NTN: An introduction to Caffeine Nights

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NTN 2014 logo courier 100caffeinenightslogo200This November we take a look at one of the UK’s brightest and most innovative new publishers, Caffeine Nights. Founded in 2007 and based in Kent, the company publishes some of the best crime talent around, and is supporting New Talent November as a sponsor. Shaun Hutson and Nick Oldham are already well established in the genre, while others like Nick Quantrill, Ian Ayris and Nick Triplow are well on their way to author stardom. Caffeine Nights has set its stall out on the basis that small is beautiful, but aims to deliver quality stories via all available platforms – print, eBook, apps and audio. The boss at Caffeine Nights is author, entrepreneur and publicist Darren Laws, and his core mission is to provide crime fiction and thriller lovers with an alternative to what he sees as a traditional publishing industry which he thinks is complacent and set in its ways. One of his passionate beliefs is that good books need good titles and good graphics. We have a look at a selection of current titles – what do you think?

cool waterCool Water by Pete Haynes
Caffeine Nights have been described as a punk publisher, which Darren Laws sees as an accolade rather than a put-down. And, London author Haynes was himself a drummer in a Punk band, and an admirer of The Ramones and the New York Dolls. Cool Water is set in Belfast, uneasily coming to terms with Good Friday peace of 1999. The novel features the relationship between Donny Campbell, a street-hardened loyalist paramilitary, and an unlikely soul-mate in the shape of Roddy Harding – a member of the English aristocracy. It skilfully examines the concept of the individual versus the state and makes the central character, who could have been portrayed as a monster, into a man who deserves the reader’s sympathy because he is the ultimate victim.
Buy now on Amazon

Dark CountryDark Country by Darren E Laws
Laws may be Le Grand Fromage at Caffeine Nights, but he is also an author. This book is the second in a planned trilogy featuring FBI agent Georgina O’Neil, the first being Turtle Island (2010). Dark Country has its own musical soundtrack, hence the title. Country and Western songs normally have melodramatic lyrics, but here the lyrics are acted out in real life, as singer Genna Dark becomes the latest in her musical family to come to grief. The book has the great subtitle of Songs of Love and Murder. Agent O’Neil’s professional partner is the wonderfully named Leroy La Portiere and together, against the haunting sound of pedal steel guitars, they investigate three decades of kidnapping and murder. Coincidence is one possibility, but there is a far darker and much more challenging answer out there.
Buy now on Amazon

Coming Ready or NotComing, Ready or Not by Michael Fowler
Fowler certainly has done his research, albeit unwittingly. For 32 years he served as a police officer, but kept a diary describing the dead bodies, drunken burglars, car chases and undercover work which made up his professional life. He has brought these notes to life with his semi-autobiographical series of books featuring Detective Sergeant Hunter Kerr. Heart of the Demon was the first (2012) but now Kerr returns. His personal and professional life has been haunted by the unsolved killing, years earlier, of his girlfriend, Polly Hayes. Now, when a girl’s corpse is found, and the apparent murder has some of the hallmarks of Polly’s death, Kerr is left wondering whether someone is playing a grotesque practical joke – or is Polly’s killer on his radar at last?
Buy now on Amazon

The_Last_RoomThe Last Room by Danuta Reah
The South Yorkshire writer has a fascinating background, including a father who fled Stalin’s Russia. The former lecturer in linguistics and creative writing published her first novel in 1999 and her latest, The Last Room, reflects her international heritage. Just as Ania Milosz is about to appear as an expert witness in a murder trial she apparently jumps to her death from a building in a Polish city. Both her father, an embittered former policeman living in Scotland, and her fiancé Dariusz, find her suicide inexplicable. Is Ania’s death linked to a complex web involving a raped Ivorian woman, her husband with links to Islamist terrorists, and their murdered daughter? Expect a complex and sometimes harrowing account of the modern world where international borders are just lines on a map.
Buy now on Amazon

ReprobatesReprobates by RC Bridgestock
Sometimes two heads are definitely better than one, as is the case with the husband and wife writing team of Bob and Carol Bridgestock. With almost half a century of police service behind them, they have created the character of DI Jack Dylan, and this is his fifth appearance. There is as much drama going on at home in the Dylan household as at the first crime scene – the mortuary in the town of Harrowfield, where a body has been stolen from the mortuary. The police search the dirty depths of the local canal, and find a body. When it turns out to be somebody – rather than the earlier missing corpse – DI Dylan has his work cut out both in solving a grisly crime and in keeping his family life from disintegrating.
Buy now on Amazon

Visit the Caffeine Nights website here.

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