It’s The Story Stoopid! Or Is It?

There are three writers I particularly admire and who have influenced my own writing.

The first is James Patterson. I really like his take. The way he presents his material. The catchy titles with their promise of excitement. The artwork on the covers. I like the no-nonsense way his novels cut to the chase too. I love the leanness of it all. Pure story-telling. That (in the words of Jeffery Archer) is a God-given talent. Not that this talent will win him many awards. If there is one thing the right-on literary set dislike more than wild success, its seat-of-the-pants page-turners.

Same with Lee Child. I love this bloke! An Englishman abroad. The Reacher character is just perfect. I love the narrative. It beats like a drum. I’m hypnotized by the rythmn of it. Have you listened to him on audio-books? Dick Hill’s interpretation is genius.

There’s awards given in the UK at this time of year. OBE’s, CBE’s and the like. An author received one today. A lady. A very nice lady I’m sure. A great author too no doubt, but I’d not heard of her. I’ve heard of Lee Child though. He’s sold 60 million books. He keeps on with Reacher. One a year. Relentless discipline. Always striving for outstanding. Why don’t they give him a gong? If I were in charge, I surely would.

The last one is Dan Brown. He came out of nowhere with TDC. A lottery win. I was aware of him before then I should add. Not long before – I read Angels and Demons a year or two before TDC broke. But it was the story that got me. The speed of it. The cleverness of it and all against a Roman background. I was caught up in the possibility of it all. It was Dan Brown in general and Angels and Demons in particular that inspired me to start writing again.


So those are the three. I’ve tried to find similarities between them. A thread that connects them together. Its difficult. Is it the story that I love the most? Is it the characters that populate the stories or is it the place? Which is most important?


What about you? Who are your three?


Do you go for the story first-and-foremost, or are you into the characters? What about setting?


Tell me. I’d love to know.


The City Of London, The East End and My Nan

For the first five years of my life I lived opposite my Nan and Granddad in Bethnal Green, East London. We – my mum, dad and sister – left to live on a council estate in Essex but they remained behind. So I would go back a lot. Back to Bethnal Green. Back to Roman Road and to Holman House.

That period of my life is seared into my memory. The feelings, the images, and the sounds are all stored deep in my brain. I had a great childhood on Harold Hill, but the times spent with my Nan were special. She created a world that I loved to be in. A world of impossible stories, of tales from the war years, of trips ‘up the other end’ (the west-end of London) of endless cups of tea, of cakes and sweets and good times.

My Nan’s world had that other precious quality that (I realise now) most adults don’t have in theirs.


And she’d spend it willingly with me. It wasn’t hard for her. She didn’t have to force it. It was what she loved to do.

I can’t remember how old I was when my Granddad died but she never recovered from that. Not fully. Our world was changed too. She tried to recreate it like it was but something was off. It was broken somehow.

When I got older I worked in the city of London. On the edge of the east-end. A few hundred yards from the old Spitalfields market where my Grandad worked for fifty years. By then the market had moved to Leyton and the site was abandoned. It had not yet become the new Covent Garden it is today, so it was grey and empty and cold. I would go there in my lunchtimes. Just to walk around, to look at buildings, to imagine what went on for all those years. Then I’d return to the office feeling deflated and empty. Like I’d lost something.

And I had. I’d lost a chunk of the past.

That’s why place is important to me. I was aware after finishing Kill&Cure and certain after writing Dead Innocent that the city/east-end setting was an attempt to recreate my Nan’s world. Visiting those streets in my head, remembering the bustle of it, the smells of it and the feel of it is a way of connecting with her.

I desperately want to find her again.

I hope I succeed.

I hope too that you take a chance on Dead Innocent. Kill&Cure became a ♯1 bestseller both here and in the USA. As a thank-you to the thousands of you who downloaded it, we’ve kept Dead Innocent to under a dollar. You can get it here:

Dead Innocent (Kindle USA)  Dead Innocent (Kindle UK)

Kill&Cure (Kindle USA)  Kill&Cure (Kindle UK) 


I sincerely hope you enjoy reading my novels. Let me know how you get on.


Its A Bleedin Mystery..

Just a quick post to say a big thanks to all those who’ve taken a chance on an unknown author – me. K&C is now at #27 on the mystery chart over at I’m ahead of heros of mine like JP, Harlan and the great Lee Child. I’m as happy as a man with a very special reason to be happy.

If you want to contribute to the thread please do so – it ‘bumps’ it and gets more eyes to look at this British upstart. Here’s the link:
Have a great day!

Someone’s got to..

I’m aboard the P&O cruise ship Ventura. It’s got everything a man (or woman) could possibly need. Decadent, self indulgent and luxurious. Oh, it also has a lot of old people. Loads of them in fact. Masses of elderly, blue rinsed people. Herds of them, prides of them…I’m trying to think of an old people collective term.

What about a fracture?

A fracture of old folk.

Still I’m not complaining. I’m lovin’ it. An utter scandal really. But I’ve had a hard life and I deserve it.

Now leave me alone. I’ve another grape to force down my saintly gullet and another old person to elbow in the lunch line.

The Stifle

I don’t read newspapers much. When I do, I’m not too fussed what I read. I’ll pick up anything from The Times to The Daily Star. As far as newspaper reading is concerned I ain’t proud.

However, there is one columnist whom, when I do delve into his paper, almost always makes me smile and (more often than not) has me nodding in agreement at his random musings. He’s name is Richard Littlejohn and he writes for The Daily Mail. He is obsessed (I think its fair to say) with what he sees as the ultra PC, lack of common sense, beaurocratic, socially engineered type of society we have become. Its the sort of thing you hear down the pub all the time but put more eloquently.

Turns out Rich has turned his musings into a book. Good luck to him, you might say.

Apparently not.

A trawl through the book’s Amazon profile and one is met by a slew of (early) snide and sarcatic reviews from people who seem to be outraged by his material. Is this the same bloke that makes me smile in The Daily Mail I ask? 

Closer inspection reveals a more sinister agenda. It seems the right-on Liberal brigade that Littlejohn is so suspicious of have been at work. Have a gander yourself if you’ve a mind to. Here’s the link: