I began researching and writing my thriller novel Run From The Devil in 2015. I finished it during the Covid-19 Lockdown. I had written a short story in my twenties and nothing since then. Having decided to begin, I was surprised at how time disappeared every time I sat down to write. Hours just vanished and not realising that I had been immobile, focused for lengthy periods, I would be amazed at how stiff and sore I became after each writing jag. My busy life meant that the book was written mostly late at night, when I had the house to myself and both nutty dogs were dozing peacefully. Alas, there’s only one nutty dog to disturb the flow of words now.
During the lockdown I had an accident which resulted in three slipped discs in my lower back. There’s a silver lining in every cloud as my lack of movement forced me to complete the proofing and multiple rewrites of the book, followed by the subsequent preparation of the manuscript for publishing and cover design. It truly became a “lockdown novel”.
Originally, I wanted to write a simple book. A straightforward thriller. The sort of easy-reading book I would enjoy reading myself. One doubts one’s abilities at the beginning of any such endeavour and I was firmly of the view that I was just an apprentice, learning a new skill – storytelling. I had recently finished reading the Millennium Trilogy and Thomas Harris’ Lecter series, so clearly the plot was heavily influenced by those superb books, although I was under no illusions about the disparity between their well-honed works and my tyro efforts.
As time moved on, I began to explore various themes. Firstly, the concept of a relationship between two flawed male protagonists, both of whom have experienced dysfunctional relationships with the women in their lives and also how these life experiences affected and shaped them. I wanted to contrast Mr Black’s wrecking ball approach to sex and love with the tentative and tender development of Tiberius’ nascent romantic relationship with Ashling.
The novel also concerns itself with a highly effective military intelligence agent gone rogue. The success of the James Bond films prompted the question – what if someone like 007 actually existed. Would they be as disciplined and controlled as they are depicted in the series? Only ever killing for Queen and country?
The curious relationship between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter was the inspiration behind investigating the impact of a genuinely good and life-altering deed on an otherwise unremittingly evil character. Either Mr. Black would be untouched by it or altered in some way. In a spirit of optimism I chose the latter path for Mr. Black sparking an inner struggle which will be explored further in the sequel.
We are fast approaching a point where sophisticated mathematical algorithms manipulate and control the fabric of ordinary events in our day to day lives. The novel attempts to explore the impact of such ground breaking technology on its creators, the fabulous wealth it can create and the deep reaching impact it can and does have on all of our lives.
Years before the advent of Covid-19, I considered how would our public services, in this case the Police, cope with a major event which stretched its resources to breaking point. A terrorist attack on Irish soil provides the rationale for Tiberius to be handed a murder investigation.
The novel is a digital thriller which pits a disgraced American Police officer against a Psychopath. It is the first of three novels called the Black Chronicles. Most of the action is set in Ireland, with some scenes in France, the U.K. and Spain. The book is played out against the backdrop of two events – a terrorist attack on American Army Personnel in transit through Shannon Airport in the West of Ireland and the Global Web Summit hosted in Dublin.
(c) John Whelan
About Run from the Devil:
Tiberius Frost is a former LAPD Detective with a troubled past. Now he works for the Irish Police. When a dead girl is found dumped in a pit on a Dublin University Campus, a manpower shortage means Tiberius must head up the investigation. Together with his partner Doyle, he uncovers a web of intrigue involving the British Secret Service, a ruthless Tech Billionaire and a Serial Killer. Everyone is after a piece of software that could change our world.
Chilling violence, a mounting death toll, dirty sex and non-stop action as Tiberius and his nemesis duel across Europe in an electrifying thriller!
The terrifying debut of a psychopath that will live in your nightmares long after you finish the book. Say hello to Mr. Black.
Order your copy online here.