BEHIND THE BOOK: THREE BULLETS – GAVIN JONES

The one question I always hesitate when answering is, what inspired you to write Three Bullets?

It’s not that I don’t know. It’s more, how do you answer the question without sounding like a psychopath. The reality is clear, if you set out to write a crime thriller then at some point someone is going to question the balance of your mind. 

The inspiration came from one night, and one over-active imagination. Two men were sat in the cab of a delivery lorry. Their taco had run out of hours and they were parked up for the night on some deserted trading estate. Conversation flitted through all manner of subjects, however, they had only worked together since that morning, so there were often moments of awkward silence. It was during one of those silences that the younger man saw a fox slowly walking in the road, unaware of the lorry. As it got closer it froze, looked up at the space where the vehicle sat in complete darkness, sensing something in the night. The driver then flashed his headlights. The fox turned and ran. A little over five minutes later, the fox returned – this time he got a little closer. The driver opened the door and threw a half-eaten bag of chips into the road. As the fox neared, the driver flashed his lights. Once again the animal ran. This occurred for another hour or so, each time the fox got closer, and in the end it got close enough to catch hold of the food and drag it away.

I was the younger man in the cab that night, and as I got comfy in the bunk in the cab, the foundations of Three Bullets began to fall into place. What was built that night may have changed over time, but the inspiration stayed the same.

Is it nature’s natural instinct to keep coming back for something they believed was important enough, no matter how dangerous and scared they were?

Seven years later I was holding a copy of that idea in my hand, and other people were showing interest in my debut novel.

The story is primarily set in Kidderminster, England. For anyone that doesn’t know Kidderminster it’s a medium-sized town in the centre of England that was once famous for its carpet mailing industry. It is no different from most towns in the world, although it had one major incentive for me to set my novel there. I live there, I know the place. I found it strange, at first, but as I fell deeper into the story the pages came to life. I found myself going out at night and imaging being part of the story. Not the killing, or the somewhat ‘darker’ side. The depth, the people in the background. The ones who don’t get a mention, but still make the novel breathe.

The town train station provides the backdrop for the initial set up of the story. A teenage girl is attacked and local detective inspector Patrick Rhodes is assigned the case. Rhodes can find no better suspect than Daniel Stone. Stone is a man at the lowest point in his life, never really getting over the breakdown of his marriage, and trying to form a bond with his son. Daniel Stone is the fox. Patrick Rhodes and a mystery companion, Jakub Tesar are the driver with the lights. Testing Stone’s fear, his need, and most of all his natural instinct to try to save everything that is crumbling around him.

Like the inspiration behind it, I tried hard to make this an intriguing story that would make the reader keep returning; to be rewarded at the end. A thriller that would keep you guessing, be believable, fast-paced and, most of all, enjoyable.

I left that job soon after that night and haven’t seen my fellow driver or indeed the fox, however, I’m glad the three of us shared that experience. Three Bullets and its characters are so much a part of my life now because of that hungry fox’s determination