There was much rejoicing round mine back in 2016 when The Knives was a New Statesman Book of the Year pick; and I can’t say I was any less thrilled last week – reader, I opened a bottle – when the great David Hepworth (he of Smash Hits, Whistle Test, Mojo, and the author of several superb pop-cultural books including 1971) selected my defiantly not-yet-past-it novel as his best read of 2018. A big thanks owed to a writer I admire hugely.
In doing so Mr Hepworth also gave voice to a question that must surely have burned in the hearts of millions during the run of the BBC’s big drama smash of this year... Sadly, I know the answer. The people who make TV dramas are very smart people with a pretty sure sense of the audience for whom they're spending all that money in order to entertain grippingly from week to week. The relationship between my fictional Home Secretary Blaylock and his close-protection bodyguard Andy Grieve is vital to The Knives; but never in a million years would it have occurred to me to rework that relationship as a study in male-female sexual tension.
Also, since I believe our elected politicians are rarely much better or worse in nature than we the people, I suspect I'd struggle somewhat to render with any conviction the power-corrupts dynamic that drives the majority of political thrillers made for film and TV.