- Available in: Hardback & paperback
The Third Degree, book 5 in the series, was the last one published by Hodder & Stoughton. Our publishing contract was not renewed, and that was a perfectly fair decision given the sales figures for this and previous books. The racing mystery/thriller genre has its pros and cons: in our favour was the relatively small size of the niche in an overall genre that is hugely competitive for authors – Mystery/Thriller.
But the tiny niche also worked against us. Dick Francis fans were probably tired of ‘lookalikes’ by then and, perhaps, moving away from the market anyway. Dick Francis and his team did a wonderful job of turning out a book a year since 1962. His mantle has now been taken over by his son Felix. Nobody will ever emulate Dick Francis and his early books. But they were set in a different time, and while Joe McNally read all the Francis books as a teenager and loved the sport so much, and that Richard was as steeped in it even more deeply then Dick, comparisons were inevitable.
Anyway, ion the upside, the rights reverted to Joe and Richard offering scope not only to join the eBook revolution but to rewrite substantially in the hope of improving the pace and the general quality of the writing. The Reader’s Digest lesson (see the page on Hunted) was not lost on us. This was the first of the series written in the third person, a move we thought would attract more comment after the intimacy the first person viewpoint brings. Doubtless the chnaged persepctive was notcied by many, but, so far, only obe reviewer has commented on it.
We prefer first person, especially for that direct contact with the reader on a “Let me tell you what happened to me”, rather than “Let me tell you what happened to a guy I know.” But some plots simply cannot be executed inside the confines of first-person writing where the narrator needs to be present in every scene. This applies in particular to the Mystery genre.
On a personal note for this book, Joe had just met the woman who was to be his second wife: Margy. That relationship drove quite a bit of the romantic sub-plot (You read it here first! At the time of writing this post, they’ve been together more than 21 years).
There was a story in the papers about a Triad gang in London and how difficult it was for the police to convict its members. That was what gave us the idea for The Third Degree. It was also a time when the scope of technology innovation was becoming apparent. We guessed that almost anything could be done if someone was smart enough and didn’t mind crossing the lines of legality. Thus was born the tech genius Ben Turco who drives a substantial part of the plot.
Ben and his little gang of amateur criminals don’t mind beating the bookies but when their scam comes to the attention of a London Triad gang, things get very scary.
There’s a strong sub-plot introducing Kim, the young boy who is to play a major part in this book and in Eddie’s future.
We are in the process of making the books available on all platforms – not just Amazon. Once that is complete all the links to those stores will appear here.