When Stephen Sayers released ‘Tried & Tested’ nearly twelve months ago it landed amidst critical acclaim. Now he is preparing to take crime fiction by storm with a second book, one in the mould of famous crime writer Martina Cole.
It promised to be dark, disturbing and delightfully dynamic. It delivered.
Its name is ‘By Any Means Necessary’, and it is a combination of Stephen Sayer’s mind, and Teesside crime author David McCaffrey’s, literary nous.
It is a winning combination.
Those who have read ‘Tried & Tested’ will be struck by the way these two writers have been able to craft, something of this caliber. David’s influence is keenly felt in every word on every page, but there is little doubt this story comes from the mind of Sayers himself.
For David this project was a surprise. He’s a guy who knows about deadlines, writers block and the other difficulties associated with this sort of project, and he may have been forgiven for wondering if Steven had the staying power for such a thing. But he was very quickly, very comfortable with what every aspect of the work. This is Stephen’s vision, Stephen’s story. David just added some calm, some structure, to storm emerging from within the pages.
Stephen’s concepts come through strongly. Ever writer who works in a genre like this has to let the dark demons out of his or her mind and Stephen has certainly done that, but in addition he has created a heroine to rise to the moment, and in the other main characters, siblings Karen and elder brother Tommy, he’s found a story that shows even the darkest of times can be overcome.
Within the story Tommy embodies the natural characteristics of the male lead portraying the sacrifices he made for his younger sibling. ‘By Any Means Necessary’ is not just a catchy title; it exemplifies the spirit of the book.
This is also, in some ways, a profoundly feminist book.
The strong female character, Karen Myers, is the latest in a rowing list of strong women in the role of the hero in crime writing.
Her growth into that role within the story, from a place where she used to be abused in her early years, to become the dominant heroine, brings great strength to a story in a genre that was once almost totally dominated by men.
More than anything else, this book feels “real” and some of that affected David when he was putting the story together.
In fact, it was David’s own wife, Kelly, who saw the change in his usual construction when he had not.
Overcoming the inherent challenge of basing such a book around a strong female character was one of the difficulties. The colloquialisms surrounding the Geordie language were another and when David and Stephen first met the Teesside author recognised that these had to overcome.
It has been vindicated by the completion of a successful project.
The photo was taken by Mr Pink – AKA Brian Anderson – and features the author, Steven Sayers, with Howard Marks.
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