Moments after Mum died the nurse bowed her head and mumbled a quiet prayer. I didn’t recognise the language and only knew her as Fatima. Mum was CofE but the religion didn’t matter. I had no words and will be forever grateful for whatever it is Fatima did. It was just an honest gesture, a moment of respect from one human being to another. In our post-Charlie Hebdo world, we could all learn from that.

SO, winter bug conquered, the book with the working title The Casebook Of Danny Lancaster is back on track. So far we have four stories – The Hoodied Man, The Germans Can’t Kill Me, Inside Job and The Cuckolds Calling. Two more stories are in an advanced state of plotting. Three others are back-of-a-fag-packet ideas. Short stories are a step into the dark for me. I don’t know what the right mix is or how many I need. We’ll find out when it’s published in the spring.

Black WoodSPRING will bring a crop of exciting first-time authors including SJI Holliday’s psychological thriller Black Wood and Tenacity by JS Law, a former submariner, which follows military Special Investigator Danielle Lewis as she probes an alleged suicide on a nuclear sub. Find out more at and @JSLawBooks.

NEW tax rules mean ebook prices appear to have shot up but they haven’t. From January 1 ebook prices now include VAT. It does make pricing clearer but I don’t see why ebooks should be liable for VAT at all when paper ones are VAT-free. Either way, Danny gives you plenty of bang for your buck.

JUST finished Treachery, the fourth in SJ Parris’s Elizabethan detective series Treacheryfeaturing Giordano Bruno, renegade monk, philosopher, heretic and spy. The labyrinth of a plot draws you through a story twisted taut as Bruno and his companion Sir Philip Sidney stalk the dark streets of Plymouth in search of a traitor who threatens an expedition by the legendary Sir Francis Drake. The book is vivid and gripping. You can smell the manure and the poverty, taste the wine and sea air. Excellent stuff.


GUNNER: The diary of an ordinary soldier – all proceeds to a military charity
UK: – only 99p
US: – only $1.52