Rod Reynolds was born in London and, after a successful career in advertising, working as a media buyer, he decided to get serious about writing. He recently completed City University's two-year Crime Writing Masters course and The Dark Inside is his first novel. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.
When Orenda Books decides to back an author, whether they write in - or are translated into - English, it’s wise to pay attention as they have an uncanny knack for finding and signing up writers of great quality in publishing’s busiest and most competitive genre. Rod Reynolds is no exception. Having gained plaudits aplenty for his excellent Charlie Yates 1940’s noir series; The Dark Inside, Black Night Falling and Cold Desert Sky, Reynolds then diverted to the brutal London-based stand-alone thriller, Blood Red City, and gained a long-listing for the CWA Steel Dagger for his troubles. Pivoting ‘back to black’ with Black Reed Bay, Reynolds introduces us to his newest creation, Detective Casey “Big Case” Wray, through a superbly crafted contemporary who-why-how-dunnit. Set in the fictitious Hampstead County - which bears a striking resemblance to Nassau County N.Y - on Long Island, with windswept Atlantic beaches and the cookie cutter beachfront McMansions of a comfortable community, each scene is imbued with a sense of location so real, you can feel the salt spray and neighbourly judgment sting your skin. On the face of it it’s a standard crime/thriller narrative: something bad happens and the police investigate. For some the female victim trope will rankle, but the story and cast are introduced with such nuance and style and then, credentials established, around the 100 page mark Reynolds moves up through the gears to deliver a beautifully paced, smartly plotted read that really delivers. And Wray? Well she is the real star of the story. Somewhere between Frances McDormand’s “Marge Gunderson” in Fargo and Helen Mirren as “Jane Tennison” in Prime Suspect; too good a human and too big hearted to be hard boiled, but à point cynical and with a great store of whip-crack one-liners. Mark these words, Reynolds is going to good places fast if he can repeat the magic of Black Reed Bay in his next few books. Join in and get reading, it’s going to be quite the journey.
Hold on to your breath as this bang up-to-date riveting thriller dives head first into a murky sinister world and doesn’t come up for air. London journalist Lydia is sent a video clip of a possible murder taking place on a train. Dealer in information Michael has links to the male being attacked, but both the victim and witness have disappeared. What a fascinating pair of main characters Rod Reynolds has created. They and the storyline feel so entirely real, I wouldn’t have been surprised to read an update of this story in the papers. Power and cold hard money act as motivating factors, with information the hook that connects Lydia and Michael. The tension rises with each chapter and while an electrifying ride, there is a sharp thoughtful edge that penetrates the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Red City, astute and dynamic, the ending arrives with a punch. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month as I really want to fly the flag for this book.
Longlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2016. When a disgraced New York crime journalist is despatched to the rural wilderness of Texarkana, on the Texas and Arkansas border, in 1946 to report on a series of savage local murders, he quickly falls for the seductive sister of one of the victims and discovers that his investigation is anything but welcome in town where a whole series of secrets are being jealously protected by authorities and individuals. A powerful debut novel by a British author with a strong feel for Southern cadences and atmosphere, this can't fail to impress and seldom puts a foot wrong both as a puzzle slowly being decoded and a recreation of the post WW2 era and place with echoes of classic literary writers with added twists and turns. Beguiling stuff. ~ Maxim Jaubowski
No one wanted to say it to me, that the girls were dead. But I knew. Late 1946 and Charlie Yates and his wife Lizzie have returned to Los Angeles, trying to stay anonymous in the city of angels. But when Yates, back in his old job at the Pacific Journal, becomes obsessed by the disappearance of two aspiring Hollywood starlets, Nancy Hill and Julie Desjardins, he finds it leads him right back to his worst fear: legendary Mob boss Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel, a man he once crossed, and whose shadow he can't shake. As events move from LA to the burgeoning Palace of Sin in the desert, Las Vegas - where Siegel is preparing to open his new Hotel Casino, The Flamingo - Rod Reynolds once again shows his skill at evoking time and place. With Charlie caught between the FBI and the mob, can he possibly see who is playing who, and find out what really happened to the two girls?
It was almost dark when i landed... 'There are echoes of Chandler in washed-up journalist Charlie Yates's terse, cynical narration but this is more than a mere pastiche: it's subtle, original and enthralling.' Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it's less of a story Charlie's chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it's too late. Rod Reynolds' exceptional second novel picks up just a few months on from The Dark Inside, and once again displays the feel for place, period and atmosphere which marked out his acclaimed debut.