‘When you look at Brian Scott, for example, he isn’t a million miles away from Paulie Walnuts.’
Terms of Restitution
By Denzil Meyrick
Published by Polygon
Congratulations Denzil on your latest book release! Could you tell us a little more about Terms of Restitution and what you wanted to explore in its writing?
Terms of Restitution is set between Paisley, London and rural Italy. It’s a gangster novel. Zander Finn, kingpin of Paisley crime, flees the town when his youngest son is gunned down in a brutal attack. He takes up a job driving a patient transport ambulance in London.
When his second in command Malky Maloney tracks him down, he realises he must return home to save both his domestic and criminal families from extinction at the hands of avaricious foreign gangs. Look out for thrilling action with a fair dollop of humour.
I was anxious to explore all sides of the bad guy, encompassing a life of crime through the lens of someone with the problems we all face.
You’ve left your beloved Kinloch for this book. What has it been like for you as a writer creating a new fictional world from the one you’re so familiar with?
I think many perceive that writing a long series is easier than conjuring up a one-off novel. In some ways that’s true. However, with a series like Daley, the writer must be careful with character arcs, back-stories, names of relatives friends, etc., etc. So, it can be quite an exacting business.
A completely new setting and characters can be quite liberating, though you are starting again, so to speak. I enjoyed the process.
You’ve also switched sides too, with your protagonist a criminal instead of a detective. Why did you want to write a story from a criminal’s point of view?
I think it’s always interesting to try something new – look at an alternative perspective. Zander Finn and Daley couldn’t be less alike.
But, as with the Daley novels, I write both the police officers and criminals. Same here with Terms of Restitution, though much more emphasis is placed on the bad guys. Even so, there are some strong characters from law enforcement, including Amelia Langley, the police officer tasked with bringing Finn to justice . . . but nothing is that simple.
It’s billed as a stand-alone thriller, but the reviews have been so positive. Are you tempted to revisit the Finn family?
It’s always nice to be in receipt of good reviews. Very pleasing in this case as it’s something completely new. I think it’s too early to say, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. So, the door hasn’t closed on the Finns yet. Who knows? I’ll be interested to hear what readers think.
What influences are behind this book? You’ve been writing crime fiction for a long time now; how do you stay motivated and excited about the genre’s potential?
I’ve always enjoyed gangster movies – some of the best in the business. Who can forget The Godfather, Goodfellows, Casino, etc.? But, as with Daley, The Sopranos TV show remains my primary inspiration. When you look at Brian Scott, for example, he isn’t a million miles away from Paulie Walnuts. Same goes for Zander Finn and Tony Soprano. That show has become the TV lockdown phenomenon, with younger people who didn’t catch it the first time round doing so via streaming services during the terrible Covid crisis. Though, however inspired, my characters are fresh and new, with hidden depths and secrets all of their own.
I think the crime fiction genre is perhaps too well served at the moment. The trick to achieving success, as with so many creative things, is to come up with something a wee bit off-kilter, different. I often think that’s why Daley became a success, and hope the same for Terms of Restitution. Keeping things fresh keeps readers and writers motivated, I think.
And you don’t stop! You have a 3rd book coming out this year, another of the Hamish historical spin-offs, A Toast of Old Stones. Can you tell us what to expect from that?
Ah, good old Hamish. In the new novella A Toast to the Old Stones, we see the younger version of what is going to become the sage-like older character. Yet again, he’s mentored by Sandy Hoynes, skipper of the old tub The Girl Maggie, plying their trade in the late 60s.
This time we find our intrepid crew and some of the rest of Kinloch’s fishing community following tradition, off to celebrate the arrival of the Old New Year (12 January) by paying their obeisance to The Auld Stones.
It’s a tradition going back to the Viking age and beyond. But nothing is that simple for Hoynes and Hamish. True nostalgia with bags of humour – a perfect festive gift!
We can’t not mention DCI Daley too. Can you give us any hints on what’s next for him and the rest of the gang in present-day Kinloch?
Our brave detectives are about to embark on their tenth outing in the book entitled The Death of Remembrance.
We’ve read much about Daley’s back story via short stories and in the sixth novel The Relentless Tide. This time we discover more about Brian Scott’s early career in the police. Woven through a contemporary storyline with flashbacks, we see how Brian became who he is. Look out for some shocks and surprises, with the return of some old faces like John Donald and James Machie.
Meanwhile, in the present, Daley and Scott face an unexpected foe with links to the past, uniting the book’s themes.
As usual though, very little is as it seems.
Terms of Restitution by Denzil Meyrick is published by Polygon, price £12.99