The year has seen some pretty crazy times with Covid 19 and the lockdown. It has also seen the rebirth of my writing career. At the beginning of the year my best friend a writing partner Mick Sims announced his intention to formally retire from writing. I couldn't really blame him. After a torrid few years fighting two bouts of cancer, I could understand his desire to make more time for his family.
Which left me with a decision to make. Was I to go on writing, or increase my involvement with LMP, my very small publishing house. I decided to concentrate on the latter. There is a more comprehensive article on that elsewhere on the site.
However fate was not done with me yet, not by a long chalk.
A writer friend of mine, the excellent historical novelist, Paul Walker, suggested I approach his publisher, Sharpe Books, and offer them the Jack Callum series of historical crime novels.
I did, and within a week had signed a contract for all six books. The first two shown below.
After a final business meeting with Mick, I discussed the possibility of getting the rights back to the series of crime thrillers I'd written, set in the Bahamas. To cut a long story short, I got the rights back and also offered them to Sharpe with the same result.
They too will be out shortly.
My thanks to Paul Walker and Richard Foreman of Sharpe, for rebooting my career, To my son, Iain Maynard for his excellent work on my LMP books and the Jack Callum series, and finally to Mick Sims for the long and bumpy ride in the journey to be a writer and whose friendship has never wavered.
As my old school song said, Keep Striving, Onwards and Upwards to the Stars. We used to joke about it at the time. But, never a truer word...
A girl’s body is found in Hertfordshire.
Her eyes and mouth have been sewn shut. Candle wax has been poured into her ears to seal them.
DCI Jack Callum, policeman and dedicated family man, who cut his teeth walking the beat on the violent streets of London, before moving his family away from the city, to a safer, more restful life in the country, leads the investigation into this gruesome crime that shatters the peace of the sleepy English town.
Images of three monkeys are sent to the police to taunt them: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Something more sinister than a mere isolated murder seems to be going on as more victims come to light.
Who is doing this and why?
At the insistence of the first victim’s father, a local dignitary, officers from Scotland Yard are brought in to bring about a speedy conclusion to the case, side-lining Jack’s own investigation.
In a nail-biting climax, one of Jack’s daughters is snatched. Before she can become the next victim, Jack has to go against the orders of his superiors that have constantly hampered his investigation, and risk his own career in an attempted rescue at the killer’s own home.
A body of a man wearing theatrical make up is found hanging from a tree on Norton Common in Hertfordshire. He has been tortured and his throat has been cut.
DCI Jack Callum, a veteran policeman with his own rules for procedure, heads the investigation into this puzzling crime. The clues lead him close to the answer, but the solution remains elusive.
Why was the man killed?
What were the victim’s links to London’s gangland bosses?
When an unsolved murder is uncovered that appears to be connected to the case, Jack realises he must use his team to their full strength to separate the innocent from the guilty.
Jack also faces a challenge he never expected as he is accused of an improper relationship with a young Detective Constable on his team, Myra Banks.
In a breathless climax, Myra puts her own life on the line to deal with a figure from Jack’s past, who has now become a lethal threat in the present.
Sister Bernadette, a noviciate nun is found murdered in the chapel of a local orphanage. She has been stabbed repeatedly and her body violated.
DCI Jack Callum, an uncompromising London policeman seeking a more peaceful life in rural Hertfordshire, is called in to investigate.
He assembles his team.
The post-mortem produces an unexpected result, Sister Bernadette was pregnant at the time of her death, and suspicion falls upon Father Martin Harvey, a young priest, with whom Bernadette worked closely.
Powerful members of the local community, including Marcus Pennington, a local businessman, and Canon Flood, the head of the local diocese, are determined erase the stain the scandal has caused, but for very different reasons.
Further violence is unleashed as the dark secrets of these seemingly devout people are exposed by Jack’s unflinching investigation.
In a gripping climax a young policeman finds himself in a deadly situation and Jack has to use all his guile and experience to save the man’s life, as well as his own.
Music mogul Harry Franks is found viciously murdered in his opulent Hertfordshire home.
Initially the finger of suspicion initially points to his young lover, Neville Parrish.
The tenacious DCI Jack Callum, who has transferred to the leafy countryside to get away from the increasingly violent capital, is called in to investigate. But the more secrets he uncovers about Franks’ life, the more the dark tentacles of London’s underworld reach out, dragging him back to bloody streets of London.
As the investigation continues, Jack discovers that the victim’s life was one of intrigue and depravity - and the list of suspects begins to grow.
Bunny Starling, Franks’ business partner has her own reasons for wanting him dead, as does James Lovegood, a wealthy financier whose home was the venue of some of the most debauched parties Franks attended.
When Bunny Starling is killed the stakes are raised.
In a breathless chase through the city of London, the killer is finally cornered in one of the capital’s most iconic underground stations, where the violent and tragic story reaches its brutal climax.
Out walking his dog, Chief Superintendent Henry Lane, the head of the Welwyn and Hatfield police station, is attacked and savagely murdered.
Lane’s second in command, DCI Jack Callum, an ex-Metropolitan Police Officer who has moved himself and his family from London, to the less violent streets of rural Hertfordshire, has the investigation taken out of his hands to ensure objectivity.
The case is passed to Superintendent Albert Beckett, a veteran Scotland Yard detective who begins his own inquiry.
Why was Lane killed?
As the investigation continues it becomes clear that the more secrets Jack and Beckett uncover, the denser the web of intrigue gets.
Familiar names, like that of financier James Lovegood, and the gutter-press journalist, Neil Clarke seem inextricably linked to Lane’s murder.
When an attempt is made on Clarke’s life and one of Jack’s junior officers sustains a near-fatal injury, Jack and Beckett decide it’s time for the gloves to come off.
It’s time to uncover the truth about the sins of the fathers.
After a Saturday night out at a Professional Wrestling show in Stevenage , Dawn Peterson, an ex-school friend of Jack’s eldest daughter, is brutally attacked and left for dead in a disused factory.
As he is called to investigate her murder, Jack Callum, now seeking a more peaceful life in rural Hertfordshire, discovers that he was one of the last people to see Dawn alive, rescuing her from an abusive boyfriend and giving her a lift home after the show.
Aided in the investigation by Sergeant Frank Lesser, who had been moonlighting as a masked wrestler, Jack is drawn into a shadowy world where everything is far from what it seems, where heroes and villains are interchangeable.
Delving deeper into Dawn Peterson’s troubled life they find that, when not pursuing wrestlers around the country, Dawn was a nurse at Boswell House, a local home for retired theatricals.
Drugs, crime and money are bedfellows.
As the worlds of professional wrestling and variety theatre come together, Jack discovers dark undercurrents which unite them.
In a gripping climax that almost costs him his life, Jack discovers that justice can be bloody.
This is the sixth Department 18 supernatural mystery.
Out now as a Kindle book and in Paperback.
To view all our Cemetery Dance novels and the rest of available Maynard Sims titles, click on the link below.
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