Counter Terrorism, anarchist mayhem, and ruthless acts of jolting violence threaten to throw London into chaos in Charlie Flowers’s latest thriller, BATTLE COME DOWN. The fourth installment in the series featuring the unlikely protagonist Riz Sabir, BATTLE COME DOWN brings the ongoing war against international terrorism into the heart of the UK. THE BIG THRILL checked in with Charlie so he could offer readers a glimpse at what the most recent entry has to offer.
Congratulations on BATTLE COME DOWN! For those readers who may not already be acquainted with your work, what would you like them to know about your book and its main character, Riz Sabir?
BATTLE COME DOWN is the fourth book in the Riz Sabir Mysteries series. Riz Sabir is British, of Pakistani origin, who drifted into crime and then extremism as a young man. He trained with al Qaeda, was arrested by Counter Terrorism Command, and made an offer he couldn’t refuse by a murky, semi-private intelligence arm of the Ministry of Defence. He now works as their main troubleshooter and investigator. Throughout the books, he is aided (and sometimes hindered) by his wife, Holly, and the army unit she belongs to known as the Blackeyes.
All of the books in the Riz Sabir series are quite dark, depicting a harsh, violent world. How would you describe the theme of this book? And what drives you to the themes you choose?
The theme of most of the books in the series is “violence is real and the world is dangerous, but love will prevail.” The theme of this book is “be careful what you wish for,” in terms of asking the authorities how far they’d be prepared to go in dealing with urban unrest, and what could spiral out of their control.
Your books explore aspects of conflict many writers avoid, such as tribal genocide. What sort of challenges do you deal with in addressing issues like that in fiction?
As we can see from Syria and Iraq, and now Ukraine, there isn’t much you can depict on the page that isn’t regularly outdone in terms of sheer horror every time we turn on the news. For this book, I just brought those horrors—ethnic targeting, nerve agents, death squads—to London. It wasn’t an easy write and some parts were hard to read back. Early reviews are positive though. I didn’t want to alienate my fan base too much!
The title of your latest book certainly invokes a particular era in England’s past and brings to mind the intense fighting that England endured on her soil during WWII, an intensity mimicked by the kinetic, cinematic flow of your plot. How did classics like Guy Hamilton’s “The Battle of Britain” influence the pacing and style of the book?
I watched it every night for about three months. It was a huge influence, as it shows British command and control systems and how they deal with round the clock attacks. I loved the way the times and dates come up to keep you clear about where you are in the film and what you’re looking at. Since BATTLE COME DOWN deals with round the clock attacks from inside the country, and how command centers deal with it, I replicated that.
On the literary side, who are your influences? What writers do you read when you’re not writing?
I read Ralph Peters and Len Deighton. Both are big influences on me, Peters’s novel RED ARMY in particular.
What’s your current work in progress? Can you give readers the scoop on what’s in the pipeline? Will we be seeing more of Riz Sabir in the near future?
Next in the pipeline in the Riz series are a rural murder mystery due out this summer, a spinoff SAS historical novel set in the 80s, and then next year more action and espionage, this time… in Iran!
THE BIG THRILL thanks Charlie for taking the time to chat about his new novel and answer our questions. BATTLE COME DOWN stormed into print in June, so fans of non-stop action and no-holds-barred paramilitary ops can dive into the fray right now. If, that is, they’re ready to start turning pages.
Charlie Flowers was born in Eastern Europe sometime in the late Sixties and arrived with his family in Britain in 1975. After training as a journalist in London he had a varied career as reporter, roadie, truck driver and record label boss. In the late Nineties he formed two cult bands, and is currently an adviser on terrorism and extremism to certain departments and think tanks. Charlie is published by Endeavour Press, and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association and International Thriller Writers, Inc.
To learn more about Charlie, please visit him on Facebook.