In my working life I had a rather boring career in town planning, property development and regeneration, never rising above middle management. At least I paid the mortgage and took three kids through university. But wait. Boring? In my very first job I landed smack in the middle of the Poulson scandal, the tendrils of which reached from the little town of Chester-le-Street in County Durham to the top of British politics (Google it, you’ll be amazed). I later observed the Derek Hatton/Militant phenomenon at close quarters in Liverpool. And after the fall of the Soviet Union I was helping a Russian entrepreneur to find a factory in the north west of England where he could manufacture incredible quantities of vodka. The project came to an abrupt end when his body was found in a forest near Moscow, a victim of the Russian mafia. Allegedly.
Then I worked for a few years as a regeneration consultant and met a number of dodgy and colourful characters. This gave me an understanding of how you might launder large quantities of ill-gotten money – not direct experience, obviously – and put the idea in my head of writing crime novels.
I was born in Middlesbrough under the shadow of the steel mills but have lived for most of my life in a leafy suburb of Liverpool with my wife Paula and retriever Eira (that’s Welsh for ‘snow’ but she’s getting more and more golden. I give up).
In my younger days I was a keen athlete with enough success – county schoolboys record, english universities title – to give me an understanding of running and athletics – another theme in my books. Yet another theme is climbing and, whilst I was never cutting edge, I managed some of the best routes in the country and rubbed shoulders with some well-known climbers. I am still a keen rock climber but time and injury have meant that I can no longer claim to be a hardman. Ah, nostalgia’s not what it used to be… My other interests range from doing up old buildings to the environment (I am a member of the RSPB).