Monsters in the Mist is the third of my books featuring Galbraith & Pole. It can be read as a stand-alone book, but it builds on the world established in the first two books. It certainly helps to have read the first in the series, Something Wicked.
Something Wicked explains how the vampire, Pole, came to be working with the Metropolitan Police, where he met Chief Inspector Galbraith and they worked together on their first murder investigation. Pole is not your conventional vampire. He lives in an elegant apartment in Chelsea were he enjoys cooking (often with garlic) and fine whisky. But he does avoid daylight and feeds on blood.
For the next five days, Something Wicked will be on offer for just 99p/cents. It’s quite a short book, so it gives you time to read it ahead of the publication of Monsters in the Mist on 27 October.
If you’re not sure about spending 99p, you can get an idea of the story because the opening is available free, read by me here:
Monsters in the Mist is the third book I’ve written featuring Galbraith and Pole. Galbraith is an old-school London detective who finds himself working together with a vampire to solve some distinctly unusual crimes.
The first book in the series, Something Wicked, found them investigating a murder that had left a peer of the realm dead in his study, drained of all his blood. Obviously vampires were involved by why, after hundreds of years of hiding in plain sight, were they revealing themselves now? The investigation takes in a tango hall (vampires are big on tango) and night classes at Birkbeck College (vampires can hardly be expected to study during the day) before an explosive climax in Brompton Cemetery.
In the second book, Eat the Poor, a werewolf is attacking people on council estates across London. Is this a supernatural beast with a political agenda? Galbraith and Pole team up again to track down the killer, who, it seems is close to the heart of government.
In their latest adventure they are called in when a dismembered body is found on a Welsh moor. The urbane Chief Inspector Pole is well out of his comfort zone in rural mid Wales and Galbraith is almost equally uncomfortable so far away from London. Pole is unhappy, too at suggestions that there might be another werewolf on the loose. He is certain that there must be an alternative explanation for the killing but others are not so sure. This time their investigation takes them to a classified government research facility and a dramatic showdown in a secret military base.
The cover is another wonderful effort from Dave Slaney.
The Galbraith & Pole stories are not your conventional vampire tales. For a start Pole is hardly your conventional vampire. An enthusiastic cook (not that he needs to eat solid food), he loves garlic as well as tango. His Chelsea flat is an oasis of calm, where Galbraith finds himself Increasingly at home. It’s fair to say that these books do not take the genre too seriously.
Monsters in the Mist will be available in time for Halloween and can be pre-ordered now. Watch out for it: a police procedural with added bite.
Usually these days, I write my Friday blogs on Thursdays or, at very least, have a good idea by then of what I’m going to talk about. This week, though, I’m sitting here in the middle of the morning with very little idea of what I’m going to say.
Part of the reason for this is that I am in the throes of tidying up the latest Burke book, Burke and the Lines of Torres Vedras, ahead of sending it out to beta readers. (If you are interested in beta reading the book, do let me know.) The book sees Burke back in the Peninsula. I wrote it because, having visited the Lines of Torres Vedras, I was so fascinated by them that I wanted to base a novel there. It’s likely to do me no harm commercially, because I’ve been looking at sales and it’s clear that books that are most obviously related to Napoleonic campaigns that people know are the ones that they want to read. That’s Burke in the Peninsula and Burke at Waterloo.
The lines of Torres Vedras are interesting in terms of military historical fiction, because any stories set there are unlikely to feature any serious fighting. The lines were such a strong defensive position that, after one initial probing attack, the French hunkered down to wait Wellington out. A mistake, as it turns out, as Wellington had prepared for this and was in a much better position to wait than they were. So what am I writing about? Well, we know that there was a spy ring broken in Portugal in 1810 and spying is Burke’s job, so expect evil plots amidst the fortifications.
Anyway, while I’ve been removing redundant paragraphs and hacking away at cliches, I haven’t been preparing my blog. What I have found time to do was to read Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare. Love him or loathe him, it’s a fascinating book and I would have quite liked to review it, but it seems to rouse such strong feelings that I fear my blog might just turn into a battlefield of Napoleonic proportions. If people would like to see a review, do let me know. Just be aware that I approve comments before they show on my site and, though I have never blocked one so far, I’m very happy to block anybody who posts with some of the more virulent views I’ve seen expressed for and against Harry and Meghan.
I’ve also been giving a bit of thought to a possible third book in the Galbraith and Pole series. The first two seem quite popular, but while I can reasonably expect that fans of James Burke will look at Burke and the Lines of Torres Vedras, people who read my historical fiction do not necessarily have any interest in my Urban Fantasy. What about you? Are you reading this because you are interested in historical fiction or because you have read my urban fantasy books? Or maybe you just like reading my more random stuff here.
I mainly post history related stuff on my blog, but occasionally I’ll write something about fantasy. Which would you rather see? Or do you enjoy both?
One of the reasons that it can sometimes be difficult to work out what to write about it is that I do post largely into a void. I get the odd comment and sometimes people take up some of the things I’ve talked about on Twitter (I’m @TomCW99), but mostly I just put stuff out there and hope that somebody enjoys it. WordPress assures me that quite a lot of people read my stuff and they can’t all be bots. Why not let me know who you are and what you want in Comments (below) or get in touch through my ‘Contact’ page? And if you do want to read a book review of Spare, let me know that too.
Eat the Poor got its first Amazon review this week, which made me very happy. Sue Bavey enjoys the idea of a werewolf who is a Conservative MP:
“I particularly liked how odious the Conservative MP Christopher Garold was. Anyone following British politics lately will not find the idea of a murderous werewolf that far-fetched when it comes to the dirty little secrets of those in power.”
I feel she is being a little harsh on Christopher Garold. He is, by his lights, a good MP, albeit one who disapproves of those he thinks of as “the undeserving poor”. He works hard for his constituents, takes no bribes, and campaigns on environmental issues. As one of his voters says, “He may be a Tory, but his heart’s in the right place.” And he can hardly help being a werewolf.
I had wanted to write a story about a werewolf since people started asking me for a sequel to Something Wicked. That book had started from the idea that if vampires lived among us, they would probably dance tango. I know so many tango dancers I have never seen in daylight that it seemed entirely credible and from that point the whole story just sort of took off. But where would you find a werewolf? What sort of person could turn into a creature that rips open the throats of innocent people who are foolish enough to be out on the night of a full moon?
The honest answer, of course, is that it could be anybody. But that wasn’t really satisfying. I wanted a job where a ruthless killer instinct and an unerring conviction of your own superiority to others made the idea of being a werewolf a natural match with your personality – and I came up with a Conservative MP.
The political edge was just a way of making the story work. Eat the Poor is an entertainment, not a searing bit of political satire. But while I was writing it, I watched our traditional political system falling apart. The ‘Good Chaps’ theory of government, which underlies our unwritten constitution, has given way to an approach to political power which is much better summed up as the Werewolf theory of government: the powerful take what they want and convince themselves that they are making society a better place while they do it. So there are points where the anger slips through. If you haven’t felt angry about Parliament in the past couple of years, you haven’t been paying attention.
Much more important than any political elements is the growing relationship between the all-too-human Chief Inspector Galbraith, very aware of growing older, and his vampire partner, Pole. Both essentially rather lonely individuals, they grow closer through their rather old-fashioned shared values. They believe in decency and protecting society. And, increasingly, they believe in each other.
More important than either the satire or the relationship, though, is the sheer fun of a hunt for the supernatural in the everyday (or everynight) world of today’s London. Wouldn’t you, deep down, enjoy seeing a werewolf in Parliament? Well now you can.
Eat the Poor is available on Kindle, in paperback or on Kindle Unlimited. You can link to it here: mybook.to/EatThePoor.
Writers do pay a lot of attention to what readers say about their books. And what readers said about ‘Something Wicked‘, my police procedural with tango-dancing vampires, was that they wanted more. So I have taken a break from my historical fiction series about James Burke to produce another Urban Fantasy featuring old-school detective Chief Inspector Galbraith and Chief Inspector Pole, a vampire from the mysterious Section S.
The latest Galbraith & Pole adventure, ‘Eat the Poor’ sees our detective duo hunting down a werewolf that is killing on the streets of London. For Pole, as ever, the most important thing is to put a stop to the beast’s predations before people realise that it even is a werewolf. Once they begin to realise that werewolves are real, it’s only a matter of time before they begin wondering about vampires, and Pole has spent hundreds of years making sure people don’t think about vampires.
Galbraith doesn’t want people thinking about vampires either. Nor is he happy about the growing body-count in his city. Like Pole, he wants the crimes solved and the werewolf captured.
What neither of them know is that in his human form, the werewolf sits in Parliament.
When I started writing, the idea that you might have a werewolf in the Palace of Westminster seemed ridiculous, but I was happy to go for it in a tongue-in-cheek fantasy. Over the past few months, though, an MP turning into a wolf on the full moon is hardly worthy of note compared to some of the things that have been going on. And a werewolf is, arguably, far from the most evil creature stalking the corridors of power. So my story may now have slightly more of a satirical edge than it did when I started.
Satirical or not, the story is mostly about having fun with the history of werewolves (I had to bone up on my 16th century French to read one early account), and following the growing relationship between my two heroes. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
‘Eat the Poor’ is published next week at £3.99 on Kindle and £6.99 in paperback. You can pre-order it now at mybook.to/EatThePoor.