A big thank you to Lance Wright at Omnimystery News and Jeff Kivela at Buttonholed Book Reviews for their recent support for 'The Perfectionist'. Jeff has written a new review and Lance has published our recent Q&A interview.
Make sure to check both articles in full at:
Here are some excerpts:
Buttonholed Book Reviews
"The Perfectionist took me as a tale of exceptional writing crafted by a seasoned pen. Simon Duke wrote a superb tale of crime and mystery not to be missed folks."
"Enthralling read folks. Really really good read. There are plenty of twists and turns as you travel with Gerry across the United States and when you come upon the part with Avery - just watch how Simon Duke's characters meld into other character development."
"There were, it seemed to me, places Simon Duke wrote The Perfectionist almost like a procedural manual on how to go about uncovering a murderer. He had to have done his homework to make plausible scenes go according to plot. I'm not an expert, I can say though, I've read Patricia Cornwell's Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper Case Closed - that's how you do your homework for plausible scenes."
"As I read, the scenes and settings were coherent with my senses, so, being in the midst of all the action is a must for a reader and Simon Duke does a beautiful job in handling that bit of necessity."
"Omnimystery News: Introduce us to the lead characters of your crime novels. What is it about them that appeals to you as a writer?
Simon Duke: I have a soft spot for loners. Kyle Hunt, the lead protagonist in my first novel, 'Out of Bounds' (published in 2014), is an anxious man, someone who fights for his family's safeguard, someone who tries his best in risky situations. He's someone with inner demons and past angst. And he can only find his way out using his brain capacity and by persevering. I like the idea that my lead protagonists, be it Kyle or Gerry Stokes in 'The Perfectionist', have realistic behaviors. When threatened, these guys don't just pull out guns and shoot to kill. Instead we read their minds and connect with their emotions. Gerry Stokes is a seasoned business journalist working for the Chicago Tribune — a real hotshot with talent and flair, yet he's also human: he's a self-centered, obnoxious and arrogant guy with a soft spot for sex with prostitutes. But like Kyle, Gerry Stokes is a complex character. The morbidity and seriousness of the investigation will change him, and so will his relationship with the woman who puts him on the track in the first place, Sarah Howard. Gerry's shift in attitude enables him to open his eyes to what he needs to preserve from the evil surrounding him during his investigation to track down the killer. Gerry's evolution in the book is gradual and we grow to like his character. I also have a journalistic background and I've always dreamed of stumbling on a killer myself and pursuing him before submitting the proof of his guilt to the police. So in some ways, Gerry Stokes lives that dream for me."
"OMN: How do you go about researching the plot points of your stories?
SD: I enjoy researching prior and during my writing. Most often it is carried out using the Internet or by reading books and watching videos. For locations, I tend to favor the places I've already been to and that I'm more or less familiar with. However, there again, the Internet is a handy tool when it comes to researching details (street names, addresses, overall vibe of the area …) when lacking your own photographic support. The challenge whilst writing The Perfectionist was exploring the minds of serial killers and reading about some pretty gruesome and deterring details of what these people did, and still do. However, it was a very intense and exciting experience. I've always wanted to write about serial killers. They fascinate me. In fiction, serial killers are highly stylized and even real-life serial killers have become celebrity monsters through media coverage. Serial killer behavior seems inexplicable to us, so we feel a duty to try and understand what their motives are. The killer in The Perfectionist could be considered the ultimate serial killer. He seemingly chooses his victims at random across America; he has been at large for more than two decades; he has flown under the radar of the cops and the FBI by navigating through the loopholes of the federal law enforcement system; he respects a unique and horrific modus operandi and fine-tunes methods of execution to seek artistic perfection. In the world of law enforcement, there exists a scale on which to rate killers. My killer does not feature on the scale."
"OMN: You mentioned that you work in a local movie theater. What kinds of films do you enjoy watching?
SD: I'm a movie geek who's loved cinema since childhood. I even studied films in the UK when at university. I grew up watching many American film classics and loved the 80s films and music (some of it). I grew fond of the modern gangster and of the transition from film noir and epic to the more gritty and realistic portrayal of crime in more recent times. Some direct influences for The Perfectionist include Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986), Thief (Michael Mann, 1981), Se7en (David Fincher, 1995), Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1986), Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone, 1994) … I have been told that my writing is rather visual. That's true because I like to picture scenes in my head as if I were maintaining a mental storyboard. Nursing an image in my mind is a means to more easily translate thoughts into words. On November 16th, I posted a video trailer for The Perfectionist, which I produced myself. I integrated some very eerie footage, still shots of the book cover, and I incorporated (courtesy of the Marmoset music agency) a track by Josh Garrels. I'm very proud of the result, and putting aside the promotional nature of the video it's real proof of my love for writing and the cinema, all merged into one."
"OMN: Complete this sentence for us: "I am a crime novelist and thus I am also …".
SD: … what George Orwell would call a "thought-criminal". My mind is geared a little differently than your average man in the street; slightly quirky and sometimes brooding, but my heart's in the right place!"