A WIGAN author is celebrating the stunning success of his latest thriller.
Stalkers, published on Valentine’s Day and which probes the violent underbelly of modern day London and Manchester, has now leapt from 18th to 15th in the digital book best sellers’ list on Amazon.
And its currently No.1 on the Kindle Crime, Thrillers and Mystery list and third in HarperCollins e-book best-sellers.
In terms of paper backs, it is fourth among the best sellers at Asda and sixth at Tesco.
Last weekend it fell only a few points short of making The Sunday Times top 10 best-sellers’ list.
A former police officer and local paper journalist, Standish dad Paul Finch’s macabre horror stories and scripts have already garnered great acclaim.
His novella Kid won him his second British Fantasy award in 2007.
He was also awarded the International Horror Guild Award for his mid-length story, The Old North Road which was dubbed the herald of a brighter future for horror by critics.
Five of the Warriors fanatic’s horror and thriller scripts are currently “under option” in various Hollywood studios.
But, with his former background patrolling the mean streets of inner city Salford in the 1980s, the success of his debut crime novel is giving him special pleasure.
Stalkers sees 49-year-old Finch’s Det Sgt Mark “Heck” Heckenburg attempt to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of several dozen women and soon finds himself furiously battling for his life and the truth with a ruthless criminal organisation.
He has been seconded to the serial crimes unit at Scotland Yard at his own request after a bust-up at home, only to find it is now run by an ex, now a Superintendent, Gemma Piper, with whom he has a steamy past.
There remain plenty of elements of horror within, because of the dark streets on which the pair find themselves working and the gruesome circumstances behind the disappearance of 38 women from around the country.
Paul said: “I signed up with HarperCollins for a series of three very dark, urban police thrillers, which, because of the scope of these publishers, are getting a national projection, but thus far the sales of Stalkers have been nothing short of phenomenal.
“It’s far and away the most successful book I have ever written and has already sold many tens of thousands of copies.
“A lot of time has gone by, of course, since I finished with the force in the 80s and the world is a different place much more akin to TV’s Life On Mars and Gene Hunt than what we know today.
“But I hope that I still have a good understanding of basic laws and procedures from my operational days, although lots of laws have changed.
“I know lots of serving policemen still and I am not too grand to ask for advice on certain points, so my research isn’t difficult.
“Stalkers and the sequels are more action thriller rather than heavy police procedural so we are not going to get bogged down in detail.
“But it was definitely one of these things where a bit of experience is very much a bonus.”
“It’s a strange thing.
“You write professionally for years, and you do okay – and then suddenly, something like this happens.
“A book just takes off, and everywhere you go you see it in shop windows, you see people reading it on buses and trains.
“It’s an amazing feeling, probably the greatest of my professional life to date.
“There are two follow-ups to Stalkers due for publication later this year, so hopefully the ball will keep rolling.”