I am pleased to be the latest spot on the blog tour for Absent, the new DS Coupland novel from Emma Salisbury. Emma has very kindly written a brilliant guest post about the locations used in the book, something that always interests me when reading a book set in a real place.
Over to Emma:
My police procedural series is set in the city of Salford, in Greater Manchester. I chose it because I was born there and I married into a family of officers serving in Greater Manchester Police. I think Mancunians – or Salfordians if you want to split hairs, are a lot like the Scots (I now live on the East Coast of Scotland). They speak their mind but are kind spirited and will help a stranger out in the blink of an eye. Coupland represents a typical Northern man in many ways, no heirs or graces, never gets above himself and detests that in others. He calls a spade a spade.
I have used a lot of my old stomping grounds in my plots: Swinton, where my late mother and father in law used to live. My mother in law used to work in the bakers on the precinct and we’d call in for a chat whenever we were passing. My late husband and I shared a flat in Clifton before moving to Worsley, locals will spot the thinly disguised references to Kirkstile Place and Ellenbrook, and Boothstown, where I used to meet a friend from the local toddler group. My younger son was born in Hope Hospital, and spent a week in the special care baby unit so basing Coupland’s wife Lynn there was my way of paying homage to them. Sometimes I am less explicit about the location – I have changed some place names, and even made up some areas, particularly if I am suggesting something negative, after all my intention isn’t to cause offence.
Salford has changed over the years, I mean the landscape, not the people. When you write in any great detail about a location (which I don’t like doing anyway as it feels like a travelogue) you run the risk of the story becoming outdated, so I tend not to comment on large buildings or regeneration projects, although I couldn’t ignore media city rolling up. It’s the same with coffee shops and restaurants, if I want to mention something and I haven’t been to stay for a while I check with my niece: ‘That Little Chef still off the East Lancs Road?’ ‘Nah, it’s an Indian restaurant now.’
I love it when readers tell me they were sitting at the traffic lights and they can envisage a scene from the series right in front of them. Another reader sent me a photo her friend had taken outside a nightclub – she thought the doorman in the photo looked like Coupland.
I just love it when that happens.
The worst things happen in plain sight.
When he stopped a serial killer in his tracks earlier in the year he thought that would be the end of it, but for DS Kevin Coupland his nightmare has just begun.
A child’s body is discovered hidden in a bag, kicking off a major investigation for Salford Precinct’s murder squad. Soon the National Crime Agency roll into town and Coupland is under strict instructions to play nice.
He’s got enough on his plate to worry about politics. A shock discovery in his personal life is starting to take its toll, causing him to make decisions that bring him to the attention of the powers that be for all the wrong reasons.
DS Alex Moreton returns from maternity leave to find her partner deeply troubled, but with a cold case to review she’s in no position to prevent him hitting the self-destruct button.
As he hunts down the child’s killer Coupland is forced to reflect upon his own life and find an answer to the question he’s been avoiding. Is it possible to accept the things you cannot change?
With thanks to Emma Salisbury for the great post and to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group for arranging the blog tour.
Take a look at the rest of the blogs on the tour: