Author interview with Dreda Say Mitchell about Death Trap

About the author

Dreda Say Mitchell was born in London’s East End in 1965. She has worked as an education consultant and a teacher in both primary and secondary schools. She has a degree in African history from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and a MA in education studies.

Her first novel, RUNNING HOT, was published in 2004 by the Maia Press and won the Crime Writers’ Association’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first novel.

She loves to travel, with her hot feet taking her as far a field as Cambodia and Laos to the Lebanon and Ethiopia. She especially loves to relax in Grenada where her family are from. She continues to live in east London with her partner, Tony.


Today at The Book Review Cafe, I’m absolutely delighted to be welcoming the one, and only Dreda Say Mitchell onto the blog for an author interview Dreda is the author of  numerous bestselling books including her latest one Death Trap. I’m so excited to be doing my first ever question and answer session with an author and even more so as I have read all Dreda’s books so without further ado I welcome Dreda to the Book Review Cafe

Hi Dreda welcome to the Book Review Cafe and I’m so pleased you were able to take the time to answer my questions, especially with your busy questions, so here it goes…..

1. Where did the idea for ‘Death Trap’ Come from? Where do you find your inspiration for your plot from?
In my previous novel ‘Vendetta’, I found one of the most interesting characters to be the Detective Inspector Rio Wray. I decided to make her the central figure in ‘Death Trap’ and then give her a case to solve. As for inspiration for the plot, I think most writers look around them at what’s going on in the world at any particular time and draw ideas from that. Then you add in the 7 deadly sins and you’re good to go.

2. Which one of your books would you say was your favourite, and why?
I like them all in different ways (obviously, or I wouldn’t have written them). But I would say ‘Geezer Girls’ finished exactly as I’d intended while ‘Killer Tune’ is my most personal.

3. Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?
No, I don’t unfortunately; it would be more interesting if I did. I come from a working class family and I have a worker’s attitude to writing – you switch on your computer and you get on with it.

4. Do you write an outline before every book you write?
I always have a lot of notes and a clear idea of what I’m doing/where I’m going with a story – but almost always there will be one character or thread that will become more interesting than I thought. That can require some adjustments to a story.

5. How long did it take to get your first book published?
This won’t make me popular with some writers but I wrote the first chapter of ‘Running Hot’ and that was included in an anthology by an independent press. They then decided they wanted to publish the rest of the book, which didn’t actually exist at that stage – so I had to get on and write it. So happily, not long at all.

6. What is your least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
Editing probably – playing in fresh snow is more fun than in the trodden down variety.

7. If you couldn’t write books, what would you do for a living?
I used to be a teacher and still teach courses from time to time. If I couldn’t write, I’d be picking up the chalk again.

8. Describe your books in 5 words?
Racy, pacey, spicy, twisty, turny.

9. What authors/ books do you read in your spare time?
As a crime writer, I obviously read a lot of crime and thrillers. Particular favourites for me are Lee Child, Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers and Stuart MacBride. But I’ve got tastes across the board and I do enjoy true life books in particular.

10. Kindle or a book?
I was a book person who sometimes read Kindle – now I’m a Kindle person who sometimes reads books. I love the feel of a real book but Kindle is so seductively convenient!

Fantastic answers Dreda and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions on the Book Review Cafe


Book Description

Teenager Nikki Bell is the only witness to the brutal murder of two members of her family and their cleaner. She’s lucky to be alive. But the murder isn’t a one-off. It’s part of a bigger, more violent attack planned on affluent families in the area – and now Nikki, as the only living witness, is a dangerous threat to the well-orchestrated scheme.

As the net draws tighter around the killers, DI Rio Wray must do whatever it takes to keep Nikki alive. But when you’re dealing with criminals, there’s no line they won’t cross… In a kill-or-be-killed-world, who will be first to pull the trigger?

I have read all Dreda Say Mitchell’s books and always look forward to her latest offering. In Death Trap we meet up with DI Rio Wray, who was first appeared in Vendetta. Rio isn’t your usual cliched “bad ass” cop, which makes a refreshing change if I’m honest, she prefers to work within the law, rather than bending it to fit in with her investigation, don’t get me wrong she is feisty and can certainly handle herself in difficult situations. Rio is also battling against prejudice within the force, which makes her more determined to be the best detective. During a raid Rio does the unthinkable and doesn’t follow procedure, when it all goes wrong she finds her self suspended from her job, and then we see a very different side to her, a woman who will break the rules to save and protect a young girl.

We are also introduced to Detective Jack Strong who is bought into help solve the case, the relationship between him and Rio is an interesting one as they start out hating each other but as the case progresses they find a mutual respect for each other. Rio’s relationship with Calum Burns a private security consultant, who also happened to be her best friend and lover until their relationship turned sour, character also faces closer scrutiny in Death Trap. The character in Death Trap are multi dimensional so not only do they make the book very believable, but come the end of the book you feel like you know them inside and out.
Death Trap is based over five days, why five days? Because there is a professional hit out on Nikki and the time frame for completion is five days. From the first pages it becomes apparent that a gang that started our robbing and terrorising its affluent victims, has now moved onto the most hideous act of murder. The clock is ticking from the opening chapter of Death Trap and the pace never falters. A plot full of suspense, with many strands Death Trap will keep the reader challenged to the very last page. Dreda Say Mitchell then does the unthinkable and provides the reader with a twist I never seen coming, an alternative ending and what a shocker that was, I found my pulse racing. Personally I preferred the second ending (I won’t give any spoilers), as I feel there could be a follow on book from it. If you love a gripping crime thriller with plenty going on then you will love Dreda Say Mitchell’s latest offering. I shall certainly be looking forward to her next book.

5 ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️out of 5 from me
Publisher:Hodder Paperbacks (8 Oct. 2015)



3 thoughts on “Author interview with Dreda Say Mitchell about Death Trap

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