Teenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. New York Night is the seventh novel in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series.
Sara could see that he was afraid so she smiled what she hoped was a comforting smile. ‘It’s a game,’ she said. ‘It’s just a game.’
‘If you want to play a game, let’s play Grand Theft Auto,’ said her brother. Luke was ten, six years younger than she was. They rarely played together but she needed another pair of hands for the Ouija board and Luke could be relied on to do as he was told.
‘Because I want to play this,’ she said.
‘It’s stupid,’ he said. ‘I’ve never heard of a game like this before.’ He sat back on his heels. They were in her bedroom. He was rarely allowed into her room and had looked at her suspiciously when she had first suggested they play a game together.
‘You liked Charlie Charlie didn’t you? Well this is the same. You can ask it question and it’ll answer.’
‘Charlie Charlie is for fun,’ said the boy.
‘So is this. But with Charlie Charlie you can only pick one of four answers, right? This way the spirits can talk to us.’
‘Spirits? You mean ghosts?’
‘It’s all the same. Look, it’s a game. Just a game. Do you want to play or shall I tell mom you haven’t done your homework?’
Okay, okay,’ mumbled Luke. ‘Don’t give me a hard time.’
What should readers expect when they pick up your book?
Hopefully a fast-paced read that will grab them from page one. And some humour because Jack Nightingale has a very dry English sense of humour. I hope New York Night is scary, but not too much so. New York Night is the seventh book in a series about Jack Nightingale, supernatural detective. Teenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. The first five Nightingale books were set in the United Kingdom but last year I moved him to the United States and I’m having fun moving him from city to city. I’ve already published San Francisco Night and the next one will be Miami Night. I plan to set the books in American cities I like because it gives me an excuse to visit! If you want more information on Jack, he has his own website at www.jacknightingale.com
Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
The wonderful Debbie at www.thecovercollection.com did the design for New York Night. She also did San Francisco Night. She has done many covers for me over the years and is a joy to work with although have never met her in person. We throw ideas back and forth and then she comes up with a great cover. For New York Night we wanted the moon, and a flying bird, and a New York skyline. And that’s what we have! We tried several colours and settled on blue. For future books in the series I’ll be looking to continue the moon/bird/skyline theme and change the colour as I change the city, Miami Night will be next and I’m feeling yellow or gold!
How do you keep the ideas and characters fresh and interesting while writing a series?
With the Jack Nightingale books it’s fairly easy to keep them fresh because he moves from city to city – a bit like a supernatural Jack Reacher! That way he’s always a fish out of water and needs someone local to help him. That someone is usually a woman which makes his life more interesting! So in New York Night he meets a detective, Cheryl Perez, and she acts as his guide to the city. In return, he introduces her to the world of the supernatural.
Favorite place to read?
Planes! I fly a lot because I live with my family in Bangkok, Thailand, but my agent and publisher are in London, so I fly back and forth every couple of months. I have long legs so I pay for Business Class on EVA Air and a Business Class seat is a great place to read. It’s so comfortable and there’s a perfectly placed reading light and a button I can press to get someone to bring me food or drink. If it’s a night flight there’s a comfy duvet. You couldn’t ask for a better reading environment!
Do you have any pets?
I have three cats living with me in Bangkok. Mousefur, Firefur, and Peanut Butter. Mousefur and Firefur are sister and brother and were born to a street cat who had been taken to a local vets. The person who paid for her medical treatment didn’t want the kittens so we took them in. My flat is large and has three big balconies and they are true indoor cats, they won’t go near the front door when it’s open. The third cat – Peanut Butter - was a street cat who lived near our block. She had several litters but all her kittens died, several from being poisoned. We figured it would only be a matter of time before she was poisoned too so we brought her inside. She was filthy and emaciated so we put her on a balcony with food and water. Over the next two weeks she ate and slept and cleaned herself. She put on weight and is now a lovely cat. She has never really got on with the other two, but because she was the last to arrive she never fights them, even though she is street-hardened. She lets them win because she still thinks of herself as a guest. Whenever I am writing she comes and sits on the sofa next to me and she often sleeps next to me at night, giving me a soft bite on my arm just before she goes to sleep, which I always assume means ‘thank you’.
What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?
I hate lifts, or elevators as Americans call them. I mean I really really hate them and avoid them whenever I can. My publisher used to be based on the 22nd floor of a tower block in London. I used to walk up the stairs rather than use the lift! I have been stuck in lifts four times in my life so my fears are not groundless! Once I was stuck for more than an hour at the top of a building in Budapest. I really thought I was going to die.
Generally I’m not comfortable with heights these days. It’s strange because in my thirties I lived in Hong Kong and my apartment was on the 18th floor, overlooking the airport. I could watch planes landing beneath me. I never thought twice about lifts then, but then I guess I hadn’t been stuck in one!
I always avoid visiting friends who live on high floors, and can’t take restaurants and bars that are high up. But I have no fear of flying. In fact I have a pilot’s licence and I learned how to paraglide (where you fly a parachute with a huge fan on your back). I have jumped out of planes four times. The first three times were with the RAF’s display team which meant climbing out onto the wing of a biplane and jumping off. It was a long time ago! I think perhaps it’s a control issue. When I’m flying – or jumping – I’m in control, but in a lift you are in the care of a machine. I really don’t like relying on machines…
Any last words?
If you’re a reader, keep reading. And if you’re a writer, keep writing! And wherever possible support your local library. Almost all my reading when I was a child came from the local library and it worries me how much pressure libraries are under these days. I understand that with eReaders and the internet, kids have access to the written word more than they ever did, but nothing can beat a librarian for introducing children to the wonderful world of books.
Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan "Spider' Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels.
Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country's most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.
Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV.
Stephen Leather will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.