It was a packed house at the Waterstones store in Glasgow's Argyle Street last Wednesday evening, for the launch of Presumed Dead, the fifth Carter Blake book, by Mason Cross. He was introduced by fellow crime writer Douglas Skelton, who then went on to quiz Mason.
Douglas looked out at the huge crowd and joked 'Are you sure you're all here to see Mason?" before introducing the man of the moment. He revealed that Mason is not averse to cracking the spines of books - the horror! After gently ribbing Mason, Douglas admitted he'd loved the book, and thought it was Mason's best yet. And he particularly loved the line 'Eating Twinkies one minute, dead the next'!
The book is set in Georgia, and centres around a girl who is presumed dead, and presumed to have been the last victim of the notorious Devil Mountain Killer. Mason was inspired to write the book after researching serial killers for previous books and realising that not all victims are found. Another inspiration for the setting was Bill Bryson's book, 'A Walk in the Woods' about walking the Appalachian Way.
Most of Mason's research is carried out through Google - he hasn't discovered much he can't find out there! But he explained that this was an easier book to write than some of his earlier ones, as it's his most linear to date - all the action takes place in the same time zone, and in a relatively small area.
Carter Blake is a 'Location Consultant' - Douglas asked what that means. Mason's response was that he was basically an expensive private investigator! Before he wrote the first book, he came up with a character that could find himself in all sorts of situations, working on his own, or with various branches of law enforcement. So, hopefully, there will be plenty more Carter Blake stories, but Mason's next book will actually be a standalone set in the UK.
Douglas asked Mason about his writing routines. With a young family and full time job, he has learnt to write little and often, whenever he can, and finds it mounts up quickly. He likes to do a degree of planning, but doesn't do it in great detail.
Douglas quizzed Mason for the best part of an hour, before opening it up to the audience, who had a variety of questions. The most important one? 'French Toast or Eggy Bread?', following a Twitter debate between Mason and a fellow author, which loads of other people commented on. The correct response, in case you're wondering, is French Toast.
The evening came to an end far too soon with a huge queue of folk picking up the new book and getting Mason to sign them. Loads of selfies with him too, including mine!
A fabulous fun evening, and free wine too!
You can buy Presumed Dead here:
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