As with the origins of all novels, the story for A Matter of Blood (and the other two books in the Forgotten Gods series) came about from a number of small moments. When I had been teaching, one of my colleagues’ classes was studying Milton’s Paradise Lost (which as an English graduate I’m ashamed to say I’d never read) and as we discussed it over lunch, I found the story quite fascinating. I started to play around with the idea of how things would be if perhaps there was some truth in it. I loved how you could take different perspectives on the characters and they could be ’good’ or ’evil’ depending on how you looked at it. This has become an underlying theme throughout the three books.
A lot of my favorite books have elements of the dystopic in them, and at the time of planning these books the world was sinking into its current financial mess. I love London, but it can be a gritty and grimy city and I wondered how it would be if everyone was suddenly out for themselves. What cuts would the government have to make and how would they affect people. What kind of financial institution could save the world from this predicament? Who would be behind such a thing? I didn’t want the novels to be pure science–fiction so I set them only a few years into the future
I’m also a fan of a serial killer novel but I wanted to do something different with that, too. The Man of Flies who stalks the pages of A Matter of Blood is far more than just your average serial killer, and the effects of his actions reach much further than just the police or the poor women he has killed. By investigating him, our hero—for want of a better word—Cass Jones, is forced to investigate his own personal history and he starts to feel like he is a pawn in a game of players who are all out of sight. Which is, of course, exactly what the Man of Flies had planned. He’s actually a character I’m very fond of, and I hope the readers will be too. Eventually.
And then there is Cass. He’s damaged; there’s no getting around that. He is not a bad man, even though he considers himself to be. He has done some bad things—one terrible thing—and he can’t forgive himself for it. He drinks too much. He uses cocaine. He sleeps around on his wife. He makes deals with gangsters. But, for all that, he’s a very good detective who’s about to go on a journey that, by the end of book three, will change his life forever.
There is a serial killer on the loose. Two children have been gunned down in a hit gone wrong. And then there is a much more personal crime for Cass Jones. As the threads of each begin to weave together, and suspicion falls on Cass, it is up to him to find the truth at the centre of all of it. Perhaps it’s all a matter of blood.
I am exceptionally proud of the story told in The Forgotten Gods, and dark as it may be in places, I hope you enjoy Cass’s journey too.