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Archive for the tag “Columbo the dog”

Guest Post by Robert Crouch ~ @robertcrouchuk

It’s a lovely sunny Saturday morning, made even better by Robert Crouch who has come to pay a visit to my blog to tell me all about the joys of writing a series.  I have really enjoyed the Kent Fisher Mysteries series so far and will soon be reading Robert’s latest book, ‘No Mercy’.

Over to Rob now.

 

The joys of writing a series

When I began I had no idea if I could write one novel, let alone a series.

I’d never written a murder mystery before.

Plot seemed the logical place to start. A whodunit where the reader had to work out the killer required a clever plot, full of twists and red herrings.

It also required a detective to solve the mystery. Miss Marple, Inspector Morse, Kinsey Millhone all sprang to mind. Did I want a detective inspector or a private eye? Each brought its own challenges.

How would my detective stand out from the myriad of fictional and TV detectives? The choices were limitless, it seemed. Male or female? Young or old? Loner or team player? Maverick or by the book?

Then I considered flaws. Every detective had to have one, maybe more. Drinking, gambling, infidelity and broken marriages were common flaws that made detectives more human and sympathetic.

How about personal traumas? This was an emerging trait to make readers care more for detectives and lead characters. There were wives or children who disappeared, siblings who were killed or committed suicide, colleagues who died, detectives with addictions or mental health problems.

It soon became apparent that creating characters was more challenging and interesting than developing a twisting plot. And as no character lives or works alone, a strong supporting cast was essential – more so if you wrote about private eyes, who usually worked alone.

It took me several years for my protagonist Kent Fisher to ‘leap off the page’ as one agent demanded. I didn’t make things easy by shunning both private eye and detective inspector in favour of an amateur sleuth.

I wanted someone for today’s world – a person who cared as much about the environment and animals as he did about justice and fair play. He cared about his health, eating sensibly, exercising regularly.

Not very rock and roll, you might say, but this guy was also a hunt saboteur. He chained himself to trees to stop developers destroying the countryside. Though not a policeman, he was still a law enforcement officer – an environmental health officer (EHO), like me. He preferred animals to people and only had to get up in the morning to attract trouble.

As EHOs don’t investigate murders, he had to be drawn in by accident – literally in the case of his first outing.

This allowed me to give readers an insight into environmental health and the world he occupied. The characters around him took shape – like Danni, the fast track boss who felt threatened by him. Her PA, Kelly, was the font of all knowledge and gossip, delivering some of the funniest lines I wrote. His assistant Gemma helped him solve the murder and provided an unrequited love interest.

To make up for not having a police team to help him solve murders, his best friend Mike was once a Scenes of Crime Officer.

With the exception of Gemma, they were minor players in No Accident, the first Kent Fisher mystery. It was his show. Yet readers and reviewers were as interested in the characters as the plot. Some liked Gemma and wanted her and Kent to get together. Others thought she was bad for Kent and urged him to stop dreaming about her.

Then there was Columbo, the West Highland white terrier rescued by Kent. Readers loved this little guy, who seemed to steal most of the scenes he was in. Come the follow up, No Bodies, Columbo even had a hand in capturing the killer.

The story followed the original template, except Kent’s animal sanctuary and family issues grew in importance. We saw more of the world he lived in. Gemma played the same role once more, but with more authority and confidence, prompting readers and reviewers to be more vocal about their relationship.

The third novel, No Remorse, showed another part of environmental health, developing new characters. Danni was still there, struggling to manage Kent, but their relationship was developing and changing as more was revealed about their pasts. Kent had a new love interest to challenge his feelings for Gemma and vice versa.

Suddenly, as I began to think about each new murder mystery, the characters, work and animal sanctuary dominated my thoughts and planning. There were stories, running threads and unresolved issues to consider and continue.

By now readers and reviewers seemed to enjoy the backstory and characters as much as the murder mysteries. Kent, who had started out as the kind of maverick EHO I could never be, developed as a character, revealing the defining insights from his past.

With each novel, he becomes less like me and more his own person.

The same could be said of the characters, who develop with each story. The relationships change and shift as characters face new challenges. New characters have joined the cast, such as Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman, who investigates as a police officer, adding a new dimension and conflict.

But as the first draft of Kent Fisher #6 is completed, the backstory continues to produce subplots, challenges and emotional conflict that keep the stories fresh and moving forward, while remaining loyal to the classic whodunit.

Work continues to get in Kent’s way, but reflects the challenging times of public spending cuts and underfunded services. His relationship with Gemma has more twists and turns than many of the murder plots. Columbo continues to enchant readers and steal every scene he’s in. The animal sanctuary continues to grow and develop.

When I started, I envisaged one, maybe two novels. Never in my wildest dreams, did I think the characters would grow and develop to add a second layer of interest to make my stories as well as my protagonist distinctive.

Thanks to the series, I’ve grown to love the characters. I care deeply about what happens to them. They are like a family to me and matter as much as the complex murder plots I create.

Without these guys, there would not be a series.

 

 

‘No Accident’ the first book in the Kent Fisher Mystery series is currently only £1.99 on Amazon.  Here is the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

A former gangster is dead. It looks like an accident. Only Kent Fisher suspects murder.

When the police decide Syd Collins’ death is a work accident, they hand over the investigation to environmental health officer, Kent Fisher, a man with more baggage than an airport carousel.

He defies a restraining order to enter Tombstone Adventure Park and confronts the owner, Miles Birchill, who has his own reasons for blocking the investigation. Thwarted at every turn, Kent’s forced to bend the rules and is soon suspended from duty.

He battles on, unearthing secrets and corruption that could destroy those he loves. With his personal and professional worlds on a collision course, he knows life will never be the same again.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Accident-Kent-Fisher-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B0747S2YMP/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=no+accident+by+robert+crouch&qid=1589011625&sr=8-1

 

About Robert Crouch

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

 

Links

Website – https://robertcrouch.co.uk

Twitter – https://twitter.com/robertcrouchuk

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor

Instagram – @robertcrouch_author

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01HFPCYOM

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘No Remorse’ by Robert Crouch

‘No Remorse’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 7th May 2018.  I have followed this series from the beginning and having participated in the cover reveal for this book, I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour.  I would like to thank Caroline Vincent of Bits about Books for inviting me to take part and both Caroline and Robert Crouch for my review copy.

Before you find out what I thought about this book, here’s a reminder of what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Old sins cast long shadows.

An old man dead. Dementia or murder? Threats won’t stop Kent Fisher from finding out.

At luxury retirement home, Nightingales, appearance matters more than the truth. But what is the truth? Was Anthony Trimble killed as he predicted? If so, who wanted him out of the way, and why?

Kent puzzles over the only clue Trimble left him. Are the numbers a mysterious code that could reveal his dark secret, or items on a takeaway menu?

Kent has to dig deep. Then people start dying.

Will Kent win the race to discover the truth, or become the next victim?

With shades of Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton, No Remorse brings a refreshing twist to the traditional murder mystery.

 

My Review

I have been thoroughly enjoying this series so far. I really think Robert Crouch has his work cut out in making sure his books remain fresh and interesting, a hard thing to achieve. Having now read ‘No Remorse’ I would say he’s doing a great job. I can just picture him writing many more books in the Kent Fisher Mystery series and in years to come having at least twenty books to his name. Here’s hoping anyway.

This was a really interesting and quite shocking case. A resident dies in the residential home he’s living in. Sure that happens, but there was something rather fishy about it all. I just knew Kent Fisher would work out what it was. I was intrigued by the message Mr Trimble left for him. I really wouldn’t have minded trying to decode it myself, but as I discovered that would have been impossible.

Even though Kent Fisher was receiving threats he didn’t give up on the case, instead ploughing on. That’s what makes him good at what he does. He obviously enjoys his job as an Environmental Health Officer even with the recent changes, but I can’t help thinking that it would be great if he went full-time as a private investigator. He would be ace at it. Who knows what may happen next.

I never tire reading about Kent’s animal sanctuary and I can’t wait to find out what happens with it in the future. I also really adore Columbo the dog.

This book can be read as a standalone novel as the reader is given an insight into what has happened so far, i.e. the two murder cases that Kent Fisher has solved, his animal sanctuary and his personal life. However, I would recommend reading the series from the start, simply because it’s so good.

‘No Remorse’ is an addictive read which you will find hard to put down.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

~~~~~

‘No Remorse’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2ECusbD

Amazon US – https://amzn.to/2HoVNRL

 

About Robert Crouch

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

To discover more, visit http://robertcrouch.co.uk.

 

Links

Previous books in the series:

#1 No Accident:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2FWW3tC
Amazon US: http://bit.ly/AmUStoNARC

#2 No Bodies:
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/AmUKtoNBRC
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2GtLY7Q

Twitter: @robertcrouchuk

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor/

 

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