Getting hold of the book

Click this:

Buy here

Or click the book below for other editions (hardback, paperback or ebook) and sources:

CoverYou can also download 55% of the ebook for free as a sample, or buy the whole thing for $4.99.


Facebook likes

Subjects & categories

Stop thief!


Perhaps I’m jumping the gun here, but it seems that we may have a crime on our hands. [Note: there are only three classes of people allowed to use “we” as the first person singular: royalty, editors, and people with tapeworms. In this case, it’s my publisher and me.] Not just me, but lots of writers, if our suspicions are correct, are in line to get ripped off.

The other day, I made a lot of sales on Amazon India. Someone had bought all my Sherlock Holmes books as Kindle editions. Yes, all 12 titles. And guess what? They all got “returned” the same day.

Now, one title bought by mistake is an accident, but wouldn’t you think that Amazon would take notice of 12 titles being bought and returned in one day? I would have thought so, myself.

Our suspicion is that whoever bought those titles will strip the copy protection (DRM) from them, and then either sell those titles themselves, or pass them on to another site to distribute as pirate copies.

We may be wrong – the thief may simply have copied the files, stripped the DRM and will read them at leisure. Whatever, it’s still theft.

Amazon have been informed, and, as one might expect, it’s Somebody Else’s Problem. Amazon India’s business.

We’ve put out a watch on the Internet for these titles to re-appear somewhere. We will see what happens. But in the meantime, if you have ebooks out there, beware of the “returns policy” that Amazon operates. It’s a standing invitation to get ripped off by these content thieves.

Review: Andy Borger’s “The Angel Corps”

The Angel CorpsThe Angel Corps by Andy Boerger

What goes round comes round:

Usually this saying refers to bad karma, where evil deeds come round to bite the perpetrator in the backside. Boerger takes the opposite approach – do good to others, and others will do good to you. The Angel Corps is a call, not to arms, but to helping others, and in the process, to realise one’s full human potential.

The little acts of random kindness that Boerger describes go all the way from rescuing worms from hostile baking-hot concrete, to bolstering a timid child’s self-esteem, or even saving the life of a young woman, trapped in a blazing inferno.

We all have the opportunity to be (non-sectarian or even non-religious) angels where others are concerned – Boerger points to many areas where an angel’s helping hand can make life easier for others – and thereby open the door for others’ helping hands at times when we need them. But that’s not all – by helping others, we help ourselves grow, hence the statement that this is a self-help book about helping others.

View all my reviews

Review: Declan Hayes’ “Japan’s Big Bang”

Japan's Big Bang: The Deregulation and Revitalization of the Japanese EconomyJapan’s Big Bang: The Deregulation and Revitalization of the Japanese Economy by Declan Hayes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not often I give a book such a low rating, and I think it might be as well to explain why. The author has experience of economic upheavals, according to the back flap blurb, and has impressive-sounding academic credentials, but his writing style doesn’t show it at all.

In an attempt to sound “hip” or something, he ends up using words like “buffoon” to describe the Japanese MoF bureaucrats, and makes statements about them that make me surprised that the editor at Tuttle actually let them go through without referring to counsel. Of course, everyone is entitled to feel that MoF staffers are indeed idiotic, or even crooked – but the repeated references to the “no-pan” restaurants etc. and the general insulting of the Japanese establishment, however justified, get a little tired and boring after a while.

When you are talking about capital reserve adequacy, etc. (as Hayes does), this sort of language is inappropriate. Hayes comes over as neither an academic economist nor a journalist, but as a staid academic wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt.

The facts are probably accurate (if lifted from other unacknowledged sources – including books I have read) – a bibliography and an index would also help. There appears to have been relatively little editing applied to the manuscript – not sure exactly why I say that, though.

The general tone of the book is the attitude of Captain Renault in Casablanca: “I am shocked, I tell you, shocked”, while knowing all the time that this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. The supreme irony of this is that it praises Nasdaq, etc., and was written at the height of the tech bubble, just before it burst. It also praises the US and UK’s deregulation and the securitisation of mortgages – moves that led, less than a decade later, to the near melt-down of the world’s financial system.

There are other books available on the deficiencies of Japan’s financial system in the 1980s and 1990s. Try Gillian Tett for example. Avoid this one.

View all my reviews

Can YOU tell the difference?

Or am I just unbalanced? Click on either of these pictures for further details.


Personally, I think this is more interesting:


Balance of Powers – coming soon – pre-order now

I have a new book coming out shortly – it’s a contemporary thriller (well, nearly contemporary – 2007), and it has a few points to make, and hopefully without being too heavy-handed about it. The paperback is available for pre-order at $3 off the final price, from Inknbeans Press. (click here) Powers2-01.png

Anyone who follows me on Facebook or knows me personally will realize that I am on the left of the political spectrum. It’s not something I am ashamed of, and I don’t try to hide it. If I take any of the “what sort of politics are you?” tests or quizzes, I come out as a “left libertarian” – strong for individual freedom, while recognizing that the state has a role to play in the protection and help of those unable to protect and help themselves.

Over the past few years, we have been seeing governments around the world removing this protection and help, and siphoning the money saved into the pockets of a very few. Such redirection is either done by “austerity programs” which take away basic protections, tax relief for the rich, while leaving the majority still paying the same taxes (or more), privatization of state programs, which supposedly result in savings and increased efficiency, but in practice usually turn out to be inefficient and/or corrupt, and outright fraudulent activity.

It’s the last of those that really makes me angry. There is sufficient evidence that the banks colluded in the first half 2000s to sell fraudulent products – subprime and no-doc home loans – and to get very rich out of it at the expense of the victims who were left homeless and broke.

But if I, a civilian living on the other side of the world, am angry about what happened some years ago and who was never personally touched by it, how much angrier would a trained killer be, whose sister lost her life as a result of this fraud?

Enter former US Marine Major Henry Gillette Powers – an Afghanistan vet, who comes home in 2007 and discovers the empty foreclosed house that his sister bought only a few years earlier. Shortly afterwards, he makes a more gruesome discovery: the mutilated bodies of his sister and her family. He sees red, and a trail of “double-tapped” corpses marks his path as he moves to New York in search of the Wall Street traders he deems ultimately responsible for his sister’s death, seeking to redress the balance of power.

Yes, this novel was written with a purpose, and with a sense of outrage. But I also think it has entertainment value. Even though his actions put him on the wrong side of the law, Henry Powers always believes he is acting for the best – he is a man who believes in justice, and his country, and is horrified by what has happened in his time away. His friend, Jeanine, who has lost her house in the same way as Henry’s sister, helps him discover some sort of peace as their relationship develops. There is violence and “bad” language in this book, but there is romance, there is some redemption, and even a little humor here and there.

As a writer, I scared myself writing this book – it explored depths I didn’t even know existed, and they weren’t pleasant. But I am proud of the characterization that I achieved, and of the plot that evolved out of my basic anger at the institutions that perpetrated the crimes. So, while the book definitely has a message, it’s also entertainment – and I think it succeeds on that level, whether or not you agree with the basic premises.

Remember, click here to pre-order the paperback for only $7.99 (how many Starbucks lattes is that?)


Review: Rosanne Dingli’s “Camera Obscura”

Camera ObscuraCamera Obscura by Rosanne Dingli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book with oodles (lovely word, that – I’ll say it again, just because I like the sound of it. Oodles.) of local colour. Dingli hails from Malta, and the island and its scenery and people play a large part in the story, adding another dimension to the complex and entertaining plot.

The story itself is interesting, and is definitely on the side of plausibility, but there were twists and turns at times that I found to be superfluous and confusing (this is a charge that has sometimes been levelled at some of my stories!). However, I could identify with the protagonist, whose character displayed the hesitations and doubts that beset us all at times. There was little physical description of the characters, but it was easy to picture them in my mind, thanks to the hints (”show, don’t tell”) dropped throughout the story.

There are two major technical threads running through the story – philately and photography. I wasn’t 100% sure about the accuracy of some of the details relating to the latter. I can’t speak for the former.

Whatever, this is a book that is well worth reading as a thriller that avoids clichés of plot and setting and is definitely worth the four stars I have given it here.

View all my reviews

“Are you famous?”

I was walking around Stowe Pool in Lichfield, when I came across a man feeding breadcrumbs, apparently to the fish (there were no ducks in sight).


(photo by me, click to enlarge)

I asked him what sort of fish he was feeding, but he didn’t know. We got chatting, and he discovered that I am an author who writes Sherlock Holmes stories.

He stopped me with the question, “Are you famous?”

For a moment, I didn’t know what to reply. Eventually I came out with, “Slightly, and only in a very restricted circle.”

Was that the right answer?