‘Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour’
I was planning to do a nice reveal of the new artwork for ‘Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour’, which is coming to you on March 21st, but my publisher beat me to it by putting the art on Amazon. But I have a nicer, bigger version, and the original sketch. The story takes place just after Christmas, after the events of ‘Wild Chamber’, and is set in some nicely atmospheric London locations, including this spot.
The bats in the drawing have been reduced now, but they’re there for a reason – they feature at the site of the murder. The cover artist, Max Schindler, has a vivid sense of colour and has done a fantastic job, although we’re getting him to make Mr Bryant a bit older, as he seems to be ageing backwards, morphing into a young Shaw Taylor (one for those with long memories). Londonheads will of course know exactly where this is set.
There’s a bit of artistic licence going on here, too, as the end of the alley is different and there’s no dead body on this spot in the book. I think of it like those Superman covers that showed the old Kryptonian with the head of an ant or something, then said inside, ‘This scene fancifully rendered on the cover’. I think that apart from ‘The Burning Man’ this is my favourite cover of the series so far. Let me know what you think.
And if you don’t know what this one’s about, here’s the Amazon outline for you.
In Which Mr May Makes A Mistake And Mr Bryant Goes Into The Dark
On a rainy winter night outside a run-down nightclub in the wrong part of London, four strangers meet for the first time at 4:00am.
A few weeks later the body of an Indian textile worker is found hanging upside down inside a willow tree on Hampstead Heath. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate. The victim was found surrounded by the paraphernalia of black magic, and so Arthur Bryant and John May set off to question experts in the field.
But the case is not what it appears. When another victim seemingly commits suicide, it becomes clear that in the London night is a killer who knows what people fear most. And he always strikes at 4:00am.
In order to catch him, the PCU must switch to night shifts, but still the team draws a blank. John May takes a technological approach, Arthur Bryant goes in search of academics and misfits for help, for this is becoming a case that reveals impossibilities at every turn, not least that there’s no indication of what the victims might have done to attract the attentions of a murderer that doesn’t seem to exist. But impossibilities are what the Peculiar Crimes Unit does best.
As they explore a night city where all the normal rules are upended, they’re drawn deeper into a case that involves murder, arson, kidnap, blackmail, bats and the psychological effects of loneliness on Londoners. It’s a trail that takes them from the poorest part of the East End to the wealthiest homes in North London – an investigation that can only end in tragedy…