About The Book
“Vivid, gripping and authentic storytelling. A great crime thriller.”
-- Robert Daws, bestselling author of ‘The Rock’ and ‘The Poisoned Rock’.
Corrupted is the fourth book in the Charles Holborne thriller series, and Simon Michael's follow up to the bestselling ‘The Lighterman’.
Charles is building his reputation as a brilliant murder trial lawyer and living the good life with partner Sally. But he can't escape the influences and dangers of the past, and finds himself drawn once more into the orbit of the notorious Kray twins.
It's not long before Charles is courting scandal and threats to his very life when investigating
a sex ring that involves not just the Krays and the Mafia, but goes to the very echelons of the country's power.
Simon Michael brings the past back to life across a beautifully rendered swinging 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the
Today I’m interviewing Simon Michael, barrister and author of the 1960s Charles Holborne thriller series, the next instalment of which, Corrupted, has just been published by Urbane Publications. Hello Simon.
Hello. Thanks for inviting me.
I admit that when I was asked to take part in this blog tour I had not read any of your books, so I started by skimming some of the reviews. I imagined that because Charles is a barrister these would be courtroom dramas but that’s not the case, is it?
No. Despite the fact that I have been called Britain’s answer to John Grisham, courtroom dramas are a bit Marmite – you either love or hate them – and I didn’t want to restrict my potential audience. There is always some courtroom action, but only ever a small part of the book.
Yes. These are crime thrillers involving a man who happens to be a barrister.
The stories are about Charles Holborne, originally Charlie Horowitz, a former boxer and criminal – he grew up in the East End and boxed at the same gym as the Kray twins (like my uncles did) – who pulls himself up by his boot straps to become a barrister. So he has friends in both places, conmen and robbers and QCs and Lords.
And enemies in both places too.
Yes. He’s an outsider. Excluded by his family for changing his name and marrying out of his religion, and looked down upon by his professional colleagues because of his race and working class roots. His life is a struggle, externally and internally.
Like me, he believes in the law. Fervently. It’s the rule of law that makes our democracy function. You can vote for whoever you like in Putin’s Russia, even stand against him in the elections. The problem is that you get arrested, famed for tax fraud, disappear or turn up dead.
The little man in Russia can’t take large corporations or the state to court in the way you can in England. It’s the rule of law that keeps us safe. And that’s Charles’s problem. He’s surrounded by corruption – the Krays, Richardsons, the Messina brothers and other gangs on one side, and the corrupt Metropolitan police on the other. So he struggles to do the right thing; he believes in the law but because the way it’s operated is completely dysfunctional, he finds himself breaking it in the cause of justice.
You said your uncles boxed at the same gym as the Krays?
Yes – well, in fact, two of my great-uncles. I use a lot of my family and personal history in the books. The British Street home of the Horowitz family is where my family lived; characters in the books are people my family knew; the judges, criminals and barristers are often based on people I know; and I use cases in which I was involved for the structure of the plots.
So, Charles is you, then?
No. Some of the things that happen to him, some of his relationships maybe, but he’s bigger, stronger (and sexier!)
Judging by the reviews people seem to like him. I’ve just picked out a few: “Charles is a likeable character”
“I am completely hooked by Charles as a character”
“Charlie is a beloved character about whom we care as much as for a best friend”
“Charles Holborne himself is an enigma”
“I loved Charles (who is quite the anti-hero)”
“Loving Charles Holborne character”
“I can't wait to meet Charles and the others again” - and the one I like the best: “I think I'm a bit in love with Charles.”
Yes, he is popular, particularly with women readers. I think it’s because he’s a decent bloke, doing his best, but he’s flawed. He makes mistakes in his relationships, like we all do.
I couldn’t help note from something I read that you’ve been divorced more than once…
Yes. And moving on swiftly…
Ha, ha! Would you like to say something briefly about Corrupted?
Sure. They’re all stand-alone novels, so readers can start with this one, but it follows directly in time from the The Lighterman, and it deals with a very specific few months in English history. Shortly after the Profumo affair the government of the day narrowly avoided an even worse scandal involving the sex parties hosted by Ronnie Kray at his flat at Cedra Court. The guest list reads like entries from Who’s Who.
These are real people?
Oh, yes. Winston Churchill’s former PPS, Baron Robert Boothby, Tom Driberg MP, the chairman of the Labour Party. It’s all well documented if you look. At the heart of the book is the murder of an abused young man. That’s the fictional element.
Well, I wish you luck with Corrupted. I see it’s already in Amazon’s top 250 Kindles, worldwide.
About the Author
During Simon Michael's years of practice at the Bar he has prosecuted and defended enough murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy to provide him with a lifetime of true crime stories. The Charles Holborne thriller series is set in the dangerous gangland streets of 1960s London. Simon currently lives in London.
Labels: Blog Tour, Book