More From Hidden Truths

More from Hidden Truths, a psychological thriller dealing with a recent incident and flashbacks of a childhood event. As a father and his daughter launch seperate investigations into what really happened, the daughter begins to suspect that someone is following her.  The events that follow trigger off flashbacks of a past event in her early childhood. Meanwhile, the father is unaware that he, too, is being watched.   Read opening lines in the father’s viewpoint.

The story is told from two perspectives – father and daughter.  The following material is from the viewpoint of the daughter.

She found a spot at the other side of the sea front café and remained there until eight, lost in the mystery of the sea and the evening heat and the taste of the salty air. When her watch bleeped on the hour, she got up and started back towards the cliff path, before the sun set and darkness fell.

This was always the worst bit, the walk to the top on her own that lasted fifteen minutes. Unless she approached the path via the promenade road or went into town and took the steep grassy climb by the roundabout – equally secluded – there was no other way up to the cottage. 

The sun had begun to settle over the horizon, its pink grapefruit glow blending with the sea. In the distance, a group of youths milled around the entrance to the amusement arcade while a family with a couple of young daughters strolled past the town’s central square, the mother and one of the girls holding hands. An elderly couple came out of a restaurant and wandered towards the main hotel on the promenade. Stung by nostalgia, she hurried on. 

She walked as fast as she could, panting from the path’s steep gradient that got worse with every footstep she took, the closeness in the air making her hot and light headed. She had to stop several times to get her breath back. The stillness was thickening, the beginning of dusk making the path ahead look darker. The quietness had taken on an oppressive quality of its own, like a shadow lurking nearby, watching her make her way up the cliff.

She felt a shudder pass through her and paused to look back a couple of times. Nothing. The taut stillness kept thickening, reminding her of a swarm of bees about to attack.

The shore below appeared deserted. She attempted to run the rest of the trail, the oceanic roar of blood in her head drowning out the soft movement of the tide below, fresh dusk shadows forming ahead on the pathway.

Summer storms. Dark skies in the middle of the day. Rain blowing in gales across fields, wind tearing at fences and telegraph poles. Police officers and search parties with torches, trudging through the bleak countryside in Wellington boots, searching for Katie.

Pushing aside memories of that other summer twenty-three years ago, she ran towards the lane of cottages, visible now in the fading daylight, fighting against the breathlessness and the humid heat, until a stitch in her side finally forced her to stop by a bench near the top. She slowed the tempo to brisk waking pace, her shins and thighs aching from the exertion, specs of light dancing before her eyes from the continuing mugginess.

Her unease kept growing. Thunderstorms were on their way, she knew. A whole barrage of them. Another summer of storms, like those summer storms twenty-three years ago when Katie disappeared. Normally dismissive of claims about senses of foreboding, she shivered and glanced back down the path. Nothing.

With all the strength she could muster, she strode on towards the lane of cottages, wincing from the stitch in her side and the cramp in her leg muscles. Five minutes later, she arrived back at the cottage, out of breath. From the front gate, she could see that the light she’d left on in the hallway earlier was still on. A promising sign.

The gate scraped against the pavement when she opened it and she made her way across the unkempt stretch of grass in the centre of the garden to the front door. Suddenly, she heard a rustle of movement nearby.

‘Who’s there?’  Silence.

She fumbled around for her keys, her hands shaking as more taunt stillness pressed in, bringing with it images of shadows waiting in the lane. For a second or two, she thought she heard footsteps a few yards away.

Then, the sounds stopped and the stillness returned. Thrusting the key in the lock, she pushed the front door open and ran into the hallway without glancing round, shutting the door with a slam. She put the chain over the lock.

She tiptoed upstairs, across the landing in the dusk twilight, and perching low, crept towards the window where she peered out at the lane. Nothing.  There were no signs of movement or everything suspicious, only the cliff tops and the dwindling evening light.


A New Writing Excerpt

From Hidden Truths, a psychological thriller dealing with a recent murder and flashbacks of a childhood event.  The story is told from two perspectives – father and daughter.  The following material is from the viewpoint of the father:

All nights are bad, but some worse than others.  Tonight, I can’t sleep.  I long for winter or autumn, for the damp and cold, for the rain and wind.  The summer heat is stifling, making it impossible for me to forget that other summer.  Tonight, I see not only Dawn, but her younger sister Katie as well.  Both are fair skinned with hair the colour of hay, like their mother’s, but Dawn’s hair is shorter than her sister’s.  Recently, Dawn has taken to acting like a tomboy and climbing trees.  She has cuts and grazes on both knees.

Katie likes to wear her hair down to her waist and is fiercely protective of her favourite doll.  I see the girls hurrying along the road above the coast, tasting the salty air and listening to the seagulls in the distance, the sand from their sandals scraping on the tarmac in the summer heat.  Ahead lies the sea. The tide is out, the water still and calm.  The sand is smooth, but further ahead stands a line of cliffs with treacherous side paths and drops…

A Writing Tip

Avoid printing off work at the end of your writing day unless you’re fully satisfied with it.   Sounds pretty obvious, but this advice really helps.   There is no reason why a writer shouldn’t stop in the middle of a chapter or section.  (See article on backing up work.)

I’m still working on quite a sensitive writing project, but I hope to return to the novel about a therapist who is forced to build a new life for herself following her relase from prison for a murder she has no recollection of commiting.  Only her father believes she is innocent of the crime.  As father and daughter launch seperate investigations into what really happened, the therapist begins to suspect that someone is following her.  The events that follow trigger off flashbacks of a past event in her early childhood….meanwhile, the father is unaware that he, too, is being watched.

An e-Book Review

e-Book review of Manhunt

Manhunt, written by Jack Holbrook, is the first of a series of novellas featuring Detective Constable Alexandra Bertolissio of the Queensland Police Service. Alexandra has a number of family issues and is undervalued in her job. In Manhunt, the detective is assigned to the murder of a young woman. After a second murder, Alexandra becomes suspicious of a young man seen close to the murder site and requests a search warrant of his premises, only for her employer to accuse her of being unreasonable…

My thoughts?


Having never read an e-book before, I wasn’t sure of what to expect. However, I thought the writing was mostly excellent. In particular, Robert’s character is well-placed from the start. The author convincingly shows the reader the two sides to Robert, painting a picture of a highly complicated, potentially dangerous individual. The tension builds up steadily, leading to a frightening showdown at the end.

I would certainly recommended this novella.


Please check out Jack’s website for further details.




An Online Recording

I spent a couple of hours this morning at a friend’s flat, recording the Grieg piano sonata in E minor, along with a couple of Chopin preludes and the Liszt’s fifth Hungarian Rhapsody. My friend will go through the various tracks and send the files back to me.

Elsewhere, I’m plugging away at my latest writing project and am waiting to hear back from the editor in regards to my first novel.

Writing and Legal Matters

So far…I’ve written two novels, both psychological thrillers.  The first is with a professional editor, the second with a friend who apparently thinks the story is very exciting.

The fiction over for a while, I’ve been working on a sensitive writing project that I may eventually self-publish under a pseudonym – my memories of childhood written in dramatic narrative with careful consideration given to imagery and pace.   The project has brought to mind various legal points.   I’m based in the UK, but I would imagine that similar laws exist in the States:

  • Never quote lines of lyrics or poems without first getting permission from the publisher or copyright owner
  • Don’t write anything that harms a person’s reputation
  • If neccesary, disguise names and places
  • Do not reveal information about a minor
  • Don’t include material that incites others to commit crimes
  • Always exercise caution

The Musical Express – A New Website

I’m trying to build a new website with a static homepage like a traditional website.  Yesterday, I attempted to build the site on an online WYSIWYG web publishing platform, but the results were so frustratingly catastrophic, I ended up ditching my attempts and putting together a basic site on WordPress.  I’m still trying to find ways of simplifying the FrontPage, so that only the link pages are displayed.   Fitting a Blog elsewhere on the site raised a few problems at first.

I’m planning to devote the new site to music and the piano, and to keep this Blog as a creative writing site, with updates on the novel writing.

Hay Fever Season

It’s that time of the year again.  I can’t stop sneezing and my throat keeps tickling from the pollen.   Basically, I’m keeping busy with the music and writing, working on a recital programme of piano works by Liszt and Chopin.  

In regards to the writing…the other day I sent my first novel, a psychological thriller, for professional editing.