The origin of the series

My journey as a crime writer – Part 1

It started with a simple idea – could one person make a difference?

It could easily have been a woman, but I felt more comfortable writing about a male protagonist, especially one who was going to embody my values and experiences. I envisaged someone with a strong sense of fair play and justice, someone who would take action to deliver it.

But not a police officer. I’ve worked with the police, but I’ve no real idea what it’s like to be a murder detective or part of a Major Crimes Team. Besides, there were too many police procedurals in the bookshops and on TV. Even more now crime fiction is the most read genre.

Sue GraftonNot a private eye either. Though a huge fan of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, who inspired much of what I was to create, there were also plenty of PIs on the bookshelves and TV.

I wanted an ordinary person to solve murders – someone different, distinctive and original.

The idea posed quite a few challenges, namely credibility.

Ordinary people don’t solve murders, do they?

You wouldn’t wake up one morning and decide to solve a murder. You can’t go down to the police station and offer to investigate some of their unsolved crimes to help them out.

And where would you start? How would you collect evidence? What about personal safety?

Okay, Agatha Christie and writers of cosy mysteries have had ordinary people solving murders for years, but I wasn’t interested in quaint village murders, solved by a local resident who judged competitions at the flower show. I wanted something that resonated with the real world, something contemporary, but still a traditional whodunit.

The choices were simple.

  • My protagonist could have a personal connection to the victim, such as a lover or close relative. This works fine for the first book, but it would become repetitive and unbelievable after a few of books. It wouldn’t take long before my protagonist had no close family or friends. I’d also need a list of killers with a grudge against him and his family.
  • The police arrest the wrong person. This seems to be a favourite among crime writers and TV dramas like Murder She Wrote. Again, it doesn’t take long to become repetitive. And I’ve never liked the idea of showing the police to be inept. They have a difficult enough job already without me adding to their problems.
  • The protagonist stumbles across something that puts him in danger. This is more thriller territory than murder mystery and I can’t compete with the likes of Dick Francis and Simon Kernick.

Besides, the thought of shoe-horning my protagonist into solving murders didn’t appeal. I wanted my ordinary person to evolve as a sleuth, not set out to be one. This seemed more natural and credible – more plausible in today’s cynical world.

In the end, it all came down to the character of the protagonist.

I needed someone with strong principles and a sense of duty. This person couldn’t simply stand by and allow an injustice to happen. He was no knight in shining armour, but someone who felt he could make a difference, albeit a small one. This was a man who had a history of standing up for the underdog, battling for justice and fair play.

He would also need the means and time to investigate, to take action. Either he was rich and retired or he had to fit murder investigation around his day job and life outside work.

Slowly, my protagonist began to take shape in my mind.

He was the kind of person I would have liked to have been.

This realisation clinched the deal.

I was an environmental health officer – a law enforcer, protecting the public, improving health and the environment. I worked with the police, which meant I had contacts that could help me, like a Scenes of Crime Officer, for example. I had the skills to undertake complex investigations, interview suspects and build a case to prosecute offenders.

I occasionally investigated deaths – people who were killed in workplace accidents. This was part of my role in health and safety at work, protecting employees and ensuring workplaces were safe.

All I had to do was disguise a murder as a fatal work accident and my protagonist would be drawn into his first case.

There was still plenty of work to do, several false starts to overcome, and my ability to bring such a character and story to life.

Those are issues for future blogs.


In the meantime, if you’re interested in a complex murder mystery that pays homage to the classic whodunit, the Kent Fisher murder mysteries maybe for you. You can find out more on my website, where you can also sign up to my email newsletter.

Interview on Fictionophile

My thanks to Lynne LeGrow for some interesting and entertaining questions.

‘There’s nothing better than knowing others enjoy the story you wrote. That’s why I write.’

Read the full interview here.

 

No Mercy – Interview on Books Teacup and Reviews

My thanks to Yesha for some intriguing and enjoyable questions.

‘The challenge is invariably the same with all my books – keeping it fresh and credible, which isn’t easy when your main character isn’t a police officer or private detective.’

Read the full interview of Books Teacup and Reviews.

 

The challenge of writing a series

‘The Kent Fisher murder mysteries are a long way from the cop with a trauma, which seems to be one of the current trends in crime fiction. They’re traditional murder mysteries, driven by both character and plot to entertain readers.’

If you want to find out more about why I write the Kent Fisher mysteries, you can read the guest post at Between the Lines

My thanks to Cathy at Between the Lines for letting me spread the word.

 

Reviews and guest posts from the No Mercy book launch

This is another fabulous book by Robert.  His writing style is so easy to read and follow which makes it an absolute joy – Curled up with a Good Book

A super series, brilliant angle for the stories and Kent is a top bloke! Highly recommended – Books from Dusk Till Dawn

5 things I learned from writing a series. A guest post on Novel Deelights

Daring to be different. A guest post on Linda’s Book Bag

No Mercy is a cracking read and I would Definitely Recommend it – Me and my Books

I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who in the hell the person was that I thought had done it – The Caffeinated Reader

Humorous dialogue and engaging characterisation I’ve come to expect from Robert Crouch, and is the best Kent Fisher book yet – Hair Past a Freckle

Great fun, an intriguing mystery and thoroughly entertaining – The Bookwormery

I am an avid fan of Agatha Christie and I have absolute no qualms in saying, these stories really do have a close relation to the original classics – Lacy Ace Book Reviews

A great whodunit in a kind of familiar, though also unique way, as I never met a sleuth like Kent before – The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Reviews and posts from the No More Lies blog tour

Somehow I don’t think I could ever tire of this series – A Lover of Books

A really enjoyable read – Donna’s Book Blog

I recommend this series if you like thriller/murder/mystery – The Writer’s Alley

A thoroughly entertaining, cosy-ish crime thriller – The Bookwormery

Fits in with all the “greats” of crime fiction quite perfectly as an interesting sleuth with a clear voice and style – The Itinerarian

Good mystery with an ending that has you longing for another book instantly – The Magic of Wor(l)ds

There are some real characters building in this series which I now care about, love it when a series affects me like that – Books from Dusk till Dawn

This has that classic ‘whodunnit’ feel but in a modern setting – Me and my Books

How an environmental health officer can solve a murder – a guest post at Linda’s Book Bag.

Each of the Kent Fisher mysteries is brilliantly written and easy to read – Mo Mo Book Diary

The Book I Had To Write – a guest post on Nemesis Book Blog

With secrets to uncover, laughter, passion and some lovely creatures to add to the mix, this is definitely one story to read – Lacy Ace Book Reviews

Avoiding Jessica Fletcher Syndrome – a guest post on The Tattooed Book Geek

I loved it and it definitely hooked me into wanting to read the next book – The Caffeinated Reader

A great read with a kind of cosy mystery feel – Curled Up with a Good Book

 

Reviews from the No Remorse blog tour

Check out the reviews and guest posts from the No Remorse blog tour, 7th to 18th May, 2018.

Dear BBC, please make these into a top quality drama – Booksaremycwtches

This book is a brilliant read – Black Books Blog

A light hearted and entertaining mystery with deaths and danger aplenty –  My Reading Corner

Guest post on LJ Ross, Author Introductions

An engrossing puzzle with some intriguing twists and a real sense of danger – Hair Past a Freckle

Enough intrigue to keep you hooked from start to finishNovel Deelights.

The characters were really great – Donnasbookblog

Kept me guessing until the endKatiesbookcavereviews

Guest post at Love Books Group

A great sense of tension, suspense and drama. Highly Recommended – Me and My Books

An addictive read which you will find hard to put downA Lover of Books.

This one is the best so farIgnite Books.

A strong plotted book that kept me turning those pages – Orchard Book Club

No Bodies Reviews, post and author interview

Reviews, guest posts and interview from the No Bodies blog tour, 19th October to 2nd November 2017.

A brilliant read – Black Books Blog

Robert Crouch is fast becoming a favourite author – A Lover of Books

The inspiration and creation of Kent Fisher guest post – Love Books Group

Kent Fisher is a wonderful creation and unique in crime literature – Booksaremycwtches

Kept me gripped from start to finish – Me and My Books

Easy writing style with a mix of humour – Ali The Dragon Slayer

An interview with Ronnie Turner

Had me hooked from start to finish – Novel Deelights

You will inevitably be entranced with the journey – CJPPublishing

Left me with more questions with every page turned – Bits About Books

No police. No private eye. No murder. A guest post on Linda’s Book Bag

I really enjoy this series and look forward to more – Kath Middleton Books

It’s a very intriguing and entertaining read – My Reading Corner

A book which will be hard for any reader to put down – Sweet Little Book

 

Reviews and posts from the blogtour

Check out the links to read the full reviews and posts from the No Accident blog tour between 20-30th August 2017.

An extraordinary detective thriller – Bits About Books.

A clever, original and highly enjoyable thriller – Booksaremycwtches.

Could an environmental health officer solve a murder? – Anne bonny Book Reviews

I enjoyed the humour scattered throughout – Ali – The Dragon Slayer

An entertaining and enjoyable mystery – Novel Deelights

A different concept to a crime story – Sweet Little Books

I have a new fictional hero! – Ignite Bookblog

I warmed to Kent Fisher straight away  – A Lover of Books