Nic Costa is back… out today The Savage Shore


They’re back. Not seen in these parts since The Fallen Angel in 2011, Nic Costa, Teresa Lupo, Gianni Peroni and Leo Falcone return today in a new book, The Savage Shore. It first appears in hardback in the UK from Severn House and in audio, narrated as ever by Saul Reichlin from Whole Story Audio. The US edition and the international ebook will be out in November from Severn, and a paperback next May. In the Netherlands the Dutch edition appears in September from Boekerij.

It was great to be working with the old crew again. But not in Rome this time. They’ve all been dispatched to Calabria in the south of Italy where the shadowy boss of the local ’Ndrangheta gang has offered to give himself up to turn state witness against his own crime organisation. The challenge for Costa and co is simple: how do they get him out alive without giving away their presence as covert police officers in a territory very much controlled by the local mob?

It is, I hope, a mystery as much as a crime story. There are no car chases and very little in the way of violence. I wanted to write a book that had a slightly old-fashioned feel, one that relished in the exotic locations of a part of Italy most people don’t know, played with the idea of identity and was very much driven by suspense and character rather than ‘action’. Costa and his colleagues are forced to pretend to be something they’re not, and that’s not a role they’re comfortable with.

It also moves around rather more than the earlier books, something else that makes the crew more than a little uncomfortable. It roams around the great mountain of Aspromonte in Calabria and real-life locations like Tropea above, but also Siracusa in Sicily and, briefly, Capri before a finale in the north. So a different kind of story to the usual. I hope fans new and old find it a rich and surprising read, and one that introduces a fascinating part of the world to a larger audience.

Many thanks to the team at Severn and Boekerij for their support in bringing the old team back. And look out for some surprises next year with the paperback. In fact I have a couple of big surprises in store for you all next year. But more of that in due time…

You can read an extract here.

Romeo and Juliet wins an Audie

20180531_215532Well… we did it. Last night in the elegant surroundings of the New York Historical Society, Romeo and JulietA Novel won the Audie for best original work. Given the strength of the competition I had talked myself into believing we didn’t stand a chance. But you never know, do you?

The Audies are a wonderful institution and very much a level playing field which is not always the case with these things. None of the nominations get past the first post unless they’ve been through a field of volunteer listeners sifting them out. It really is about the work, not the schmooze or politics.

It’s important to emphasise too that this is an award for the people behind the work, not just the author. Without Richard Armitage’s immense skills as a narrator and interpreter… without Audible’s formidable attention to detail when it comes to production, direction and delivery this could never have worked,

I’m indebted to you all, and none more than Steve Feldberg, the producer, who first decided to take a chance on rewriting Shakespeare eight years ago with Macbeth. One of the many things I love about Audible is that it’s a publisher willing to take risks. And without risks there can be no creativity.

To you all and the many listeners to my adaptation of Juliet and her Romeo who’ve supported it from the start… a million thanks.

Here’s the moment it happened… and who better to break the news than that fantastic narrator and actress Lorelei King…

Out today…. Juliet & Romeo

Verona, 1499, a city torn by a vendetta between the houses of Capulet and Montague. Then a secret love affair begins as Juliet, facing a forced marriage, meets the young son of their rival house.

Juliet and Romeo, Dome PressA story all the world’s familiar with, but retold here mainly from Juliet’s point of view, and with the same kind of changes to the plot that Shakespeare himself performed on the Italian originals that preceded him.

As some of you will know, this was first written as a one-man audio play for that amazing one-man repertory theatre Richard Armitage, commissioned by Audible. The resulting work, now nominated for an audio Oscar, the Audie, prompted lots of people, Richard included, to ask… when’s the book coming out?

To be honest I hadn’t even thought of it at the time. Big publishers tend not to like material that comes out as audio first, and in the book world I tend to wear the label of crime or thriller writer, not a historical author.

And next came a request from Audible in Germany for the story to be turned back into a full-length dramatic production. But the pleas for a book kept coming in… so here it is thanks to a young, energetic British publisher the Dome Press.

Let me stress this a new work. While it follows the original audio in theme and quite a lot of the prose, it takes a few different turns, partly because the original was a script and also because I learned a few tweaks along the way with each new iteration of the work. So you can’t listen to it word-for-word against the Audible version. There’s also a new foreword written by Richard.

It’s available in the UK in hardback and paperback from all the usual sources, including Goldsboro where you will find signed copies available. It’s a very handsome production, for which I’m grateful to Dome’s publisher Rebecca Lloyd and the founder David Headley. I’m also indebted to Audible for all the support I’ve received in getting the project off the ground in the first place, and, of course, to Richard for both his amazing performance in audio and the insights he added from his perspective as an actor.

You can find lots of background material about the book here. If you feel like visiting Verona and seeing some of the real-life locations — it’s a lovely place and I recommend it — you can read a few travel tips from my visits here. And here are some of the key locations you can explore by the medium of Google Maps too.

Fine tuning the last revision of a book

A month from now I’ll be back in Venice working on the final revision of a new book before delivery. I’ve been doing this with everything I’ve written for more than a decade. I enjoy the seclusion and the focus Venice brings, and maybe it’s a superstitious thing too. Nothing beats hitting that send button from Dorsoduro somehow.

Since people are always curious about the mechanics of writing — and my methods for the final revision process have changed over the years — let me set down how I handle this essential job these days. Oh and answer a few questions too… Continue reading “Fine tuning the last revision of a book”