In his latest exploit, Glasgow police officer Angus Thoroughgood heads south from his beloved city and finds himself in Manchester. More specifically, this is Manchester in 1990 when football, music, and the city’s infamous nightclub scene were at a fever pitch. And although it isn’t home for the Scot, it’s the perfect backdrop for author R.J. Mitchell’s brand of gritty, high-octane crime writing.
“The inspiration for ‘The Hammer’ comes from a story that reached my ears regarding a drugs deal that went badly wrong down South involving some interesting gentlemen from Glasgow,” says R.J. Mitchell. “Manchester, with its rich football heritage, is very similar in many ways to Glasgow and I just felt this would be a fantastic way for Thoroughgood to be taken out of his comfort zone in every sense and also to explore and utlise some of the unique locations which Manchester is so rich in.”
An immediate follow-up to ‘The Blood Acre’ (2019) — the best-selling Matthew James fiction title to date and a book that spawned multiple book tours with bookshop WHSmith — ‘The Hammer’ is yet another prequel in the DS Thoroughgood series of thrillers. After our hero escapes the clutches of Glasgow drug lord known as ‘The Widowmaker’, the newly promoted Thoroughgood is seconded to Greater Manchester Police under the command of DCI Marty Ferguson.
Ferguson, an exiled Glasgow cop with a Messianic presence, is just one of many ‘famous names’ that can be found within the book. R.J. Mitchell wanted to pay homage to Manchester’s famous footballing heritage, both red and blue, so you may notice a few nods here and there. Given that the book has a strong focus on football, its fans, and the gangs and hooliganism that plagued the sport in the 1990s this feels quite fitting.
R.J. Mitchell’s depiction of Manchester sees the city as home to two rival gangs. The Maine Men from the blue half and The Devils from the red half, with both groups formed from their respective footballing allegiances. However, when Thoroughgood fails to stop a high-profile drug deal a full-scale turf war is ready to take over Manchester.
Will Thoroughgood be able to save the situation? Luckily, you don’t have too long to wait.
‘The Hammer’ by R.J. Mitchell is published by Matthew James Publishing on September 22nd. Pre-order your copy today from our shop, WHSmith, Waterstones, and all good bookshops.
Also, watch this space for a WHSmith tour announcement very soon.
About the Author
Robert James ‘RJ’ Mitchell is an acclaimed crime fiction novelist from Stirling, Scotland. His DS Thoroughgood series of books have earned the author many plaudits, and two nominations for the prestigious People’s Book Prize (2017, 2019). Mitchell draws on his experiences as a Glasgow cop throughout his work, and still cherishes his first police shoulder number — D325.