It’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it? To make your own novel stand apart from the rest, either by having a brilliant twist that nobody saw coming (I’m thinking Clare Mackintosh – I Let You Go) or just having a great concept that makes your contemporaries wish they’d thought of it. Exclusion Zone would be my first crime fiction novel, and with so many utterly fantastic authors out there I knew it had to stand out to have any sort of impact. An idea had been in my mind for a while, a seed sown from a single thought: what if terrible crimes were happening in a place where no law enforcement will go? It grew from there, rapidly, thoughts and ideas occurring almost faster than I could jot them down. The location was blindingly obvious; the setting would be Chernobyl and the crimes: murder.

And because no police officers were patrolling the deserted town, it was a perfect opportunity to introduce my protagonist, Private Detective Alex Harvey. Alex will have many more adventures, of that I’m certain, as will his side-kick, Ukrainian national Elian Gould.

It was an opportunity not to be missed, because April 2016 was the thirtieth anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. I knew there would be a lot of coverage in the news and media and I was right, on 26th April 2016 the hashtag Exclusion Zone was trending on Twitter. I arranged my launch to happen also on 26th April, with a local newspaper coming along to write up a feature, incorporating not only my book, but the Historical facts and personal stories about the nuclear disaster too.

Exclusion Zone made an impact, a lot of my wonderful crime writing colleagues read it and provided quotes and they championed it and recommended it to fellow readers. I was asked to take part in a lot of guest blogs and festivals. The icing on the cake for me was being invited to participate in the 2016 BritCrime festival, a gathering of amazing authors who I can now proudly say ‘I’m part of that team’. Of everything that Exclusion Zone has bought to me this year, the inclusion in BritCrime’s festival is right up there at the top.

Published by Endeavour Press – ISBN-10: 1530118778

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