can’t put it down) book. Read more here
The Bookworm Drinketh
I loved getting to know the characters and Steve Parker did a great job at really getting you to feel the weight that the work puts on these officers and how they deal with it. Will they shut down? Will they deal with it with dark humour? Will they take to the drink? From the very beginning you wondered how these officers could go out there and do their jobs, seeing what they see. Read more here
Donna’s Book Blog
I really, really enjoyed this book – it was well written and it completely captivated me. I am a massive crime fiction fan and I love reading book from new authors to me and this one was a complete delight for me. Read more here
Robin Loves Reading
The first half of the book was a bit difficult for me as I am rather sensitive. But, once they had a bead on the killer, it then became a matter of locating him before he could continue to murder people. This fast-paced book truly became a page turner from this point on. I had a surprisingly emotional reaction to the shocking conclusion. Haven’t not read much crime fiction before, I was impressed. Read more here
Turn the Page Blog
My turn to tell you how brilliant this book is! I must admit it’s a bit got in places compared to some books I have read, but i think that’s what makes it interesting. Read more here
Orchard Book Club
A gruesome body on the first page and I was hooked. This book never takes its foot off the gas, as bodies turn up left right and centre Detective Superintendent Ray Paterson and his team have their work cut out for them. Read more here
Black Books Blog
I really got into this story very quickly with the murders as they were done in such a way that you would assume it was personal, or the killer is some deranged character who will kill more and lead the police on a merry chase, so I knew I was going to be in for a good ride with Paterson as he and his little team investigate everything. Read more here
Beth in a Box: Guest Review by Margaret Russell
You need your wits about you with this book. It is fast paced and the author has developed a strong cast of characters and a good plot, all dealing with a particularly gruesome crime that develops into a series of crimes. They are all committed by the same pertpetrator who leaves no forensic clues behind to help the Police out. Read more here
Steve Parker author bio:
I was born and raised in South East London (Peckham to be precise – cushty, my son). At the ripe old age of twenty-one, I joined the Metropolitan Police where I served for twenty years before I was pensioned out with a serious back injury. I then went to work as an enforcement officer for a local authority before taking redundancy.
Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a complete lack of DIY skills so was legitimately able to get away with swanning around the house doing bugger all, all day long. Finding myself with plenty of spare time and a deep desire to never work for anyone again, I gave myself permission to go back to writing (I’d been writing on and off for years).
When I’m not writing, I’m out taking photographs, something I’ve done since I was a nipper and will do until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil.
I live down in the windier part of East Sussex near the sea with my long-suffering wife and my ‘off-her-nut’ cockerpoo. I have two sons of whom I am so proud, I cannot begin to tell you.
Great feature! I loved Steve’s first book, and hope to see many more. 👍
Book 2 has just come in Blog Tour 30th Aug to 8th Sep if you want to Jon xx