Following the huge success of Matt Johnson's debut novel Wicked Game – which took the crime/thriller genre by storm last year – his eagerly awaited second novel in the trilogy has finally arrived… and this time the stakes are even higher.
Available to download in e-book format – with paperback copies hitting the stores mid March – Deadly Game continues the emotional journey of damaged hero, Robert Finlay, as he and a colleague investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry. Faced with a ruthless criminal gang who are determined to stop at nothing to secure their lucrative business, Finlay soon finds himself not only having to once again protect his family, but also save his colleague from a shocking fate.
Released to coincide with the novel's publication, Matt's extremely moving book trailer highlights the shocking and very real problem of trafficking into the UK. Accompanied by a haunting background track – Wolf by 15 year-old Beth Chapman – it sets the perfect tone for such a serious subject.
Keen to discover its origins, I asked Matt how the trailer came to be made.
Matt Johnson talks about the moving and emotive trailer for his new novel Deadly Game
To watch the trailer, click on the image above.
To download a copy of Deadly Game, click on the cover
• Who provided the initial outline for the trailer and how long did it take to make?
“The idea was inspired when I first heard the background track. It's written and performed by a 15 year-old local girl, Beth Chapman, who is the daughter of a friend of mine. When I first heard Wolf I was taken back to the first time I heard Adele. It was before she was famous. I was so moved by Adele's voice that I pulled the car over and stopped so I could listen to her sing. I had the same experience with Beth.
Over the course of several months I worked with a film producer to produce the video ourselves. We tried several variations with the final version being completed just two weeks before the Deadly Game publication date.”
• How much input did you have with regards to the content of the trailer? For instance, did you write the copy or choose the background music?
“I wrote some of the copy, with more material being provided by Orenda Books. As mentioned above, the music inspired the trailer rather than it being the case of looking for a good track to complement the video.”
• Where did the idea of trafficking as a plot line for Deadly Game come from? Did you have experience of dealing with it during your time in the police force?
“I did experience examples of people trafficking as a police officer, but it wasn't a field of work I specialised in. That said, it has always been a subject that interests me and which I feel people should know more about. One of the great things about novels is that the reader who might not be inclined to pick up a reference book on subjects such as PTSD or trafficking can learn more about the subject through the medium of fiction.
The idea for the plot developed as I wrote. That's how I work, with a basic skeleton of a plan that evolves as I add flesh to it.”
• Did you have to do any extra research on the subject? If so, what kind?
“Yes, I did. My knowledge was superficial. A basic understanding but no more. For help I turned to a former Detective who specialised in this field and I travelled to Romania where I visited the countryside and met with an NGO specialising in the subject.”
• Trafficking is a very emotive subject, which is effectively demonstrated in the trailer. As such, was it difficult to write about for the novel?
“Not difficult, but at all times I was sensitive to the notion that this is a very real crime that involves exploitation of innocent people. I didn't want it to be perceived in any way that I was profiting from such misery and so I was careful how I wrote, how I described the reality and how the story was told. For example, during the editing process, some of the more gratuitous scenes involving trafficking victims were cut. I sincerely hope that readers will find the result both entertaining and informative. And if there is a benefit that this helps to spread awareness, so much the better.”
• What's in store for Robert Finlay in the next book of the trilogy?
“I'm keeping the title close to my chest now. Main reason is that I had mentioned the planned title on my website only to find that an author writing in the same genre went on the use that very title. Suffice to say, Finlay will return, the story behind the attacks on him and Jones taking an unexpected and very challenging twist.”