I'm currently working on the tenth novel in the series, working title "Brutal Crimes".

I've also finished a novel for teenagers. It's still being checked through and commented on by friends. I'll soon need to find a publisher for it.

Updated August 2020

Extract from Novel 10, working title Brutal Crimes:

Amy had always thought of the woods as her friend. She’d known them all of her life, first the copses close up to the farm boundary when she was still small, later the denser areas deep in the interior. The dark, cool and dank parts that people rarely visited. And those inky dark pools of water. Her parents told her to stay away from them, that they were dangerous, but they held a strange fascination with their steep slopes. According to her dad they were old clay workings of unknown depths. The trouble was, nearby was the best area for watching woodpeckers during daytime. They could be heard hammering away at half-rotten bark, trying to dislodge insects and grubs. And then there were the owls at night. They perched on a couple of long bare branches that reached out across the water. It had always been a magical place until yesterday evening. Now it was tainted and she, Amy, was petrified by what she’d seen. But what had she seen? Had it really happened? Could she have imagined it? It still made her shudder to think of it.

She’d spent the rest of the night curled snugly into one of her little dens and the day hidden in the fork of a tall tree, invisible from below. She’d heard voices and whistles. She’d seen groups of people with long sticks probing the undergrowth. They were looking for her, calling her name. But she wasn’t ready. How could she explain to anyone? They’d laugh at her, at her odd way of talking. Her dad would be fine but Mum would be angry at her for staying out this long. She’d be told to stay in her room as a punishment, even though it wasn’t her fault. It’s not your fault when you see something wrong going on, is it? Something horrible?

She’d turned off her hearing implants for much of the time. The sounds of all those people down below, calling, frightened her. Better to be silent. And the food had helped. She’d slipped back through the trees when the search party had passed by and crept into the house when no one was looking. It was going to be colder tonight; she was sure of it. That’s why she’d taken another jumper as well as the food. She ought to be warm enough now, with her thick parka on.

She saw movement in the distance and shrank back, then switched her implants back on. Voices. Her mum’s voice, her dad’s voice, both calling her name. Other voices. She saw them. Alex was with them. Amy started crying. It was all too much. She didn’t want to stretch her arm out and wave, but she did want to. Both at the same time. Why was she so confused? She fidgeted and managed to dislodge a dead branch that she was leaning on. It fell to the ground.

* * *

Amy refused to talk. Her dad asked her gently, her mum less gently. But Amy said nothing. She was hot with embarrassment. All these people watching her, wondering about her, talking about her. She just wanted to curl up and disappear again. She sipped at her cup of warm cocoa, nibbled another fruit bun, stared at the floor in front of her and swung her legs to and fro. Her favourite chair in the kitchen was just a little too high to allow her feet to touch the floor, but it had her own cushion to sit on, the one she’d made in class.

The police people finally left, saying they’d be back tomorrow. She still didn’t say anything.

She had a warm bath, then had another bun. She still didn’t say anything.

She went to bed, snuggled down and finally fell asleep. She slept soundly for several hours then started dreaming of a body being rolled down a steep slope into deep water. She woke up with a start. She started sobbing again, then walked through to her parents’ room and slid into their bed, beside them. Her mum opened her eyes, saw Amy there and put her arm around her. Amy finally started to talk.