Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow In London

It's been snowing in London, which is great so that my daughter Sam gets to play in the snow for the first time ever. The bad news is that I was booked on the Eurostar to Paris just as they cancelled all its services.

At least it's given me the chance to get more work done on the new Jack Nightingale book. I've just hit 47,000 words so I'm on target to finish it by the end of January. It'll probably be called Midnight.... In the book Jack is searching for his sister, whose soul has been sold to a particularly nasty devil. I'm having great fun with it!

The first Nightingale book - NIghtfall - will be on the shelves in four weeks - it'll be interesting to see how it sells because it's very different from my regular thrillers. Fingers crossed.

I hope you all have a great Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

And Money From Ghana - Not!

From: Mr.Henry Kwesi
Plot No.7-Flat 4 Kweku Innocent Crescent,
Labadi district
Accra - Ghana.
(RE: TRANSFER OF ($ 42,000.000.00 USD}
We want to transfer to overseas ($ 42,000.000.00 USD) from a prime bank here in Ghana, I want to ask you to quietly look for a reliable and honest person who
will be capable and fit to provide either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank a/c immediately to receive this money, even an empty a/c can serve
to receive this money, as long as you will remain honest to me till the end of this important business trusting in you and believing in God that you will
never let me down either now or in future.
I am Mr.Henry Kwesi, Director of International Relation with a bank here in Ghana, during the course of our auditing I discovered a floating fund in an
account opened in the bank in 2001 and since 2002 nobody has operated on this account again, after going through some old files in the records I discovered
that the owner of the account died without a [heir] hence the money is floating and if I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for
The owner of this account is Mr. Louis Kennedy, a foreigner, and a sailor, and he died since 2002. And no other person knows about this account or any thing
concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that Late Mr. Louis Kennedy was the manager of K.Louis.(Gh).
LTD. We will start the first transfer with Twelve Million USD [$12,000.000.00] upon successful transaction without any disappoint from your side, we shall
re-apply for the payment of the remaining amount to your account, The amount involved is (USD 42M) I want to first transfer $12,000.000 [Twelve Million
United States Dollar from this money into a safe foreigners account abroad before the rest, but I don't know any foreigner in my life, I am only contacting
you as a foreigner because this money can not be approved to a local person here, without valid international foreign passport, but can only be approved to
any foreigner with valid international passport or drivers license and foreign a/c because the money is in US dollars and the former owner of the a/c Mr.
Louis Kennedy was a foreigner too, [and the money can only be approved into a foreign a/c. Arrange your A/c and send it to me as follows for the processing
of the payment:
Bank name.....................
Bank address...................
Account name...............
Account no.......................
Routing no..........
Swift code...............
Bank phone/fax..........................................
Your telephone number home, office or Mobile.
I got your contact address from my secretary who operates computer and I am revealing this to you with believe in God that you will never let me down in this
business, you are the first and the only person that I am contacting for this business, so please reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to
take. Send also your private telephone and fax number including the full details of the account to be used for the deposit as started above. I need your full
co-operation to make this work fine. Because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has correct information of this account,
which I will give to you, upon your positive response and once I am convinced that you are capable and will meet up with instruction of a key bank official
who is helping us in this business.
I need your strong assurance that you will never let me down; with the influence and the position of the key bank official we can transfer this money to any
foreigner’s reliable account which you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending our physical arrival in your country for sharing.
The bank official will destroy all documents of transaction immediately we receive this money leaving to no trace to any place and to build confidence, you
can come immediately to discuss with me face to face after which I will make this remittance in your presence and three of us will fly to your country at
least two days ahead of the money going into the account.
I will apply for annual leave to get visa immediately I hear from you that you are ready to act and receive this fund in your account. I will apply for the
legal approvals for onward transfer of this money to your account with appropriate clearance from the relevant ministries and Foreign Exchange Departments.
At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 30% of the total amount, 60% will be for me,5% will be for expenses both parties might have incurred
during the process of transferring and 5% will be for orphanage homes. I look forward to hear from you as soon as possible if you are interested.

Yours Sincerely,
Mr.Henry Kwesi

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Scam Letter From The FBI - Not!

This is one of the most ambitious scam emails I've ever received - claiming to be from the director of the FBI, no less!

Attn: Beneficiary

This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we
have thoroughly Investigated with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring
Network System that you are having an illegal Transaction with Impostors claiming to be Prof. Charles C. Soludo of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Mr Frank Nweke, none officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, kelvin Young of HSBC, Ben of Fedex,Ibrahim Sule,Larry Christopher, Puppy Scammers are impostors claiming to be the Federal Bureau Of Investigation.

During our Investigation, we noticed that the reason why you have not
received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial
Obligation given to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment. Therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment in total USD$11,000.000.00 in an ATM CARD which you can use to withdraw money from any ATM MACHINE CENTER anywhere in the world with a maximum of $4000 to $5000 United States Dollars daily.

You now have the lawful right to claim your fund in an ATM CARD.Since the
Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in this transaction, you have
to be rest assured for this is 100% risk free it is our duty to protect the
American Citizens.All I want you to do is to contact the ATM CARD CENTER
via email for their requirements to proceed and procure your Approval Slip on your behalf which will cost you $180usd only and note that your Approval Slip
which contains details of the agent who will process your transaction.

NAME: Kelvin Williams
Telephone Numbers: +234-7066868630

Do contact Mr. Kelvin Williams of the ATM CARD CENTRE with your details:


So that your files would be updated after which he will send the payment
information's which you'll use in making payment of $180usd via Western
Union Money Transfer or Money Gram Transfer for the procurement of your Approval Slip after which the delivery of your ATM CARD will be effected to your designated home address without any further delay.We order you get back to this office after you have contacted the ATM SWIFT CARD CENTER and we do await your response so we can move on with our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you.

Thanks and hope to read from you soon.

FBI Director Robert S.Mueller III.

Note: Do disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices
claiming to be in possession of your ATM CARD, you are hereby advised only
to be in contact with Mr. Kelvin Williams of the ATM CARD CENTER who is the
rightful person to deal with in regards to your ATM CARD PAYMENT and
forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act upon and commence investigation. possession of your ATM CARD, you are hereby advised only to be in contact with Mr. Kelvin Williams of the ATM CARD CENTER who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your ATM CARD PAYMENT and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act upon and commence investigation.So your files would be updated after which he will send the payment information's which you'll use in making payment of $180usd via Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram Transfer for the procurement of your Approval Slip after which the delivery of your ATM CARD will be effected to your designated home address without any further delay.We order you get back to this office after you have contacted the ATM SWIFT CARD CENTER and we do await your response so we can move on with our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you.

Thanks and hope to read from you soon.

FBI Director Robert S.Mueller III.

Note: Do disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Nightingale Cover

The Hodder creative people have come up with a new cover idea for Nightfall, which will be published early next year. This latest version doesn't have a figure, and I think it looks good. Maybe still some tweaking to do....

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I'm hard at work on the second Jack Nightingale book (might be called Midnight, might be called Nightmare) and as always the research is more interesting than the writing. I'm trying to find out how to summon devils, and I'm looking at funerals too. Just got a list of the ten most popular pop songs played at funerals. Well over half of the funerals in the UK now feature pop music as the last song played and a lot of the clergy aren't happy about it!

Anyway, here's the list, in reverse order:

10 "Unforgettable" Nat King Cole
09 "You'll Never Walk Alone" Gerry & The Pacemakers
08 "I Will Always Love You" Whitney Houston
07 "My Heart Will Go On" Celine Dion
06 "You Raise Me Up" Westlife/Boyzone/Josh Grobin
05 "Over The Rainbow" Eva Cassidy
04 "Angels" Robbie Williams
03 "Time To Say Goodbye" Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli
02 "Wind Beneath My Wings" Bette Midler/Celine Dion
01 "My Way" Frank Sinatra/Shirley Bassey

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Private Dancer In Estonian

Private Dancer has been translated into Estonian! How cool is that? It's already been released in French, German, Hunagrian, Latvian and Swedish. I'm sort of working on a sequel, provisionally to be called Another Private Dancer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Changi Airport In Singapore

I was in Singapore yesterday and saw my books on display at Changi Airport, which made me feel good. Most of the books on sale were Private Dancer and Confessions Of A Bangkok Private Eye, published by my mate Phil Tatham of Monsoon Books.

Changi Airport is one of the best airports in the world and it puts Heathrow Terminal Three to shame. It's efficient, never crowded, and everyone who works there - from sales people to immigration officials - are pleasant, friendly and polite. I fly a lot and I am always impressed with Changi Airport and disgusted with Heathrow Terminal Three.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Money In Iraq

Yet another scam email - this time from Iraq of all places!

From Sgt. Eric Richardson Frawley.

Good Friend,

This is Sgt. Eric Frawley of the US 3rd Infantry Division in Kalsu South West of Iskandariya of Iraq. I will like to share some very vital information that would bring some good financial returns to us in just a few weeks or days depending on how fast we pursue the matter.

I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of $25.7m to your safe custody, as long
as I can be assured that it will be safe in your care until I complete my service here.

Confirm this on:

This may not be the best medium to make this kind of contact because of the numerous
scam offers transmitted through the Internet, but it is all I have access to for now.

I will be very grateful if you can give me the opportunity to discuss this matter with you by assuring me that you will not use any part of it against me in anyway, I hope you Understand my limitations here. I will await a mail from you.

Sincere Regards,
Eric Frawley

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Shelf To Myself In Bangkok's Kinokuniya Store!

I went into the Kinokuniya bookstore in Bangkok yesterday and saw that they had given my books a shelf of their own. Brilliant!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jack Nightingale Website

The Nightingale website is done, the first version anyway! You can see it at

I have already bought and will be putting the site there in a few days.

I think it works really well and will hopefully pull in new readers! We'll see.

I have finally bought a Mac, of which more later!

I am now writing the new Jack Nightingale book, which will be called either Midnight or Nightmare, to follow on from Nightfall. Only done 4,000 words so far but I'm having fun doing it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Now Mr Smart Wants to Give Me Money!

TEL: +27-788-272-233
Dear Sir,

After my official enquiry from the international trade center Johannesburg South Africa , I found your profile very interesting and decided to reach you directly to solicit for your assistance and guidelines in making a business investment and transfer of £76,500,000.00 to your country within the next few days.

Please I must plead for your confidence in this transaction. I am a high placed official working with Department of (Finance & Economic Affairs), in Johannesburg. I and two other colleagues are currently in need of a silent foreign partner whose identity we can use to transfer this sum of money, but at this moment, I am constrained to issue more details about this profitable business investment until I get your response by email or fax, please if you can take out a moment of your very busy schedule today to respond back to my private email or fax above for more details and include your private telephone number in your response which I and my colleagues will highly appreciate.

This fund accrued legitimately to us as commission from foreign contracts, through our private connections. The fund is presently waiting to be remitted from the bank here in South Africa to any overseas beneficiary confirmed by us as associate/receiver. By virtue of our positions as civil servants in my country, we cannot acquire this money in our names.

Because as high placed civil servants, we are not allowed by the civil service code of conduct to own or operate bank accounts outside of our shores. On the other hand, it is not safe for us to keep the money here due to unstable political environment. I have been mandated as a matter of trust by my colleagues, to look for an overseas silent partner who could work with us to facilitate transfer of this fund for our mutual benefit, hence the reason for this letter. My proposal is that after you receive the funds, it would be shared as follows:

(1) 25% to you as commission for your co-operation and assistance in facilitating the transfer, while the remaining 75% belongs to me and two colleagues. You will be free to take out your commission immediately after the money hits your account in your country. Since our objective is to invest the money in a foreign country, it would be appreciated if you could also help us with advices and direction on investing into profitable ventures in your country.

However, this is optional, and if it is not convenient for you to further assist us with investing the money, we can end our cooperation after you make available to me our part of the money. The transaction, although discrete, is legitimate and the money will be transferred successful with all necessary back-up official documents showing the legitimate source/origin of fund. The transfer will be affected within a period not longer than two weeks as soon as we reach an agreement and you furnish me with a suitable response indicating your interest for processing the transfer. I plead with you on one issue, whether you are interested or not, kindly do not expose this information to any one else.

I confirm that the transaction is legitimate and without any risks either to yourself or us. Please, give me your response immediately by phone call, email or fax.

Yours Faithfully,

Mr. Smart Mbeki.
Finance & Economic Affairs Dept. Johannesburg South Africa

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mr Zongo Wants To Give Me Some Money!

By your host: Jerre Zongo

Date: Saturday September 19, 2009
Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm (GMT +00:00)
Street: I received encouraging information about you and how trustworhty you are.I am delighted with such a useful information.I am the manager of auditing and Accounting department of BANK OF AFRICA (B.O.A) Ouagadougou Burkina faso. I Hoped that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that i am about to repose on you for the mutual benefit of our both families. I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of ($25.5)million to your account within 10 or 14 banking days.This money has been dormant for years in our Bank without claim. I want the bank to release the money to you as the nearest person to our deceased customer(the owner of the account)who died alongside with his supposed next of kin in an air crash since July 2000. I don't want the money to go into our Bank treasurer as an abandoned fund. So this is the reason why i contacted you so that the bank can release the money to you as the next of kin to the deceased customer. Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret and delete it if you are not interested. Upon receipt of your reply i will give you full details on how the business will be executed.Waiting to hear from you soonest. Please you should contact me through my Alternative Email address which is:( )for security reasons. Thanks with best regards, Yours truly, Mr jerre Zongo

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nightfall Cover

I've just been given the proposed cover for Nightfall - I think it's brilliant!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nightingale Website

I'm hard at work trying to design a website to promote the Jack Nightingale book, Nightfall. Nightfall will be published in January next year and because it's so different from my regular thrillers I want to do something a little different to publicise it.

The hard work is being done by a very talented website designer in New Zealand by the name of Andy Foulds.

You can follow our progress here!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Whew, I finally finished Rough Justice at two o'clock in the morning. It came in at just over 143,000 words. I'll now run it by a couple of close friends to see what they think, and assuming it's ok I'll send it to Hodder next week. If all goes to plan it should be on the shelves in June next year.

As always, there was no great feeling of achievement when I finished. That's partly because I wrote the ending over three months ago, and the final bit I wrote was simply a linking section, tying two scenes together. I just sat back and smiled, stored it, and played internet poker for an hour or so. I did win $65 playing in a tournament and that I did feel like celebrating!

And of course the book isn't really finished. I'll polish it when my friends have read it, then my editor will make broad-brush editing suggestions, then it will go through a line edit, then I have to read the proofs.

And there's no let up on the writing front, either! I have to deliver the new Jack Nightingale book by January, so I have to get right on it. It'll probably be about 110,000 words long....

I already have the plot of the Dan Shepherd book for 2011 sorted - and I will have to deliver that by July/August next year. It's a bit of a treadmill but I'm quite excited about delivering two books a year for the next two years!

The cover for Rough Justice has changed a little bit. Scroll down a bit and have a look at the earlier version and see if you can spot the change. I feel I should offer a prize, but I won't! The change was my suggestion, and while it's tiny it is important!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yet More Money From South Africa!

26th August 2009

My name is Mr. Mbeki Lucas, I am a South African man by birth and resident in
Spain. I am a sale and account manager in a financial Consultancy firm here in
Madrid. My Company is mandated to source for reliable investors in the World
over to invest available funds in profitable business ventures.

Please, get back to me to enable me forward more information to you all we need
is to ascertain your credibility, resourcefulness and experience.

I earnestly await your response.

Mr Mbeki Lucas
Sales and Account consultant
Edifica Caja de,Avinguda
Madrid Spain

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Easy Money!


TEL; +27746615264


Dear Sir,

May I have the pleasure of introducing myself? I am Mr. Brown Shabangu a senior staff and chairman of Tender Board Committee on the award of contracts in Department of Works and Housing here in South Africa . I got your email from an international directory on lawyers and advisers on international business in my quest to find a trustworthy person on whom I can repose confidence for colossal international money transaction. My aim of sending this "business proposal" to you is to solicit for your assistance and co-operation to transfer some huge amount of money into your account overseas. Therefore, this communication should be held in high confidence.

My colleague and I in the Department of Works and Land Affairs wish to transfer into a safe and secured account overseas, the sum of US$32,500,000.00 (Thirty Two Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) which is over-invoiced amount from contracts we awarded to foreign contractors who have been duly paid on completion of their various contracts. This money right now is in a coded account in the Reserve Bank of South Africa . However, by virtue of our position as civil servants, we cannot acquire these funds in our names or in the names of companies here in South Africa . I was therefore asked by my colleagues on trust and sincerity to look for a reliable international outfit partner abroad into whose account the sum of US$32.5 Million will be transferred. We have agreed on the following sharing ratio if you accept our proposal. Seventy percent (70%) for us and Thirty percent (30%) for you the Account owner.

My choice of you for this transaction is basically hanged on your field and profession, hence this business proposal. If you are interested in this deal, I will require some information from you in order to affect the transfer of the money. Please, be informed that we shall commence processing of claims of payment once we receive your interest from you, and the funds will get into your account within Five (5) working days by Telegraphic Transfer (T.T). Note that this transaction is 100% risk free. I will appreciate, If you will send your response via email as indicated above.

Best Regards

Mr. Brown Shabangu

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Spider Shepherd Cover

Hodder have just sent me the proposed cover for the new Dan Shepherd book, which will probably be called Rough Justice, though Jack Higgins did use the title recently. I like Rough Justice and hope that gets used, though I do have Dark Justice as a fallback position. The book should be on the shelves in July next year.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ham Sandwiches Can Kill You!

Just read a report from a leading cancer charity warning parents not to giver their kids ham sandwiches. What annoys me is that the idiots who sent out the press release are paid for out of charitable donations.

Trust me, I'm a (former) biochemist - ham sandwiches will not give you cancer. Nor will bacon butties.

I for one won't be giving any of my money to the WCRF, they are obviously more concerned about pushing us towards a nanny state and less concerned about looking for a cure for cancer. Nothing in moderation - that includes ham sandwiches, cigarettes and alcohol, and probably most recreational drugs - will kill you. My daughter eats ham, and bacon, and ice cream, and she's as fit as a butcher's dog.

Anyway, here's the story -

Parents should not give their children ham sandwiches in their packed lunches, a charity has warned.

Youngsters need to get into the habit of avoiding processed meats like ham, salami, hot dogs and bacon, it said.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), there is "convincing evidence" that eating processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.

While there is no specific research on eating the meats in childhood, the charity said the evidence in adults was too strong to ignore.

Children should therefore adopt a healthy eating pattern from the age of five and avoid processed meat, it said.

Marni Craze, children's education manager for the WCRF, added: "If children have processed meat in their lunch every day then over the course of a school year they will be eating quite a lot of it.

"It is better if children learn to view processed meat as an occasional treat if it is eaten at all."

The WCRF is also urging parents to avoid lunchbox fillers that are high in fat and calories.

Foods such as sugary drinks can cause weight gain, and obesity in adulthood is linked to cancer, it said.

The charity warned that parents may be misled by packaging or where a product appears on a supermarket shelf or website.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

You Couldn't Make It Up!

Just finished going through the edits of Nightingale, which will be published in January next year. All good, though Hodder still can't decide on a title. They've yet to improve on just Nightingale, so we'll see what else they can come up with.

I'm really keen to see what Hodder does for a cover. I bet it will involve a single figure walking away, which is a theme I see in lots of covers these days. The last time I did a book tour something like a third of the books in the Top 20 fiction list had a single (male) figure on the front, walking away. It's become a cliche so I hope I get something better for Nightingale!

Have almost got to 140,000 words on the new Dan Shepherd book, which will be published next summer. That's much longer than I thought it was going to be, but it's all good stuff! There are three seperate plot threads which is why it's so long and with hindsight I think two would have been enough!

The theme of Dark Justice is police vigilantes and I touch on corruption, so I was fasinated to read this today. An amnesty for Scotland Yard cops who have been misusing their corporate credit cards. Seems the cops are to busy to do a full investigation so pretty much everyone involved has been let off! I just shake my head in amazement....

Anyway, here's the story...

Scotland Yard chiefs have agreed a secret amnesty for more than 1,000 officers and staff who misused corporate credit cards, it has been revealed.

An internal audit discovered 1,183 Metropolitan Police employees broke rules governing the use of American Express charge cards.

Senior officers were so overwhelmed by the number of cases they decided the card holders would not be punished - deciding instead that the staff, the vast majority of whom worked in counter terrorism and other specialist crime inquiries, would be given "training and guidance".

More than 300 people were initially referred to anti-corruption detectives when evidence emerged their claims were potentially fraudulent.

Of these cases, 50 were passed to independent investigators. Three officers have since been convicted of criminal offences and two more await trial.

Jenny Jones, of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said training and guidance is "not enough" and some disciplinary action should be taken. She said: "I find it unacceptable that the police have just let these officers go with guidance. They must have known what they were doing was wrong."

Members of the MPA, the force watchdog, have been told privately how an initial sift of accounts exposed the scale of the problem.

Internal auditors decided 1,183 people who used a card, but did not break the law, should be put to one side and labelled "category B". These cases included those who purchased personal items and later repaid the money or bought equipment that should have been purchased by other means.

Meanwhile, claims found to be "potentially unacceptable", including cases of suspected fraud, were labelled "category A" and passed to anti-corruption detectives. Inquiries into abuse of the credit card system by officers are expected to continue until next March, two and a half years after they first began.

A total of 3,533 officers and staff were issued with the cards and at one point £3.7 million of public money was unaccounted for. The majority of this money has been paid back, but legal action is expected against two officers who owe £82,000 and £1,100.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shortest Scam Letter Ever?

Just got this. Guy can't even be bothered to spin a reasonable story!

Dear Partner,

I am Barrister Fred Adams. I am reaching you in regard of handling an
investment portfolio.

I am soliciting your assistance in repatriating this funds and property
left behind by my late client before it is been confiscated by the
government and declared unserviceble by the bank where the huge deposit is
lodged. My Client died intestate and every attempt to trace any member of
his family has proved unsuccessful and abortive.

Do note that your identity or country of origin does not matter. I will
give you more information upon your response.

You should respond by sending the following;

1. Your full names
2. Tel & fax numbers
3. Complete Address
4.Your occupation

I humbly look forward to your soonest response.

Yours Faithfully,

Barrister Fred Adams Esq.
London, U.K.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Does God Talk To Archbishops?

I always figured that the really top religious figures actually do talk to God, and I really hoped that God talks to them. It would make me feel so much happier about the state of the world to know that lines of communication are open. But when the Archbishop of Westminster starts slagging off Facebook and Myspace, then I do start to think that perhaps he's winging it and speaking for himself rather than God. I think God has much more to worry about than social networking sites. Unless they're telling us what God wants us to hear I think religious figures would be better off keeping their mouths shut...

Anyway, here's the story...

It is claimed that social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace could leave teenagers traumatised and even suicidal.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, has warned that the sites encourage youngsters to build "transient relationships"

He has told the The Sunday Telegraph: "They throw themselves into a friendship or network of friendships, then it collapses and they're desolate."

He continued: "It's an all or nothing syndrome that you have to have in an attempt to shore up an identity; a collection of friends about whom you can talk and even boast.

"But friendship is not a commodity, friendship is something that is hard work and enduring when it's right."

His comments follow the inquest into the death of 15-year-old Megan Gillan, a student at Macclesfield High School in Cheshire who took a fatal overdose of painkillers after being bullied on the social networking site Bebo.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Money From Christabel!

I started corresponding with another scam merchant recently, this one claiming to be in Tunisia!

Here’s how it started –

From Mrs. Christabel Brown,

Dear God's elect,

I am writing this mail to you with heavy tears In my eyes and great sorrow in my heart, My Name is Mrs Christabel Brown,, and I am contacting you from my country Tunisia. I want to tell you this because I don't have any other option than to tell you as I was touched to open up to you, I married to Mr. Brown Smith who worked with Tunisia embassy in Burkina Faso for nine years before he died in the year 2005.

We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only five days. Since his death I decided not to remarry, When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$ 8.5m (Eight Million Five hundred Thousand Dollars) in a bank in Ouagadougou the capital city of Burkina Faso in west Africa Presently this money is still in bank. He made this money available for exportation of Gold from Burkina Faso mining.

Recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last for the period of seven months due to cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition I decided to hand you over this money to take care of the less-privileged people, you will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want you to take 30 Percent of the total money for your personal use While 70% of the money will go to charity" people in the street and helping the orphanage. I grew up as an Orphan and I don't have anybody as my family member, just to endeavour that the house of God is maintained. Am doing this so that God will forgive my sins and accept my soul because these sicknesses have suffered me so much.

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank in Burkina Faso and I will also instruct my lawyer to issue you an authority letter that will prove you the present beneficiary of the money in the bank that is if you assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein.

Hoping to receive your reply: (

From Mrs. Christabel Brown,

And I replied -

My dear beloved Mrs Brown.

What a mighty blow you have been dealt by life.

I truly hope that God is with you in your hour of need.

You have only seven months to live? That is terrible. Surely there is something that can be done, some treatment that can help you. I pray to our Lord Jesus that is so!

And in your hour of need you think only of the orphans. Truly you are a saint in the making. Of course I will help you. Whatever you need, I am here for you!


The next day she wrote back to me -

Dear God's elect ,

I am glad reading your note my beloved thanks for your prayers my lawyer shall do every documents on behalf of you, I decided to hand you over this money, and you should know that my contact to you is By the special grace of God, please understand that you are not helping me rather you are working for God the creator of heaven and earth. so that the work of God is maintained, I hope you will utilize this money the way I instructed you herein.

The lawyer is aware of everything I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health, and because Of the presence of my husband's relatives around me always I don't want them to know about this as they are not aware of the deposit money.

Fill this form below and send back to me immediately to enable me forward it to my lawyer in Burkina Faso :

FULL NAME.....................

Don't forget to always pray for me because all my hope to survive is in God the creator who holds death and life...

Hoping to receive your reply.

I wrote back to her -

My Dear Beloved Mrs Brown.

Of course I will help. I will do whatever I can to make your last days easier and to help the little orphan children. Certainly there is nothing the Lord Jesus appreciates more than a soul who helps his children, the only true innocents in this world. And you are a saint in the making for wanting to share the wealth with his children.

I want to pray for you, my angel. I have an altar in my room and on that altar I have pictures of the ones that I pray for. Please send me your picture so that I can add it to my altar so that I can pray to the Lord Jesus that he helps you in your hour of need. Who knows, maybe he will save you from the cancer? That would be my dearest wish. So please send your picture without delay.

My beloved, would it help if I send my details to your lawyer? Perhaps that would speed things up because the dear orphan children surely need help now.
I hope to hear from you soon, may God be with you,


Then I thought I should perhaps add a little more, so I sent her a PS. -

My Dearest Christabel (I hope you do not mind me addressing you by your Christian name, but I know that you are a good Christian).

There is something I forget to tell you in my last email. I am an orphan, too. Yes, my parents died when I was very young so I know all about what it means to be an orphan and that is why I want to help you help the orphans in your country. By dearest beloved angel, please send me your picture so that I might pray for you.


And bless her, the next day she got back to me, with a picture of her and her late husband! This is what she wrote, complete with spelling mistakes!

Dear Stephen,

Thanks for your paryers,

i attched here with my picture and i want you to send me yours picture too.
yes go head and contact my lawyer to enable him carry out the tarnsfer.

i wait urgent for your reply that you have contacted the lawyer.

here below is the information of the lawyer Barrister Maven Koko
Email address:

i wait to read from you soon
mrs christabel brown

Excellent! I Googled Maven Koko and he is no stranger to the world of scamming. Check out if you get the time. A guy spent two months winding up a group of scammers and Koko was involved! I can recommend for anyone interested in these scammers!

Here is one of Koko’s emails to Cowboy Buck, who did a great job of leading them on!!

From: "Koko Law Firm Koko Law Firm" (
To: (Cowboy Buck)
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 03:12










Not sure what to do next because I really do have to finish Dark Justice!

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Daughter's Cats - Still playing!


This just in from our nanny-state! Calorie-laden iced coffee drinks are putting people at increased risk of obesity and cancer an "expert" has warned.

Women could be consuming more than a quarter of their daily calories with just one drink.

Dr Rachel Thompson, science programme manager for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), analysed the calories at three leading high street chains: Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Costa Coffee.

Most iced coffee drinks contained over 200 calories, with some measuring in at around 450.

A Starbucks venti dark berry mocha frappuccino blended coffee with whipped cream has the highest number of calories - at 561.

Hmmmm, and it tastes so good! Rachel needs to get a life and stop scare-mongering. Her silly research is more than likely paid for by charitable donations and I think the money could have been better spent. In my experience the so-called experts know bugger all about what's good for us. I remember when an apple a day kept the doctor away, then it didn't, and now it does again.

Anyway, doesn’t she know that it’s been scientifically proven that caffeine staves off Alzheimers? Now if I can only remember to keep drinking it!

For anyone interested, here’s the calories in the major High Street coffee drinks!

Me, I’m a big fan of the Starbucks Dark Berry Mocha without the whipped cream! Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.


Venti dark berry mocha with whipped cream 561
Venti dark berry mocha without whipped cream 457
Tall dark berry mocha with without whipped cream 288
Venti iced coffee 5
Tall iced coffee 3

Caffe Nero

Double chocolate frappe 483
Mocha frappe latte 483
Mocha frappe latte with skimmed milk 452
Framme latte with skimmed milk 277
Iced latte 117

Costa Coffee

Massimo iced mocha 361
Massimo coffee frescato 332
Primo coffee frescato 199
Primo iced mint latte 167
Primo iced mocha 152

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dark Justice

I’m putting the finishing touches to Dark Justice and it just keeps getting longer. It’s now more than 135,000 words and there is more to come! It’s all good, though, and I doubt that it will be reduced much in the editing.

Dark Justice will be published in July next year as Hodder and Stoughton want to publish the Jack Nightingale book in January. They don’t have a title yet, but think that Nightingale is too soft!

I already have some great blurb quotes for the Nightingale book. James Herbert, who wrote the brilliant horror books The Rats and The Fog and loads of others, gave us: 'Another great thriller from Stephen Leather but this time with a devilish twist!'

That’s awesome, I’ve been a huge fan of James Herbert ever since I read The Rats at School.

And my good mate Anthony Horowitz, the mega-successful children’s writer, gave me several blurb quotes that we can use on the cover:




Thanks, Anthony, you’re a star! Okay, back to work.... I want to take my daughter to Disneyland HK and I’ve promised myself, and her, that I’ll finish Dark Justice first!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Crazy World We Live In

Just how crazy are we in the UK? I read the following story with my mouth open in amazement! Why do we allow a convicted child killer to waste the taxpayer's money on a ridiculous court case like this? It seems pretty obvious to me that when Peter Chester raped and strangled his seven-year-old niece he forfeited any Human Rights he might have had.

Anyway, read the story and see what you think.

Dark Justice is almost done. The theme is police vigilantes and the more I research it the more I think that vigilantism done properly is perhaps not a bad thing. I was thinking of starting a vigilante website and putting up the details of men like Chester.... release dates, home addresses etc. Maybe people might start behaving a little better if they thought that there would be repercussions when they behaved like animals...

A convicted child killer is to take the Government to court over its refusal to let him vote.

Peter Chester, 54, was jailed for life in the 1978 for raping and strangling his seven-year-old niece Donna Marie Gillbanks, in her bed in Blackpool.

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years at Wakefield prison, but has now been behind bars for 12 years longer than his tariff, having been repeatedly turned down for release.

He is now challenging the law that bans serving prisoners in the UK from taking part in elections, claiming it violates his human rights.

Serving prisoners are banned from voting under the Representation of the People Act, 1969, but legislation forfeiting prisoner's right to take part in elections stretched back as far as 1876.

Chester, also known as Peter Chester Speakman, has filed a claim against Wakefield council and Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw, which is due to be heard by the High Court in London in October.

He claims that the statutes preventing him from voting conflict with the Human Rights Act, by preventing him from taking part in free and fair elections.

Chester's lawyer, Marcus Farrar said he should be able to vote as he has served the punitive part of his sentence. Mr Farrar told the Yorkshire Post that Chester was "hopeful of voting in an election some time."

But June Gillbanks, Donna Marie's mother said the killer gave up any rights he had when he murdered her daughter. "I think prisoners have enough rights and victims very little," she told the Yorkshire Post. "The scales of justice are balanced more towards murderers."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "We can't comment on ongoing court proceedings."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our Crazy System of 'Justice'

Dark Justice keeps on growing! I had planned it to come in at 110,000 words but I’m just about to hit 130,000. It’s all good stuff, too, and all very topical.

A story broke today about a gang of youths in Hackney who killed a schoolboy. What the story doesn’t say, of course, is that the gang was made up of black youths. One of the themes covered in Dark Justice is that the major problem in London at the moment isn’t gun crime, or knife crime, it’s black crime, gangs of feral young black men who have no respect for society or the law. Of course it’s not politically correct to say so, but it’s the truth. Until they’re dealt with and dealt with harshly, the black gangs are going to continue to run riot. I’m not suggesting vigilante cops is the way to go, but we have to do something and soon. What we certainly shouldn’t be doing is allowing youths caught with weapons and with convictions for assaulting the police to be allowed to roam the streets... And when they kill, they should be sent to prison for life, not given 15 years or 18 years which means they’ll be out in less than ten.

I’m all for giving first-time offenders the chance to turn their lives around, but it seems to me that when someone joins a gang, carries a loaded gun, assaults a police officer and then stabs a young boy to death, that person should be locked away for life, ie until the day he dies. I don’t understand why our so-called justice system doesn’t take the same view.

Anyway, here’s the story, read it and see what you think. And bear in mind that killings like this are not unusual in London. And nor are the pathetic jail sentences handed out:

A gang of six youths has been jailed for life for murdering an innocent 14-year-old schoolboy who was stabbed in a park.

Army cadet Shaquille Smith was attacked by a ten-strong bicycle gang called the London Fields Boys last August as he sat in the park in front of his home in Hackney, east London.

George Amponsah, 19, Godiowe Dufeal, 20, Amisi Khama, 18, Freddie Amponsah, 17, Kadean Dias, 18, and Leon Atwell, 17, all from Hackney, were found guilty of murder last month and will serve sentences totalling a minimum of 96 years.

Amponsah and Dufeal were given 18 years' custody and the other four 15-year minimum terms each.

Earlier, the Old Bailey's Judge David Paget told them: "You were part of a gang of ten who went looking for trouble late at night. You were all members of a gang known as the London Fields Boys. The CCTV footage shows the arrogance with which you rode on your way looking for trouble. Shaquille Smith, a 14 year-old boy, was a stranger to most of you.

"He had done absolutely nothing to cause offence of provoke any one of you. He was truly innocent and what is more is he was yards away from his front door. One of you stabbed him fatally and you ran away like the cowards you are back to London Fields. You arrived together as a gang and you left as a gang."

The judge added: "It was completely unprovoked and completely unnecessary. It was mindless violence on a completely innocent young boy. You must all receive life sentences which are mandatory.

"You have taken away the life of a promising young boy aged 14 and have thrown away the chances of achieving anything in your own young lives."

The court heard Dufeal was on licence at the time of the murder following convictions for possessing a prohibited weapon and ammunition without a certificate.

He also had previous convictions for possessing knives, using disorderly behaviour and assaulting a police officer.

George Amponsah had previous convictions for affray, threatening behaviour, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, possession of cannabis and common assault. His brother Freddie became a father while in prison.

Amisi Khama was a semi-professional footballer for Bishop Stortford FC in the Conference South division and Dias was described as a "promising student".

Shaquille was the youngest teenager to be murdered in a knife attack in London last year.

He was stabbed to death just yards from his home after he and his friends were confronted by the gang who rode around the streets of Hackney, east London, on bikes in hoodies looking to intimidate and harass anyone who crossed their path.

Shaquille was targeted because he was chatting to an 18-year-old boy who happened to be the brother of a rival graffiti tagger known as Pinky. After members of the gang were bitten by the youth's dog, they returned to their bikes to collect their knives.

One witness told the court how they jumped over the fence "like a wild pack of dogs" before attacking Shaquille.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thai Sparrows

I bought a birdfeeder from England and put it outside my apartment for the local birds to try. At first they couldn't work out what it was and for weeks they just looked at it but wouldn't go near it. Then one brave sparrow tried it and ate a couple of seeds. He (or she) then began introducing his (or her!) friends to it. Gradually more and more of them got to use the feeder, and now they squabble all day over it. I've stopped putting seed in it and use uncooked rice instead - thai birds love to eat rice!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Kittens In My Study

Almost done with Dark Justice... hopefully I'll finish next week. But my daughter's kittens, Firefur and Mousefur, are a big distraction!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Silencers And Stuff

I’m still working hard on Dark Justice, the new Dan Shepherd book. Just hit 120,000 words. It’s funny, I was trying so hard to bring it in at 110,000 words but it just won’t have it and all the signs are that it will end up as long as the last three – ie 135,000 words.

I got another email about mistakes in Live Fire – mainly the fact that I had a revolver with a silencer and silencers don’t work with revolvers. I’d already arranged for that to be changed in the mass-market paperback edition, which will be out in September. The reader also pointed out that blanks won’t chamber a second round, though I’m still not sure that’s true. I fired a replica Glock last year loaded with blanks and I’m pretty sure that it ejected the round and chambered a second. I didn’t fire it a second time because I had fired it in my flat in Maida Vale and it was very, very loud and there was a strong smell of cordite that lingered for days! But he did spot a couple of other things!

Anyway, here’s the first email from the reader:

This is another really good yarn. Keep up the good work. I have a couple of comments which just might improve future efforts.

1) On page 15 a safety is flicked off a large revolver. There is NO SAFETY ON A REVOLVER - either large or small.

2)On page 262 et seq the subject of blank ammunition comes up. Nobody even slightly familiar with blank ammunition would mistake a live round for a blank round. Even were that true, a magazine loaded with blanks would not re-cycle a semi auto pistol unless the pistol was fitted with a very obvious blank adaption device. If the pistol was cocked and a blank was up the spout it wold go "bang" but with no back pressure the breachblock would not be forced backward to allow another round to be chambered. So - only one blank cartridge would be fired. The 9mm blank was used extensively in Commonwealth armies when training with both the sten SMG and the Browning auto (semi) pistol. It would work well in the Beretta 92 and because that is a double action pistol it wold not even have to be cocked before firing provided a round was loaded Just pull the trigger.

By the way...I think fracture and break --as per bones--mean the same.

I think the term wheel base is used to measure the length of a vehicles' wheels " fore and aft"

Finally, good luck with the glass cutter on page 470...perhaps however we can excuse this on grounds of artistic license.

I look forward to your next book. I always enjoy them. Regards. Lorne Newson

Here’s the reply I sent!

Cheers, Lorne!

Yeah, I'd spotted the revolver with a safety and have changed that for the paperback edition.

Re the blanks. I have a blank-firing Glock's been a long time since I fired it (very noisy and not a good idea in North London!) but the last time I did I'm pretty sure it ejected the empty casing. That means the receiver must have gone back, which I assume means that a new round was chambered. Or is my memory playing tricks with me?

I'm flat out on the new book, hoping to keep mistakes to a minimum!

Best wishes,


PS What was wrong with fracture, wheel base and the glass cutter? I'm confused!

And then Lorne got back to me....

It is my understanding from a career in police work and therefore more than a few times in emergency wards that a fracture and a break are the same. That is not the impression I got from your comment about the injured nose. I also learned that I have been known to be wrong (on very rare occasions of course) so check with a doctor.

My interpretation of your description of setting the ramps up so the vehicle (was it a SUV?) could cross was you intended the term "wheel base" to be the measurement of the distance of the wheels from side to side.(Thereby telling you how far apart the ramps should be placed) Expressed another way, the measurement between the two (for example) rear wheels. I think " wheel base" is the measurement of the wheels from front to back, for example the distance from the right front axle to the right rear axle

Your books very much appeal to me, perhaps because of my military /police background. After retirement from the RCMP I was the Chief Provincial Firearms Officer for British Columbia, Canada and adminstered all laws regarding guns. I was also an avid collector of military cap badges, so you can see why I might relate to Dan.

Regarding the Glock...I can't say, but I do know the 9mm blank would not cycle the action on either a Browning service pistol or the Sten SMG.(nor a Schmeisser SMG) Nor would the 30 NATO blank cycle the F.N. Rifle. The same applies to the .303 and (and how I loved that weapon except for carryng - 21 lbs -the darned thing) the Bren LMG. During army field training - so the machine gun would fire fully automatically- the military used to attach a (yellow as I recall) adapter onto the muzzle to ALMOST block the expulsion of the gasses thereby allowing blowback in the case of the sten and to allow the gases to go through the gas block in the case of the Bren. In my CPFO days I loaned a schmeisser to an army armourer for a military demonstration and he fashioned a somewhat ingenious device whereby he took a piece of bent steel, - somewhat like a capital letter "L" and used a couple of hose clamps to fix the thing to the barrell with the shorter horizontal part of the "L" across the muzzle. He had bored a hole in that and put a threaded bolt thru the steel with the thing actually protruding inside the barrel, thereby restricting the gas expulsion and acheving his "blowback"

Glass cutter. Most modern window in high buildings are of the type that if they are knicked or broken they do not fall down in shards of broken glass but in fact the whole window is reduced instantly to small pieces about the side (or smaller) of a pea. You will see this type of glass in the side and rear windows of automobiles. Also in windshields except there they put a thin layer of rubber between two sheets of glass for safety reasons, hence the term "safety glass". In double glazed glass, sometimes ordinary window glass is used but from what I've seen a glass cutter is only effective in dealing with a flat piece of glass and for the length of the sheet. A straight line, or even a wavy line scored in the glass with result in a break along the score mark when the glass is "bent" I don't think it would work on a double glazed window. Might just as well break the damned thing and get on with the shooting.

So here I am, a Mr Smart guy with 4 criticisms. Even if I'm right 3 out of 4 it might be constructive. Best Wishes on the next book. Lorne Newson

He made good points, and I certainly never realised that a break and a fracture where the same thing! Anyway, here’s my reply to Lorne!

Cheers, Lorne,

Well, the great thing about being a writer is that you learn something every day. Who knew that a break and a fracture were the same thing? I always assumed that a fracture was a slight break, like a crack, and that a break meant that it was literally broken. Wrong!! Now I know better!! Thanks for pointing that out and I'll try to get it changed.

And wheel base. Who knew? Well, you obviously did! I always assumed that wheelbase referred to the width, I had no idea it was the distance between the axles. Makes a nonsense of my copy, obviously, so I'll try to get it changed!

I'll check my Glock when I get back to the UK but I'm pretty sure that it does put a second in the chamber after it has ejected the first. Maybe because it's lightweight?

The glass cutter? I don't know. I know that a guy cut a circular hole in my bathroom window to fit an extractor fan, but having said that I didn't watch him do it. I think you're right and in future I'll stick to the old faithful piece of sticky-backed plastic and an elbow!

Thanks again for putting me right. I've just hit 120,000 words on the new Dan Shepherd book, and I've got my fingers crossed that there are fewer mistakes this time!

Best wishes,


Monday, June 29, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

Hodder love Nightingale the book but not the title! My agent is now trying to come up with better titles, which is no easy task!

Here are a few suggestions:

The Price of a Soul

The Price of Your Soul

The power of the devil

A date with the devil (one novel four years ago)

Deal with the Devil – (three novels in the last five years)

The Mark of the Devil

You’re Going to Hell

Descent to Hell

The negotiator

Negotiations with hell

Negotiate with the devil

The Fall to Hell

The Fall

The Falling Man – (Falling Man is a novel by Don DeLilo, 2007/2008)

You Can Fall Forever

Supping with the Devil – (Supping with the Devils is non-fiction political journalism by Hugo Young, 2003)

The Devil You Know – (At least five novels in the last five years)

The Fires of Hell

The Smoke From Hell

The View From Hell

The Map of Hell

A Date with Hell

Blood From Hell

The Cost of a Human Soul

The Map of the Human Soul

Map of the Soul

The Blood and the Fires

Blood and Fires

There is no Redemption

No Judgement but the Last

Nightingale and the Devil

Nightingale and the Fires of Hell

I think of all of them I like Nightingale And The Devil best, but we'll see what Hodder think!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Land Of Smiles

I’ve spent a lot of time in Thailand over the past twenty-five years, and have always enjoyed my time there. But the country has started to change, and not for the better.

It’s no longer as good value as it used to be, and food and drink is now often as expensive as it is in London. The pollution is terrible, the food full of pesticides, and the roads are probably the most dangerous in the world, with a death rate four times that of the UK.

But it’s the crime rate that has really gone through the roof, with tourists being targeted for robbery, fraud and physical attacks on a scale unheard of before. I used to recommend Thailand as a holiday destination for all my friends, but now I’m reluctant to do so.

A recent scam is to falsely accuse people of shoplifting at Bangkok Airport. It has been widely reported in the local press but not so much overseas because the scam artists usually target South East Asians, especially Indians. But recently they entrapped a British couple, so the story has been reported by the Sunday Times of London.

I have to say, I no longer shop at the Duty Free stores at Bangkok Airport because I am worrioed about being caught in a simlar scam!What happens is that goods – sometimes as small as a packet of cigarettes – are planted on a tourist. The goods are magically discovered by a security guard and the cops are called. The tourist is then told that if he pays ‘bail’ of several thousand pounds he can leave the country. If he doesn’t pay, he goes to prison and it can take years for the case to come to trial. Almost everyone pays. Frankly you’d be stupid not to!

Anyway, the British couple have vowed to fight the case in the Thai courts, but previous experience suggests that they would be wasting their time!

Having said that, the company that runs the duty free shops in the airport has put its CCTV footage on line which does seem to show a wallet being pocketed! Have a look for yourself!

A recent survey found that more than fifty per cent of the Thai people regarded their institutions as corrupt, but that on balance corruption was a good thing because it helped society function! So long as that attitude persists, things will only get worse in the Land Of Smiles! My advice to anyone coming to Thailand is to do your shopping in the city - most goods are cheaper there anyway!

A British couple who were falsely accused of shoplifting in Bangkok airport and were forced to pay £8,000 in bribes to secure their release are to take legal action for compensation.

They were the victims of an extortion racket that has ensnared other foreign travellers at the airport, which handles most of the 800,000 British visitors to Thailand every year.

Stephen Ingram, 49, and Xi Lin, 45, both technology professionals from Cambridge, were detained by security guards as they went to board Qantas flight QF1 to London on the night of Saturday, April 25.

They were accused of taking a Givenchy wallet worth £121 from a King Power duty-free shop and were handed over to the police. An official release order from the local Thai prosecutor’s office subsequently conceded there was no evidence against them.
They were freed five days later after a frightening ordeal in which they said they were threatened and held against their will at a cheap motel on the airport perimeter until they had handed over the money.

The bribes were paid to an intermediary named Sunil “Tony” Rathnayaka, a Sri Lankan national in his fifties who works as a “volunteer” interpreter for Thailand’s tourist police (motto: “To serve and to protect”).

“Our main motivation is to protect other innocent British tourists from being caught up in this nightmare,” said Ingram last week. “We intend to take every legal means to recover our money and obtain justice.”

Last week Rathnayaka admitted in a telephone interview that he had received cash and money transfers amounting to more than £7,000 from the Britons. He said the money was for police bail and for a payment to a figure he called “Little Big Man” who could withdraw the case against them.

“In Thailand everyone knows it’s like that,” he said. “They can go to jail or they can just pay a fine and go home. It is corruption, you know?”

Rathnayaka also agreed that the “bail” — about £4,000 — was never returned to Ingram and Xi. Thai law says bail should be refunded.

In a detailed statement the couple said they were first detained at an airport office of the tourist police and later taken to cells at a police station in an isolated modern building on the fringes of the airport.

Rathnayaka confirmed that he met them in the cells on the morning of Sunday, April 26, and arranged the “bail”. The police kept the couple’s passports. Rathnayaka then escorted Ingram and Xi to the Valentine Resort, a lurid pink motel a few hundred yards from the runways. They were to remain there for four days.

During that time, Rathnayaka warned them not to tell anyone about their plight, especially the British embassy, lawyers, friends, family or the press.

However, on April 27 they sneaked out of the hotel and found their way to the embassy, where they met Kate Dufall, the pro-consul.

According to the couple, she told them the embassy could not interfere with the Thai legal system and put them in contact with Prachaya Vijitpokin, a lawyer.

Vijitpokin and a colleague, Kittamert Engchountada, of the Lawyers Association of Thailand, urged them to stay in the country to fight the case and have since assembled a dossier for potential prosecutions.

However, Ingram said the couple were so terrified by this stage that they decided to meet the demands for money, which they raised by bank transfers from Britain direct to Rathnayaka’s account. The Sunday Times has copies of the transactions.

Ingram and Xi were put on a British Airways flight to London early on Friday, May 1, having received their passports with official documents from prosecutors and police stating that no charges were to be brought against them.

They have said they are willing to return to Thailand and testify to try to stop the extortion if the government will guarantee their safety.

That could become a priority for Thailand, which has suffered a series of blows to its tourist industry through economic and political upheaval.

Inquiries last week established that Rathnayaka and his accomplices have continued preying on tourists who end up in police custody after being accused of theft from the airport duty-free shop. “I am just helping people,” he explained. “I don’t get paid to do this. All the embassies know me.”

Officials at the Danish embassy confirmed that a Danish woman fell into Rathnayaka’s hands about two weeks ago and was allowed to leave Thailand only after handing over more than £4,500.

When a Sunday Times journalist posing as a businessman in trouble contacted Rathnayaka last week, the first thing he said was: “If it’s a case, for example, of shoplifting at the airport duty-free then I can help. Bail is 100,000 baht (£1,800).” He later declined an interview, saying the Sri Lanka embassy — which employs him as an interpreter — had told him not to speak.

The Foreign Office said consular officials had offered to raise the case with the Thai authorities at the time but had been asked by the couple not to intervene.

A spokesman for King Power duty-free said the company had strict rules for evidence to be submitted to the police in shoplifting cases, but added: “We cannot control what happens after that.”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Not Getting Much Work Done

I'm not getting much work done as my daughter's two kittens keep walking over my computer! Hodder have decided to publish the Nightingale book in January (with a different title!) so the new Dan Shepherd book will now be published in July 2010 so I have plenty of time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flat Out!

Haven't posted for a while because I'm flat out on Dark Justice. I hope to finish in the next ten days. My friend Anthony Horowitz won our race - he has already finished his new book but then his did come in at 85,000 words! I'm just about to hit 110,000words.

I got some good news this week in that Hodder and Stoughton want to publish Nightingale (though they don't like the title!) They want it and two more books so for the next two years I'll be doing two books a year, which will be interesting! With any luck I'll be taking a few hours off tomorrow to go and see a screening of Anthony's new TV series, Collision. Okay, got to go, my laptop awaits!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stranger Than Fiction

Unbelievable! I'm working flat out on a book about vigilante cops in North London(Dark Justice, 103,000 words) and what happens? Vigalante cops are arrested in North London. Am I ahead of the game or what?

Six Metropolitan Police officers have been suspended after being accused of using a form of water torture against suspects.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the alleged ill-treatment, said to have taken place during drugs raids in Enfield, north London, last November.

Scotland Yard is refusing to comment on the nature of the allegations but sources say the officers have been accused of pushing suspects' heads into buckets of water.

The claims came to light during an internal force investigation, when a police employee raised concerns with the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) about the conduct of a handful of officers.

The DPS conducted its own investigation before referring the matter to the IPCC in April.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Whilst the investigation is ongoing it is not appropriate to make assumptions. That said, these are serious allegations that do raise real concern.

"The Met does not tolerate conduct which falls below the standards that the public and the many outstanding Met officers and staff expect.

"Any allegations of such behaviour are treated very seriously, as this case illustrates, and if found true the strongest possible action will be taken."

In February, ten officers from Enfield's crime squad were suspended and another two placed on restricted duties after an anti-corruption probe into claims over the mishandling of property.

Eight, including one detective sergeant, remain suspended and two remain on restricted duties. The six suspended over the conduct allegations are among them.

A spokeswoman for the IPCC said: "During a proactive Metropolitan Police Service Directorate of Professional Standards investigation into allegations of mishandling of property by the crime squad in Enfield Borough which is being investigated by the IPCC, the IPCC was briefed regarding the actions of police officers executing the specific warrant."

Five people were arrested during the raids on November 4.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Money From South Africa

I am flat out on the Dan Shepherd book - just hit 102,000 words - otherwise I'd get in touch with Mr Thembi!

Urgent Transfer From:Mr.Thembi Zakiri.
18 Sunheight Randburg East
Johannesburg South Africa.

Dear Sir, or madam
This may appear a bit surprising to you but very beneficial as a matter of urgency,I am desperately looking for a foreign partner whom i can trust to handle some investment or fund movement.

I am Mrs.Thembi Zakiri,Son of late Mr.Frank Zakiri, who was murdered by the Zimbabwean veterans and irate black people. I am writing from South Africa.if well executed as your contact is via AMERICAN ONLINE INTERNET NETWORK through the consultancy directory during my search for a reliable and honest person to transact this business with.

I write to solicit for your special assistance to a family shattered by a tyrannical government led by a dictator and his(ZANU-PF)ruling party-president Robert Mugabe. Because of land and farm land crisis in Zimbabwe,the government secretly sponsored the war veterans and some irate party members to dispossess the land being occupied by white farmers.This action has led to the killing of some members of opposition party including my father(Frank Zakiri).

But before the death of my father,he anticipated some dangers and so he deposited the sum of US$15.4m(Fifteen million four hundred Thousand United States Dollars) with the help of reputable Bank in south Africa with the intention of using it to open fertilizer manufacturing company among other companies in our neighbouring country (Swaziland).

The war veterans and some supporters of(ZANU-PF)ruling party trooped into our compound and axed him(my Father)to death.Since then,they have been terrorizing me. I managed to escape to a neighbouring country,South Africa as a political asylum seeker(Refugee).But my position in South Africa does not permit me to open an account or run any huge financial business.

That is why I want this fund to be transferred into your private account so that you will assist me to invest it in your country.Hence,if you agree to assist me,i will offer you 20% of the money for your assistance,5% will be for the possible expenses incurred in the process of this transaction,while 75% will be for my investment in your country through your assistance.I need your urgent and confidential response.

Best regards,
Mr.Thembi Zakiri

Upon your immediate response,I will immediately arrange and send to you all the informations that will empower your good self in finalizing the transaction with the bank here in south Africa I will also send to you the agreement that will protect both interest.And also further information about yourself is necessary for I can not play on this.Waiting for your prompt and positive response

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pattaya Interview

Johnny Diamond has put the interview he did with me in Pattaya on You Tube so I can share it with you!

I'm in Dublin, head down on the new Dan Shepherd book. I hit 100,000 words tonight and it's all coming together!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cutting Comments

Just about to hit 90,000 words on the Dan Shepherd book. I now think of it as Dark Justice, though Jack Higgins did have a book withthat title some years ago. I think I'll write a good vigilante scene today, lots of blood and broken bones. Lovely.

I saw the following story about kids and knives today. Because it's now an offence to carry most types of knives, older kids are getting younger kids to carry knives for them, like caddies!

Here's what I don't understand. When I was a kid, eight or nine, I carried a knife. Most of my pals did. Usually a sheath knife with a four-inch blade, quite definitely illegal these days! I was a cub scout and it was virtually part of our uniform, and as kids we hung out in woods and played around trees. Knives are just something we played with. And I had a very large pocket knife I used when fishing. Also illegal these days. But we never, ever, used them aggressively and certainly wouldn't even think about attacking someone with a knife. It isn't knives that are the problem, it's people! And I do resent all the laws that have been brought in to restrict the carrying of knives. I have a decent collection of flick-knives which would result in a prison sentence if I'm not careful but I have no intention of disposing of them!

Children as young as seven are being used like "golf caddies" to carry deadly knives for older youths, a report has revealed. The older teenagers are pressuring very young children to help them, in order to try to avoid being caught, the Home Affairs Committee report found.

It also revealed that children believe blades are so widespread that they have to arm themselves to keep safe.

The report claims the average age at which children begin carrying knives is just 11 years old, as they make their transition from primary to secondary school.

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz MP called for an immediate stop to the knife crime "arms race" among children.

He said: "Young people carry knives because they fear that others are carrying knives.

"This spiralling of knife possession puts all young people at risk. Too many tragic deaths have occurred because of this.

"Some young people feel the need to protect themselves with knives. We are clearly failing them. Children, of all people, should not feel unsafe in our society."

Currently only one in five of those caught with a knife is jailed, and more knife carriers are given cautions than are imprisoned.

Making someone carry a knife for you was made illegal in 2007 with a maximum sentence of four years.

But no-one was prosecuted for the offence that year. Figures for 2008 have not been released yet.

Wesley Oger was stabbed to death four years ago by a man who began carrying knives in his teens.

His mother Ann Oakes-Odger now campaigns to educate children about the dangers of knives.

She said: "The actual shock of a child being murdered in a violent way and knife crime is so personal, it's such a violent way to kill someone, it just ripples through the whole family."

Tougher sentences, coupled with more investment in prevention, are the report's main recommendations.

They come too late for Ann - but hopefully not for many other families.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Nigeria must be a wonderful country because everyone there seems to want to give me money! This just in, but I'm too busy to reply!

Our Ref: IBN/IRD/IBN/021/009
Swift Code: GPZ KBL PS,












Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Lucky Day!

I should hit 80,000 words on the new book today, which I now think of as Dark Justice. I am sort of having a race with my friend Anthony Horowitz, who is also due to hand in a book soon. He's on 73,607 words and seems to be writing much faster than I am! Anthony's books tend to be a bit shorter than mine, he's aiming for 90,000 words whereas my last three books have all come in at 135,000! I think Dark Justice will probably end up at between 115,000 and 120,000 so I have a fair way to go!

I'v been offered more money again. I think this one is a Nigerian scam. Sadly I am too busy to reply to him!

Dear Friend,

I discovered a dormant account in my office, as Group finance director of a Bank.
It will be in my interest to transfer this fund worth fourteen million five hundred thousand United state dollars. ($14,500,000) in an account offshore.
If you can be a collaborator/partner to this please indicate interest Immediately for us to proceed.

Remember this is absolutel Confidential, as I am seeking your assistance as the beneficiary of This unclaimed fund.
Since we are not allowed to operate a foreign Account, Your contact phone numbers and name will be necessary for this.
I have reposed my confidence in you and hope that you will not Disappoint me.
We shall share the fund on the bases of 60%-40% at the end of the deal,respond through my secretary e-mail (

My Regards,
Joseph Sanusi.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


My pal Dave The Rave in Bangkok just sent me this, and I feel I must share it with the world!

The FBI had an opening for an assassin. After all the background checks, interview and testing were done, there were 3 finalists; two men and a woman. For the final test, the FBI agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow your Instructions, no matter what the circumstances. Inside the room you will find your wife sitting in a chair .. . . kill her!" The man said, "You can't be serious. I could never shoot my wife." The agent said, "Then you're not the right man for this job. Take your wife and go home." The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes. The man came out with tears in his eyes, "I tried, but I can't kill my wife." The agent said, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home." Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the same instructions, to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard, one after another. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman, wiping the sweat from her brow."This gun is loaded with blanks" she said. "I had to beat him to death with the ******* chair."

Friday, May 22, 2009

More Money!

Someone else wants to give me money! It's my lucky year! It's an interesting one, too, not you run-of-the-mill Nigerian scam. Just enough information to get the sucker interested. And it's a Prince, too! Sadly I don't have time to get involved.... I've just hit 71,000 words on the new Spider Shepherd book. Still don't have a title and there are a few holes in the plot! It's moving along well though and there are some very topical plot threads. Dark Justice is my favourite title so far, but that means Light Something next year which isn't too hot....

Chairman Contract Tenders Board
National Electric Regulator

I am delighted to meet your aquiantance, as the chairman of the above board, I crave and solicit your indulgence (personaly or corporately) to be a partner in a transaction that would benefit us mutually, through an over-invoiced contract.

As you are aware the 2010 world cup is around the corner, and this board has awarded a huge contract to boost power/energy supply in South Africa ahead of the 2010 FIFA Cup.

If you desire to be a partner, then indicate such by responding to this private proposal to receive further details.


Prince Nathan Mboweni
Tel: +27710780349
Fax: +27865711287

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Financial Experts

I'm in an unusual position financially in that I'm based in Dublin but Hodder and Stoughton, my publisher, are in the UK. So my earnings are in sterling but my outgoings are mainly in Euros. For years it was an advantage to be paid in sterling, but the recent slump in the UK currency has hit me hard.... sterling has lost about a third in value against most currencies. (Don't worry, I'm still doing OK!)

As a result of the slump in the pound, I keep a close eye on currency movements. Plus I was a financial journalist for many years and I've maintained an interest in currency and share markets.

Anyway, this was reported by Bloomberg yesterday and it annoyed the heck out of me!

“The high amount of leverage will take several years to clear out,” said Hans-Guenter Redeker, global head of foreign- exchange strategy in London at BNP Paribas SA, France’s largest bank. “Sterling is going to come under pressure once again and current levels in euro-sterling are a buying opportunity.”

The pound will weaken to 96 pence per euro, according to Redeker, who said he will abandon the forecast if it strengthens to 88.6 pence.

This man claims to be an expert? Good grief. Just look at what he's saying. He predicts that the pound will weaken, unless it doesn't, in which case it won't! How much is this man paid by BNP Paribas? However much it is, it's far too much! These so-called experts created the present economic crisis, so why do they still have their jobs?

I'm working hard on the new book.... just hit 67,000 words and it's picking up speed. Thought Dark Justice might make a good title. Or True Justice. Real Justice? I don't know, but Hodder will want a title soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rough Justice

I like the idea of Rough Justice as the title of the new Spider Shepherd book, but the master Jack Higgins used it last year! My thinking cap is still on!

This just in from the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales. The new book is about vigilante cops, police officers who are fed up with the criminal justice system, so what Paul McKeever has to say fits in really well with what I'm writing.

The Government has created a "hokey cokey" criminal justice system that fails to tackle persistent offenders, the leader of rank and file police officers has said.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers are "sick to death" of seeing the same criminals again and again.

He told Home Secretary Jacqui Smith at the Federation's annual conference in Bournemouth how many officers view her with "real suspicion and distrust" after a series of clashes over pay, pensions and workplace reform.

He said: "It's in out, in out, let all the prisoners out. In out, in out, shake the system about."

Mr McKeever branded the belief that constant modernisation and reshaping of the police will solve crime more effectively as a "big lie".

He said: "We and the people we serve are being failed by the rest of the criminal justice system.

"A criminal justice system that isn't working and is seen by many people as being there to protect offenders' interests above the interests of law-abiding members of the public.

"Rather than addressing the real problem of ineffective sanctions, ineffective education programmes and ineffective rehabilitation the focus is on us, the police, to detect the same people more often and bring them before the courts again and again."

Mr McKeever said police are left in a "constant state of flux" as politicians constantly demand change.

He added: "This means we will never be left alone as we can never be seen as fit for purpose, otherwise politicians would themselves have to be answerable to the electorate as to why crime goes on being committed.

"In effect, in the eyes of politicians, the police are the problem that needs to be solved, when the reality is that it is the criminals who are the problem and we are the solution."