Monthly Archives: October 2016

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Lie Kill Walk Away Blog Tour

My guest blogger today is Matt Dickinson, author of the brand new teen/ YA thriller Lie Kill Walk Away


We get horribly used to stories of young people running away from home. Statistics estimate that half of all missing people are aged between fifteen and twenty-one; many of them on the run from care homes or long-term institutions in which they have failed to settle. Out on the streets they become vulnerable to predators, and often spiral into damaging behaviours which may adversely effect their lives.
Yes, of the 300,000 ‘missing person’ calls made each year to the police, a small percentage are telling a very different story.
Mothers who run away from home.

This was one of the subjects that I researched during the writing period on my new book Lie Kill Walk Away.
In the story, one of the protagonists faces a terrible situation. Rebecca’s mother ran away from home when she was a young girl. The result is emotional trauma and psychological scars which never seem to heal.

She feels paralysed by guilt and has to leave the school she is at to be home tutored.

So how common is the situation? And why do some mothers reach a point where they have to walk away, sometimes permanently, from their children?
Up to eighty percent of people that run away from home are suffering from mental health problems.

“Particularly for people with depression, they might feel that there’s no hope, and just need time away,” says Dr Karen Shalev Greene, director of the Centre for the Study of Missing Persons at the University of Portsmouth.

Her experience is that people suffering from depression often struggle to open up about their feelings to the loved ones around them.

“They might be what we call functionally depressed. The image is that they’re fine but they’re crumbling inside, and at some point they just can’t hide it any more, so they’ll just leave.”

Searching for a lost mother in Lie Kill Walk Away

My character Rebecca reaches a point where she has to try and find her mother. Too many dramatic things are happening in her life and this teenage girl needs help. She goes on a detective trail to try and track her down, discovering truths along the way which are painful and hard.

Is this an unusual scenario? Not really. The Child Support Agency estimates there are 55,000 women in the UK who have left the family home. Often their children will try to find them, only to discover, often, that their mother does not want to be found.

I was amazed at the statistics, but that is often the case when one is researching a book. Truth is sometimes just as shocking as fiction.

Matt Dickinson’s new book Lie Kill Walk Away is published 6th October


Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juárez – twenty metres outside town lies a fence, and beyond it, America – the dangerous goal of many a migrant.

Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he’s been working for. He’s dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he’s on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they’re as good as dead.
Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) – she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.

In Saint Death, Marcus Sedgwick shines a light into the decaying underbelly of our consumer society, laying bare the suffering engendered by growing western demand for drugs and ever cheaper products.

The backdrop to the novel is Ciudad Juárez, a Mexican city just slightly south of the border with America; where the citizens live in fear of the rival cartels that engage in battles on the streets and a police force that is often as corrupt and cruel as the gangs.

We view this dystopic cityscape through the eyes of Arturo an 18 year old boy who is drawn in to a tragic spiral by his best friend Faustino, who, much like his namesake has been caught up in a deal with the devil; in this case the leader of his gang: Los Libertadores.

The focal point of the novel is a card game – Calavera, a game that Arturo is nearly unbeatable at and the one thing that can allow him to raise the money needed to save Faustino and give them all the chance of a better life in el Norte. Arturo’s journey to the game is broken up by flashbacks to Faustino’s life as a migrant and Arturo and his life growing up together in Anapra, one of the poorest suburbs of Ciudad Juarez.

In an era of fetishizing gang culture and treating drug dealers as heroes with television shows such as Breaking Bad and Narcos, Saint Death is a step away from the glamour and high-living and instead focuses on the cost in human lives, dignity and common humanity that is so often overlooked.

I took several things away from Saint Death: a greater understanding of why so many people risk the lives of their families and themselves to cross borders in search of a better life, the beginnings of knowledge about folk religion and a growing sense of disquiet of how we are all complicit in the suffering and inequality of developing nations due to our reckless spending and the desire for better deals.
Saint Death is perhaps the first great anti-capitalist YA novel of the 21st Century.

Published by Orion Children’s Books, Saint Death will be available from all good bookshops from the 6th October.