When Hell Freezes Over: Reference Photos

One of my favourite parts of producing a novel is doing the research involved. For Hell, this involved a fair bit of travelling, naturally. In June 2005, My wife, Vicki, and I headed over to the UK for three weeks. Having already written around half of the story, I already knew what I needed. The first part of the trip was spent in Argyll visiting all of the locations described in the book: Dunoon, Loch Striven, Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and especially driving all the roads (several times). I also spoke to a lot of people: policemen, shop keepers, anyone I could find actually, since these are the folks who give an area its life.

Two days were spent in Glasgow and that was quite enlightening. I'd already spent a bit of time in the city twice (as I had in Argyll) but this time I looked at it with a purpose. Scott Martin, manager of Braehead Arena (leave it to me to travel all the way to Scotland to research a hockey arena!) was an especially big help, spending a lot of time with me so I would get a real feel for the place. In some particularly bad timing, I missed seeing a concert there by one day. Now THAT would have been worthwhile!

Birmingham was next on the docket and we spent a few days in the area and saw everything I need for that opening chapter, thanks to John and Mary Bradley, life-long residents of that city. We actually drove the route that Michael and "The Chameleon" took on that fateful night they met, and although my photos show it in the daylight, you'll get a good idea of what it all looks like.

Hope you find the fruits of my trip interesting. I'm sure you've all formed mental images of what everything in the book looks like. Now you can find out how close you are/how well I described it! ---Rick

Braehead Arena Loch Striven

ABOVE: Braehead Arena in Glasgow. The stage that Neurotica would have used is down at the opposite end. Up above is the lighting truss which can be raised and lowered. RIGHT: This is the bottom of Loch Striven, facing south. Angus's farmhouse (if it existed) would be directly in front and about 150' away. The trees would also have to be moved so he could have his great view! The original cover design used this photo in part, but was deemed to not convey enough information about the book. As you can see it's very lonely, though quite beautiful. BELOW: This is the loading dock for Braehead Arena looking back towards the door into the arena itself. I was struck by how lonely it was back here, while it could be bustling just inside the building. It would have been easy for the bad guys to spirit away Michael. Too bad for Tommy that he came looking for him. BELOW RIGHT: A view looking down a section of Puck's Glen. This is a really magical place during the day, but dark and shadowy at night -- and treacherous! No wonder the police didn't consider it a good escape route.

Puck's Glen
Back of Braehead Arena
Dunoon Police Station 'The House'

LEFT: Dunoon's rather ugly police station. RIGHT: This might very possibly be the house where the book's climactic scene takes place. BELOW LEFT: Andre Leduc setting up the cover shot for later in the evening. (Taken in Toronto's Famous Distillery District. BELOW RIGHT: Near Gas Street Basin, Birmingham, where the bad guys smashed up Angus's car.

Cover Shot
Gas Street

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