RIFT

Rift is an adventure story about an ingenue called Fay Jassahn who travels up the Rift Valley from Kenya to Ethiopia and then doesn't know how to get home.

It's based on a trip I made myself at a time of famine and revolution. All the places are real, as are a lot of the characters and some of the events. I should not have been there, because to witness events like those and yet be able to do nothing to help made me part of the problem. I thought about it for over 10 years before I dared write about it. But even after 10 years, the trip was, in memory, still so catastrophic that I needed to face it and try to make sense of the experience.

I don't actually believe that writing a novel was the appropriate response, but it's the only skill I can use to remind people about other, godforsaken parts of the world where ordinary folk, just like you and me, endure or die in unbelievable suffering.

Even as I write this - July 08 - the Horn of Africa is facing another catastrophe, provoked by climate, rising food prices, the cost of oil and the criminal neglect of bad or no government. It's the same stuff that makes you and me complain at the gas station or wince at the supermarket check-out. But the stuff that merely pisses us off actually kills them - kills their children and makes them watch their families die.

Selected Works

Don't judge a book by its cover, or a bag lady by her appearance. "I didn't always look like this," she says. "Being barmy doesn't mean I'm stupid." Lady Bag does have her problems - her close relationship with cheap red wine, for example. When she gets hammered she talks to her dog. When she's extra-hammered her dog talks to her. Guess who makes better sense. She and her greyhound, Electra, wander through the streets of London, seeing a Dickensian side of the capital city that's only visible to the homeless. Together they accept the kindness or unkindness of strangers with the same wry patience. Until, on one dreadful day, they meet the Devil outside the National Portrait Gallery.
All Birdie Walker wants is some justice for her husband, Jack. But since Jack was a rock star and the justice has to come from the music business, Birdie absolutely has to take some extreme measures.Click on the title for more information.
Short stories
All my short stories up to 2003 are in this collection. It includes two written specially. Click on the title for a bit about how I came to write short stories and more information.
The Anna Lee series
I wrote six novels about Anna Lee. Click on the titles for more information.
The Eva Wylie series
Professional wrestler Eva Wylie appeared in three novels in the '90s. Click on the titles for more information.
The other stand-alone novel...
This novel is set in the Ethiopia of the 1970s. Click on the title for more information.
The story collections I co-edited for Britain's Crime Writers' Association.
In the early '90s I helped edit these three books - aiming them to be more annuals than anthologies. They include many things we're proud to have published. Click on the titles for more information.