Writer getting to grips with his debut thriller

David Darbyshire
David Darbyshire

A Wigan-born writer has achieved his long-held dream of getting published with an unusual crime thriller he hopes will have the competition on the ropes.

David Darbyshire, who writes under the pen name Jon Richter, has brought out the ebook of his debut novel Deadly Burial set in the world of pro wrestling.

The plot concerns a fighter whose life is spiralling downhill and who is poisoned in the ring, leaving Det Insp Chris Sigurdsson to uncover the identity of the killer.

David, who now lives in Walthamstow in London and combines writing with his job in finance, says his hometown and its love of grappling definitely influenced his choice of plot for the book.

The 34-year-old said: “I’m a big fan of pro wrestling and it seemed to me if you’re writing an old-school murder mystery you need an interesting cast of characters, multiple potential suspects and strong personalities. A group of pro wrestlers seemed perfect and I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done before.

“The title is also a pun on a wrestling slang term for when someone is scripted to lose lots of matches.

“There’s definitely a Wigan link to my love of pro wrestling because there’s such a heritage for it with Davey Boy Smith and the Snake Pit gym. The big American shows regularly namecheck Wigan.

“I hope I’ve done the subject justice. It was quite difficult because I didn’t want to alienate people who aren’t wrestling fans but at the same time treat the industry with respect.”

Former Standish High pupil David says he has long nursed creative ambitions, getting into acting and landing a couple of small TV roles as a teenager.

After leaving Winstanley College part-way through his A-levels he joined JJB’s head office and decided to study accountancy while also working there, paving the way for a career in finance which has now reached 15 years.

His writing has been inspired by bestselling crime authors such as Lee Child but also by literary award-winners such as Marlon James. He also spoke of being keen to avoid some of the cliches of detective fiction when creating his central character DI Sigurdsson.

He said: “I didn’t want my main character to be the classic hard-boiled detective who’s an alcoholic and struggling with his demons. He’s a bit more clean-living and a bit different.

I’m definitely looking to do a series of books with him. When you’ve got a main character you like writing about and hopefully people like reading about you’ve got a base to overlay your ideas on rather than having to invent the setting every single time.

“I’ve always liked shocking twists and unexpected plot changes, something that leaves you stunned. I’ve always written in the thriller genre with a bit of horror and crime.”

David managed to get Deadly Burial published by the digital arm of Harper Collins and admits to being quite fortunate as the company was the first place he contacted.

He has already penned a second novel, which he says has a wholly different subject from the debut.

The book is out now to be downloaded onto Kindle or other electronic devices. For more information about his writing, visit www.jon-richter.com