Welcome to my first (ever) blog. This is going to be an interesting few weeks. Whispers of the Dead, my third novel to feature British forensic anthropologist Dr David Hunter, is now published in the US. Which is also where it happens to be set. Whereas the first two Hunter novels, The Chemistry of Death and Written in Bone, took place in the UK, it was always my intention that the third on the series would see Hunter visit America. And specifically the place where he first learned his trade: the Body Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Transplanting Hunter across the Atlantic, if only for one book, was something of a gamble. I wasn’t sure how readers would react to finding him outside his usual environment. But setting this story in Tennessee felt right to me. I’ve visited the Body Farm myself, a journalistic trip that provided the original inspiration behind The Chemistry of Death and David Hunter Hunter himself. And I blatantly picked the brains of people who know far more about this territory than I do. Professor Richard Jantz, the director of the real Body Farm (let’s give it its proper name and call it the Anthropology Research Facility) and Dr Arpad Vass of Oak Ridge National Laboratory were both enormously helpful, as was Kristin Helm at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
So far the reaction to Hunter’s third outing has been even better than I’d hoped. Whispers made the UK hardback top 10, and reached number 3 in the German bestseller charts. But of course the acid test is going to be what American readers make of it.
I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed….