The inspiration for ‘Next Victim’ came from the stories of the ‘Manchester pusher’. The alleged serial killer who stalks the canal banks of central Manchester looking for likely victims. Four bodies have been pulled from the stretch that runs along Canal Street itself in the last decade. Manchester city has about ten miles of canals, dating back to its industrial heyday.
However, as the tale took form, it changed somewhat. There is a serial killer, but his prey is more focused than the drunken reveller who strays from his friends on the way home from a night out. Besides which, GMP have no proof that there is a ‘pusher’ at all.
I kept the Canal Street location for part of the book. One victim is picked up there, and for the second it is the meeting place. I also used the Rochdale canal as a dumping ground.
Canal Street in Manchester is the hub of the Gay Village. A colourful street of bars and eateries that runs alongside the Rochdale Canal. It is a magnet for the gay community and others looking for a night out, particularly in the summer months.
DCI Rachel King is a feisty redhead, divorcee who has worked hard to fulfil her ambition to be a detective. But it hasn’t been easy. She has two teenage daughters, one who has type one diabetes and needs careful monitoring. The other is at a local university. Both are headstrong girls and Rachel gets her fair share of grief. She copes because her ex-husband, Alan, lives next door and helps with the girls. He lives in hope of a reconciliation, Rachel does not.
The big love in Rachel’s life is a man she met many years ago while at university. But he is a man denied to her because of who he is and things he’s done. Her past relationship with him is her closest secret.
I very often look to the news for inspiration for my books and am looking at another local story for the second Rachel King tale. The location, Manchester city, is a very different environment from the other books I’ve written and gives a deal more scope.