Friday, 4 April 2014

The End Comes First for Chris Ewan

Today’s guest blog is by Chis Ewan who is best known for his "Good Thief" series of travelling adventures featuring Charlie Howard, a thief and author of his own crime series.   His first novel The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam, 2007 won the Long Barn Books First Novel Award. His first and second novels The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam, The Good Thief's Guide to Paris were shortlisted for the Last Laugh Award for best comic crime fiction.  His first standalone thriller Safe House (2011) was shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

Dead Line is the only novel I’ve written where the ending came to me first. Well, maybe that’s not absolutely true. First, I had the basic hook for a kidnap story with a twist, and about two days later I knew how the story would end. That’s highly unusual for me. Generally speaking, it takes me months of planning to get a sense of how and why a book might end in a particular way, and even then an ending often changes as I begin to unearth something unexpected from the rubble of a first draft.
But not here. Everything in Dead Line was built towards the ending I had in mind. It was a clean target.

And yet, I knew the ending I wanted to deliver might divide opinion. I knew it was a risk.
But then, isn’t every story a gamble? As readers, we take a chance every time we pick up a novel. Will our time be rewarded? Will the story entertain or enrich us? Will the ending satisfy? 
We’re told a great ending is important – and it is – but how many novels truly surprise or leave us reeling? And how often do we find ourselves still pondering an ending long after we’ve finished a book.

My hope is that readers might just feel that way about the ending of Dead Line. And of course, I can’t tell you what the ending is. There are no spoilers here. But I can tell you that to my mind, at least, the way the book ends feels absolutely true to the story I had to tell. I could have delivered other outcomes, for a host of other reasons, but none of them would have felt right to me – or, I hope, to you.
And now, since I started with the end, I guess I should end with the beginning, and finish up by telling you a little of what Dead Line is about. 

Dead Line is a kidnap thriller set in Marseilles. It’s the story of Daniel Trent, a professional hostage negotiator, and the dark secret that drives and compromises him.

As the book opens, Trent’s fiancée, Aimée, has gone missing without a trace, and Trent does everything he can to find her. He suspects that shady businessman Jérôme Moreau has something to do with her disappearance and he plans to abduct and interrogate him. But when Moreau is kidnapped, Tent must get him back quickly – and alive – before time runs out.

Does he succeed? Does he find Aimée? Well now, that’s what the ending is all about.

Chris Ewan and James Carol will be talking about thrillers at Waterstones Piccadilly on 24 April 2014.  Tickets are free but you need to reserve a place. please contact

Dead Line by Chris Ewan is out in paperback on 3rd April, £7.99 (Faber & Faber)

You can find more information about Chris Ewan and his books on his website:  You can also follow him on Twitter @chrisewan, on Facebook and also his blog.

The video for Dead Line can be seen below -

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