A SERIES of brutal crimes are coming to the streets of Salisbury courtesy of best-selling author Mark Dawson who joined us as our latest guest on the Journal's On Point podcast.

Mark who has lived in Salisbury for 12 years, has already sold six million books to date. 

The first book in his new series is called The House in the Woods and is set in Grovely Woods.

It sees private investigator Atticus Priest trying to unravel a heinous crime while investigating on behalf of his client. 

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Mark said: “It’s set in Salisbury. It has been fun to write about where you live and where you work and so for location scouting, it’s a lot easier scouting for information than for my other series.

“For Atticus, I had always planned to write about something in Salisbury, partly commercially and partly, creatively. There are lots of regional crimes, they are very popular. Readers like those books because in some ways, the location can become a character itself.

“Look at Salisbury, it is a beautiful city, tons and tons of history, there is loads to write about. There’s the cathedral and Grovely woods, there will be Stonehenge at some point. It is appealing to English readers, but I also sell a lot of books in America, and history and medieval streets are like catnip to an American audience.”

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The House in the Woods is more than a crime book; it is about the interaction between him and his former colleagues in the police force. Mark portrays the tension between him and his former superior Mac about their former romantic relationship. 

For characterisation, Mark admitted Atticus Priest had been on his mind for some time before he started writing the book and has characteristics from Sherlock Holmes and Derren Brown.

Mark said: “John Milton books are what I am most known for and (for research) that would involve going to Mexico or Russia, or Ukraine, but I won’t be going there.

“With the Milton Books, it’s fun to move him around. There’s one set in Dublin and when you write an extended series like that, it makes it easier to keep it fresh.

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Mark used to write his books in an office in New Street above the bridal shop which is now where he has set new character Atticus Priest’s office.

A few years ago, he was writing his book Sleepers which was about an assassination attempt by Russian Intelligence of someone in the UK.  

He said: “I was actually in the office writing that day when the Skripals were found. I decided in the end that it felt a little bit too soon to write a book quite like that, so I moved the location to Suffolk, so there is a poisoning or assignation attempt of a Skripal-like character there.”

To listen to the full interview, go to the Salisbury Journal On Point podcast.