Afterward, there is giveaway. So be sure to check that out at the bottom.
Welcome back Fiona. :D
First of all I'd like to say thanks to Amara for asking me back - I obviously didn't upset the neighbours or damage the furniture too much on my last visit!
If you dropped in the other day you'll have seen a little bit about me and my new book Necessity's Door in Amara's interview. But one thing I didn't mention was that the book is set in my home city of Birmingham (the UK's second city) and that some of the locations really exist. I thought it might be fun to explore a few of them, just in case you ever get the chance to visit. And at the end of the post there's a chance to win yourself a prize, too!
So, here goes. Necessity's Door is set around the back streets of central Birmingham, just outside the city centre. Like many cities the gloss and glitz wears off surprisingly quickly and there are some rough, dingy and down-at-heel streets just a short distance away from the high street stores, restaurants, theatres and bars, which can make for an interesting mix.
The shopping centre where Jake plies his trade is called the Arcadian. It was built in the early 1990s and housed the city's first Japanese restaurant as well as a cinema, nightclubs and restaurants. Nowadays it's where the gay quarter and Chinatown meet, so gay bars and Chinese buffets sit cheek by jowl and both the annual Gay Pride march and the Chinese new year celebrations are held there. The Forbidden City restaurant Mac mentions in the book used to exist and I even ate there once. It was very, very Chinese with no English menus or English-speaking staff, but I was lucky enough to have some Chinese friends who took me. The food was incredible - I'd never had chicken feet or shark's fin before! Sadly, it closed down soon afterwards so I was never able to repeat the experience.
Canals are a real feature of Birmingham and there's a local saying that the city has more miles of canal than Venice. In the 1980s and early 90s they were threatening, even dangerous places to stray but since then they've been gentrified and you can walk for miles along the tow-paths past locks, over bridges and through tunnels. Just outside the city centre lies Gas Street Basin which has been tarted up with restaurants and waterside apartments. It's quite possible that Jake's own, very swish apartment is somewhere around here, although of course as an undercover cop he's reluctant to reveal the exact address!
Both Jake and lover Graham mention Selfridges and this really is an icon. Built in [ ] as the centre-piece of the upgraded Bull Ring shopping centre, it looks like a squat blue lump covered in silver disks. Very space age - and Microsoft have even used an image of the building in their 'architecture' theme pack for Windows 7. The Selfridges store inside is too exclusive and expensive for me (we writers don't get paid that much, you know...) although I have occasionally treated myself to some choccies from the food hall. But not the chocolate-coated ants. I draw the line at those!
Being an openly-gay detective in Birmingham comes with its share of problems. For one, the pay is awful. For another, Jake always gets stuck with the crappy undercover jobs. Like posing as a prostitute to catch the new crime boss in town—a man notorious for rough sex with pretty young rentboys.
Jake’s latest op is fraught with difficulties, all of them men. Like his partner, Mac, who he’s secretly fancied for months. And his new client, Graham, who he keeps sleeping with for reasons far beyond maintaining his cover. And of course there’s the target, Frank Warren, who’s much harder to lure than Jake had anticipated.
The longer the job drags on, the tougher it gets for Jake to juggle his own needs with those of the job. They may be closing in on Warren, but Jake’s heart—and moral compass—are slipping through his fingers. Mac is there to back him up, but is he really the man Jake needs? Tough to tell among all those lies Jake's been telling himself and everyone else.
Like the sound of it? Want to read more? There’s an excerpt and further details at the so feel free to click on over there and have an explore.
During this blog tour I’m holding a little contest with a variety of prizes. There’s a perfect-bound (ie print) copy of my earlier gay cop story ‘Any Means Necessary’, a print copy of Radgepacket Volume 2 which contains my gay short story ‘Rock and a Hard Place’, and various bits and pieces of general swag!
All you need to do is answer the following three simple questions, the answers to all of which can be found in ‘Necessity’s Door’. When you have the answers, and I’ll put all the correct entries into a hat (well, actually a willow-pattern bowl, but who’s checking...) and the first correct entry drawn from the bowl at the end of the blog tour will win the prize.
Here’s the questions:
1. What is the real name of The Blue Baboon gay club?
2. What colour is Frank Warren’s hair?
3. How much does Warren pay Jake for sex?
Think you know the answers? Then get emailing and good luck! I’m looking forward to hearing from you. And in the meantime if you’d like to find out more about me and my work, then please just drop into or .