As Antonia Conti continues to make waves in London’s criminal underworld with her fearless investigative work, Rick Grainger, a star reporter for a rival newspaper, brings her a lead nobody else will touch – for good reason.
The story reveals corruption at the highest level of government, and she quickly discovers that the people involved will do anything to bury it. And just when Antonia thinks she’s won her battle, Grainger disappears. Can she and her old friend DI Russell Chapman uncover the connection with her investigation and bring Grainger’s abductors to justice?
When men appear threatening both their lives and those of those closest to them, Antonia and Chapman are in a race against time to fend off not only these adversaries, but enemies on both sides of the law. With everything on the line, can they save Grainger before it’s too late?
David Beckler recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, A NUCLEAR REACTION.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
It was a gradual realisation that we in the UK didn’t recognise how pervasive corruption had become and what a hold it had on the country.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
I wish I’d had a couple of years. I was given three months to write it, but it’s the third book in a series and I knew the characters – I’d just finished book 2 – and the outline was something I’d thought about for a long time. The characters and themes in the book, in the whole series, are ones I’m happy to share my life with.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
I didn’t have time to read anything while writing this – I still have a day job – but I always listen to music when writing. I’ve got eclectic tastes but I’m sure Nina Simone would have featured.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
Antonia has a unique background for a heroine in a crime thriller. I can’t think of any Black women who are the leads in British crime literature. Her experiences as a former refugee are also unusual. I didn’t want a police officer to be the lead, she has to step outside the law too much for it to be credible. Making her a crusading reporter felt quite revolutionary as our press has lost credibility and respect.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope they’ll think about decisions our leaders make and question who is benefitting. I’d also like them to put themselves in the shoes of people who have different life experiences.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
Apart from the third instalment of my other series featuring a crime-fighting firefighter – it’s set partly in the South of France, so it’s an excuse for a research trip – I’m working on the story of a homeless man in Manchester who begins working for a PI investigating human trafficking. It sounds grim but there’s humour, friendship, and hope as well as lots of action.
David was born in Addis Ababa and grew up on an agricultural college in Ethiopia, where his love of reading developed.
He finished his schooling in England, and after dropping out of university, joined the UK Fire Service. He left after 19 years to start a business. Although a voracious reader, he came to writing late in life and started his first novel in 2010. He writes fast-paced thrillers, using his experiences to add realism to his plots. He lives in south Manchester where he writes full time. He can often be spotted tramping through the streets in an attempt to undo the effects of prolonged sessions at his desk.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.