Behind the Character – Pauline Rowson on her crime-busting hero, DI Andy Horton

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Portsmouth-based detective, DI Andy Horton is a man very much defined by a tormented past, but with hopes for his future. A flawed and rugged cop, whose patch is Portsmouth CID, and whose investigations take him across the Solent and into the harbours of Langstone and Chichester and its surrounding coastal towns.

Living on board his small yacht in Southsea Marina since his estrangement from his wife following a gross misconduct charge, the sailing detective is a man rarely at peace, unless he is on the sea or fighting crime.  Raised in children’s homes after his mother abandoned him as a child he has a desperate need to belong and yet is always on the outside. Being alone is his greatest fear, yet he is alone.

Andy Horton is instinctive not intellectual, tough and resilient, but deeply empathetic.  A dry sense of humour is the key to Horton’s investigative approach. It’s how he keeps people at arm’s length and stays detached from the crimes he investigates. His greatest strength is his ability to put himself in a victim’s shoes, to imagine events from their perspective (even the moments up to their death), making leaps of deduction few would be able to. And he’s most often right.

Horton is especially tough on bullies, or people who abuse their power or position, as they remind him of the people in the children’s homes in which he’s been raised. When this happens, when his guard slips, he’s like a raw nerve. He fears his emotions will betray him.

He feels a duty of care to the victims of the crimes he investigates and often feels like he’s the only person looking out for them; the only one who can bring the guilty to justice so that the dead can rest. No one cared about him when he was a child; he won’t let that happen to anyone else.

The DI Andy Horton crime novels have been hailed as “compelling,” “multi-layered and complex” “a great read for mystery lovers” and have been optioned by top UK television production company Lime Pictures, makers of Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, who are seeking to bring the enigmatic sailing detective to the television screens.

LETHAL WAVES, the thirteenth in the series, sees DI Andy Horton investigating the death of a woman found dead in her cabin on the ferry from Portsmouth to Guernsey. There doesn’t appear to be any suspicious circumstances. As soon as he returns to Portsmouth, however, he is called to a scene where a vagrant’s body has been found lying partially covered under one of the rotting houseboats close to Horton’s boat in the marina. This time, it’s clearly murder.

Troubled by the many unanswered questions surrounding both deaths, Horton must call upon all his skills and intuition to solve a complex case, uncovering dark secrets that have led to such lethal waves of destruction.

Pauline Rowson is also the author of two standalone crime novels, In Cold Daylight and In For The Kill, as well as two crime novels featuring Art Marvik, a former Royal Marine Commando, Special Boat Services Officer, turned undercover investigator for the UK’s National Intelligence Marine Squad (NIMS) who appears in Silent Running and Dangerous Cargo, published by Severn House.

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