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becke_davis
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Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

Today's guest blog is by author OLIVER HARRIS. His website is here: http://oliverharris.co.uk/

 

Oliver Harris, author

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

[ Edited ]

 

Oliver Harris was born in north London in 1978. He has a first-class degree in English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from UCL, and an MA in creative writing from UEA. He has worked in clothing warehouses, PR companies and as a TV and film extra. More recently he assisted with research in the Imperial War Museum archives, and continues to act as a reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement.

 

 

Oli is currently finishing pursuing a PhD on antiquity in the work of Jacques Lacan at Birkbeck’s London Consortium, and in the last few months has presented papers on obscenity at the Hayward and on conspiracy theories at Ghent’s Vooruit Arts Centre. He loves travelling, especially in cold places.

 

 

His first novel, The Hollow Man, was published by Harper Paperbacks. Rights have been sold in North America, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Romania and Turkey.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

[ Edited ]

The Hollow Man  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hollow Man by Oliver HarrisPUBLISHED OCTOBER 2012
www.harpercollins.com

Detective Nick Belsey is broke. Now it looks like he’s out of a job – something happened last night, something with the boss’s wife…

 

 

At dawn, on what should be the last day of Belsey’s career, Hampstead CID is ghostly quiet. Belsey checks the overnight files. There’s a missing-person report. But this one’s different. It’s on the Bishops Avenue, London’s richest street. Belsey sees a scam, an escape route.

 

But he hasn’t got there first.

 

 

Furiously paced and thrillingly plotted, The Hollow Man is a black love letter to London’s shadow world. It marks the beginning of a seductive contemporary detective series, and the arrival of a future master of the genre.

 

 

Read an excerpt,

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

http://oliverharris.co.uk/index.php/nick-belsey-london-map/

 

BELSEY’S LONDON

Click on the police helmet icons (at link above) to explore locations from The Hollow Man.

 

Find a larger map here:

 

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=217853820497968538180.0004c5e556e31042c5815&hl=en&ie=UTF8...

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

Guest Blog by Oliver Harris

 

The Hollow Man concerns a bankrupt police officer who moves into the home of a missing billionaire. It’s the first novel featuring London detective Nick Belsey. But when I started writing it I wasn’t thinking about a detective series, I was interested in exploring two questions: What would you do as a detective if you suddenly had had enough of your current existence? If, for various reasons, emotional, financial and alcoholic, the best option appeared to be to flee your life and start again? Secondly, what would you do if, in the process of shaking off your identity, you came across one that had just been abandoned – home, car, clothes, even credit cards? What if this abandoned life was that of a billionaire suicide and you knew you had at least a week to enjoy trying on their existence before anything caught up with it?

 

This seemed the perfect premise with which to explore the London that I know and love and often hate. It is a city of extremes, of bluff and desperation, history and oblivion, where you turn a corner and stumble across a different community, enter a pub and find yourself in a different world. I wanted a crime novel where the detective was free to take his investigations off-road, roaming around this city, and I thought that no one was going to see it with greater clarity than an individual about to go into exile forever.

 

I also thought that a fake billionaire captured the spirit of the moment. When I started writing The Hollow Man I wasn’t the only person with the sense that self-deception and denial was more widespread than once thought. I began the novel just after an economic system had woken up, like Belsey, to find its pockets empty and its debts being called in. Yet, like most big cities, there remained a stratum of international wealth that came to London and switched people’s minds off. Its allure was only enhanced against a backdrop of crisis. This is what Belsey understands. The art of the con was perfected during the Depression. He can use the chaos to double his money. But, as he soon discovers, he didn’t get there first.

 

It’s a thrill getting published in the US because underlying this use of the crime novel to explore the city is of course the great noir tradition that got me into crime writing in the first place, precisely because it blends sociology with style and suspense. It gives us the LA of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, the New York of Lawrence Block, Dennis Lehane’s Boston, George Pelacanos’s Washington DC.  These writers never forget that in the best crime novels there are two crimes under investigation: the central case and the society around it. The crime novels I love are like a guided tour to the hidden, shadow-side of a place, be it village, city or nation, and a suggestion as to how the pieces might fit together.

 

This is, finally, the joy of working with a character who is, under all his layers and misdemeanours, still a detective, with a detective’s cool and analytical gaze. Few jobs lead you from a mansion in the morning to a crack house in the afternoon – and insist you take neither at face value. Belsey’s powers of detection have gone renegade yet the task he is faced with is essentially the one he has been doing throughout his service: dissecting someone’s existence to find out what made them tick; building a life from a corpse. And all the while trying to isolate the greatest threat to his wellbeing in a city as hungover as himself, intoxicated with its own cunning, trying to outrun the present fast.

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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

Welcome Oliver:

 

Enjoyed your blog about your book, Hollow Man. Your lead detective, Nick Belsey, sounds very interesting. I will definitely have to check out Hollow Man.

 

Thanks for visiting with us!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Fricka
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

Yes, welcome, Oliver. I enjoyed reading your blog about Hollow Man. I know your academic background seems a bit more steeped in Shakespeare, but I have to ask--were you at all inspired by TS Eliot for this book?

 

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

Enjoyed your blog, Oliver. I must look for the book as it sounds good. Thanks for being on the Forum.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Mysterylover1138
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

Oliver

I have seen your novel several times and have always wanted to pick it up but my TBR pile is growing daily. But after reading all of the things Becke has posted and also visiting your website I am definatly going to check it out.

I always ask questions of the authors that come to visit, so lets see...

If you could have lunch with any famous author who inspired you who would it be and why?

Hope you are having a great night

Leigh
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oliver_harris
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

Hi Leigh - and thanks! I'd love a boozy lunch with Faulkner and Hemingway. More realistically, I bet a meal with Lawrence Block, Val McDermid and Lee Child would be fun.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

[ Edited ]

Fricka, good question! If there's anything of Eliot there I'd be delighted. I love his poetry - and his depiction of London. So, a yes.

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Fricka
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS


oliver_harris wrote:

Fricka, good question! If there's anything of Eliot there I'd be delighted. I love his poetry - and his depiction of London. So, a yes.


 

Yessss!(fist pump) Love it when I get a literary allusion in a title! Now I'm going to have to read your book, Oliver, to see how far that bit of Eliot carries through. Must leave now, though, before my head swells to horrendous proportions! :catlol:

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

Thanks so much for visiting with us, Oliver!

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS

The pleasure was mine!
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author OLIVER HARRIS


oliver_harris wrote:
The pleasure was mine!

Oliver - This is "your" thread now. You're welcome to come back and post updates here anytime you like. We'd love to see you here again!