Meet the Author – C.J. Grayson

Most Tuesday nights in my household are a bit dull. Normally I make a bit of tea, walk the dog, perhaps do a bit at the allotment if the weather is dry, then it’s persuading the toddler that it’s bath and bedtime. Not this week!
This week I had the joy of spending my Tuesday night attending a local author event at Cockerton Library in Darlington to meet crime novelist C.J. Grayson.


Grayson launched his debut novel, Someone’s There in 2019 and followed this up with the Byrd and Tanzy Trilogy based in his home town, Darlington.

Chris’s talk was really inspiring, he happily covered everything from his busy home life, writing inspirations, the self-publishing process and aspirations for future books. I took some notes and thought I would share them here (any errors I do apologise, I was trying to do this both subtly and hastily so that I could keep up).

·  What was the first thing you ever wrote?

Chris told us how he wrote a book as a teenager and then again in his early twenties. Looking back he jokingly confessed they weren’t very good but the drive to write his stories was there from a young age.

·  What inspired you to write your book?

Chris told us how his wife is always forgetting his phone and how it sparked the core of his first novel. He tells how the main protagonist rings his wife’s missing phone, but when he remembers seeing it downstairs earlier in the kitchen, he goes to hang up, only for it to be answered by strangers who’ve broken into the house. The strangers are looking for something specific. He said from there the novel grew quite organically until it formed “Someone’s there” his debut novel.

All of his novels have started from that initial ‘what-if’

·  Do you do a lot of research?

Chris told us that his books require a lot of research particularly the crime/police/procedural elements to his novel as this is not his background. He also said he uses a police officer friend to help proofread his books to try to keep them as accurate as the story allows.

·  Are there any locations that have a special connection for you or the book?

Chris told us how all of his Byrd and Tanzy Trilogy is based in Darlington, with several well-known areas appearing. He said he had even used his childhood home as one of the locations used in the novel.

·  Who do you enjoy reading?

Chris enjoys reading most crime novels although admitted he didn’t get as much time as he’d like to read (do any of us?!). His favourite genre to read is crime and he has been enjoying the novels by L.J. Ross.

·  What’s next?

Chris is currently working on his 5th novel….HIDDEN PIECES with a new setting in Manchester and a new female protagonist DS April Fisher.

Big thank you to C.J. Grayson for a wonderful evening’s entertainment (and to Cockerton Libraries, the fantastic hosts). I have my signed copy of his trilogy eagerly added to my to-read pile and can’t wait to crack on with it.

Check out C.J. Grayson’s Amazon Author Page for more info and see his wonderful collection of publications. His books start at just 99p or are FREE to read for those with Kindle Unlimited subscriptions.

KL Caley with C.J. GRAYSON

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Review of A High Mortality of Doves – 3 Stars

A High Mortality of Doves by Kate Ellis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Premise: Flora Winsmore, the local doctor’s daughter, worked as a volunteer nurse during the war. Now working alongside her father as little more than a receptionist she wishes for more. Within quick succession, several women have been murdered and the ponderous local police force fail to identify the killer, the victims mount up, and the powers-that-be call in Scotland Yard’s Inspector Albert Lincoln.

I often think it’s useful to see an extract of a book to get an idea of the writing style. Here is a brief extract so that you can see a sample of the writing yourself:

‘I thought you were going to the Cottage Hospital,’ I say as soon as he’s within earshot.
He looks annoyed, like a man whose plans have been thwarted. ‘Sergeant Teague has made a telephone call… to London.’ There is a note of awe in his voice as he pronounces the name of the capital.
‘If the same murderer’s responsible it means they’ll have to release Jack Blemthwaite,’ I say. ‘Surely they can’t think he’s guilty now.’
Father shakes his head. ‘I suspect that was the purpose of Teague’s call. He’s calling a detective from London. Scotland Yard. He will let me know when he receives a reply. I am told the detective might wish to attend the post mortem so it’s been postponed.

Viewpoint: This story is told from multiple viewpoints and the timeline contains many flashbacks to the time of the war.

Character(s): The main two characters Flora and Albert are both strong with their own personal complicated histories they are working through. There is a cast of other characters, many of whom are equally caught up in the aftershock of the war trauma, with their own secrets, lies and grief distorting the investigation.
Setting: The novel is set in 1919 in a Derbyshire village. Ellis captures the village life excellently with its gossips, loyalties to manor houses and landowners, and the life of a country doctor called upon for all jobs. She also captures that small-mindedness that is sometimes felt amongst a rural community. It also helps bring an air of both sophistication and isolation to Albert. He is an outsider so not trusted but also a Londoner, so he is granted a degree of respectability.

Any Negatives: I am a massive fan of Kate Ellis, I think she is one of my favourite authors but I found this book a rather challenging read at times. I can’t quite put my finger on why, it feels very heavy and repetitive in places, it’s quite slow and laboursome at times to get to the action (which is unusual considering the body count). I don’t know, it wasn’t the worst, it just wasn’t the best for me either. I’m really glad I didn’t let it put me off as the ending was great.

Overall View: Brilliant concept. I love some of the historical details woven into the story. The love affair and guilt associated was great. However, in other areas, the plot was a bit slow and cumbersome. A very strong ending.

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Extract – A High Mortality of Doves