As a card-carrying Mancunian, raised on a tough estate near Strangeways, writing a crime series about Manchester was an inevitability. Civic pride runs in my veins – unsurprising, since a raft of icons was spawned in its grimy, waterlogged backstreets: The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order, Oasis… I danced in night clubs, surrounded by evolving stars. But Manchester has a reputation for being the most violent city in the UK, filled as it is with adults, ducking and diving to make ends meet, and kids who have no legitimate way of realising their grand ambitions. The city’s world class criminals provide inspiration in excelsis!

Born Bad follows the lives of the fictitious crime bosses of north and south Manchester, taking the reader on a journey through no-go zones, into club-land and out to the leafy boulevards of Cheshire. Unlike my George McKenzie series, I couldn’t rely on the narrative framework of a police procedural. Betrayal, family and of course, the all-important battle for territory – I found myself knee-deep in these concerns of the career criminal instead. And where do the women fit in this world of hard men? Glamour, sex and violence were all essential ingredients in my literary witch’s brew of urban intrigue, tempered by a little dark humour; coloured by an ethnically diverse cast. But at Born Bad’s rotten heart is the poignant story of a dying child and his desperate father. How far will he go to save his son? How far would you go?

Born Bad is a culmination of my forty five years’ experience of the deeply flawed human condition. Like it gritty? Readers had better have a stiff drink and lube up, because Brit Noir is about to get a whole lot grittier. What’s more the book includes an exploration of my usual hobby-horses of trafficking (people & drugs) and sexual exploitation, too! So there’s something in there for George McKenzie fans

Born Bad – your loved ones or your life

published by Avon/HarperCollins

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