authors Books Saturday Series Spotlight

Saturday Series Spotlight-Steven Dunne

Hi everyone,

Today, I am joined by none other than Steven Dunne as part of the series spotlight post. I have only read The Reaper (review HERE) which I loved, and I have most of the others on the TBR. Needless to say I was thrilled that Steven agreed to take part in this feature!

About the author:

Steven Dunne was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He went to the University of Kent after A levels and studied as little as possible, yet somehow emerged with a second class honours degree. He began writing articles for quality newspapers on dull subjects before writing the book for the Latchmere Theatre’s award-winning fringe production of Hansel and Gretel in 1989. He co-also co-wrote the revue, It’s Mad Mad World, We’re Plastered performed at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking the previous year and played the role of Teddy in the same theatre’s production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming the same year.
In the 1996 he moved up to his adopted home town of Derby. In 2007, he self-published Reaper, a thriller set in the city, featuring the hyper-intelligent but mentally troubled detective, DI Damen Brook. The rights were optioned by Harper Collins and four more critically-acclaimed books followed. He has also published the 6th book in the DI Brook series, entitled Death Do Us Part and the 5th in the series, A Killing Moon, won the coveted literary prize the East Midlands Book Award in 2016.


Visit Steven’s Amazon UK Author Page here and here’s the DI Damen Brook book series in pictorial order:

And without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the man himself…



This year at Crimefest in the beautiful city of Bristol I was on a panel dedicated to ‘Detective Fiction from the Golden Age’ and featured, among others, the award-winning Christopher Fowler, whose Bryant & May series is so highly regarded, and Guy Fraser-Simpson responsible for the Mapp and Lucia series. And sitting on the panel, I admit I was puzzled as to why I’d been selected for it. After all, my detective is DI Damen Brook, a mentally fragile, middle-aged CID officer on the trail of contemporary serial killers in modern day Derby. Yes, the golden age queen of crime, Agatha Christie, is one of my two favourite crime series but I believed my books were more styled on those of my other favourite crime writer, Thomas Harris, writer of The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon and other gritty thrillers featuring Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling and Will Graham.


And although Brook lives in the rural quiet of the Peak District so he can tramp around the hills to sooth his overburdened mind, he travels each day into Derby to hunt down clever and ruthless serial killers in baffling and often bloody cases. And he has done so since the first book of the series, The Reaper, released in 2009.


Now onto its sixth instalment – out in kindle and paperback last month – Death Do Us Part has the same high body count as the previous books and, while I’m not a fan of the gratuitous lingering over such violence, the crimes I depict are realistically portrayed. So I admit I was perplexed to be on the golden age panel and felt out of place. It was then that I hit upon something that hadn’t occurred to me before and which showed the panel organisers actually knew more about my series than I did.


It suddenly became clear that, without realising it, my thrillers combined elements of BOTH modern and golden age schools of crime. How? Well, fans of my work will recognise that Damen Brook is an old school copper who believes in the classic method of detection deployed by Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Miss Marple and many others from an earlier time – use of the brain to sift through clues and find the unknown killer. And, unlike many contemporary detectives, Brook has other claims to be from a different era. He is rarely, if ever, violent, has a fondness for well-spoken English and, most unusually, he never swears because to do so would betray, in Brook’s own words, ‘a mind that is not under control. And control is what they pay us for.’ In every case he solves, Brook prefers to use what Poirot called ‘the little grey cells’ in the search for justice.


Not only that. At the heart of each of my serial killer thrillers is a baffling mystery in the Agatha Christie tradition and one that most readers will fail to solve before Brook, using his brilliantly analytical brain, has laid out the solution for them – you have my personal guarantee on this but if you’re sceptical, please check my reviews.


Thus, Brook leads his squad of detectives, pitting his wits against the Deity killer, the Pied Piper and of course the Reaper, amongst others. In Death Do Us Part, Brook is on the hunt for a killer who targets married couples as well as dipping into an unfathomable cold case which has come to his attention. To find the culprits, Brook must use his intelligence in the tried and tested golden age tradition. And thank you to Crimefest for making me realise this.

What a fab post! Huge thanks to the lovely Steven for taking part!

Also, I have to mention that Steven is signing books today at Chesterfield Waterstones from 10am if you are in the area and fancy meeting him! 🙂

You can also find Steven online;

Twitter @ReaperSteven

Facebook- Steven Dunne



Books First Monday Q&A Review Saturday Series Spotlight Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up September 4th


So its September!!!! I don’t know about you, but I have NO IDEA where summer has gone. Our eldest started back to school this week so it’s been a busy time on the home front but I’m glad to be back in a routine if I’m honest!

I was away this week for a book launch so I am a bit behind with reviews BUT I did manage to post 7 times this week thanks to my being overly organised for once!!!

Anyway, less about me and more about the books! 🙂

Monday saw my blog tour for Graham Smith, with my review for Matching the Evidence going live. I had so much hassle with this post, it went up on 2 or 3 different occasions well before it should have! *shakes fist at WordPress* I got there eventually:

Matching The Evidence by Graham Smith Blog Tour


Next up was the blog tour for A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley. I had posted my review for this before but I got to reshare as part of the tour:

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley Blog Tour


My FAVOURITE post also went up on September 1st, my monthly book haul. High seventies again for August. I swear these books just fall onto my kindle/into my trolley/through the letterbox. Think Harry’s persistent Hogwarts letters…. *ahem*

My name is Kate and I have  book-buying obsession and I’m not even sorry!!!!

August Book Haul


Next up, I was joined by Jane Corry in anticipation of First Monday Crime (taking place tomorrow) where she answered some questions:

First Monday Crime- Spotlight on Jane Corry


On Saturday, I had the Triple S post, and I had the lovely Mary-Jane Riley join me to talk about her Alex Devlin books:

Saturday Series Spotlight: Mary-Jane Riley

Also, my most favourite Icelander has a blog tour, so naturally I’m on it raving about his new book, Blackout. Catch my review of Ragnar Jónasson’s latest here:

Blackout by Ragnar Jónasson Blog Tour


Last, but by no means least, I was joined by Jackie Baldwin today as part of the blog tour for Dead Man’s Prayer:

Q&A With Jackie Baldwin


That’s been my week here at Bibliophile Book Club. Next week is quieter I think. I have Tom Bale’s All Fall Down blog tour, and you’ll remember I said I’m behind on reviews? I should have reviews for:

  • The Constant Soldier by William Ryan
  • The Truth About Julia by Anna Schaffner
  • Find Me by J. S. Monroe

And maybe a couple of more if I can read fast enough! 😉

How has your week been?! Let me know in the comments!


authors Books Saturday Series Spotlight

Saturday Series Spotlight: Mary-Jane Riley

Hi everyone,

Today, I am thrilled to have the lovely Mary-Jane Riley joining me on the blog to take part in my series feature. I haven’t read Mary-Jane’s books YET, but I have them both to calling out to be read on my kindle!

About Mary-Jane Riley:

Mary-Jane wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. AFTER SHE FELL is her second crime thriller. Her first, THE BAD THINGS, was an Amazon Kindle top 40 seller in the UK and US.

mary-jane riley copy

About the books:

The Bad Things

Alex Devlin’s life changed forever fifteen years ago when her sister Sasha’s two small children were snatched in broad daylight. Little Harry’s body was found a few days later, but Millie’s remains were never discovered.

Now Jackie Wood, jailed as an accessory to the twins’ murder, has been released, her conviction quashed by the Appeal Court. Convinced Jackie can reveal where Millie is buried, Alex goes to meet her.

But the unexpected information Wood reveals shocks Alex to the core and threatens to uncover the dark secret she has managed to keep under wraps for the past fifteen years. Because in the end, can we ever really know what is in the hearts of those closest to us?

Buy The Bad Things by clicking here.

After She Fell

There are so many ways to fall…

Catriona needs help. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Elena was found dead at the bottom of a cliff near her boarding school. The death has been ruled a suicide, but Catriona isn’t convinced.

When her old friend, journalist Alex Devlin, arrives in Hallow’s Edge to investigate, she quickly finds that life at private boarding school The Drift isn’t as idyllic as the bucolic setting might suggest.

Amidst a culture of drug-taking, bullying and tension between school and village, no one is quite who they seem to be, and there are several people who might have wanted Elena to fall…

Buy After She Fell by clicking here.

Read on for Mary-Jane’s fab guest post…


‘Oh no,’ says The Fearsome One (aka my agent), ‘you have absolutely got to write another Alex Devlin novel. She’s a series character.’

‘She is?’ I say, thinking of the outline and several thousand words I had written about a woman who   – well, it doesn’t matter now.

‘Yes. We haven’t come this far for you to throw her out,’ she says, firmly.

‘Right. A series character.’

‘Send me your outline.’


I scurry away to write something, anything.


And I suppose this was the first time I had realised I was writing a series. Really.


Let me take you back…


I was a journalist who used to write stories for BBC News Online, and a lot of them were fairly grim – murders, mercy killings, serial killers – but I knew I could draw on my experience for a novel. One day I thought: what if I had to interview someone who had torn my family apart years before? What if I needed to ask that person what had really happened that day fifteen years ago? What if? What if? And Alex Devlin, my journalist protagonist was born. She is, I hope, a mix of vulnerability and steel as she goes about investigating what had happened the day her sister’s two children were snatched from her garden. Oh, yes, she carries a lot of guilt! Mix into that an undercover police officer she falls for, a son who has the potential to go off the rails and a sister who is flaky to say the least, and THE BAD THINGS, set in my beloved East Anglia, was born. It went to auction in Germany and Harper Collins bought it and then –


‘I hope you’re writing the next,’ The Fearsome One says.

‘Er…yes…’ I say. ‘Of course…’

I scurry away to write something, anything.


I went away and pondered (looked out of the window a lot). I liked Alex – I had lived with her for quite a while – and I thought her story wasn’t finished. I wanted to send her somewhere else, a boarding school, perhaps (I always fancied going to boarding school with its stories of midnight feasts and giggling friends, though the one I have invented is nothing like that!). I wanted her undercover police officer to make another appearance and I wanted her son to have a bit of a story…. So I wrote AFTER SHE FELL where Alex looks into the circumstances surrounding the death of a student from a boarding school. (And in case that sounds as though it just appeared on the page with little effort, can I say a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it. Many was the time I moaned to friends that the only thing my characters were doing was drinking wine at home, coffee in the cafe or wine in the pub. But it did come together, honestly…)


And before the ink was dry on the contract with Harper Collins for that one came the conversation with The Fearsome One, and the realisation that yes, I was writing a series….so I set to scribbling notes for the next.


So you see, I didn’t plan it as a series, I didn’t plan an overriding character arc (isn’t that what the books tell you to do?), but Alex still has plenty more to say – and plenty more to do to try and assuage that ever-present guilt. And I want to see where her relationship with the undercover police officer takes her.


And now, I can’t see why I didn’t think I was writing a series, after all, what is better than returning to favourite characters, see how they’re messing up their lives and what they’re beating themselves up about now?


When I think back, so many of my favourite authors wrote series. I can remember my Dad reading Enid Blyton’s The Twins at St Clare’s to me night after night as I lay recovering from a severe bout of measles. I devoured all of Enid Blyton’s series’ – Mallory Towers, Famous Five, The Faraway Tree, The Secret Seven and all the ones I can’t remember. As I grew up, I adored PD James’ detective Adam Dalgleish (particularly as he wrote poetry – that was catnip to my troubled teenage soul!), Inspector Wexford from Ruth Rendell, Inspector Maigret from Georges Simenon. There were Louis L’Amour westerns – the Sackett series for starters (I read anything I could get hold of from my local library) and science fiction series’ from the great Robert Heinlein.


These days I look out for new ones from Kate Rhodes (forensic psychologist Alice Quentin) and VM Giambanco (Seattle detective Alice Madison). Then there is David Raker who looks for missing people from author Tim Weaver, David Mark’s Hector McAvoy, a family man who just wants to be a decent cop…. Ben Hope the troubled SAS man from Scott Mariani…I’m just beginning to read Fred Vargas and her Commissaire Adamsberg books – what a treat…And that’s just for starters.





The one I always go for is Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. Ever since I bought The Killing Floor in Waterstone’s for 99p (it was on offer as ‘a new author to try’!) I have read every single one as they have come out. I am, like many, a little in love with Jack Reacher…. (As an aside, if you haven’t read Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and The Making of  Make Me by Andy Martin, about Child’s writing process then go get it now!!) And the new Lee Child usually comes out just before I go on holiday in September, and to misquote another (film) series character … It makes my day!


All the important links and details again:


The Bad Things UK

The Bad Things US


After She Fell UK

After She Fell US After She Fell


Social media:


Twitter: @mrsmjriley

Instagram: maryjanerileyauthor

Huge thanks to Mary-Jane for joining me today, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! 🙂

Books Saturday Series Spotlight

Saturday Series Spotlight- Hemmie Martin


So its Saturday morning, which can only mean one thing, its the Triple S post. This week its the turn of Hemmie Martin.

About Hemmie:

Hemmie Martin spent most of her professional life as a Community Nurse for people with learning disabilities, a Family Planning Nurse, and a Forensic Mental Health Nurse working with young offenders. She spent six years living in the south of France. She now writes full time.
Hemmie created the DI Wednesday series, featuring DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox, set in and around Cambridge, with fictional villages. There are four books in the series so far. Hemmie has also written a psychological thriller, Attic of the Mind, and two contemporary women’s fiction, The Divine Pumpkin and Garlic & Gauloises. Mental health often features in her novels due to her background of forensic mental health nursing. Hemmie is a member of The Crime Writer’s Association.


Wednesday’s Woes


When I was a child I adored Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. Being an only child, the characters became my friends and I loved getting to know them more as the series progressed. I loved the camaraderie, the adventures, and George, as I too was a tomboy – it gave me permission to be as I was in a world later dictated to by ‘Jackie’ and ‘Blue Jeans’. I read some of the books to my own daughters when they were young, and I enjoyed revisiting the stories again and seeing the pleasure in my daughters’ eyes.  

At High school I wrote all my English essays about a fighter pilot – Hayden Moss. My teacher said I’d written a book about this character over the years, but I look back now and think that perhaps that was my first foray into writing a series.

Later, I adored Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series, preferring this character to Poirot, I suppose I have a preference towards a female protagonist. Having said that, Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus is a tremendous character and series, so that blows my theory out of the water.

I’m coming across new authors on a daily basis thanks to blogs such as this one, so my TBR pile is growing taller each day, especially as I currently prefer reading paperbacks rather than using my Kindle.

My own crime series featuring DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox, is currently comprised of four novels – ‘In the Light of Madness’, ‘Rightful Owner’, ‘Shadows of the Mind’, and ‘What Happens After’. Each book is a complete story, but if you want to read Wednesday and Lennox’s backstory in chronological order, then the above order will do just that.

Wednesday is a competent DI, but lacks confidence in herself at work and as a daughter, hence she sometimes exhibits passive-aggressive traits. She fiercely guards her private life from her work colleagues, especially her mother’s mental illness. However, overtime, thanks to a crime that encircles her mother, and her half-sister’s role as a journalist, some of her private life is revealed, causing her anxiety, as she fears it will prevent her from rising up the ranks in the police force.

She is also anxious about mental illness lurking in her own mind, and she wonders whether other people see it there?

Thanks to a shameful event in her past, Wednesday remains single, fearful of trusting men again. Her half-sister, Scarlett Willow, has no such worries, and being bi-sexual, is never short of a partner of either gender, and it’s only when she begins dating Lennox that it causes concern for Wednesday. She is struck by worries of how it could affect her working relationship with Lennox, and twinges of jealousy – something she learnt to live with as she and Scarlett grew up together. Scarlett is striking in appearance, whereas Wednesday is rather plain.

I’m at the planning stage for the fifth novel in the series, which the publisher is keen to publish towards the end of 2017 – so I had better get on with it!

Useful links:

Winter Goose Publishing- Hemmie Martin

Hemmie Martin Amazon Author Page

Huge thanks to Hemmie Martin for taking part in the Saturday Series Spotlight post! 🙂

authors Books Saturday Series Spotlight

Saturday Series Feature- Carys Jones

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of the week where it’s all about the series and today’s post comes from author Carys Jones!

About the author:

Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion, Rollo.

When she’s not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games.

She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.
To Carys, there is no greater feeling than when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

For more information about Carys please visit or follow her on Twitter; @tiny_dancer85


Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Carys…

From Avalon to Bon Temps


I’ve always loved the intensity of small town life. How everyone knows everyone else’s business and it is all just one big boiling pot of secrets.


My crime series follows the story of lawyer, Aiden Connelly, as he moves his family to the fictional small town of Avalon. Exploring the town along with Aiden was so much fun, especially when he inevitably becomes drawn into Avalon’s dark past…


Along with developing the claustrophobic atmosphere of Avalon I loved creating a cast of characters who were able to aide and hinder Aiden in equal measure. I’m equally as attached to the ensemble cast in the series as I am to Aiden which is why it was nice to be able to expand on their stories in later books in the series.


Avalon is a place of searing heat and violent storms which sweep in across the town, with the locals seizing the opportunity to let the rains wash away the worst of their sins. But whilst cultivating a secretive nature Avalon is also a town full of friendly, loyal characters, people with hearts as big as their sprawling homes – people like Edmond, Aiden’s kind boss who becomes a friend.


Not everyone is welcoming of Aiden. There’s the local Sherriff, Buck Fern, whose sour disposition is reserved for anyone he considers an ‘outsider.’ And wealthy local businessman, Clyde White, is equally distrusting of Aiden’s presence since Aiden is representing the woman who killed his son – local football hero Brandon White.


On the surface Avalon looks idyllic. The sun shines on white picket fences and people leave homemade apple pies to cool in open windows. But beneath this sickly sweet façade lies dark secrets which not only bind the town together, they also have the power to tear it apart…


Another small town I love to visit via the pages of a book is Bon Temps. It gained notoriety after being the setting for Charlaine Harris’ beloved vampire series, True Blood.


True Blood is about so much more than vampires. And werewolves. And faeries. It’s about the close knit community of the town and the trials they are faced to weather together. And everyone has secrets. From sassy waitress Sookie Stackhouse who can hear people’s thoughts to her manage, Sam, who harbours more than just a secret crush on her.


Like Avalon, the atmosphere in Bon Temp is hot, sticky, and bubbling with tension. I love how the author chose this backdrop for her vampire series. In the blistering heat it’s the least likely place you’d expect to find sunlight fearing creatures of the night. But they are there. And they test the close minded nature of some of the Bon Temps residents and also liberate those who have always felt oppressed by their small town.


With ten books and a successful HBO television series there’s many stories about Sookie and her adventures in Bon Temps to immerse yourself in and I highly suggest you do. The books are fun, utterly engrossing and a refreshing spin on the regular vampire mythology.


You can find my Avalon series online –


Also the boxset of the True Blood books –


To find out more about me and my other books follow me on Twitter – @tiny_dancer85 or on facebook –

Huge thanks to Carys for taking part in my Saturday Series Spotlight feature! 🙂


Books Saturday Series Spotlight

Saturday Series Spotlight- Sarah Hardy

Today, I’m joined by one of my fellow #Blogsquad besties, Sarah Hardy. Sarah blogs at By The Letter Book Reviews and her blog is an excellent resource for reviews, blog tours and lots of other bookish fun! 🙂


Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Sarah…


Many thanks to Kate for coming up with this great idea and allowing me to take part in Saturday Series Spotlight.

I’ve always been a sucker for a series. There is nothing better than discovering a novel which has just newly been released and having that smug feeling that you have found another new series to get your teeth stuck into, though I do recommend following the author on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter so that you can keep up to date with any new releases so you don’t fall behind.
I also love that wonderful warm feeling you get that even though late to the party, you read a novel in a series only to realise that it is the first of many and know that you don’t have to wait months until the next novel you can start the next one straight after if you so wish.
Some novels that I have recently read that really got me excited and are the first in a new series are:
A Tapping At my Door By David Jackson
The Girl In the Ice By Robert Bryndza
For Reasons Unknown By Michael Wood
Other series that I have read and am up to date with and waiting patiently for the next one are:
The Estate Series by Mel Sherratt
DI Damen Brook series by Steven Dunne
The Justice Series by M A Comley
Detective Jennifer Knight series by Caroline Mitchell
Detective Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons
DI Helen Grace by M J Arlidge
Also the series that I am late to and working my way through:
The Detective Callum Doyle series by David Jackson
The Roy Grace series by Peter James
The Logan McRae series by Stuart MacBride
To be honest there are quite a few more authors and series that I could mention but I would probably be here all day so apologies to the other fabulous authors out there that I haven’t mentioned.
Finally I suppose I should say why I am a sucker for a series.
We’ve all been there when we have finished a novel and we enjoyed it so much that we wish that there could be more as the characters have captivated us so much, and with a series luckily we know we are going to get more. It gives us something to look forward to and in away it’s like catching up with an old friend. I suppose more than anything though It’s really down to the authors for creating such great characters as well as brilliant story lines that leave me always wanting more.
Thanks again to Kate for having me on her blog today and I am very much looking forward to reading other peoples posts to do with this topic, as no doubt will there will be many more series’ that others have read that I have yet not discovered and no doubt will be adding to my enormous to read pile!

Huge thanks to Sarah for taking part in my series feature. There are some exceptional novels mentioned above!!!

If you want to keep up with Sarah, her blog is on Facebook and she’s also on Twitter, and just for good measure here’s her blog link again: By The Letter Book Reviews.
Books Saturday Series Spotlight

Saturday Series Spotlight- Owen Mullen

It’s Saturday again, which means its time for the series spotlight feature. This week I’m joined by Owen Mullen, author of the Charlie Cameron series.

About Owen (via Amazon Author Page):
School was a waste of time for me. Or rather, I wasted time; my own and every teacher’s who tried to get me to work. It took twenty years to appreciate what they were telling me. Life has rules. They aren’t written down but they exist nevertheless. I got that. Eventually. But by then I was thirty five.
Along the way I missed an important clue. At ten I won a national primary schools short story competition – and didn’t write anything else for forty years.
As a teenager my big obsession was music. Early on I realised if I was successful I would probably be rich and famous and pull lots of girls.
So how did that turn out?
Well, you haven’t heard of me, have you? And this morning I caught myself worrying about the electricity bill. So the short answer is: one out of three ain’t bad.
Running around the country in a Transit van with your mates is fun. It’s your very own gang. You against the world. Until you fall out and the dream lies bleeding on the dressing-room floor.
When that happened I went to London
[everybody from Scotland goes to London, it’s like first footing at New Year, or ten pints of lager and a vindaloo on a Friday night; a sacred tradition]
and became a session singer. I also started gigging with different bands on the circuit.
Back in Scotland – most of us come back with wild tales of great success, none of them true – I wondered what I should do with myself and didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Her name was Christine. We got married, I went to Strathclyde Uni and got a bunch of letters after my name, and toughing it out at Shotts Miner’s Welfare, or dodging flying beer cans at the Café Club in Baillieston, was in the past. The long hair was short now, I wore a suit and pretended to like people I didn’t like because we were ‘colleagues’.
After many adventures I started my own marketing and design business and did alright. Christine and I were very happy, we travelled all over the place; India, Brazil, Botswana, Nepal, Borneo, Japan. One day I suggested we move. To the Greek islands. So we did. We bought land and built a beautiful villa overlooking the Mediterranean. Then the pan global financial crash happened, years of fiscal carelessness finally caught up with Greece; the exchange rate dived and the cost of living in Paradise went through the roof.
I had to do something. Then I remembered the short story competition. I had been good at writing, hadn’t I?
I wrote another short story called The King Is Dead…the first thing I’d written since primary school. When I typed the last word [Christine taught me to type] I held the pages in my hand then started to read. An hour and a half, rooted to the chair unable to believe what was in front of my eyes. For four decades I had shunned a god given gift. And as I read I started to understand why. It was awful. Not just bad. Bloody terrible.
But I kept going.
And now, eight years and seven books later, three literary agents plus two I turned down [they were reading a different book] I am a writer. My books are on Amazon. People buy them and come back for more.
One seasoned London agent has predicted I am destined to be ‘a major new force in British crime fiction.’
So is the moral: follow my example, find something you’re good at and stick with it. Hardly. I didn’t, did I? Do it your own way; it’s your life


I love that bio so I had to add it in! 🙂 Without further ado I’ll hand you over to the man himself…

Venus and Mars


In Games People Play, Jackie Mallon – who runs the New York Blue bar/diner where Charlie Cameron has his office – decides to have a bagua done on the restaurant. Don’t know what a bagua is? You’re not alone. Jackie is trying to maximise the energy around the business.  A strange man comes from the Glasgow Feng Shui Society to help her.

[Don’t know if there is a Glasgow Feng Shui Society. If there is, please accept my apology]

Before long she is re-arranging the furniture, painting the front door red – apparently it brings prosperity – and strategically placing an ugly little chunk of marble in the image of a three-footed frog: the Toad God.

So where did that come from? Easy. From my own life. Kind of.

Years ago my wife, Christine, became interested in Feng Shui. She would sit quietly pouring over books with strange titles. I didn’t ask what they were although I was about to find out. One night I was looking for a magazine I’d bought months earlier. It wasn’t where I remembered leaving it. After an hour of fruitless searching I asked Christine if she knew where it was.

‘It’s in the bin,’ she said. ‘I threw it out.’


‘You weren’t reading it.’

‘But I was going to read it. In fact, I want to read it now.’

‘Well you can’t. It’s gone.’

I didn’t understand.

‘What do you mean? Why throw a brand new magazine away.’

With a straight face she said, ‘It was clogging up the energy.’

A week after that I decided to listen to Billy Joel. We have a lot of CDs in our house; the one I was after wasn’t there.’

‘Have you seen the Billy Joel CD?’

Christine didn’t reply.

‘You know the one. Haven’t played it in ages.’

‘That’s right. I thought you were finished with it.’

‘How could I be finished with it? It’s a CD. People keep CDs.’

‘Use it or lose it.’


‘Use it or lose it. Otherwise it’s just clogging up the energy.’

We had a full and frank exchange of views the way married people do. I made my point and thought that was the end of it. Not so. Time passed, the Toad God became part of the family and I learned to live with him. Summer became autumn, then winter. One wet Wednesday, with the wind blowing hard enough to make the windows rattle, I decided it was clearly a day for my old leather coat. I’d had that coat for years; it was an old friend. Of course it was nowhere to be seen. Eventually I raised the subject with my wife [Christine had never liked it. She called it my ‘Flick of the Gestapo’ coat]

‘Where is it?’

‘Where’s what?’

‘You know what I’m talking about.’

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

‘My coat. My leather coat.’

She hesitated. ‘Oh, that.’

‘I gave it away.’

I exploded. Christine stayed calm and the explanation she gave me made perfect sense. ‘ We’re surrounded by energy. Everything feeds from it. Possessions draw it to them so unless we use something or love it, it has to go because it’s…’

‘…clogging up the energy. I get it. What I don’t get is why it’s always my stuff. Why never yours. All those shoes for example. I mean, how many pairs of shoes does one woman need?’

She stared at me, her face set hard. ‘What’re you suggesting?’

‘I’m suggesting you get rid of some of them because they’re clogging up the energy.’

‘Get rid of perfectly good shoes?’

‘Yeah. Throw them away.’

She shook her head and started to walk away.

‘I can’t talk to you when you’re hysterical.’



The point I’m making is that, for a writer, everything in life has the potential to be used for a story. The things we store away without even knowing we’re doing it can come back when they’re needed.

I don’t go through life filing stuff I think will be useful. I only realise I must have done it when it pours, seemingly from nowhere, on to the page. And of course I keep my eyes and ears open and dismiss nothing.

Because you just never know.


[by the by, the Toad God is still there. Persistent little bastard, isn’t he? Maybe I could have some Glasgow gangster kidnap him. I can think of a couple who might be interested]


Christine wants to add something.


‘I certainly do.  As I understand it, the advice on this topic is that we give energy to every single thing we own. So if we don’t love it, and we don’t use it, it’s just physical and mental clutter. Never believe anything a writer tells you. There was no magazine – it was old cooking utensils Owen hadn’t used in 100 years. The Billy Joel CD is still nestled beside all the other CDs Owen doesn’t play; the collection is set out in alphabetical order. Surprisingly, Billy Joel comes…wait for it…J Being a man, that concept is beyond Owen. Great writer but… Lastly, the coat. The coat was old and scuffed; the lining hung down at the back and the style wasn’t ever coming back. It was an embarrassment and yes, I pitched it out. Nothing to do with energy. It was a rag and the bin was the best place for it. Owen couldn’t see he was only achieving half of the ‘shabby chic’ look he was aiming for…and it wasn’t the ‘chic’ half!  
ps I like the Toad God, he’s come through once or twice, and at least he doesn’t use ‘poetic licence’ in his stories about me!.



I also asked Owen what series he’s read that he would always recommend, and he chose Sherlock Holmes and Neil Cross’ Luther series.

Huge thanks to Owen for taking the time to participate in the spotlight feature. Here’s all his info if you want to keep up with news, books etc!

Twitter:       @OwenMullen6
Instagram:  owenmullenauthor
Amazon: Owen Mullen Author Page
Books Saturday Series Spotlight

Saturday Series Spotlight: Paul Charles

So, as you will have noticed, this feature has changed both in name and in scheduling. The Saturday Series Spotlight will run weekly and feature posts from authors and bloggers alike. This week, I’m thrilled to have Paul Charles on the blog.

About Paul:

Paul Charles was born and raised in Magherafelt in the north of Ireland and divides his time between writing and working in the music business in London. He is the author of ten critically acclaimed Detective Inspector Christy Kennedy mysteries, set in Camden Town, the most recent of which was A Pleasure To Do Death With You.

In addition to his distinguished writing career, Paul is one of the UK music industry’s most respected figures. In a career spanning over 30 years, he has been the agent for a wide range of quality music acts.



Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the man himself….

Another Series.


So far I have worked on four series of books. The D.I. Christy Kennedy series – 10 mysteries so far; The Inspector Starrett – the 3rd book has just been published; McCusker just one so far, and then of course the Castlemartin titles. One of Our Jeans is Missing (Fahrenheit Press) is the third and final Castlemartin story


I started work on this book a long time ago, as was the case with the other two Castlemartin books (The Last Dance and The Lonesome heart is Angry). Castlemartin is a fictitious village, located about four miles away from (the very real) Magherafelt, on the shores of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland, where I spent the first seventeen years of my life. All three books are set in the mid to late1960s. In One of Our Jeans Is Missing, however, David Buchanan, the main character, moves from Castlemartin to London and… well perhaps there’s a wee bit of: you can take the man out of Ulster but you can never take Ulster out of the man.   


In one of his many classics, Paul McCartney famously asked, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?”


Well let’s see now. DAVID BUCHANAN is from Castlemartin in Mid-Ulster; MARY SKEFFINGTON is from Bath; JEAN SIMPSON and JEAN KERR – yes that’s the two Jeans – are childhood best friends from Matlock in Derbyshire; JOHN HARRISON is from Scotland. All are in their late teens – so late, in fact, that they will soon leave them and (hopefully) their innocence behind.


David meets up with Mary, John, Jean and Jean and they start to enjoy each other, and music, and each other a bit more, and then one of them disappears. At least two of remaining quartet start to consider what might be the perfect murder.


I had the title from the get-go for this book. This isn’t always the case for me. Tanita Tikaram an artist I was managing at the time visited China for a holiday. She took her two best friends with her. Both of her friends were (in fact still are) called Gillian.  One day Tanita telephoned me from China in a panic.


“One of our Gillians is missing,” she gushed.


I laughed. In my defence I laughed, not so much at the fact that one of her best friends was missing in a foreign land, but more at the way she had put it.


“No PC,” Tanita pleaded, “she’s seriously missing!”


When I set the phone down and had got D.I. Christy Kennedy, Inspector Starrett and McCusker, on the missing Gillians case, I started to think that ‘seriously missing’ – as opposed to ‘casually missing,’ or even just, ‘missing’ – would be a great title for a book, but for some reason or other when it came time to write it up in my wee ideas book I only wrote, ‘One of our Gillians is missing.’


Sometime later when I had the idea for this story of David Buchanan and his four fellow teenage exiles in 1960s’ London, the title presented itself to me at pretty much the same time. In fact the original working title for the book was, One of Our Gillians is Missing. Then I started to date a lady called Gillian (yet another one) for a while, and so in order to protect the three Gillians I changed the title to One of Our Jeans is Missing a.k.a. OOOJim (pronounced ‘Oh Jim!’


Apart from being exiled from the home you grew up in, another of the main themes of the story is how music, big pieces of music, becomes very important as soundtracks to parts of our lives. I suppose the other important point to mention here is that we are all equally passionate about the music we dislike as we are about the music we love. A lot of the music references in the book – Dylan,  John Lee Hooker, The Spencer Davies Group, Taste and Stevie Winwood – have all had major influences in my life and, along with quite a few other artists, helped me during my move from Ulster to London in 1967. Yes, music certainly helped me deal with the potentially debilitating illness known as homesickness. Even today every time I listen to Neil Diamond’s classic, I Am… I Said, I can still recall vividly the intensity of the helplessness of the bed-sitter days. With hindsight if I had been a doctor I would have prescribed a twice weekly listening session of I Am… I Said, one or Mr Diamond’s most soulful statements.  Just to know that others had suffered and were suffering from your ailment could be a comfort.  With the benefit of that same hindsight I would probably add a thrice weekly visit from Jean Simpson into the potent healing mix. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean should you visit the pages of One Of Our Jeans Is Missing.


This is my first title to be published by Fahrenheit Press.  I found main man Chris McVeigh refreshingly straightforward to deal with.  His view seemed to be that if he read the book and liked it (and assuming that I could spell Fahrenheit) he would publish it without any publisher interference, fuss or delay.  His only other observation was, “If you want to be treated like a delicate little snowflake we’re definitely NOT the publisher for you – try Faber & Faber, they’re lovely.”  That was certainly good enough for me.  


Going back to the series of books theme for a minute, for me one of the all-time great series of books would have to be the Colin Dexter Inspector Morse collection of 14 books (including one volume of short stories) published between 1975 and 1999.


I got into this series thanks to John Thaw’s superb work on the small screen. I remember seeing that he was involved in a new police series but I hadn’t bothered to check it out because the Sweeney and their “crash, bang, wallop, ‘Right you’re nicked!’ wasn’t really my cup of tea. I was touring Italy with an American singer songwriter and my friends back in London were sending me various videos to help while away the hours on the tour bus and there was so much travel each day I was happy to be distracted by anything. So I set up the Morse video. One hour and forty minutes later (the video used to be a great way of missing the adverts!) I was totally floored. There was one scene I remember vividly. Morse (John Thaw) and Lewis (Kevin Whatley) had just been to the scene of the crime for their initial visit and they leave the SOCO unit to complete their work while the two detectives drive back into Oxford to start into the investigation. On the drive back through the countryside they stop off at by the gate to this field before them is this incredible scene where you have the famous burgundy coloured Mark 2 Jaguar, the golden field of corn, the green hedges and trees and all set off by a stunning beautiful blue sky with white fluffy clouds. Morse and Lewis (with backs to the camera) lean on the gate gazing over this incredible inspiring picture. This particular scene was about three minutes long but there was no dialogue, just Barrington Pheloung’s soulful soundtrack. The point of it was to allow Morse, Lewis and the TV audience a chance to reflect on the life that just been lost and the details of the case so far.  I thought it was incredible brave television and I immediately started to wonder if it was the writer, Colin Dexter, or the director who had been responsible for such powerful work.


I resolved to try and solve this puzzle and so the next day in Milan in a dusty book store with a humble English language section, I tried to track down some of the work by Colin Dexter and eventually (but nearly not) I managed to purchase two Morse paperbacks, namely, The Dead of Jericho and Last Bus to Woodstock.  Anyway I discovered that if the scene had come from the director the mood had most definitely come from Colin Dexter. I absolutely loved both books. I became aware of slowing down my reading pace just so I could savour the experience.  That’s one of the great things in the world isn’t it? You know, discovering the work of an author you previously hadn’t read but then when you do and realise how much you love their work and then you find that they have a an entire series of book with the same characters waiting for you. Oh just sheer bliss.


Paul Charles



I have a couple of Paul’s books on my TBR and I can’t wait to read them! Here’s a few links if you want to check out some more of Paul’s work…

Paul Charles Books website

Fahrenheit Press– Paul’s ultra cool publisher

Thanks for reading! 🙂