TALENTED Conlig author Simon Maltman has a bright literary future thanks to his three book deal with a London publishing house for his latest thriller series.

Simon may be looking forward to the release of his latest book Hunted by Sharpe Books in the coming weeks but the thriller is set firmly in the past of the late 1990s.

Speaking ahead of the paperback release, Simon clearly enjoyed stepping back in history to the days before smart phones and social media and has set his novel Stateside.

The first novel in Simon’s trilogy has already been well received, with author Brian McGilloway, who penned The Last Crossing, praising Hunted as: ‘Lean prose, fast paced action, stout-black humour and a killer soundtrack combine in Maltman’s best thriller yet. Well worth hunting out: you’ll not be disappointed’.

Speaking about his latest book Simon said: “It’s a thriller set just after The Good Friday Agreement where a former IRA man, turned MI5 informer is tracked down in America. It’s really a book about dealing with the past and the first time I’ve tried looking at The Troubles as such and through a very specific perspective.”

He said: “Michael Walker is a former IRA soldier, turned MI5 informer  and is living in hiding in rural America.

A robbery at his home leads to his rare copy of the Irish Declaration of Independence being sold online. This proves to be the first link in the chain leading to his location being revealed.

“Walker’s life is plunged into peril, as an IRA hit squad, led by Marty Sullivan, is dispatched to eliminate him. Sullivan, a former comrade, is out for blood.

“Against the political backdrop of a struggling peace process back home, Walker goes on the run across the state of Pennsylvania and forges unlikely allegiances to survive.”

Said Simon: “Walker seeks help from his former British handlers, but he should have known that any assistance must come at a price. Walker will not just remain a victim. He must fight back. The hunted must become the hunter.”

He spoke of his decision to set the book just after the Good Friday Agreement. “It is set in 1999 and I really enjoyed writing it. It is nice to take away mobile phones and the internet and to think about what was going on in Northern Ireland.

“My main character is a former IRA man who ended up being an informer and he’s been living in rural Pennsylvania. He has got a lonely existence and feels some guilt about what he was doing in the IRA. It looks at the changes of people’s thinking, how some people who were violent aren’t any more.”

Simon clearly enjoyed bringing his main protagonist to life. “Walker was a great character to write. This guy can properly fight whereas I have never been in a fight in my life. There is a lot of action, shoot outs and that was fun to write.”

He has even gifted his leading man with some of his own sporting passions for Irish League Football and East Belfast’s Glentoran. “Walker is a Glentoran fan, like myself, so that is a bit of self-indulgence but he is checking the results on Teletext.

“I also thought it would be fun if he was a little bit pompous about literature,” said Simon. “But he only likes Irish literature, so I quite enjoyed that.”

A prolific author, Simon has penned eight novels as well as a host of short stories and novellas. With the first of his latest trilogy of novels about to hit the bookshelves, he already has the second book in the series well underway.

“The second book is nearly done and the third is mostly mapped out. I do try and discipline myself and write for an hour a day, I think that is doable,” said Simon.

“I really enjoyed writing the main character. I think it is the first time I have wanted to stick with a main character. For the last six years I have wanted to write stand alone books and now it is the opposite.”

Hunted by Simon Maltman is available to buy as an ebook and will be available to order online.