Where did the inspiration for writing The Jackdaw come from? Two sources really. The first was speaking to a banker from the City who one minute was telling me he never tells anyone he’s a banker anymore because there was so much hatred towards them after the banking crisis and the next he was spitting tacks because his Christmas bonus had been cut from £2 million to a mere £1 million – apparently so as to not upset the public too much. I told him he and his kind might want to wind their necks in for a while. I sensed there was and still is a lot of animosity towards that profession as a result of the greed driven system collapse and reckoned there must be a lot of people out there who’d lost everything and would probably like to get even some day. Hence the basic idea for The Jackdaw was conceived.
The second was initially a completely separate idea for another book, until I had the brainwave to put them together as one that ultimately made The Jackdaw far more interesting to write. The idea itself came from those dreadful Internet films in which Islamic terrorists showoff their desperate kidnap victims. Disturbingly powerful. I thought about what it would be like if a killer decided to use the Internet to share his crimes with the general public and how they would react, then like I said, the idea just seemed to dovetail perfectly with the idea about the bankers and two became one. I’ve always been a bit surprised someone hasn’t really used the Internet in the way The Jackdaw does. I guess someone will eventually.
I guess you could say the final version of The Jackdaw came about by accident and circumstance, which is exactly how my writing career came about too. I was seventeen and at college when my English teacher took an interest in my creative writing. He seemed to think I had a bit of a talent and tried to talk me into meeting a publisher friend of his to put together a few short stories, but I had far more interesting and appealing ideas about what I wanted to do with my life. I craved excitement and at seventeen I couldn’t see how writing was going to give me that, although I always believed I’d come back to it one day – I just didn’t realize how long it would be before I did.
A few years later I joined the Metropolitan Police, bought a flat in London and really started living. Chasing bad boys all over southeast London, poll tax riots, race riots down in Thamesmead, Millwall versus West Ham – I had all the excitement I could handle. I wasn’t really interested in sticking parking tickets on cars or processing people for broken headlights – much to the dismay of many of my seniors. I was only interested in crime and criminals. My obsession paid off and soon my activities caught the eye of the CID and I was drafted into their ranks.
I remember my first year on the Crime Squad just seemed to be murder after murder. These days we have dedicated Murder Investigation Teams, but back then the local Crime Squad would provide most of the manpower for murder investigations. It seemed to me all we did was murder, murder, murder. Some were interesting and some were even exciting, but mainly they were just painstaking hard work and evidence gathering – a lot of shoe leather used. All the same – it was a brilliant education and grounding for the countless serious crimes I’ve investigated since.
I do miss the police still. It’s probably the best job in the world, but the pay and working conditions are terrible and I don’t miss them. It was also a damn tough job – much tougher than most would believe or understand. The working hours could be crazy – sometimes no more than two or three hours sleep a night for four or five days on the trot and even when your were supposed to be sleeping you weren’t really. People often ask me about how I deal with the pressure of deadlines etc. Honestly, it simply isn’t pressure – not for me. Not after the police. It’s a high pressure, high stress job that requires a ridiculous level of commitment and fortitude. Writing books is relaxing and fun – never pressure. Maybe I’m just lucky – I’m never short of ideas for books or short stories, so I never suffer from writer’s block. Perhaps if I did and could see deadline day approaching and was still staring at a blank page or screen then I would feel the pressure. But I still doubt it would compare to anything I faced in the police. Let’s hope that day never comes!
(c) Luke Delaney
About The Jackdaw
The fourth novel in the DI Sean Corrigan series – authentic and terrifying crime fiction with a psychological edge, by an ex-Met detective. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Stuart MacBride.
Guilty or not guilty?
A lone vigilante is abducting wealthy Londoners and putting their fate in the hands of the public. Within hours of disappearing, the victims appear on the internet, bound to a chair in a white room.
Revenge or mercy?
Their crimes of greed and incompetence are broadcast to the watching thousands who make up the jury. Once the verdict is cast, the man who calls himself ‘The Jackdaw’ will be judge and executioner.
Live or die?
DI Sean Corrigan and his Special Investigations Unit are under pressure to solve this case fast. But as The Jackdaw’s popularity grows, Corrigan realizes he’s hunting a dangerously clever and elusive adversary – one who won’t stop until his mission is complete.
The Jackdaw is in bookshops now or pick up your copy online here.