Lewis Hinton will shortly publish his debut novel, The Face Stone, the first in a series of supernatural detective mysteries centred around missing children. The books are set in the late 1960's, early '70's period, and feature special investigator Jack Sangster. With hints of the supernatural, The Face Stone and its sequels step away from the traditional detective story, using detailed locations to evoke an ambiance in keeping with plots that are designed to the leave the reader guessing until the very end.
"I was always fascinated by the countryside and folklore of the places I've lived," Lewis explains. "And have used some of those places as backdrops to the Sangster stories. I think the area where you grow up leaves a particular imprint on the mind, and I was lucky enough to spend my early years in south-west Wirral, with its red sandstone hills, heathland, and views across the Dee estuary to Wales. This was a perfect setting for The Face Stone, with the atmosphere of the local woodlands, especially at dusk, making it easy to imagine that ancient spirits still guarded rock and tree."
Lewis has travelled extensively during a long career, and, as he puts it, "picked up quite a few characters along the way." And whilst none of the individuals in the Sangster books is real (except for mention of a few prominent figures from the period), all are based on people he has known.
"I couldn't simply dream up an entire character," says Lewis. "But if a plot needs a particular type of person for a specific role, I can usually remember someone I've met that fits the bill."
The Face Stone plot gives ample opportunity to bring in colourful characters, exploring as it does the psychology of a child who (with unpleasant character traits and mental health issues little undertood at the time), imagines he must save those who in the normal way of things should be protecting him, and is prepared to go to any lengths to do so.
The year is 1969, and Jack Sangster, a special investigator for a philanthropic organisation dedicated to helping troubled children, is sent to an elite school, where the son of wealthy local family has disappeared.
Sangster, despite his talent for dealing with people and problems, only comes upon more mysteries as the case unfolds, struggling to reconcile natural pragmatism with disturbing questions.
Do ancient rocks and woodlands really harbour a secret that could bring about worldwide catastrophe? And can saving the health, life, and even mortal soul of one missing boy avert that catastrophe?
Follow as he navigates clues and red herrings, learning at every turn that if his eyes and ears are to be believed, the stakes linked to this case are rising at an alarming rate. Sangster tries to do the right thing even as his uncertainty rises; all the while a seemingly well-ordered and rational world is slowly revealed to perhaps be older, darker, and more chaotic than he ever imagined…
Lewis Hinton was born in the Wirral, subsequently living in Sunderland, Truro, Rye and London. He is married, with four children, three grandchildren, and now resides in Luxembourg. Lewis began his varied career at art school, finishing as a banking software company CEO, and travelling extensively along the way. Previously writing mainly non-fiction, Lewis has now turned his hand to novels, debuting with the publication of a supernatural detective mystery.