Stephen Larkin Book 1
Sober and disillusioned with London, tabloid journalist Stephen Larkin reluctantly accepts an assignment to cover a gangland funeral back home in Newcastle. Several years earlier he had left sick and disgusted, vowing never to return, but the pull of the city, and the promise of a juicy story, finally persuades him to return. While there, Larkin's old flame Charlotte asks him to check out the alleged suicide of her friend Mary - a course of action that will leave Larkin bruised, battered and with some painful memories of the city he was trying to forget. Dark, compelling and relentless, MARY'S PRAYER is a razor-edged crime debut from a powerful new voice in crime fiction.
It seemed simple at the time. Take the template for contemporary American crime fiction, with its sense of urgency and engagement, its urban locale, its CNN-reportage-spat-back-as-literature quality, its dirty realism and all the other things that made it so vital and thrilling an unlike British crime fiction of the time and import it. Get an urban setting (Newcastle), a flawed, troubled but essentially just hero (Stephen Larkin), a plot exposing the corrupt underbelly of society, give it a vigorous mix, have a grand time writing it... and hawk it around for five years until it finds a publisher. And in the meantime watch other writers who had the same idea at the same time take off in front of you.
Oh well. Never mind. That's life. I did it, it's there and I'm still proud of it.
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'Mary's Prayer is an assured, powerful debut from a writer sure to find his place in modern crime fiction. Contemporary noir with a distinctly Chandleresque flavour, a significant contribution to the genre.'
— Andrew Vachss
'An impressive debut. Waites' vision of a dark and seedy underworld gives this novel an authentic and frightening ring.'
— Sunderland Echo
'As raw and biting as the North-East wind... a powerful debut from Waites, who seamlessly fuses fact and fiction to create a cracking good read.'
—Dundee Evening Telegraph
'Will keep you reading to the end.'
Piatkus, UK hardcover, July 1997, ISBN: 9780749903985
Piatkus, UK paperback, July 1997, ISBN: 9780749930288
Allison & Busby, UK paperback, December 2001, ISBN: 9780749005856
Pegasus, US paperback, November 2006, ISBN: 9781933648187