Welcome to my stop on the 37 Hours blog tour! I am thrilled to be able to feature this book today on Clues and Reviews and provide a guest post. But first, let’s get into a synopsis of the book!
After two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.
But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…
The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?
Keep reading for a guest post from the author!
Noble, principled… Nadia is a killer you can root for
Guest Blog by J F Kirwan
The title of this blog comes from an amazon review of 37 Hours which I was happy to see, as most reviews focus on the action and page-turning aspects of the books. It was nice to see one that echoed what I’d been trying to achieve with Nadia, namely to make a killer appealing to readers. It’s not so easy to do. To help me, I studied one of the best-loved killers of current thriller literature.
Every few minutes or so, someone, somewhere, buys a Jack Reacher novel. Although Jack Reacher is an out and out killer, his creator Lee Child has found a winning formula for hooking readers – including me. And so when I set out to write about a female protagonist – Nadia – who also becomes a killer, I did some hard thinking about how to construct her, and spent a lot of time thinking about her values. But I also wanted to do something a little different. Personally, I am not convinced it is easy to kill. I hope I’m right in this. So, I wanted to show her transition from a normal Russian country girl to a killer, and to show how hard it would be for her – or for any of us.
In the first book about Nadia, 66 Metres, right at the beginning she is trapped into working for a gangster, and from that point on, finds herself in increasingly dangerous situations where the easiest way out is to kill, the one thing she does not want to do. Because her father was a killer. At the very end of the book, she accepts her fate, and having crossed that line to save her sister, is promptly thrown into a secret prison.
So, at the beginning of the second book, 37 Hours, set two years later after her release, I needed to do two things: show that her transition to becoming a killer was complete, yet still make her a character readers would root for. The first was relatively easy, though the setting is exotic – she has to tackle terrorists on a hijacked nuclear submarine. The second though, was more tricky, also because she is female, and I reckon we find it easier as readers to accept men as killers.
Unlike Jack Reacher, Nadia has remorse. After her first kill, while hunting down the other terrorists, she imagines the dead man waiting for her on the other side of death with a knife, to return the favour. She accepts her fate, and knows that shortly, if she’s successful, there will be a longer queue on that other side, and that one day – perhaps today, or a little later – they will have their moment. For Nadia, heaven is long past being an option, even though she is fighting for good. She doesn’t seek redemption. She just wants the killing to stop, and to have a normal life, though she can barely remember what that is anymore. And of course, as far as normality is concerned, she’s going to be sorely disappointed.
Nadia has a strong sense of responsibility. There is evil in the world that needs to be put down, and it seems to seek her out. And like Jack Reacher, she understands that although in theory someone else could do it, and probably should, that way of thinking usually results in nobody doing it. So she steps up.
Like Jack Reacher, she is fiercely independent, and sees life for what it is, not wasting energy by judging or getting outraged by it. It is what it is. Unless she can change it. And this means she never blames anyone else for anything, or for not doing anything.
When I was young, I was fascinated by King Arthur and his noble knights. But we have moved on. That kind of nobility is a thing of the past, and maybe fantasy novels. But we can still search for a new kind of nobility. That’s what I’ve tried to do, to the best as my abilities as a writer (I don’t claim to be up to Lee Child’s standard).
Nadia, like Jack and other heroes of this genre, and of this time, has her own moral compass. It’s maybe not the one you or I might have, but when up against nasty people with criminal intent, you’d want her, and her Beretta, on your side.
About the Author:
J.F. Kirwan is a writer for Harper Collins, under their HQ digital imprint. By day he works in aviation and nuclear safety, but at night, during bouts of insomnia, he writes thrillers with significant body counts. He’s an ex-diving instructor, so there is an underwater element in each of his two novels, 66 Metres and 37 Hours. Most readers find his writing has a cinematic feel, as if you are there with the characters. The original inspiration for the protagonist, Nadia, came from Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the dragon tattoo, though David Baldacci and Lee Child have had significant impact on the writing style, plotting and pace. He is currently writing the third book in the series.