The debut novel by former Brighton and Hove Chief Constable Graham Bartlett goes on sale today (Thursday 23 June).
Bad for Good has already garnered rave reviews from fellow crime writers Peter James, Mark Billingham and Elly Griffiths.
Brighton crime writer Peter James, who has collaborated with Mr Bartlett on two non-fiction books, described the novel as “masterful”.
Mark Billingham, author of Tom Thorne’s mystery novels, said: “As an ex-cop, Graham Bartlett knows what he’s talking about and he certainly knows how to tell a good story. Bad For Good is a meteoric start.
Elly Griffiths, who wrote the Brighton Mysteries, said: “It’s the real deal. A captivating crime novel with characters – and events – that will stay in your memory for a long time.
Mr Bartlett, a retired chief superintendent who was Division Commander of Brighton and Hove for four years, said: ‘Having experienced firsthand how the police and politics often collide, this story burned in me.”
But while he was entrenched in Brighton and Hove Police – unusually, he served at all ranks here up to Chief Superintendent – he needed help with his main character.
The novel follows lead detective Jo Howe and meant that Mr Bartlett had to work hard on his research, seeking help from some of his former colleagues.
He said: “Jo Howe’s world is one few know and to plunge her into extremes where good people go wrong, with the colossal human cost of that, was a huge privilege.”
In Bad for Good, Jo Howe investigates the murder of a promising footballer who is also the son of Brighton’s Chief Constable.
She ends up taking over as head of the city’s police in the face of blackmail, corruption on the force, and vigilantes on the streets.
Mr Bartlett said the script was fueled by his imagination, from the germ of an idea, as spending cuts made it harder to work with.
But he said: ‘The extent of the corruption in Bad for Good is thankfully something I’ve never seen.
In his experience, he said, “corruption was confined to individuals rather than being an organizational problem – and these corrupt individuals were as hated by their colleagues as they were by the public”.
Mr Bartlett said it took around seven years to write the book, from conception to publication – although he has written two other books in the meantime.
After his non-fiction books – Death Comes Knocking and Babes in the Wood – got out of the way, he spent about a year working on Bad for Good.
The novel is the first installment of a two-book deal with publisher Allison and Busby – and the second book has already been completed.
He hopes this will be the start of a series like his friend and mentor Peter James did with his Roy Grace novels.
Mr. Bartlett already provides advice to other TV writers and screenwriters and hosts classes where he shares his expertise.
He thanked many of those who helped him through the process at a book launch last night at Goldsboro Books, Ship Street, Brighton.
Bookseller founder David Headley, also Mr Bartlett’s literary agent, praised Bad for Good. He has previously said he loves “stories that I don’t want to end.”
If Bad for Good sells well – and Mr Bartlett’s first book was on the Sunday Times bestseller list – then his wish could come true.
Bad for Good by Graham Bartlett is published Thursday June 23, 2022 by Allison and Busby as a £16.99 hardcover edition and as an ebook.