Judi Westerholme has been through it. Brave and strong-willed, she’s just about coping in her new role as foster parent to her orphaned niece, taking a job at the local pub to help make ends meet. Then the pub’s landlord and Judi’s friend, army veteran Pete ‘Macca’ Macclesfield, is murdered, and her world is suddenly turned upside down.
Despite warnings from the city police to keep out of it, Judi can’t help but get involved in the search for Macca’s killer. But she soon becomes deeply entangled with some ruthlessly dangerous men. She must act fast and think smart to work out what they want – before anyone else gets hurt…
Long buried secrets resurface in Sherryl Clark’s pacey crime novel that pushes Judi Westerholme to her limits to protect the people she loves most.
Dead and Gone, the sequel to Trust Me, I’m Dead, explores themes about community – who cares for each other in bad times, and how friends can be your family, too. It’s also about holding on to old pain and seeking revenge.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
I would love to be able to sing or play a musical instrument, or both!
Why did you choose these themes in your book and were you aware of them from the outset?
The themes emerged on their own, but I wasn’t surprised. I apparently have been writing about family (and families gone wrong) for years in my children’s books, so it’s leaked into the crime novels, too. My family was just normal! But my mum died when I was 14, so I guess in that sense we had our own trauma.
How difficult was it for you to write this book? Did you face any obstacles?
The biggest difficulty was that I lost the first 12 chapters when my computer had a meltdown. I was working on other books and didn’t realise at the time. I finally found most of them on an old USB.
Do you always write in this genre or do you like to break out of the box?
I write in a lot of different genres, through the children’s books (contemporary, historical, mystery, fantasy, adventure), so I don’t feel like I’m missing out! I would like to write more short stories, but I’m very short of good ideas. The ideas I have always get too big.
What are your writing habits or idiosyncrasies?
I really need silence to write. I love writing residencies (I could do one a month) for that reason, and I never do book “playlists” or anything like that. Music is too distracting (as are chainsaws and whipper-snippers and barking dogs).
What’s next for your writing?
More crime novels! I’m working on a different series at the moment, with a male homicide detective as the main character, and the current book (number 2) is set in Finland where I did a residency last year. The first one in the series doesn’t have a publisher yet (fingers crossed).
Sherryl Clark has been writing and publishing stories, novels and poems for more than 30 years. Along the way, she’s published more than 70 children’s and YA books, as well as two collections of poetry. Her first crime novel, Trust Me, I’m Dead, was ten years in the making, and is currently listed for the 2020 CWA New Blood Award, after being shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger in 2018, which led to its publication by Verve Books UK. Dead and Gone is the sequel.