On the concluding day of the book tour for Marnie Riches new book, ‘The Cover-Up’. Marnie talks about the criminal landscape of Manchester.
‘The Cover-Up’ has just published. If someone asked me what was the most interesting element of this book and its predecessor, ‘Born Bad’, I’d say that it’s examining the morally grey areas that are part of the criminal landscape. My Manchester series is all about gangsters. One or two are irredeemably wholly nasty characters.
Paddy O’Brien, for example, is a beast of a man. You’re meant to love to hate him. Though he has survived a tragic childhood, he is so unremittingly violent and bullying that it’s impossible for the average reader to identify with him. The same is true of the strange and deadly assassin, The Fish Man. But as the author, I had the greatest fun writing the characters of Leviticus Bell, his mother Gloria, and of course, Sheila O’Brien.
How far are these three leading protagonists away from you or me? Not very, I’ll vouch. They, above all the colourful characters in ‘The Cover-Up’, including Frank O’Brien, the superclub owner, Hank the Wank, the spying builder and Youssuf Khan, the long-suffering father, are the closest to your average citizen…gone wrong.
Imagine that you’re a young man with a terrible, drug-addicted babymother, an unloving narcissist of a mother, no education, few legitimate employment prospects and an ailing baby son whom you adore. Those are the hurdles in life faced by Leviticus Bell. He already thinks he’s killed one man and he’s continually waiting for retribution to come and find him, wearing a knuckle duster and carrying a gun. What lengths would you go to to remedy your situation and to secure a brighter future for your son? Now, imagine that you’re a battered wife.
Having escaped the clutches of your violent, domineering husband, what would you do if you were faced with having inherited an empire worth millions in dirty money? Would you relinquish it so easily? How would you even dispose of the effects without getting embroiled in a court case that could put you in prison as an accessory?
You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. So, would you willingly hand your children’s inheritance over to strangers for free or at a knock-down price? And imagine you came from absolutely nothing – a poor girl who had been abused, manipulated by men and denigrated all her life. If you convinced yourself that you were doing other abused women a favour, would you try to better yourself through a less-than-legitimate business? If you were a cleaner who had the chance to turn your u-bend-scrubbing skills into a profitable company, employing others, though the pay was solely a roof over their heads in substandard accommodation and you, personally, were able to move out of a concrete ghetto to the leafy suburbs, would you?
These are the moral decisions faced by the characters in ‘The Cover-Up’ and its predecessor, Born Bad. As a litmus test for your ability to navigate your way through those grey areas, how about you give ‘The Cover-Up’ a read and see which side of the fence you find yourself sitting? Staying on the right side of the law when faced with temptation and the potential for loss of liberty is not as clear-cut a path as you might think…especially when the stakes are so high!
You can buy The Cover Up from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.