I'm delighted to welcome Nick Quantrill to my blog today to talk about Hull: From Crap Town to City of Culture. His latest novel The Dead Can't Talk was published by Caffeine Nights Publishing on 12 May 2016.
Hull: From Crap Town to City of Culture
by Nick Quantrill
When Hull was voted the country’s top ‘Crap Town’ in 2003, it really had sunk to its lowest point. Rather than sulk, my home city simply dusted itself down and readied to change things. Why not aim to become the next UK City of Culture instead? But how does a much-maligned northern port do that? It’s something that’s both internal and external.
The city’s confidence was on the rise after ‘Crap Town’; the newly built Kingston Communications Stadium was the catalyst for Hull City AFC’s march to the Premier League. The Deep, a large aquarium, a rare success for the National Lottery’s Millennium project, helped reposition the city as a tourist destination. Something was brewing. Such a process needed brains and a crack team was put in place, the bidding process taken deadly seriously. Fast forward to November 2013 and Hull had seen off challenges from Dundee, Leicester and Swansea Bay to be awarded the 2017 UK City of Culture title.
My Joe Geraghty trilogy chronicled the change, even though I had no idea what was coming. Broken Dreams very much has the feel of the city at its lowest. It deals with the trickledown effect of the loss of heavy industry and asks what people do once work is taken away from them. The Late Greats examined the nature of a city isolated on the north east coast, marching to the beat of its own drum, but The Crooked Beat was more optimistic in tone, the city buoyant with news of green technology and culture offering a newly imagine future.
The winds of change made me conclude I needed some fresh eyes to see what these new changes will bring. Joe Geraghty is a Private Investigator, so certain doors in the city are closed to him. In The Dead Can’t Talk, the story is told through the eyes of Anna Stone, a disillusioned Detective Constable with Humberside Police, and Luke Carver, a drifter freshly out of prison. They have the potential to reach all of the city, the good and the bad, as they’re brought together by Stone’s missing sister.
In The Dead Can’t Talk, the build-up to the City of Culture celebrations is in the background, much like it was as it was written. The novel I’m working on now will delve into the city’s nightlife and will contain the sights, sounds and smells of the celebrations. It’ll also contain murder, corruption and money. Which is only right for a crime novel.
I don’t know what will happen, but it’s something I’ll be examining in future work. Hull remains a somewhat maligned place, mainly because you need a reason to visit. You don’t simply pass through Hull as you head elsewhere. It remains a mystery to many people, yet has its own spirit. Of course, you shouldn’t just take my word for it. Come and visit in 2017 and see for yourself what it’s like.
About Nick Quantrill
Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull. In 2011, Nick became the first person to hold the role of Writer in Residence at Hull Kingston Rovers, contributing sports-based fiction to the match day programme and assisting with the club's literacy programme. When not writing fiction, Nick pens reviews and essays for a variety of football and music websites. He lives in Hull with his wife, daughter, cat and the constant fear Hull City will let him down.
Readers can find out more about Nick Quantrill on his website. Follow Nick Quantrill on Twitter - @nickquantrill
The Dead Can't Talk
By Nick Quantrill
Published by Caffeine Nights Publishing (12 May 2016)
How far will Anna Stone, a disillusioned police officer on the brink of leaving her job, go to uncover the truth about her sister's disappearance? Approached by Luke Carver, an ex-Army drifter she's previously sent to prison, he claims to have information which will help her. As the trail leads from Hull and the Humber's desperate and downtrodden to its great and good, an unsolved murder twenty-five years ago places their lives in danger, leaving Stone to decide if she can really trust a man who has his own reasons for helping.