“Do you want the good news or the bad news?”
This is how THE DYING HOURS ends and pretty much where Tom Thorne’s latest outing, THE BONES BENEATH begins. Those who have already read the new book will know that the bad news is not so much a ‘what’ as a ‘who’ and is just about the worst news Thorne could receive. The most dangerous killer he has ever put away is ready to reveal the whereabouts of one of his earliest victims. The price Thorne must pay for rejoining the Murder Squad is that he must escort this man to a remote location and bring back the body.
The location in question was always going to be hugely important. After racking my brains for weeks, my wife suggested an island she had heard about growing up in North Wales. An island with a lighthouse which she had seen winking at her across Cardigan Bay as she stared out of her bedroom window. Using my wife’s Welsh connections (The Taffia, if you will) and her ability to speak the language, we secured a crossing in the depths of Winter, 2013. Within a few minutes of setting foot on Bardsey Island (Ennis Ynlli), I knew I had found the perfect place to set the book.
It is all but uninhabited and remote in many senses, with its own micro-climate. The mountain renders the mainland invisible, the waters around it are treacherous and if you’re lucky, on a clear night, you might just glimpse the lights of Dublin. Its amazing marine and birdlife make it a place of Special Scientific Interest. It once had its own King. The absence of light pollution have given it Dark Sky Status. It is also said to be home to the bones of 20,000 saints, though Thorne of course is looking for remains that are rather more recent. What else makes it the perfect setting for a crime novel? Oh yes, there’s no CCTV and you really cannot get a phone signal.
For a crime-writer, that is seriously good news.
THE BONES BENEATH is published by Little, Brown