CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Derbyshire Life today CLICK HERE

Crime Writers Steven Dunne and Stephen Booth

PUBLISHED: 14:31 21 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:23 20 February 2013

Crime Writers Steven Dunne and Stephen Booth

Crime Writers Steven Dunne and Stephen Booth

Nigel Powlson meets Steven Dunne and reviews the latest novel by Stephen Booth - two writers putting the county in the literary spotlight

The crime rate in Derbyshire is soaring. There are arsonists loose on the moors of the High Peak and serial killers roaming the streets of Derby.


And this explosion of murderous mayhem is all down to just two men who have put the county firmly on the crime map. Thankfully, the nefarious activity of partners in crime Steven Dunne and Stephen Booth is restricted to the pages of books and the sinister goings on are all fictional.


Booth is the creator of Derbyshire detectives Cooper and Fry, whose crime-solving activities in the Peak District have built a large and loyal following of readers over the course of 12 novels.


Dunne is a newer arrival in the world of fictional thrillers, having now crafted three books about DI Damen Brook set in and around Derby.


The writers are great admirers of each others work and, rather than being rivals, they see their novels as being complementary and helpful in bringing new readers to the Derbyshire crime scene.


Steven Dunne published his third novel this summer and within weeks it had reached the top of the best-sellers chart in Waterstones in Derby. The novel sees Damen Brook investigating the disappearance of four Derby College students who appear on an internet video apparently committing mass suicide. It has been compared favourably with the work of more established crime writers like Mark Billingham and Peter Robinson and is helping the 54-year-old part-time English teacher from Normanton come ever closer to his ambition of being a full-time writer, producing a book a year.


He says: Deity has been well received wherever it has been read and Im hopefully making that leap from local exposure to national exposure. There are quite a lot of local thrillers around and London is becoming less and less fashionable for thrillers. Its no longer really an English city. Its so international and cosmopolitan. So writers like myself are starting to get noticed.


Having only written three books, I havent got a big back catalogue yet and thats what really helps, but things are going in the right direction.


Steven, who is originally from Bradford, left Yorkshire to go to university in Kent on the map it seemed to be one of the furthest places away from Bradford and thats one of the reasons I went there, so I could break the umbilical cord, he says. I was magnetised towards London after that and spent nearly 20 years there.


Stevens wife, Carmel McKenna, is the head of St Clares Special School in Mickleover and when she got that job in 1996, the couple moved to Derby.


Steven has been a journalist, done a little bit of stand-up comedy but was put off by a bad gig and eventually moved into teaching English.


He has always enjoyed the creative process of writing and became interested in crafting a thriller of his own after reading Silence of the Lambs. After that, I read a lot of thrillers but started to find it was difficult to discover many decent writers. My wife was an even bigger thriller reader than me and suggested I wrote one myself. I had the germ of an idea and I carried that around with me for a couple of years, developing it in my head. When I had a good stretch of time in front of me I had a go at it, showed it to my wife and she said it was really good and that I should try and get it published.


The book was Reaper, Stevens self-published debut novel that gained a foothold for him in a highly competitive genre and which quickly gained the interest of publishers.


Steven says: I set it in Derby mainly because Im here and I could check facts quickly and easily. Im also, to a certain extent, a foreigner having not originally come from Derby and being an outsider looking in is a big advantage when it comes to writing about a place.


Damen Brook is a mixture of great detectives such as Sherlock Holmes and Morse, says Steven. They are thinkers, he says. I dont want too much baggage, not so that you have subplots that take you too far away from the case. Thats what I like about Sherlock Holmes, you have a page and a half and then the hunt is on. Brook is a solitary man, not from the local region, hes isolated from a lot of the people he works with and hes obsessed with cases hes involved in.


With DI Brook in Derby and Cooper and Fry in the Peak District, Derbyshire is now well catered for in the crime thriller market.


We have the county well covered, says Steven. Everywhere I go people talk to me about Stephen Booth. Readers, and thriller readers in particular, really appreciate that we are on the map in that way. Stephen has a great reputation.


I think the more the merrier, although we are the only two at the moment as far as I know. But I believe the local thriller is on the rise lets hope so.


Now Steven is working on his fourth novel which will be published next year. It will again feature DI Brook and will be entitled The Unquiet Grave. He says: My books are now starting to get an international audience, albeit small. I could sit here and grumble about deadlines but this is what I wanted and there are writers out there who would grind their teeth at that because they
cant get a publishing deal. So Im not going to complain. Im fairly close to writing full-time. Deitys still got some mileage in it and then lets see how the next one goes.


Deity by Steven Dunne is out now in paperback published by Headline at 6.99


HE latest Cooper and Fry book, Dead and Buried, came out in hardback in the summer to the delight of eager followers of Stephen Booths novels.


It sees the crime fighters investigating a series of disastrous arson attacks on Derbyshires wild moorland that may have links with the disappearance of a husband and wife in a blizzard a few years before.


The 12-strong book series has been optioned by a production company and a possible TV series is in development.


Development takes a long time, Im finding, says Stephen. And development covers everything that takes place up to filming.


He says that the major hurdle is getting one of the TV networks to green-light the project but an independent production company is committed to the idea and has a script for a first episode.


Dead and Buried has also just been published in America and Stephen has been out to a mystery convention in the States to promote his novel. It proves that theres plenty of interest all over the world in little old Derbyshire.


I do think Steven Dunne is right, says Stephen. Over the last decade there has been a huge interest in parts of the country other than London. There are crime fiction series set in almost every part of the UK now, right up to the Shetlands. But there are places that have been missing out and the city of Derby had been one of them. Steven has done a wonderful job in giving us a detective for Derby.


I hardly mention Derby at all in my books and although his character, Damen Brook, does venture into the Peak District, I dont mind as my novels are very much about the rural part of Derbyshire, whereas Brook is a city detective and, of course, Steven writes serial killer novels. As a reader, I like to be engaged by strong characters and thats what Steven Dunne has done. Im full of admiration for what he has achieved. Hes a fantastic example for other writers who have the talent because of all the hard work he has put in.


Steven Dunnes novels may also eventually make it to the screen. He says, Its no good getting your hopes up but my agent has been talking about interest he has received. Hes exploring the possibilities of that. People say Deity would make a wonderful film but its a case of watch this space Im afraid as far as that goes.


Deity by Steven Dunne is out now in paperback published by Headline at 6.99


Stephen Booth's Latest Novel: Dead and Buried


THE latest Cooper and Fry book, Dead and Buried, came out in hardback in the summer to the delight of eager followers of Stephen Booths novels.


It sees the crime fighters investigating a series of disastrous arson attacks on Derbyshires wild moorland that may have links with the disappearance of a husband and wife in a blizzard a few years before.


The 12-strong book series has been optioned by a production company and a possible TV series is in development.


Development takes a long time, Im finding, says Stephen. And development covers everything that takes place up to filming.


He says that the major hurdle is getting one of the TV networks to green-light the project but an independent production company is committed to the idea and has a script for a first episode.


Dead and Buried has also just been published in America and Stephen has been out to a mystery convention in the States to promote his novel. It proves that theres plenty of interest all over the world in little old Derbyshire.


I do think Steven Dunne is right, says Stephen. Over the last decade there has been a huge interest in parts of the country other than London. There are crime fiction series set in almost every part of the UK now, right up to the Shetlands. But there are places that have been missing out and the city of Derby had been one of them. Steven has done a wonderful job in giving us a detective for Derby.


I hardly mention Derby at all in my books and although his character, Damen Brook, does venture into the Peak District, I dont mind as my novels are very much about the rural part of Derbyshire, whereas Brook is a city detective and, of course, Steven writes serial killer novels. As a reader, I like to be engaged by strong characters and thats what Steven Dunne has done. Im full of admiration for what he has achieved. Hes a fantastic example for other writers who have the talent because of all the hard work he has put in.


Steven Dunnes novels may also eventually make it to the screen. He says, Its no good getting your hopes up but my agent has been talking about interest he has received. Hes exploring the possibilities of that. People say Deity would make a wonderful film but its a case of watch this space Im afraid as far as that goes.


Stephen Booth can be seen at Chellaston Library on Tuesday, 6th November, at 7pm. For details, call 01332 702614 or visit Stephens website at
www.stephen-booth.com.


Dead and Buried is out now in hardback published by Sphere at 17.99.


0 comments

More from Out & About

This walk offers a dance with the Dove and a meander by the Manifold, whilst along the way passing a church, castle remains, country houses and a hollow way

Read more

With winter on the horizon, trees glow with colour, migratory birds arrive and house spiders set off in search of a mate

Read more

Ann Hodgkin investigates a case of the sincerest form of flattery… or industrial espionage!

Read more

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s vision is of landscapes rich in wildlife, valued by everyone. They will achieve this 
by pursuing their mission of creating Living Landscapes. Here Julia Gow, the White Peak Reserve Officer at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust tells us about the reserve above the River Wye

Read more

Nigel Powlson visits Sudbury where a shopping courtyard is attracting even more visitors to this quintessential English village

Read more

If you’re walking in the Peak District, the chances are that you could encounter a reservoir at some point during your ramble. There are dozens of resevoirs dotted around all corners of the national park, we pick some of our favourite walks from our archive.

Read more
Peak District

A five-year Heritage Lottery-funded scheme, launched in 2010, was designed to encourage the restoration and conservation of the distinctive landscape character of a large area of north-east Derbyshire.

Read more

Enjoy the wonder of woodland in our glorious Derwent Valley on this park and ride special.

Read more

Paul Hobson reveals some of the fascinating wildlife there is to be found in this month of transition

Read more

From far away constellations to gas clouds, our night skies are bursting with natural wonders – if you know where to look... Viv Micklefield goes stargazing in Derbyshire

Read more

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust works across six Living Landscapes with 46 nature reserves to ensure there is wildlife and wild places for everyone. Reserve officer Sam Willis tells us about one of his favourite places – Ladybower Wood Nature Reserve

Read more

A multi-million pound makeover attracts more leading brands to one of the UK’s biggest shopping destinations

Read more

The first ever National GetOutside Day takes place on Sunday 30 September with the aim of getting 1 million people active outdoors across the UK.

Read more

Derby’s QUAD arts centre has become an important part of the city’s identity over the last decade and it celebrates its impact on the cultural landscape at its 10th anniversary this September

Read more
Derby

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Topics of Interest


Local Business Directory


Property Search