Sometimes a book comes along that you didn’t quite know you had to read – until you did. Catherine Fearns’ Reprobation was like that for me, a heady mix of Heavy Metal, religious symbolism, romance and, always an essential, a good whodunit-style mystery underpinning everything else. Luckily for you, Catherine now has a series of three books out, and I hope there are more in the pipeline. I think they are fascinating. Here she is talking about them:
Thank you so much, Alice, for inviting me to talk about my books!
The Reprobation Trilogy is a series of crime thrillers with a difference. I’m loath to say they are ‘supernatural’ or ‘occult’, because readers can choose to interpret them as straight police procedurals. Alternatively, they can consider the possibility of a world beyond our own. In that sense the books are quite unique, I think. Set in Liverpool and exploring the north-west of England’s gothic and noir potential, you could also say they form part of the ‘Northern gothic’ movement.
I didn’t actually set out to write a crime novel at all. When I started Reprobation, I wanted to write something about predestination, the theological doctrine that God decided at the beginning of time who would go to heaven (the elect), or hell (the reprobate). I just wanted to try and understand the concept – at that point I didn’t know if it would be a short story, a piece of non-fiction, or even a song! But very quickly a cast of characters developed and a murder mystery plot wove itself around them.
Reprobation is a crime thriller that blends together religion, genetics and heavy metal.
When a body is found crucified on a Liverpool beach, the lives of a Calvinist nun, a death metal guitarist and a controversial geneticist become entangled. This is the first murder case for cynical Detective Inspector Darren Swift, and as the bodies pile up in a series of gruesome crimes, he is forced to confront his lack of faith.
The sequel, Consuming Fire, begins with an apparent case of Spontaneous Human Combustion, followed by a series of mysterious fires around the city. DI Swift thinks there are connections, and his investigation delves into the worlds of football, nightclubs and organised crimes. But is he imagining things? The answer lies in a mysterious seventeenth century grimoire which has gone missing from Liverpool Library.
In the third book, Sound, Darren is thrown back into action on the trail of a murderer with a terrifying and undetectable weapon. Black metal and psychoacoustics are the themes of this book, which forms the culmination of Darren’s journey towards an acceptance of the occult.
Music is a very important aspect of my books, and the coolest thing happened when a group of rock musicians, Geva, contacted me to say they were writing an album based on Reprobation! What a huge honour, and the results were beautiful. You can listen and purchase the album here: https://g-e-v-a.bandcamp.com/releases
I was thrilled to discover that Geva are going back into the studio soon to record the album of Consuming Fire.
My readers are a Venn diagram of crime fiction fans, metalheads, musicians, Liverpudlians, and some who are none of the above! I have been so touched by the positive response to my stories, characters and ideas, and I know there are lots of people waiting for book four. I have to admit that I am working on something completely different at the moment, but I promise that Darren, Mikko and Helen will be back soon – their journey has just begun I hope. If you’re thinking about reading the Reprobation Trilogy, my message would be to keep an open mind. They are cross-genre and strange – but we are living in very strange times!
Short Biography of Catherine Fearns
Fearns is an author from Liverpool, UK. Her three novels – Reprobation, Consuming
Fire & Sound, are published by Crooked Cat/darkstroke. All three
are Amazon bestsellers in multiple categories, and Reprobation won a
Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal. Catherine writes for music website V13, and her
music journalism has also appeared in Broken Amp and Noisey. Her short fiction
and non-fiction pieces have been published in Here Comes Everyone, Toasted
Cheese, Offshoots & Metal Music Studies. She is a member of the Crime
Writers’ Association and the Geneva Writers Group.