With my blogs now attracting more and more ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ both on WordPress and social media, I’m absolutely delighted that more and more people are being introduced to the wonderful City of Chester.
As well as being my home town, Chester is, of course, the stomping ground of Detective Constable Dominic Strider of Chester CID – the super-sleuth in my three (to date) completed crime novels.
To me, that’s one of the greatest pleasures in writing my Strider books. Being able to introduce people to Chester – a city most people in the UK and some from abroad have heard of, but many have never visited.
Sure, they’ve probably heard that it’s an ancient Roman city with almost complete City Walls still intact (and which you walk around safely, admiring the exquisiteness of the compact city centre as you complete the hour-long circuit).
They have probably heard it has an ancient Roman Amphitheatre, half exposed and half buried. That the settlement boasts a magnificent gothic Cathedral and sits on the majestic River Dee.
And they might even be able to name-check The Rows, that unique two-tier mainly wooden shopping structure – ie shops upon shops – which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
But Chester is far more than a sum of its parts. It’s a splendidly complex, unique, wonderful, sometimes magical, occasionally frustrating, little city with a big heart and a lot to say for itself. I know that first-hand, having lived and worked there for 15 years.
I don’t just know the ‘surface’ Chester either… the city centre you might shop in, socialise in, and work in.
No, having been a local newspaper reporter for those 15 years, I know its good points and bad points, its strengths and weakness, its hidden underbelly. The twilight world of police investigations, backroom political deals, corruption and crime. The council estates a mere stone’s throw from the Town Hall and Cathedral, which contain people whose lives are a million miles away from the middle class, the gentrified, the great and the good.
It’s in these two disparate worlds that DC Dominic Strider treads, and which his first-person narration brings so evocatively to life in my novels.
Strider doesn’t just walk down the main shopping streets, places you could pick out on a basic city centre map. He knows the lesser-known streets too, the built-up estates and tenements, the dark alleyways filled with shadow and menace. And above all he knows the people…. the good, bad and sometimes ugly.
He is your guide into the sometimes public, sometimes hidden, always fascinating City of Chester. He’ll tell you the city’s history but also put a human face on it.
So if you can’t make it up to Chester yourself any time soon, then check out my two published Strider novels No More Lonely Nights and Long & Winding Road – both available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.
And keep reading/following this blog, because one day soon I should have fantastic news about my 3rd Strider novel, which takes us back to his earliest case. It’s called Strider Begins: Road to Nowhere, and it starts – as all good stories should – with a bang!!