Black Cockles




"Ed is a soft touch for a damsel in distress. Therefore taking Emma to Cornwall to put some distance between her and her abusive, drug addict fiance seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, Ed takes her to a place where she is in even more danger as a serial killer is at large, targeting young attractive women.

DCI Bob Brown is heading up the investigation and under increasing preasure to solve the case as each attack becomes more frenzied and the killer remains elusive. Could the answer be as simple as Ed suggests? Brown doesn't think so.

Ed, however, has other things to worry about as his holiday rapidly turns into a living nightmare, after being singled out by Mack, a local thug whose vindictiveness stops at nothing, not even murder"



Authors Notes


When I started writing my first novel, I set out to create a main character who would be instantly liked by both my male and female readers. Creating a lead character liked by only male or female readers would be easy but one that would be liked by both would be a challenge. The only character I could think of, liked by both sexes was James Bond but he was far too polished for what I had in mind. So I took some characteristics of Mr. Bond and to roughen the edges, I gave him an inappropriate sense of humour. I thought he would perhaps lose a bit appeal with the ladies so I added a tragic and mysterious past to give him a bit of vulnerability. So far so good. However, as the novel that would become Black Cockles developed, I realised he needed a reason for not working so made him a rich and generous man as a result of his tragic past, and Ed Case was born; great in a fight, knows how to treat a lady, intelligent, witty and generous but haunted by a sad and lonely past. From the feedback received I think I managed to find the right balance and created what I set out to achieve.

The novel itself was difficult to write, in that I had to write a lot about Ed’s background at every stage of the book. Therefore, the result was almost a book within a book.  The Black Cockle Strangler is the glue that binds all the characters together but perhaps the main story is that of Ed, his naivety and his struggle with relationships with the opposite sex, brought about by his tragic past.  Black Cockles also introduces DCI Bob Brown, an old-fashioned copper, ostracised from the Met for failing to embrace new, politically-correct policing and banished to Cornwall where he would be less of an embarrassment.  Alas, leopards do no change their spots, and Brown continues to police like it’s the 1980’s. Writing the parts where Brown and Ed interact were by far the most enjoyable. Both characters continually baiting each other to provoke an outburst, despite both having an unspoken trust and admiration for each other.

I am often asked to describe Black Cockles and always struggle to come up with a good response. On the one hand it’s a crime novel about a serial killer with some serious hang-ups, and on the other, It’s also a romance as we follow Ed’s attempts to put his tragic past behind him and embark on a serious relationship. Whichever of these it is, it comes liberally laced with some dark and often inappropriate humour. It was once suggested by a friend that this book was written so that I could include all my favourite jokes and one-liners. Perhaps, he was right.