I’m delighted to welcome my good friend, David Menon, to the site to talk about his successful Manchester crime Detective Superintendent Jeff Barton Series. No Questions asked, the fourth title in the Jeff Barton series was published in December 2014.
JULIET: David it’s great to have you here. What’s your reaction to the reception that the Jeff Barton series has received?
DAVID: Well I'm both humbled and excited by it. He seems to have developed a dedicated following and he's attracting new fans all the time. As a writer my primary task is to entertain people and the many of the comments I've had about the Jeff Barton books is that they're really good stories. There's plenty more of him to come too so hopefully people will stay with him.
JULIET: For those people who have not yet read No Questions Asked please can you give us a brief outline of what the book is about?
DAVID; It's about the murder of an eleven-year old boy who is the son of one of Jeff's neighbours and the investigation unearths some pretty awful secrets about some of the people Jeff calls friends. It's also about whether or not Jeff can develop the kind of feelings for his deputy DI Rebecca Stockton that she's wanted him to for so long. Also this book introduces two new detectives to Jeff's team and the impact they have which is one case is pretty devastating.
JULIET Is Superintendent Jeff Barton based on anyone you know personally or is he simply your idea of what a modern police detective should be?
DAVID: He is based on someone I know, yes. An old friend of mine who I used to be close to but who I don't see anymore. But yes I also wanted him to be a modern detective but also a modern human being who happens to be a detective.
JULIET: What do you most like and dislike about Jeff Barton? What do you see as his main strengths and weaknesses?
DAVID: His main strength is that he embraces everyone for who they are and is really good at nurturing other talented officers like DS Ollie Wright. I think his main weakness is that he still can't get his personal life together. He's been a widower for a while now and despite his grief he needs to start focusing on the future.
JULIET: Your novels have touched on some very emotive and controversial subjects; such as torture, child abuse and domestic strife. Are there any social issues you would think twice about touching on in your books?
DAVID: No. Crime encompasses everything about society, good and bad. As a crime novelist I think it would be perverse to exclude anything. Having said that I do think it's my responsibility to respect the real victims of crime and not sensationalise the stories.
JULIET: Do you read other genres of fiction or do you read mainly crime?
DAVID:I mainly read crime but I've also started reading espionage novels set in WW2 and the years of the cold war. My favourite book of all time though is 'The Gift of Rain' by the Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng which is a beautiful book set against the Japanese occupation of the island of Penang during WW2 and has everything a good literary novel should. It's hard to place it in a genre.
JULIET: This may be a tough one, but which crime novel do you wish you had written and why?
DAVID: 'The Mermaid's Singing' by Val McDermid. Such an original story and one that inspired me to start writing.
JULIET: If Jeff Barton could invite any five famous people (fictional, living or dead) to share a takeaway with him who do you think he’d choose and why? (Not including other characters in the series)
DAVID: I don't think there's anybody he'd rather share a takeaway with than his late wife Lillie Mae.
JULIET: What, for you, are the best and worst aspects of self promotion?
DAVID: The best is that I'm in control. The worst is that it takes so much time and you can never know enough about it.
JULIET: When will your next book be out? Will it feature Jeff Barton, Sara Hoyland or Stephanie Marshall?
DAVID: The next book features Stephanie Marshall, it's called 'Could Max Burley Be A Killer?' and is out on March 23rd. The next Jeff Barton book 'Straight Back' will be out on April 6th.
JULIET: Where can readers get hold of your books?
DAVID: amazon, kobo, google play, xinxii, and various other sales outlets. You can get full details on my website at www.davidmenon.com
JULIET: Please could you share a brief excerpt from No Questions Asked with us?
DAVID: Gary Mitchell was a butcher. He’d inherited his late father’s business a few years ago and still kept the sign above the shop that read ‘G. Mitchell and Son’. The ‘G’ stood for George which had been his father’s name. Gary and his wife Debbie had been trying for years without any success and now that they were both in their early forties the clock was ticking away for Debbie especially so she’d decided to seek IVF treatment. They’d now been on it for a while and still it wasn’t producing any results which meant that Debbie was getting more desperate and more obsessive. Gary would’ve been happy to adopt but Debbie wouldn’t hear of it. She had to have her own children and not somebody else’s. It was a somewhat irrational disposition coming from a woman who was known for looking at things in an extremely rational way. Whilst Gary had been building up his business Debbie had gone to university as a slightly mature student and come out with a first class degree in management. She was now a senior manager with the local NHS trust and was responsible for strategic planning. She earned a salary that went way beyond what Gary took for himself from the business and they were comfortably off. After twenty years of marriage they knew each other inside out but Gary was certain his wife didn’t know about his little visits to Lucy across the road or any of the other times when he hadn’t been a saint as far as his marriage was concerned.