I never wanted overnight success, which is just as well the way things turned out. What I sought most from writing was the chance to tell a range of stories over an extended period of time. A career that allowed me free rein to explore the kinds of material that have always interested me.

I know I get logged as a mystery, crime or thriller author these days, but I honestly haven’t seen myself this way. What I try to write is intelligent, popular fiction, the kind of book that’s been around for centuries. Some of my favourite authors – Robert Graves, MR James, Somerset Maugham, to name a few – managed to do this long ago without the need for labels. Today they seem inevitable but I don’t really try to fit into any particular genre myself.

Literature is, in a large part, about the frailty of humankind, and our sad realisation of those weaknesses in ourselves, and how they contrast with the beauty and self sacrifice that sits alongside the bleakness in us all. Crime is a way of representing that dichotomy in our natures, which is why writers have used it as a focal point for their stories for centuries. Does that make Hamlet a crime story? Or Treasure Island? I don’t know and frankly I don’t much care. Stories should speak for themselves, and I think they do.

Before Nic Costa came on the scene my career was something of a rollercoaster ride as I tried to identify what exactly I added up to as an author. I veered from thriller sci-fi in Solstice to rural gothic in Native Rites. And where exactly books like Epiphany and The Cemetery of Secrets fit I’ve no idea. Anyway, for the sake of record you can browse my back catalogue here. Not all of these books are in print, however, though most are available on audio. You can still usually find them second hand on places like Amazon if you’re interested.

Writing A Novel with Scrivener

For the last few years most of my creative writing has taken place inside a remarkable piece of software called Scrivener. This inexpensive program is my principal tool for outlining, developing, writing and revising every piece of fiction I write. With a new release for the Mac, version two, it added the ability to take authors … Continue reading

The Promised Land

Bierce was a happily married cop with a bright future. Then one sunny day in July his wife, Miriam, and their young son, Ricky, were savagely beaten to death. Bierce was convicted of the murder of his family. Languishing on Death Row twenty-three years later, he still has no memory of the incident.With his execution … Continue reading

Death in Seville

Available in a new and fully revised edition from Pan Macmillan Holy Week in Seville… and a murderer is loose. Academic Maria Gutierrez can see something in his ways that the police are missing. But her insight does nothing to help her popularity in the force-and draws her to the attention of the killer. The … Continue reading


I thought my journalism days were behind me. But sometimes life has a habit of turning things around in ways you least expect. In December 2005 I was in Rome researching what was to become The Garden of Evil. Out of the blue I took a phone call which revealed that the large London university Imperial … Continue reading


It’s hot, unbearably hot, in a way that makes people wonder if the world isn’t changing fundamentally for the worse. Back in 1996 when this book was first started, that seemed an unusual idea. Today no-one would question it. Solstice is a book about man’s neglect of his own planet and a group of people … Continue reading

Native Rites

Native Rites is a book about a set of people who will do whatever it takes to safeguard their own, precious, privileged existences. A young couple move to a new rural home. Miles commutes to the city each day leaving his American wife Alison to get to know the locals. One September day they both visit … Continue reading

Carnival for the Dead

It’s February, and Carnival time in Venice. Bright blue skies and freezing temperatures welcome Teresa Lupo, forensic pathologist to the Rome Questura, to the city. She is greeted off the vaporetto by an anonymous masked man dressed as The Plague Doctor. Teresa has taken time out from her job to find her beloved bohemian aunt … Continue reading

Writing: A User Manual

Writing: A User Manual is a full-length book about planning, developing and finishing a novel.  The opening introduction sums up its purpose… This is a guide to practical craft not cerebral art. It is aimed at the ambitious budding author more interested in finishing a book than allowing it to linger in the purgatory of a … Continue reading

The Flood

Florence, 1986. A seemingly inexplicable attack on a church fresco of Adam and Eve brings together an unlikely couple: Julia Wellbeloved, an art student, and Pino Fratelli, a semi-retired detective who longs to be back in the field. Their investigation leads them to the secret society that underpins the city, and back to the darkness in Florence’s past: the night … Continue reading


Now available for the first time in a decade. Get it instantly as a Kindle ebook on Amazon UK and Amazon US. Palo Alto, northern California, 1975 A child goes missing in northern California. Twenty years later, people want to know why, and the past begins to unravel for a group of former friends who thought they’d escaped … Continue reading