Last summer, I had the great pleasure of participating in the Tales on Trent Multi-Genre Author Event.  Aside from having the opportunity to sell a few books, these kinds of events are also great places to meet authors, some of whom you might’ve met before, others you’ve connected with online and even those you’ve never heard of. There is, of course, another category. And that is the author you’ve heard of, but never had any connection with. Some you might know a bit about, but usually that knowledge is, at best, limited.

I met several authors in Stoke (for it was that stretch of the Trent where this took place – in spite of me living in Nottinghamshire), and they fell into all of these categories. One that fell into the latter category was Jon Richter. I met him briefly the night before when he arrived very late thanks to an issue with his transport. What sounded like a nightmarish experience was related to us with good humour and little more than a shrug of the shoulders. I’d have been moaning about it for weeks, if not months.

As for the day itself, it transpired that Jon and I would be on the same panel. The panel was made up of authors who wrote across different genres, and I learnt a little more about him (and the others) as we all answered the questions put to us. Although the audience was limited in numbers, it was a fun session that I think we all enjoyed. During the evening, he and I did have a chat at a post-event do in a local pub. That said, when it came to talking, we were competing with loud music, so I suspect a lot was lost in translation. Nevertheless, I was curious and, along with those of some other authors I met that weekend, I made sure to download a copy of one of his books.

Which is where we get to the review part.

Because we’d appeared on the multiple genre panel, I’d picked up on the fact that Jon included horror in his writing. The title Deadly Burial seemed to fit that bill. Anyone who knows anything about my reading habits will be aware that my preferred medium is the e-book. I know it’s anathema to many, and I completely get that. Still, for the purpose of this post, it’s worth bearing in mind because, having bought the book last summer, it sat on my Kindle untouched until the other week. Now, with no blurb to check out with a quick look, this did mean that I went into the book thinking ‘horror’.

Fortunately, my misconception was put right very rapidly. Okay, having a policeman in the opening scenes doesn’t rule horror out – after all, like The Wicker Man, this book opens with a policeman travelling to an island off the British coast. But there the similarities end. This was a crime novel. But it was a crime novel with an interesting angle.

The dead man is a professional wrestler, and the suspects are pretty much all involved in professional wrestling. I don’t know whether the author did a lot of research into this subject or is an avid fan. Either way, this world felt very real. From my own perspective, having watched wrestling on World of Sport in the late ’60s and ’70s, there were references there that I could relate to. But there was also some familiarity for those who are much younger than me. In that sense, Jon did seem to touch a nerve for audiences of all ages.

But the wrestling world he describes did feel more like that one from my youth – less glossy, more sweat and grime. And that made it all the more realistic. As was our protagonist. It was, perhaps, inevitable he’d be a flawed character, but very believable. There is violence, and there are some dark themes touched on, even some hints at more supernatural elements, but all is fitting for the novel. More importantly, I was hooked into it enough to keep reading at a good pace. The point at which the killer was revealed was a surprise, but very well handled. As for the killer, the who only felt like it wasn’t a surprise because there were so many suspects that it would have been almost impossible to guess who was responsible.

If I had a reservation about the book it was the very end where, frankly, too many loose ends were tied up for my taste. But that is a personal thing and I wouldn’t use it as a reason to not read more – or, indeed, recommend others to do the same. As ever, my TBR pile is teetering at the moment, but I will return to Jon’s books in the future. And I hope I’ll get to meet up with him again at some point and maybe quiz him a little about his writing.

If I have piqued your interest and you want to know more, click on the image below for details.