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Spotlight on...

AUTHOR - CHRIS SIMMS

Author: Chris Simms promotional image
CHRIS SIMMS

BIOGRAPHY

Story telling has become an instilled part of life for Manchester based author, Chris Simms. His father took him camping to the darkest corners of Devon, sat his son down by a campfire as night drew in and tried to scare the Devil out of him with ghost stories that chilled the bone.

Well, isn't that what education is all about? Learning a craft for later life?

 
  


To date, Chris has written three acclaimed novels, all of which explore the darker side of the human psyche. So what's sparked the interest of such topics? Perhaps it's the fact that, apart from his present 'day job' of being a copywriter, he's not really enjoyed any of his other jobs - in telesales, post offices, hotels and, yes, on a battery farm, if only for three hours - and has always harboured the desire to write. Or perhaps its more to do with the fact that he takes great pleasure in taking ordinary, every day events and twisting them into something unrecognisable. Whichever, long may he continue to do it, because the formula certainly works.

Chris lives near Stockport (though quite a walk from a Motorway) with his wife and children and will be appearing at next year's Theakstons Old Peculier Harrogate Crime Writing Festival.

Click here to read a review of Chris Simms latest novel: 'Shifting Skin'.

Chris Simms Official Website


CHRIS SIMMS: BOOK REVIEWS


Outside The White Lines
Publisher: Random-House
ISBN: 0-09-179538-9
2003

Compact, tight and riveting from first to last, this debut novel from Manchester author Chris Simms should be roundly applauded for describing the way ordinary situations can be made terrifying in the hands of a skilled author.

Inspired by his own fears whilst awaiting rescue, the book tells of a Motorway murderer posing as a breakdown mechanic, how a young constable is brought into the investigation by chance and of a garbage collector out to build a collection of oddments for no immediately apparent reason.

Outside The White Lines front cover f the book

OUTSIDE THE WHITE LINES -
CHRIS SIMMS


That the story is told from three very different perspectives, adds to the book's atmosphere, as each carries the reader along at very different, often surreal, levels. The Searcher of the novel is a man of such psychological disparity, that all at once feelings of sorrow and repulsion often rise as one to overwhelm. Whereas The Killer evokes little sympathy, The Hunter immediately creates a sense of injustice that needs to be corrected. That all three characters suffer at the hands of a flawed world merely increases the tension.

Written with a great deal of panache, Outside The White Lines is a disparate portrayal of modern life honed into the confines of a congested Motorway network. That Simms is capable of expanding that world so that it becomes more intriguing and increasingly frightening on each turn of the page, is testament to his skills as a writer of novels that will fast earn him a solid reputation in the world of Crime fiction.
 



Pecking Order
Publisher: Arrow (Paperback)
ISBN: 0099446847
2004

Taking the unusual and making it credible, is an art form that Chris Simms has managed to master with aplomb. Setting a Crime novel amidst characters as diverse as a student, a chicken killer and a frightened lecturer might seem implausible. However in the safe hands of this author, intriguing tales of greed and ambition are interwoven to grip the reader from page one.

Roy Bull - known as Rubble - is the village misfit employed at the local battery farm to dispose of unwanted vermin, chickens and the occasional cat. Refused entry into the army on too many occasions to mention, when Rubble is unexpectedly approached by a government agent to undertake a 'secret project', he is delighted and more than willing to comply with the demands of Agent Orange to the letter.

Front cover of Pecking Order by Chris Simms

PECKING ORDER -
CHRIS SIMMS


That the agent is not what he appears is the bedrock of a story that illustrates perfectly today's "must have" society, as both Agent Orange and Rubble strive to meet their goals in equally as sordid a manner, no matter how much those goals may differ.

The creation of Rubble, Professor Maudsley and Claire Silva are strokes of Crime fiction genius that should be acclaimed for their ability to appear as normal as society would perceive them to be in reality. Every village has a Rubble, every learning department a Maudsley. That Simms has taken the characteristic traits of all of those involved and expanded them like rubber bands is testament to his skill as an author.

Never once is the tale over written and pace is kept at a premium; slackened only by ghoulish insights into the world of egg production taken from the point of view of the inmates.

This is Chris Simms' second novel and sets in stone his growing reputation as an entertaining and disturbing author of the highest calibre.
 




Killing The Beasts
Publisher: Orion (Paperback)
ISBN: 0-75286-957- 4
2005

The third novel of Lancashire based author Chris Simms, is quite possibly the most psychologically disturbing Crime novel to have been published in the past twelve months. Gritty and surreal, once this novel has been started it is unlikely that anybody will put it down again until it is finished.

Set during the build up and aftermath of the Commonwealth Games held during 2002 in Manchester, Simms describes how greed, the desire for wanting to be seen as successful and full blown psychosis can be interwoven into a murderous plot that is both totally original and inexplicably familiar at each turn of the page.

Front cover of the book by Chris Simms - Killing The Beasts.

KILLING THE BEASTS -
CHRIS SIMMS


Tom Benwell
is an accounts manager for a city advertising firm. When Tom is promoted to oversee his company's deals in the run up to the games, he is less than enthusiastic as it throws his own personal plans for escape into turmoil. The pressure is squarely on his shoulders and is being applied not just by his employers. Tom's only comfort is that when the games end, he thinks life can return to normal. But when the games do close, the killings begin and Tom's friend, DI Jon Spicer, is assigned to head the search for the perpetrator of the bizarre murders that are suddenly breaking out across the city.

The book is a Crime story with a difference; a deeply disturbing, often dark and subtle analysis of the way misguided ambition can corrupt, the novel builds from the past through to the present with great smoothness and unpredictability. The characters are so well drawn, so unnervingly recognisable, that a reader might begin to look at those around them and wonder "what is driving you, exactly?" before then looking inward and asking the same question again. The dialogue is real, the scenario creepily credible and the description tight, vivid and almost filmic. Killing The Beasts is an absolutely superb novel that marks the birth a new star in the cosmos of Crime Fiction.

“Hi Chris, so glad you enjoyed Killing the Beasts - whenever I hear that someone found a novel of mine so compelling they had to read it in one sitting, the sun comes out and birds start to sing! Would love to do an interview soon, great web site by the way.”
Chris Simms 2005


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Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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