Publisher: Black and White Publishing
1st July 2014
THE CRIME DEBUT OF THE YEAR…
Devil in a Blue Dress meets Chinatown
“Stylish, fresh and as cool as the decade it’s set in. JT Ellington is one hell of a character and HEARTMAN is one hell of a book”
“Heartman pours new life into the old vintage of historical crime, bringing the bitter cold reality of 1960s Bristol to life in the shape of JT Ellington, a maverick as refreshing as a cool rum punch”
ANNE ZOUROUDI, author of the Greek Detective novels
“Heartman by M.P. Wright is much more than a man-against-the-world mystery: it is a fascinating glimpse into the immigrant experience and an overlooked period in British history. The politics of race and class inform a thriller that marks the arrival of a talent to watch”
“If James Lee Burke were to set a novel in Bristol in the 60’s, it would be pretty close to what M.P. Wright has done with Heartman. A stunning debut, and in JT Ellington, he has created a character to equal Robicheaux and that is just the highest praise there is.”
“With HEARTMAN, Wright has created not only a truly unique central character in JT Ellington, provided a superb setting with 1960s Bristol and all the darkness which lurks within that, but also a stunning début which will be sure to be talked about this year and beyond. I can’t wait to see what comes next.”
LUCA VESTE, author of Dead Gone
“Wright takes us into the dark underbelly of 1960s Bristol with panache and flair. In JT Ellington, Wright has created a truly original detective. Atmospheric and punchy, Heartman showcases an exciting new voice in the genre.”
Bristol, 1965. Joseph Tremaine “JT” Ellington, an ex-cop with a tragic past and a broken heart, has left his native Barbados in search of a better life in the Mother Country. But Bristol in the Sixties is far from the Promised Land and JT faces hostility from both the weather and the people.
Then local mogul Earl Linney approaches him. He needs JT’s help finding Stella Hopkins, a young deaf and mute West Indian woman who has gone missing, and who the police aren’t interested in searching for. With rent due, and no job, JT has little option than to accept.
Calling on his wits and not-so-honest cousin Vic for help, JT soon finds himself adrift in a murky world of prostitution and kidnapping where every lead reveals more mystery and nobody can be trusted. What is Linney’s connection to the girl? Have more women gone missing? And what exactly is the Erotica Negro Club?
Facing hostility and prejudice as well as the demons from home he thought he’d escaped, JT must unravel a deadly conspiracy in a dangerous and unfamiliar world.
About M.P. Wright:
Mark Wright was born in Leicestershire and worked in the music industry before changing career to become a Private Investigator. He retrained in 1989 and spent the next twenty years in the mental health and probation services in the UK.
Mark says “The origins of Heartman and my detective Joseph Tremaine Ellington can be traced back to a single day back in the autumn or 2003. I was sitting in the Abbey Bar on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans drinking an ice-cold, long-necked bottle of Dixie beer and listening to the blues singer Brownie McGhee, who was being piped through an old sound system from the corner of the dimly lit drinking den. Outside, a storm had just broken and the rain was bouncing off of the hot pavement, causing steam to rise up in the street; everywhere smelt of a humid damp and it felt as if I’d been transported back to the ‘Deep South’ of a hundred years previous.
“On the table in front of me sat a battered copy of The Neon Rain by the wonderful American crime writer James Lee Burke. It was a book that always seemed to make it into my suitcase on my travel (it still does) and I must have read it a good dozen times, along with the other Burke books that featured his Cajun detective, Dave Robicheaux. For some time, I’d struggled to find other writers that drew me in as Burke did. Yes, I had other literary heroes – Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald and Walter Mosley, to name but a few – but there was something about Burke’s writing style that kept calling me back to him, as all good writers do. The books were not just about crime or those who fought it, but bigger things: family, friendship and issues of integrity and honour. They were so much more than crime novels. And so, unable to find that kind of book, I decided to have a go at writing one myself…”
A self-confessed aficionado of real ale, Mark was recently named ‘Writer in Residence’ of his local pub, The Salmon Inn Free House in Leicester, as part of an initiative to encourage discussion amongst writers, readers and ale fans. To commemorate his residency, the local Leicester brewery Dem Bones created an ‘Ellington’s’ Black IPA ale, in celebration of Heartman’s central character. Mark lives in Leicester with his partner and children.
Television rights have already been bought by World Productions.