Crawling out of the coffin…

In my last but one post, I mentioned that if ever I started writing crime and noir again you’d be the first to know. Well, guess what?

Pic credit: Allan Stewart on

It’s been a long time away from the genre, but I never expected two years of pandemic, when I could hardly bear to think about crime fiction let alone write it. But for the last few months I have, at last, been able to sit down and work on a darker book again. And the great news is that I’ve actually finished writing it.

So what is it, I hear you ask? Well, it’s called ‘Embers of Bridges’, and it’s a humorous gay noir set in Birmingham (where else), featuring a hapless gang of robbers, the Jewellery Quarter, and a getaway on a canal boat. I first had the idea over a decade ago, but it’s never quite gelled before. Now it has, and I’m surprisingly pleased with the result.

Of course, it’s not quite ready to go out into the world yet. I started on the edits this morning, and as usual it’ll need quite a bit of work. But I already have a cover and a blurb, and I’m really hoping I can turn this baby around in the next few weeks. In which case, once again, you’ll be the first to know…

Exciting news

Yesterday I had official confirmation of the good news I’ve known about for a few weeks now, which is that my first crime novel, ‘Gravy Train’, has been accepted for publication in 2018 by All Due Respect (an imprint of Down and Out Books).

The book is a comedie noir romp in which a bunch of dodgy characters chase a bag of ill-gotten gains around Birmingham’s back streets and canals. As with my last book ‘Raise the Blade’ the title is nicked from a Pink Floyd track, this time the rather appropriate Have a Cigar.


To say I’m over the moon is an understatement. Until recently I wasn’t sure I could write a whole crime novel, and it took the combined nagging of three writer friends (Linda Wright, Irene Paterson and Jackie Baldwin) before I even tried. After much head-scratching, crossing-out and sheer hard work, I’d increased the novella version of Gravy Train to double its original size, but still wasn’t sure it was suitable, enjoyable, or even much good.

But I’m delighted to say that All Due Respect loved its breathless pace and offbeat characters, and felt it fitted well with their ‘low-life’, noir ethos.

The book is due out in November next year, which seems like ages to wait but will no doubt whisk past in no time at all. In the meantime, here’s a brief blurb so you know what all the fuss is about.

“Who’ll take a slice of their pie?

Crime pays. So barmaid Sandra thinks when she overhears details of a betting scam and wins herself and fat husband Mike eighty thousand pounds. But they’ve reckoned without mugger Lenny, lying in wait outside the betting shop door. And he’s reckoned without a top-notch car thief, his own devious boss, and Sandra’s unpleasant almost-uncle George.

Mayhem ensues as a bunch of disparate – and desperate – characters chase the bag of money around Birmingham’s back streets. Plenty of them help themselves to the cash, but none of them are any good at hanging onto it. As they hurtle towards a chaotic showdown on the banks of the local canal, will any of them see their ill-gotten gains again? Or will their precious gravy train come shuddering to a halt?”