Stav Sherez is the author of four books of crime fiction. He was born and raised in London and has persevered with his lifelong ambition to write novels despite the challenges found in the book business today. In his case this meant facing multiple rejections until he found the right agent and publisher.
His official author bio is one of the shortest around and after much searching I found out why. He wanted it that way. In a 2005 interview with book dealer Adam Smith, Sherez fleshes out his life history, just a bit. "(O)kay: grew up in London, Latymer Upper School, several girlfriends, a car, the usual teenage stuff then Art History degree from the university of Leeds. The usual jobs for a while; record shops and bookshops. Worked for the last four years as a music journalist for Comes With A Smile, a small, independent magazine. It seems that my whole life has been leading up to having the book published and so, perhaps, that explains why there are so many blank spots."
His first novel, The Devil's Playground, published by Joseph Beth in 2004, is set in Amsterdam and was shortlisted for the British Crime Writers Association John Creasy Dagger Award, given for a first novel. Sherez spent three years finding an agent and getting the book sold. It is now out of print and available only through used booksellers. If the going rates are any indication, it has become something of a collector's item; as much as several hundred dollars for the paperback.
In 2009, Faber and Faber of London published his second novel, The Black Monastery. From the publisher's webpage:
People used to come to the small Greek island of Palassos for the historic ruins. Now they come to take drugs and party all night. But the horrific ritual murder of a boy in the grounds of an old monastery brings back memories of two similar deaths in the mid-1970s, and of a mysterious cult who once dwelt in the island's interior, memories the island has tried hard to forget.
A Dark Redemption appeared in Britain in 2012. At Crime Fiction Lover, a "site for die hard crime and thriller fans" Shevez talks in an interview about how he came to write a book set in his home city.
Having grown up in London, I'd stopped seeing it it had become the wallpaper. That's why the first two books were set abroad. Being in a foreign country forces you to see anew. But A Dark Redemption had to be set here so I needed to make London fresh to me, to see it with the eyes of a tourist, and the Ugandan illegal immigrant community allowed me to do that. It's a part of London I was only vaguely aware of, and it was fascinating and intriguing. I was interested in how London, and all cities, are palimpsests where separate worlds exist side by side, in both space and time, mostly oblivious of each other, and the way a murder could chart the intersection of these worlds.
As to why he decided to write a series, he says, "It was only about halfway through the writing of A Dark Redemption that I began to think of this as a series. I realised there was more to the characters of Carrigan and Miller than I could possibly hope to put in one book, and once I knew I would continue with them a sudden freedom opened up. I no longer had to tie up all loose ends, I could leave things open and use the series to trace the arc of their lives over a period of years. And it lets me slowly simmer backstories and subplots then bring them to the boil when they're good and ready."
The second in the series, Eleven Days, was published in February 2013 in Britain and concerns eleven bodies found dead after a fire engulfs a small convent. Now that Europa Editions is publishing his novels in the United States, Stav Sherez is poised to garner a following in America.
This article is from the August 21, 2013 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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