Many authors know the ‘second book syndrome’ where, after all the attention paid to the first title (from ‘someone new’ – which is a better story) the second book is largely ignored. So it was with Daylight – undeservedly, in my opinion, and in my family’s opinion, since they had been with me in Gorbachev’s Soviet Union and they recognized the places and atmosphere. My American publisher refused the book, not because they didn’t like it but because, they said, the American public would take one look at the word Leningrad and assume the book was a ‘spy book’, whatever else was printed on the cover.
Back home the Guardian liked it: ‘Fizzing complications . . . It’s a gas, with unexpected reflections on the nature of forgery.’ But everyone else ignored it. No one gave it a bad review; they gave it no reviews at all. So, unlike my other early titles, it has never been reissued. (Yet, bizarrely, it was optioned for a film.) Since I typed it in the days before I had a proper PC, it hasn’t even come out as an eBook. Your only hope of finding a copy to read is the library (ah, remember them?) or the second-hand market – where, as it happens, it’s not too hard to find. And never expensive.
What’s it about? Art theft, forgery, blackmail and general mayhem – in the fading light of Gorbachev’s dying Soviet Union. It also features Mickey Starr and Jane Strachey who reappeared together, years later, in my Pick Any Title. Daylight too is a caper novel, but this time with a bitter twist.
Russell is published by Prospero and can be found on:Facebook