We sat down with Anita Sivakumaran, author of the stunning thriller Cold Sun to find out more about the inspiration for the book, life as an author and of course favourite crime reads.
- Tell us a bit about Cold Sun and what inspired you to write it?
I moved to Leicester 11 years ago and met and learned about the Gujarati and Punjabi diasporas from East Africa who’d settled here since the 60s and 70s. Particularly the huge Gujarati community, expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972. I also re-read V.S.Naipaul’s Area of Darkness and was struck by the idea of an utter foreigner to a country in all but name and skin colour, repeatedly mistaken for a local. I found irresistible, the idea of Naipaul arriving in India, looking around, and for the first time in his life, all the people he sees look like him.
So I thought it would be very interesting to have such a figure as a Scotland Yard Detective, for, you know, the world over, people only think of a white man as a Scotland Yard detective. You think, Sherlock Holmes, Watson, etc. I’m sorry, I think ‘the Metropolitan police’ sounds a bit meh.
Where did you first get the idea for the book?
The idea for the actual character of Vijay Patel sparked off from the first Gujarati origin British man I met, only a few days after I arrived in Leicester. A young, dapper, bookish gentleman. My optician! He took great care testing my eyes, and the whole time, chatted about the novels he was reading. So Patel started off mild-mannered and bookish, but, in the subsequent drafts, acquired cricketing fame, serious Bourne-Bond skills and a complicated personal history.
Where do you write?
I write in my study that also doubles as a guest bedroom at the top of my house. So I have a desk, a chair and a double bed. Sometimes I have a mid-morning ‘think’ on the bed. Erm.
Are there any writers who have inspired your work?
I have a lot of influences from Thomas Harris to Kate Atkinson. I like to think I have more gags in my book though. I like the comedy arising from the clash of strong characters and cultures.
What are your top 3 books that you read again and again?
Henderson the Rain-king by Saul Bellow
Sick Puppy by Carl Hiassen
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Do you have a favourite crime novel?
It’s got to be The Silence of the Lambs, hasn’t it? I also like the hard-boiled, but very funny, A Rage in Harlem, by Chester Himes. Highly recommended.
'Wow just incredible... The killer's identity just took my breath away... Breathtaking suspense and mystery that will blow you away... Outstanding. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐' Surjit's Book Blog⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
In the golden afternoon light, the young woman lies perfectly still, her dark hair fanning out behind her. She is dressed in a rose red sari, shot through with gold. Just like the others.
The last time Detective Vijay Patel visited India, he vowed never to return. After a devastating accident, the country holds only bitter memories and broken dreams. But when three young women are murdered in mysterious circumstances, Patel is pulled back to his past.
Leaving his fiancée Sarah behind in London, Patel rushes to a beautiful apartment on a tree-lined street where the body of Sarita Mohan, a successful businesswoman, has been found. Floating on a sea of black satin, she is dressed in red silk, a tiny silver ring on the fourth toe of her right foot.
Desperate to find a link between the murders, Patel digs into the other cases and spots the missing link. The toe ring is a symbol of marriage and the distinctive red saris are traditionally worn for weddings. What is the killer trying to tell them? Why leave each body posed like a bride?
Then Sarah is kidnapped, and Patel is frantic to find the woman he loves before she becomes the next victim. As he desperately re-reads the killer's last cryptic message, Patel finds the critical clue he's been searching for, and hopefully a chance to save Sarah.
Determined to rescue the woman he loves, can Patel outwit the deadliest killer he has ever faced? Or is he already too late?
Utterly unputdownable, this breathless thriller will keep you guessing until the final, shocking twist. Fans of Ian Rankin, Abir Mukherjee and Val McDermid will be totally gripped!
What readers are saying about Cold Sun:
'Wow, wow, wow. I just couldn't put this one down. An absolute masterpiece. Gritty, fast paced, brilliant... Loved loved all the characters... One of the best crime books I have ever read. Just wonderful. Will be recommending this to everyone.' Bestselling author Renita D'Silva ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
'Absolutely gripping... So intense... The twists I encountered along the way were so unexpected... I could not stop to put this down at any point... Gave me tingles... I was so nervous about how this book was going to play out.' Twilight Reader ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
'Completely pulled in... I have devoured this book in one sitting.' Little Miss Book Lover 87
'Twisty... I didn't guess the denouement at all, even as the book was racing towards its conclusion.' The Quick and the Read
'Exciting... A super-gripping new thriller series... You'll be kept guessing as to the killer's identity throughout... Will have you totally hooked.' Cosmopolitan
'Gripping... Very well drawn characters... Recommended!' NetGalley Reviewer
'Fast-paced and riveting.' Beyond the Books
'Anita Sivakumaran is an exciting new name in crime fiction.' The Times