The Nameless Dead
While The Nameless Dead follows on directly from Maps of Hell, I wanted to change some of the parameters. Matt’s partner Karen is about to give birth to their son, which opens up the possibility for more emotion than is usual in thrillers. How will Matt cope with fatherhood, this time with a male child? How will he face up to the birth itself? Will he be able to cope if anything goes wrong? See how you think that plays out.
Another thing I wanted to do was compare fundamentalist Christian beliefs and
behaviour with those of Satanists – oddly enough, they have quite a lot in common, at least as regards their commitment to aims that many people find unacceptable. Well,
this is a Paul Johnston novel. There’s always going to be an undercurrent of ideas…
And then there’s the Soul Collector, Sara Robbins, Matt’s former lover and now experienced killer for hire. It’s easy enough to write ‘bad’ characters, but this time I wanted to show Sara’s human side (such as it is). How will she come to terms with the fact that, unlike Matt, she will never have children? How will she handle serious illness? Even multiple murderers have weaknesses.
Finally, although Maps of Hell had plenty of references to the underworld, The Nameless Dead has even more. Matt and the Soul Collector actually take a trip to a killing ground beneath the surface of the earth – and only one of them will see the light of day again. Eat your heart out, John Milton! (And thanks for the epigraph.)