Severance Kill

Ahead of schedule, and having dropped the definite article from its title, my new thriller Severance Kill is now out as an ebook for the Kindle and via Smashwords for all other ereaders. This is something of a departure as although it’s an action/espionage thriller, it doesn’t feature John Purkiss, the protagonist of Ratcatcher and Delivering Caliban.

Martin Calvary is a former soldier and Afghanistan veteran who’s been working as a professional assassin for the last four years, taking out enemies of the British state who are beyond the reach of the law. The job isn’t one that a normal person could sustain for long, and Calvary wants out. The trouble is that his employers, known as The Chapel, aren’t ready to discharge him from his contract yet, and want him to carry out one last hit in Prague. If he does so, he’ll be let loose. If he doesn’t, evidence of the illegal assassinations he’s carried out so far will be given to the police and the press, and he’ll become a wanted criminal facing life imprisonment.

If you like fiction with action, adventure, suspense, twists, Cold War spies, modern spies, exotic Eastern European locations, and the most heartless mobsters this side of The Sopranos.. you’ll find all of this here, and more.

Enjoy. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Smashwords)



Thanksgiving promotion: Twenty Books for Twenty Bucks

For five days incorporating Thanksgiving in the US (21 to 25 November) one of my collections, Quarry: Six Tales of Dread, is part of a promotion, Twenty Books for Twenty Bucks, in which – you’ve guessed it – you can buy up to 20 books for $20. For slightly less than that, actually, as all the books, mine included, are on sale at 99c. Each book is buyable individually too.

They range from thrillers to romances, from SF to horror, and there’s bound to be something to interest you. Though of course I’d be delighted if you’d buy my own entry…

The link’s here:


Competition winners


The random selector has done its work, and I’m pleased to reveal the names of the three winners of a paperback copy of Ratcatcher: Kim Ayres, Rell Erwin and Jeff Q. Only one person asked for an ebook version, so Donald MacLeod becomes an automatic winner.

Please DM me on Twitter, message me on Facebook or email me at and let me know where to post your book. Donald, please let me know whether you’d like an Amazon voucher or a Smashwords coupon (which allows you to download the book in multiple formats including for Kindle).

Congratulations to the winners, commiserations to those who didn’t win, and thanks to all who entered!

New novel: Delivering Caliban

The sequel to Ratcatcher is now out as an ebook, for Amazon Kindle and in all other formats via Smashwords. John Purkiss, the scourge of rogue agents in the British intelligence services, is back, facing an opponent who’s systematically murdering CIA operatives across Europe and the US. Delivering Caliban is darker, meaner and bloodier than its predecessor, and adds what I hope is an interesting psychological angle to the Purkiss story.

It’s available here: (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Smashwords)


Feedback is, as ever, always welcome.

Win a book!

To mark the paperback release of Ratcatcher, I’m offering the opportunity to win one of three copies completely free, as well as three copies of the ebook in whatever format you choose. To enter, just post a comment below, letting me know your preferred format (paperback or ebook). That’s it. No questions to answer, no horrendous catches anywhere.

Bribes and flattery, while always welcome, won’t improve your chances of winning. Nor will threats, of either the “I know where you live” or the “I know what you’ve done” varieties. Closing date is Sunday 11 November at midnight (UK time) and the winners will be chosen at random.

This could be yours…

Out of the mire

All right, all right. I’ll slow down with the posts. Just stop flooding me with emails, okay?

Thanks to everybody who’s visited and followed this blog. It’ll get more interesting, I promise.

At the moment, I’m doing three things.

One: formatting all my Kindle books (novel, novella, novelette, short stories, and collections) for Smashwords, so that they’ll be available in all downloadable formats. Ratcatcher is already up on Kobo and Smashwords and being distributed to Barnes & Noble, Apple and the rest.

Two: getting ready a paperback version of Ratcatcher. I should get the proof copy next week, and if all’s well, it’ll be available as a real live paper book soon afterwards.

Three: I’m finishing off not one but two new novels. The first is the sequel to Ratcatcher, Delivering Caliban, which sees the return of John Purkiss. The second, which may or may not be set in Purkiss’s world, is The Severance Kill, a thriller about a British assassin who finds that resigning from his job comes with a heavy price. Delivering Caliban will be out in mid-November as an ebook, and as a paperback some time before Christmas. The Severance Kill should appear in all formats by the end of the year.

Feedback, criticism, stalking, death threats and offers of film contracts are, as always, most welcome. Well, some of them are.


New plug

No, this isn’t a post about some dull DIY project I’ve undertaken. The sequel to my debut novel, Ratcatcher, will be published in November. Titled Delivering Caliban, it features the return of John Purkiss, scourge of rogue intelligence agents everywhere. Darker, meaner and bloodier than the first book, it takes Purkiss in new directions: geographically, emotionally, and morally…

Here’s the cover, by the excellent Jane Dixon-Smith. Jane’s website is:

Hope you like it!

A warning to the wise

Stephen Leather, bestselling thriller author, has outed himself as a user of highly underhand and dishonest techniques in promoting his books on Amazon. Novelist and journalist Jeremy Duns hasn’t let him get away with it. I urge you to read Jeremy’s devastating point-by-point case against him here.

I’m not mentioning this because of envy of Leather’s sales figures, or schadenfreude. Leather and his practices are dirtying the reputation of authors, especially self-published authors like me.

Please avoid Leather’s work and spread the word.

Coming attractions

Later this month, my second collection of macabre short stories, Quarry: Six Tales Of Dread.

Before that, here’s a lone short story, Chameleon, that I’ve had difficulty fitting into a collection like this. It’s not quite horror, more a dark modern fantasy tale. Sort of. So I’ve decided to publish it as a standalone.

It’s available now: Amazon US and UK.

Lousy accents

A bit off the books trail, this, but I’ve got a bee under my bonnet at the moment about actors’ accents. A few years ago I was involved in some amateur dramatics productions. I was no great shakes as an actor, but it was a lot of fun, particularly when I got to try out a new accent (they included New York, Lancashire and London Cockney; the last was a success, I think, the first two less so). Bear in mind, though, I was strictly an amateur.

Having grown up in South Africa, I have a finely tuned ear for a Saffrican accent. Whether it’s because of this or whether there’s something inherent in the South African accent that’s difficult to reproduce, I don’t know. But there have been some truly atrocious stabs at it in film and on television, by people who should know better. I dare say you’ve come across similarly awful renditions of accents you’re familiar with.

Here’s my countdown of the worst three attempts at accents ever committed to screen.

3. Patsy Kensit in Lethal Weapon 2. She takes normal human speech, drenches it in vague Australianisms and comes up with nothing that’s ever been heard before or since. And it’s inconsistent, as any really bad accent must be.

2. Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot. Great, classic film, shame about the woefully misguided ‘upper-class Briddish’ Curtis regales, indeed flails, us with. Even worse than Dick van Dyke’s Cockney in Mary Poppins, considered by many to be the benchmark of bad film accents.

1. And the number one spot goes to…. drumroll… none other than Daniel Craig, James Bond 007 himself. Not in the Bond films, but in Steven Spielberg’s Munich. Mr Craig tries to pass himself off as a Jewish South African and produces something barely recognisable as human speech, let alone remotely intelligible.

Go on, then, tell me yours.

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