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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > August 2017 > NOIR BACKYARD


Crime novelist AA Dhand explores the seamy side of his hometown, with Tina Jackson

In the lull before his second novel, Girl Zero, is published, AA (Amit) Dhand is sitting in Lister Park on a sunny day watching an elderly Asian couple feeding the ducks. It couldn’t be more idyllic.

It’s also the setting for the opening of his bestselling first novel, last year’s crime thriller Streets of Darkness; by the end of the scene, dark knight cop Harry Virdee has discovered the naked, crucified corpse of one of the city’s most powerful businessmen with a swastika carved into his chest. Vividly evoking the grisly underbelly of a post-industrial city best known for riots and racial division, it was an arresting, hard-hitting debut, praised by Lee Child, that attracted comparisons with Luther and The Wire. Amit is one of WM’s biggest recent success stories – we first found out about his Big Five publishing deal when he sent us the news that Streets of Darkness was to be published by Transworld imprint Bantam as a submission for Subscriber Spotlight.

‘Bradford is my home city,’ he says. ‘I have seen it transform. 200 years ago it was the richest, most powerful city in Europe. Now it’s one of the most deprived. It’s fallen from grace. There are aspects that frustrate me. It’s monocultural. There are questions that need to be asked. I want to relay the information that’s there to spark a dialogue.’ The Bradford in his books is riven with tension but his picture of it goes beyond stereotypes. ‘I’ve put Bradford on the bestseller list,’ he says with justified pride. ‘Taken what’s seen as a negative and flipped it into a positive.’

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Writing for the Modern World • CRIME: Inner city inspiration with rising crime star AA Dhand • ROMANCE: How to write 21st century love stories • 'Dear Writer...' – the no-nonsense writing advice you need to read • Easy IT: The best free software for all your writing life needs • WIN! Agent feedback in our new Picture Book Prize Includes WRITERS' NEWS: 20 packed pages of competitions, opportunities to get published and insider know how. WIN! £91,361 in writing prizes

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