Fiend: Book of the Month – May 2016

During the 1980s & 1990s I became friendly with the late Craig Thomas, author of ‘Firefox’ (filmed and starring Clint Eastwood) and several other spy thrillers.  Jean and I used to visit Craig and his wife Jill whenever we were in the Lichfield area.

Craig was keen for me to write a thriller and in the late 1980s I conceded to his persuasion and wrote ‘Fiend’. In this instance I had to combine it with a horror theme or else my publishers at that time (Sphere) would not have been interested.

It is set in the Kremlin prior to an important conference in which the Russian leader’s presence is vital.  Unfortunately the latter had died shortly before.  The Soviets were in a state of panic and as a last resort they sought the help of a black magician to raise him from the dead, which he did successfully.

The outcome was an undead leader exerting his evil power over the Soviet delegation but not as they had planned!

I was rather shocked by the gory cover of the book but it proved its worth, the first printing selling out and going to a reprint.

In a strange way ‘Fiend’ reflects President Brezhnev’s final days.  In March 1982 it was reported by U.S. intelligence that Brezhnev had suffered a stroke while making a four-day trip to Tashkent, but there was a cover-up.  The Kremlin denied that he was gravely ill but just ‘on his regular winter rest!’  Brezhnev managed to hang on to power until his death eight months after he had fallen ill.

Truth is, as the saying goes, stranger than fiction.

Several of my books have been pirated in Russia but I doubt whether these underground ‘publishers’ would risk issuing ‘Fiend’.  They would probably be sentenced to a long stay in Siberia!

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