Those of you who have read my previous blog about the serial killer in my novel Gamekeeper Turned Poacher will know that Brandt was the reason why I set out to write a crime thriller. The story was meant to be about him and his exploits but I soon found myself becoming increasingly interested in the main character who was chasing him: DCI Stella Johnson.
I didn’t set out to have a female lead but I created her initially to deal with a somewhat misogynistic initial suspect after the first attack. I liked the way she (figuratively rather than literally) slapped the arrogance out of him and decided I wanted to see more of her. Similarly I was intrigued to see how things would develop between her and PC McNeil, who she merely had him join her to make up the numbers.
What I came to realise was that she had the necessary qualities that would prove the ideal foil for the cold, calculating Brandt. She is as impulsive as she is talented and I know she wouldn’t simply follow protocol whilst Brandt gave them all the run around.
I would very much welcome your thoughts on how her role plays out. I like to think she displays the sort of qualities that Brandt, in his former career, would have admired.
In particular I would be interested to know how you feel about her chemistry with PC McNeil.