I’m not a happy bunny when exposed to heights, especially when those heights involve an edge. Being 6 foot 3, I feel entitled to a parapet way above my centre of balance (at least nipple height, come on!), though I often don’t get it. From St Paul’s Cathedral to the Eiffel tower to a hot air balloon over the Alps, I’ve clung on and stared into the middle distance more than a few times. So naturally, as soon as I saw the Shard (London’s tallest skyscraper), I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to lean over the edge and look down the side of that.
Dan and the Shard of Ice is the third adventure for my spook-busting psychic detective and his spectral sidekick, Si. Set almost entirely in the Shard itself, I had to do actual research for this book, starting with a visit to the ‘View From The Shard’ on levels 68 to 72. Tickets to this are not cheap, but there’s no denying the panoramic views over London are sensational. And weirdly not vertiginous, mostly because the viewing floors are encased in floor-to-ceiling glass. It was then that I realised I would need a LOT of explosions to make my book interesting. After all, how was Dan going to fall off the Shard otherwise (spoiler Alert!)? I wrote to the Shard asking the best and most spectacular way to achieve this, and they were very patient with me. I suspect I might be on an MI5 watch list now, but it’s fine, all thriller writers leave a suspicious trail behind them when they carry out research.
So what would happen if the Shard was taken over by a poltergeist? A poltergeist so powerful she can melt steel and control the weather? And what would happen to any teenage psychic detectives who showed up to try to defuse the situation? And how do you help a 400-hundred-year old super-powered ghost who is determined to steal a body so that she may live again? If you don’t want her to take yours, that is. Throw in a mystical bag lady, a celebrity spirit medium and a lot of lightning, and Dan will need every ounce of cool to deal with the Shard of Ice. Especially as the whole thing is being filmed for live TV.
Pitched at readers (especially reluctant ones) aged 10 — 14, The books in this series — Dan and the Dead, Dan and the Caverns of Bone, and Dan and the Shard of Ice — are short sharp illustrated reads published by Bloomsbury. They are also available as e-books. Dan and the Dead is now an audio book too, released by Oakhill, or as a download from Audible. If you are good enough to buy a copy of any of my Dan books, thank you and I hope you enjoy them. Don’t forget to consider reviewing them on Amazon, or elsewhere. And if you would like a copy signed and drawn in, use the contact form to get in touch and we can arrange something.
You can read a review of Dan and the Shard of Ice on Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books.
“This is a fun, pacy read. …The gripping plot and wacky characters will appeal to weak and confident readers alike.” – The School Librarian
“this ghostly urban fantasy is a great, fast read for 11+ readers.” – Aquila
Find out more about the Shard here.
Ash Patel / youtube.com