“A major new thriller talent”

Perseverance has paid off for Richard Davis with the publication of his first book, a hard-boiled thriller set in the USA.

The 2016 novel, False Prophet, was inspired by childhood holidays that Richard spent in the US, when he developed a taste for American thrillers. Its publication marked the culmination of several years’ effort by Richard. “There are no short cuts to writing a novel,” he said. “The hard way is the only way if you want to produce something worthwhile.”

On the book’s publication, Richard (OE 2001–2008) was chosen by Amazon to be in its monthly book promotion alongside blockbuster authors Harlan Coben, Clive Cussler and Marcia Clark.

He shares a publisher with such famous names as Eric Idle and the New York Times best-selling crime novelist C J Lyons.

After leaving QE, Richard took up a place reading English Literature and Language at University College London. Graduating with a first-class degree in 2011, he then took an M.Phil in American Literature at Queens’ College, Cambridge, which he completed in 2012.

“I wrote a novel while taking my Master’s, though it hasn’t seen the light of day,” he says. But Richard persevered: “After university, I set about writing a different type of novel – an American-style thriller. This involved in-depth research into the FBI, cultic groups, psychopathy and weaponry – and eventually led to a 100,000-word manuscript.”

This gained the attention of leading London literary agent The Hanbury Agency, and a new, up-and-coming publisher, Canelo.

False Prophet is about Saul Marshall, a con-artist-turned-FBI-agent, who finds his son taken hostage by a serial-killing cult obsessed with having victims take their own lives. The promotional material accompanying its publication states: “Fast-paced, relentless and brutally exciting, False Prophet marks the entrance of a major new thriller talent.”

In an interview with the Crime Thriller Fella blog, Richard said: “I am lucky enough to have travelled a good deal around America: I have visited some 14 states, and have been to most major locations featured in False Prophet – New York, Boston, Washington DC. In fact, I have stayed in a couple of the hotels I write about.”

His own favourite authors include G K Chesterton, Patricia Highsmith, Paul Auster and Lee Child – like Richard, another British author who is currently the biggest writer of American thriller fiction.

Richard, pictured here in unsmiling pose as instructed by his publisher, says he spends most of his free time reading.