Outside the house, it’s cold and dark.
Inside, where it’s warm, children are sleeping.
D.I. Sean Corrigan might have a tiny new office at Scotland Yard and a huge new beat—all of London—but the job is the same. His team has a knack for catching the sickest criminals on either side of the Thames, thanks in large part to Corrigan’s uncanny ability to place himself inside the mind of a predator.
But he just can’t get a read on this new case. Four-year-old George Bridgeman went to sleep in his bedroom in a leafy London suburb . . . and wasn’t there in the morning. No tripped alarms. No broken windows. No sign of forced entry or struggle.
As his investigation zeroes in on a suspect, Corrigan’s gut tells him it doesn’t add up. Then another child is taken. Now someone’s toying with Corrigan. And the game is about to turn deadly.
The Toy Taker is available for order at
Why I decided to start writing.
By Luke Delaney.
This is not really going to be a tale of me being inspired by great writers or a life long love with anything in particular – I never got into Shakespeare or was bowled over by Dickens, although since I was about sixteen I always wanted to write a book – one day. But I was very young and wanted to something with my life much more exciting that sit in a room on my own writing, so after a brief spell at college and a longer one bumming around, I joined the Metropolitan Police in London, in which I served for seventeen years, mainly within the Criminal Investigation Department.
Even though I was investigating crime for a living, I still enjoyed a good crime novel from time to time, or watching a cop flick, but apart from the brilliant Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, I found little I read or saw on the TV reflected a real life murder investigation. Harris completely nailed the atmosphere and technical stuff – especially the police interaction, politics and their bloody-minded determination to catch the killer. I thought Red Dragon had raised the bar for all future crime books, both in the US and here in the UK, but unfortunately I felt the standard fell away after that book and has never returned to that level.
What really disappointed me as a real detective was the rather carefree way books and TV portrayed cops at crime scenes – stepping over the body while eating a hot dog or discussing the victim lying on the floor as if they’d never been alive – never been a person. All nonsense and all completely untrue. Trust me, going into a murder scene is very challenging for even the most seasoned detectives. The scene of violent death is always very disturbing and incredibly spooky. You learn to deal with it, but you never get used to it or treat it with disdain. Not many people, including crime writers know this, but at a crime scene you don’t get dozens of cops and forensic guys all instantly piling into the house or wherever. Once you’re informed there could have been a suspicious death, you have to go in alone or possibly two of you, to assess the situation and make that first call as to whether it’s murder or not. Creeping around in a darkened flat looking for a body ain’t fun – take it from me – nor is dealing with the aftermath.
So that was my real inspiration to start writing – I simply wanted to truthfully and accurately explain the investigation of serious crime – everything from the atmosphere to the procedure and so far I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about exactly that – although I really have no excuse for getting it wrong, do I?
And perhaps therein lies the real problem – that the vast majority of crime writers know nothing about the subject. I doubt many have ever even been in a police station, let alone investigated a murder. It’s quite strange when you think about it – that crime fiction is possibly the only genre where the writer is not required to have knowledge or experience of the subject they’re writing about. It’s of little surprise therefore that few works in the genre have authenticity or accuracy. Insider knowledge makes for a better book. Thomas Harris may not have been a cop, but he was a journalist covering crime in the border towns of Mexico and then New York. His expertise of criminal investigation leaps from every page of Red Dragon and lifts it head and shoulders above all others.
Every time I sit down to write I think to myself – this time I’m going to write a book as good as Red Dragon. Oh well, best I keep trying.
Luke Delaney joined the Metropolitan Police Service in the late 1980s and his first posting was to an inner city area of South East London notorious for high levels of crime and extreme violence. He later joined CID where he investigated murders ranging from those committed by fledgling serial killers to gangland assassinations…
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