Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another Amazon Review From A Fan

Just had another review posted on Amazon by a 'fan'. Daniel Smith. Not great I'm afraid. Only three stars. Oh dear...

Leather is a great writer... but this story didn't convince me..., 28 Feb 2010

I'm a great fan of Stepehen (sic) Leather having read ALL of his previous books... but this one is... a bit strange / different. I won't explain the reasons here as I don't want to spoil the read for others.

It's true that Leather still manages to catch the reader's attention and generate tension with a plot that moves along at a great pace... but the whole story line and style is so different to Leather's other books and stories that it could easily be classified in a completely different genre - and one could almost be led to believe it had been written by a different author (albeit a good one...). I have recommended Leather to many friends, but I'm not sure this book would make me do the same.

How many reviews does he have on Amazon? Want to guess? Yes, just the one. This one. Cheers, Dan! Any chance of you putting up reviews of the books that you enjoyed?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Big Breasts Can Save Your Life!

I have just passed 90,000 words on the new Nightingale book and I should finish it in a day or two. Good news from Asda and Tesco who between them are taking 27,000 copies of Nightfall. They are, it goes without saying, my favourite supermarkets!

Read the following today and it made me smile - maybe more women should consider breast implants... Just a thought..

A woman' life was saved by her size-D breast implants when she was shot at point blank range with a semi-automatic assault rifle, her doctor said.

Lydia Carranza was working in the office of a dentist in Beverly Hills, California when a gunman ran in and opened fire.

He aimed the weapon directly at her heart but one of her silicone implants took the force of the blow, stopping bullet fragments from reaching her vital organs.

The gunman had gone to the dental office looking for his wife, who also worked there. She was shot and killed in the attack. Mrs Carranza was sitting a few feet away when the gunman turned on her.

"She's just one lucky woman," surgeon Dr Ashkan Ghavami told the Los Angeles Times. "The bullet fragments were millimetres from her heart and her vital organs. Had she not had the implant, she might not be alive today."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Justice System Sucks

Two court cases from yesterday's paper. A woman stabs her boyfriend to death and gets five years in prison (out in less than three.) Meanwhile a former publican is sentenced to six months for allowing smoking in his pub.

Five years (ie 3) for killing someone with a knife? How is that justice? And sending a man to prison for six months over smoking. Why?

It's no wonder we hold our criminal justice system in such contempt.

Here's the stories -

A sixth-former who fatally stabbed her boyfriend in the heart hours after collecting her A-level results has been jailed for five years for his manslaughter.

Katherine McGrath, 19, plunged a steak knife into the heart of Alyn Thomas, 22, during an argument after a night out drinking with friends.

McGrath, of Brackla, Bridgend, South Wales, was cleared of murder following a trial earlier this month but found guilty of manslaughter.

Sentencing her at Cardiff Crown Court to five years in a young offenders' institution, Mr Justice Griffith Williams said: "Only you know what actually happened in the kitchen of your home but of this I am sure: the jury did not hear the whole truth."


A former pub landlord yesterday became the first person to be jailed in connection with the smoking ban.

Nick Hogan, 43, was sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to pay a fine imposed for flouting the legislation.

Two years ago Hogan, who ran two pubs in Bolton, became the first landlord convicted of breaking the law for allowing his customers to routinely light up in his bars.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Few

One of the advantages of helping an eleven-year-old with her homework is that you get to learn stuff.... She's doing the Second World War and has to do a presentation of one aspect of the conflict. I suggested the Battle of Britain and so we started Googling....

We were looking at the Wikipidia page on The Few and it had a list of the ten top 'Aces' of the Battle of Britain - mainly Spitfire and Hurricane pilots. Of the ten, how many would you think would be British? You'd assume all of them, right? So wrong! Only four of the ten were! The leading ace was from Czechoslovakia, there were two from New Zealand (go Kiwis!), one from Poland, one from Australia, and one from the United States. (I'm sure there's a joke about why there are were no Irish pilots but for the life of me I can't think of one!) Of the ten aces, five were killed in action. God bless them.

Anyway, for anyone who is interested, the top ten Aces were:

1) Sgt J Frantisek (Czechoslovakia) 17 kills
2) Plt Off ES Lock (United Kingdom) 16 1/2 kills
3) Sgt JH Lacey (United Kingdom) 15 1/2kills
3) Fg Off BJG Carbury (New Zealand) 15 1/2 kills
5) Plt Off RFT Doe (United Kingdom) 15 kills
5) Fg Off W Urbanowicz (Poland) 15 kills
7) Flt Lt PC Hughes (Australia) 14 3/2 kills
8) Plt Off CF Gray (New Zealand) 14 2/2 kills
9) Flt Lt AA McKellar (United Kingdom) 14 1/2 kills
10) Flt Lt CR Davis (United States) 11 1/s kills

There were 3,080 classed as The Few, of whom only six per cent went to the top 13 public schools. The biggest public school contingent came from Eton. (Go Eton!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Give Money To Shelter!

Anyone who has ever given money to the so-called charity Shelter should read this story! They funded a legal battle so that a woman with no connection to the UK should be given free housing. I always thought that Shelter was supposed to help homeless people but clearly they have a political agenda. Your charitable donations would be better placed elsewhere!

Standing proudly with her arm draped over her 36in television, this is the Somali woman who must be given a council house even though she has no right to live in Britain.

Nimco Hassan Ibrahim - who lives with her four children on benefit handouts - was granted the right to the home by EU judges yesterday because she was once married to a Danish citizen who briefly worked in this country.

The landmark judgment means the 34-year-old migrant and her children will soon be packing up their impressive collection of furniture and electrical equipment when they are given a new house.

Funded by the taxpayer: Nimco Ibrahim and her children will soon be moving their 36-inch TV to a state-subsidised home

Although Miss Ibrahim claims her income support payments were suspended during the legal action, she has somehow bought a Playstation 3 games console, computer and a high-quality speaker system.

Equally impressive is the enormous sofa from which she watches TV each night. Lying on the floor in her lounge are some of the latest film releases - including a pirate DVD copy of the sci-fi movie Avatar.

And although she lives in a temporary accommodation in Harrow, Middlesex - funded by the local council - she has managed to install a high-speed internet connection.

Speaking to the Daily Mail last night, Mrs Ibrahim said: 'I deserve to be given a proper house. This one is too small for all of us.

'I don't think it's fair that the council has put us up in temporary accommodation. It's not right that they have hounded us for four years. All these threats of eviction have made me feel very ill.

'The law says that I can get a better house so I'm looking forward to a better life.

'I have suffered psychological problems because of all this.

'To be honest, I was expecting the worst from the court and I'm relieved it has ended. Now I can enjoy my life.'

Mrs Ibrahim does not work and spends her day looking after her children Abdirahman, 12, Abdifatah, 10, Deka, eight, and Mustapha, four. She refused to reveal how she could afford her electrical goods and furniture.

The landmark EU judgment opens the door for hundreds of thousands of unemployed foreigners to claim both state benefits and council or housing association homes.

In particular, it means migrant families from Poland and other Eastern European countries will for the first time have a right to council housing and state benefits even if they have worked for only a brief period in Britain.

It comes at a time of heavy demand for council housing from hard-pressed British families - and as ministers have been promising families in disaffected Labour heartlands that local people will have first call on council homes.

The judges at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg said Mrs Ibrahim must be given a home because 'a parent caring for the child of a migrant worker who is in education in the host member state has a right of residence in that state'.

'That right is not conditional on the parent having sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system.'

Mrs Ibrahim fled war-torn Somalia to Ethiopia with her family when she was 15. She married Mohamed Yusuf in Ethiopia before the pair moved to Denmark where he holds citizenship.

The pair came to Britain seven years ago. After eight months working as a bus driver, Mr Yusuf began living on benefits. When they were stopped in March 2004, he left the country.

Mr Yusuf's departure ended Mrs Ibrahim's right to stay in the UK and her right to receive benefits, but six years later, she lives on £1,000 a month through child tax credits, child benefits and child disability allowance.

Her accommodation is paid for and she also uses the NHS, even though she is not entitled to free medical care and has no insurance cover.

Her three-year legal battle was funded by the charity Shelter.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What I Don't Get About British Journalism

I was a journalist for more than ten years and always prided myself on my news sense - ie I could always spot a story when I saw one. Equally, I could spot a non-story a mile off.

I really didn't get Swine Flu as a story, or Mad Cow Disease for that matter. Lots of hype and very few deaths (certainly compared with the real killers - cancer, stroke and heart disease). And I was always very sceptical about the whole Aids story which is still a relatively low cause of death in the UK. Pages and pages and pages are devoted to diseases which turn out to be relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Why? Because journalists decide that they are news-worthy.

Then they tried to get us all worked up about global warming, until we got hit by the coldest winters on record. Then they changed their tune and called it climate change. I don't believe in either. Whatever happens over the next few centuries I can guarantee that we'll be hit by an ice age in the next 250,000 years or so.

And don't get me started on the acres of newsprint given over to minor 'celebrities' that I've never heard of.

I wasn't even that impressed with the whole MP's expenses scandal. Particularly as I know that most journalists profit hugely from so-called expenses that they claim. It was a lot worse when I was in Fleet Street, when Friday afternoon was mainly spent signing receipts for fellow journalists! Sigh, the stories I could tell....

But my main gripe with the country's journalists, and editors, is the way that they seem to be ignoring, or at least downplaying, one of the biggest stories of the last decade or two.

The Labour Government systematically lied about immigration, bringing in millions of foreigners and giving them citizeneship, for no other reason than to serve their own political aims - ie to increase the number of Labour voters. Recent immigrants tend to vote Labour.

Labour knew that it wasn't a policy that the Britsh would favour, so they lied about it and covered it up. They also knew that it would lead to an increase in crime - which duly happened. They probably didn't realise that it would also contribute to the number of terrorists now in our midst, but that just goes to show how stupid the Labour party is.

History has yet to call Tony Blair to account for what he did, and I don't think the British Press is going to do it. The man lied to get us into wars with two countries that I frankly want nothing to do with, and lied to change the face of British society for the worse, and for ever. If he had deliberately set out to ruin my country he couldn't have done a better job.

One of the few papers following the immigration story is the Daily Mail - here's their most recent story...

Labour encouraged mass immigration even though it knew that voters opposed it, Whitehall documents confirmed yesterday.

The Government said the public disagreed with immigration because of 'racism' and ministers were told to try to alter public attitudes.

The thinking on immigration among Labour leaders was set down in 2000 in a document prepared for the Cabinet Office and the Home Office, but the key passages were suppressed before it was published.

The paper was finally disclosed under freedom of information rules yesterday. It showed that ministers were advised that only the ill-educated and those who had never met a migrant were opposed to immigration.

They were also told that large-scale immigration would bring increases in crime, but they concealed these concerns from the public.

Sections of the paper, which underpinned Labour policies that admitted between two and three million immigrants to Britain in less than a decade, have already been made public.

These have showed that Labour aimed to use immigration not only for economic reasons but also to change the social make-up of the country.

Fuller details released yesterday showed that Tony Blair's ministers opened the doors to mass migration in knowledge of public opposition and with the view that those who disagreed with them were racists.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has criticised the Government for not telling the truth about their immigration policies

Labour's accusation that opponents of immigration are racist has been dropped over the last two years as it has become clear that former Labour voters in party heartlands have been turning to the far right British National Party.

Ministers accept there is frustration at the loss of jobs to migrants and pressure on public services.

Yesterday Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'The Government has simply not been telling the truth about its policies on immigration.

'More and more evidence is now emerging to show that they deliberately planned a big jump in immigration for their own political purposes.

'Now they are trying to rewrite history to pretend those decisions never happened. Their conduct over all of this has been a complete disgrace.'

Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch pressure group said: 'This report confirms that ministers deliberately rode roughshod over public opinion in adopting a policy of mass immigration.

'They concealed their real intentions in the hope that they would benefit from the immigrant vote without losing their working class supporters. They are now paying the price.'

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review In The Daily Mail

NIghtfall got a decent review in The Daily Mail....

Stephen Leather needs no introduction to his fans, but this, his 25th novel, introduces a new character: Metropolitan Police negotiator Inspector Jack Nightingale, who fails to prevent the suicide of a nine-year-old girl whose father has been abusing her.

Shortly afterwards, the father falls from the 20th floor of his skyscraper office in Canary Wharf after Nightingale bursts in. Did he jump, or was he pushed? Nightingale isn't saying, but his police career is over.

Fast forward two years and we find the former inspector working as a private investigator, when he discovers he was adopted as a baby and has been left a mansion in the country.

When Nightingale visits it, he finds a DVD that predicts a demon from hell will claim his soul on his 33rd birthday - in three weeks' time.

Suffused with mysterious pentagrams, not to mention a creeping sense of evil, I suspect that down-to-earth Nightingale is a man we'll hear more of.

A Shelf Of My Own In Asia Books, Paragon

This cheered me up, a bit!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bad Reviews On

So far the newspaper reviews of Nightfall have all been favourable, but I am getting some flack on I'm a big fan of Amazon but I do get annoyed at the way all feedback/reviews are treated equally. Sometimes reviewers are wrong or mean or idiots, and their reviews are treated in the same way as a 'real' reviewer who has posted hundreds of reviews. I mean, what sort of moron gives a book one star because he doesn't like the premise? Okay, I get that if you didn't like the premise you wouldn't give it five stars, but on one star is the lowest rating you can give so giving Nightfall one star means they are saying it is the worst book possible.

I really despair when I read a review from someone who says they are a fan of my work and who then procedes to slag off a particular book. When you click on the button to see the other reviews they've written it turns out that the book they are slagging off is the only review they've ever done. Here's the thing. If they are indeed such a fan, why didn't they write reviews of the books that they liked? Why the one time they decide to write a review do they take the opportunity of slagging me off? I think that their definition of 'fan' and my definition might not be the same. If they'd posted half a dozen reviews on the books that they'd enjoyed and then written a negative review, I might take them seriously.

Here's a few one star reviews that were posted recently -

By E. Marshall (yorkshire)

having been an avid stephen leather fan for years i struggled with this book. he seems to have changed his style of writing and sadly i found it hard work totally lacking his usual gripping story sad.

By Mark Allen

Let me start by saying that I am a big Stephen Leather fan and have been reading his books ever since I picked up a copy of The Stretch 10 years ago. Each year I look forward to his upcoming book and I have never been disappointed...until now. Nightfall is easily the worst book Mr Leather has produced - a book encompassing religion, demons, spells and satanism. If this is to your taste then fair enough, but what I have always liked about the authors previous efforts is their realism - the author clearly does his homework and can often paint a very accurate picture of life in various cultures and professions. But when you mix this with magic and demons it just doesn't work. Another problem with this book is that there are no likeable characters - as I read through I wouldn't have minded if any of the main characters had been killed off, and the message the lead character (Jack Nightingale) keeps seeing and hearing "YOUR GOING TO HELL JACK NIGHTINGALE" is probably the least scariest message someone could encounter. The book has the same fast paced writing style as previous Stephen Leather books and I think this is the only reason I managed to finish it. I think this book would probably suit the 13-14 age group more than adult readers, and if you are encountering Stephen Leather for the first time I would strongly reccomend that you skip this effort. Having said this, I am still looking forward to the next Dan Shepherd installment but will not be reading any follow-up's to Nightfall. I hope the author continues to produce two books a year instead of one, but two Dan Shepherd books would be much preferred to any more like this.

By A Bookfan (Loughborough UK)

I have read and enjoyed all of Stephen Leather's previous novels to the extent that I bought this new one without reading any summary.
What a disappointment the satanic and supernatural!!. I did not enjoy this and regret wasting my money on it. I enjoy a thriller as long as it is not too far fetched and totally unbelievable.
In my opinion he should get back to writing what his fans like .
A good "believable" and exciting thriller.
I will certainly check before I buy another.

Hmmm. All three claim to be fans, but in all three cases Nightfall is the only book they have ever reviewed on Amazon! Not one has bothered to review any of my books that they liked, or any other book for that matter. Wouldn't a true fan have posted reviews of books that they had enjoyed?

Here's the thing. The criticisms seem to be levied at the subject matter. And I do understand that not all fans of the Dan Shepherd books want to read a thriller involving Satanists and devil-worshippers! But this is what the blurb says on the back of Nightfall -

‘You’re going to hell, Jack Nightingale.’ They are words that ended his career as a police negotiator. Now Jack’s a struggling private investigator – and the chilling words come back to haunt him.

Nightingale’s life is turned upside down the day that he inherits a mansion with a priceless library; it comes from a man who claims to be his father, and it comes with a warning. That Nightingale’s soul was sold at birth and a devil will come to claim it on his thirty third birthday – just three weeks away.

Jack doesn’t believe in Hell, probably doesn’t believe in Heaven either. But when people close to him start to die horribly, he is led to the inescapable conclusion that real evil may be at work. And that if he doesn’t find a way out he’ll be damned in hell for eternity.

Now, I don't see how anyone can read that, buy the book, and then award the book one-star because they didn't like the premise! If you didn't like the premise, why did you buy the book in the first place?

Some reviews on Amazon are helpful, and I do take on board what readers say. But telling me they don't like the subject matter isn't helpful criticism. And at the risk of repeating myself, I don't think that just because someone doesn't like the subject matter means the book deserves one star. I don't like chick-lit, much. Should I go through Amazon giving one star to every chick-lit book?. Of course not. I just don't buy chick-lit. And just because I don't buy Confessions Of A Shopaholic doesn't mean it's not a five-star book. It is. It's brilliantly written and I wish I had Sophie Kinsella's sales figures!

Anyway, enough of a rant. For the sake of my blood pressure I'll just stop reading the reviews on Amazon.

And I wonder if I could ask a favour of any real fans who drop by this blog. If you bought Nightfall and enjoyed it, please post a favourable review on Amazon. And if you use your real name, I'll try to put you in the next Dan Shepherd book. (Not you, Kim, you're still in prison in Tango One!)

Another Good Review

Just had another good review for Nightfall - this one on

Here's what Sharon Wheeler said, bless her!

Now here's an interesting one… Stephen Leather, the writer of ultra-macho thrillers, has suddenly moved into the sort of territory Phil Rickman has made his own.

Leather is best known for his Dan Shepherd series, where our hero tends to have 45 minutes to save the universe, whilst facing down other he-men and brandishing guns a lot. The thrillers have always been reliable page-turners, but Leather has really upped his game with NIGHTFALL.

Jack Nightingale used to be a police negotiator. His career ended in confusion and controversy after a sex abuse case. Now he's a private investigator and not exactly over-burdened with work. That final case and the words "you're going to hell, Jack Nightingale" come back to haunt him when he inherits a mansion from a man who claims to be his father. There's a catch, though – apparently Jack's soul was sold at birth and a devil will cone to claim it on his 33rd birthday. And that's just three weeks away.

NIGHTFALL is a good, old-fashioned page-turner. I don't claim to be much of a fan of the horror genre, but I truly wanted to know how Leather was going to resolve this highly original mix of modern man meets woo-woo.

There's an air of understated menace all through. Leather has grasped that less is more with this sort of book, and the approach serves him well, particularly when those close to Jack start dying. The "you're going to hell" refrain is used judiciously enough to induce a shiver down the reader's spine, as is the everyday nature of most of the key scenes.

Jack's the kind of heavy-drinking, taciturn hero who could have been a cliché in the wrong hands. Leather, though, makes him a thoughtful sceptic and someone you'd want on your side in a tight corner. And he's surrounded by some other good 'uns in the form of best mate Robbie Hoyle and secretary Jenny.

Kudos to Leather for moving away from a strong series that he can seemingly write with his eyes closed, and producing something completely out of leftfield. The ending to NIGHTFALL is a wee bit disappointing as the one obvious loose end that is studiously ignored all through the book is ushered forward in a slightly clichéd scene and then left hanging for what presumably will be the sequel.

Not that I'm complaining too much, mind. I'm going to be reading that sequel.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dick Francis - The Final Furlong

Dick Francis passed away today. Amazing writer who clocked up more than forty racing novels, a true professional. He was 89 and had been frail for a while. I was amazed at how quickly his Wikipedia entry was updated. His death was noted within minutes and his entry rewritten accordingly.

Dick's son Felix rushed out a statement saying: 'My brother, Merrick, and I are, of course, devastated by the loss of our father, but we rejoice in having been the sons of such an extraordinary man.

'We share in the joy that he brought to so many over such a long life. It is an honour for me to be able to continue his remarkable legacy through the new novels.'

Nice one, Felix. A tribute to the old man and a plug for your own books. Your PR must be very proud.....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Some Justice At Last

I don't think anyone could read the following (from the Guardian) and not think that the guy deserved everything he got, and everything he will get in future. Responsible for the death of one toddler and raping another - and a Judge sends him away for five years (out in less than three). I really am starting to believe that Vigilintiasm is the way to go now that our criminal justice system has lost its way. The new Dan Shepherd book out in July is about vigilante cops and I'm considering starting a new series with a vigilante as the hero.... Death Wish, anyone?

Incidentally, the Guardian reporter relied heavily on The Sun and didn't check all the facts - my understanding is that there was no sugar in the water, more's the pity!

One of three people jailed over the death of Baby Peter has been scalded in an attack in prison.

Steven Barker, the boyfriend of the abused infant's mother, was reported to have suffering scalding to his face and arm after another prisoner threw a mixture of sugar and boiling water over him.

Barker, who is serving a life sentence at high security Wakefield Prison, West Yorkshire, could be scarred for life, the Sun reported.

Boiling water and sugar is known in prison circles as "napalm". The improvised weapon sticks to the skin and intensifies burns, one of the principal effects of jelly-like napalm bombs.

Islamic terrorist Dhiren Barot, who plotted to detonate a series of dirty bombs in the UK, was moved from Frankland prison, Durham, when he was badly burned by another prisoner in a boiling water attack in 2007.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman confirmed a prisoner was treated for wounds sustained in Wakefield Prison.

A source told the Sun newspaper today: "To say Barker is disliked is an understatement – he is reviled. The other inmates all hate him with a passion.

"When Barker came here everyone knew what he had done to Baby P. Your card is marked if you have a crime against your name concerning kids.

"After the attack everyone was in good spirits, knowing someone had hurt Barker. The guy who did it will be getting applauded everywhere he goes now."

A Prison Service spokesman said: "A prisoner at HMP Wakefield was assaulted by another. Staff intervened quickly and the prisoner received treatment. Police have been informed."

Barker was jailed at the Old Bailey in May last year for contributing to the 50 injuries Peter suffered in his short life.

The boy had been horrifically abused in the house his mother Tracey Connelly shared with Barker in Tottenham, north London.

Connelly is serving a minimum of five years for causing or allowing Peter's death. Barker's brother Jason Owen, who was a lodger in the council house, was also jailed.

Last month Barker lost his appeal against a further conviction for raping a girl of two.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Ugly Face Of British Policing

The president of the National Black Police Association has been sent to prison after being found guilty of misconduct and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Ali Dizaei is a nasty piece of work and is a prime example of what can happen when the police promotes officers on the basis of their ethnicity rather than their ability to do their job. Red flags were raised throughout the man's career but no one was prepared to stand up to him in case they were accused of racism.

One thing I have never been able to understand is why an organisation like the National Black Police Association is allowed to exist. It is by its very nature racist - hoping to promote the interests of a group solely on the basis of the colour of its members. A police officer can lose his job if he is found to be a member of the British National Party, which in the past excluded non-whites. But the NPBA, which is solely for non-white police officers, is allowed to operate with impunity. Hardly seems fair, does it?

Anyway, hopefully the conviction of Ali Dizaei will finally bring the Met to its senses and they will go back to hiring and promoting officers on the basis of ability and not their ethnic background. I know a lot of police officers and in my experience most of them care about only one colour - blue, the colour of their uniform. They don't care about the colour of their colleagues, their bosses, or of the villains they put behind bars. They just want to do their job as effectively as possible. Be nice if the men, and women, who run the nation's police forces, felt the same way!

Anyway, here's the story from the Guardian newspaper:

The Metropolitan police commander Ali Dizaei was jailed for four years today after being convicted of falsely arresting a man and making up an account that he had been assaulted and threatened.

A jury at Southwark crown court today found the 47-year-old guilty of misconduct in public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Dizaei, a controversial and high-profile officer, faces being sacked from the force in disgrace.

The jury took two hours and 31 minutes to reach its unanimous verdicts. As the verdict was announced, Dizaei, once tipped as a future commissioner of the Metropolitan police, stood motionless in the dock. He stared in the direction of the jury. They did not glance back.

In between the verdict and sentencing Dizaei was able to leave the dock to hug and kiss his wife, Shy. The offences he has been convicted of carry a maximum of life imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). After the verdict its chair, Nick Hardwick, branded Dizaei a "criminal in uniform" who had behaved like a "bully".

Dizaei is president of the National Black Police Association and was suspended over the incident in September 2008 at the height of a race row that convulsed the force.

The trial was the second time in seven years Dizaei had faced criminal charges. In 2003 he was cleared by a jury and later returned to duty. He is believed to be the most senior officer in recent times to stand trial.

The crown said Dizaei was involved in the "wholesale abuse" of his powers by bullying, threatening and intimidating a man in the culmination of a personal vendetta. He was charged with threatening and falsely arresting Waad al-Baghdadi, who said Dizaei had failed to pay him money owed for a website he designed for the officer.

The crown said that the £600 Dizaei allegedly failed to pay Baghdadi led to months of rising tension, which spilled over into verbal and physical clashes outside a west London restaurant in July 2008.

Peter Wright QC told the jury that Dizaei was on trial for falsely claiming that Baghdadi had made threatening gestures and assaulted him.

Dizaei arrested Baghdadi and called 999 for help. He maintained his account to officers at the scene and after Baghdadi was in custody by making verbal and written statements, the court heard.

Wright said the senior police officer's account was contradicted by a recording of a 999 call Baghdadi made to police, during which Dizaei arrested him.

Wright told the jury: "These are allegations, we say, that involve the wholesale abuse of power by a senior police officer for entirely personal and oblique motives."

Dizaei said Baghdadi had made threatening gestures towards him and he decided to arrest him for a public order offence. The officer said his wife was left terrified by the verbal tirade and threats from Baghdadi.

Dizaei claimed that during the arrest he was poked or stabbed in the stomach with an object that he believed to be the top of a shisha pipe. There was a struggle as he tried to handcuff Baghdadi.

A forensic medical examiner later concluded Dizaei's injuries were not consistent with being stabbed by a shisha pipe but were more likely to be "self-inflicted". However, an accredited Home Office pathologist challenged that finding and said it was based on a "fundamentally flawed approach".

The crown claimed that during the arrest Dizaei threatened Baghdadi, saying: "I'll fuck your life … You think I don't know what you do in London … I'll find every single detail of your life in London."

Hardwick said: "When Mr al-Baghdadi tried to get Commander Dizaei to pay him the money he owed him, Dizaei assaulted and then arrested him. He went on to lie about what had happened and, if he had been successful, Mr al-Baghdadi may have been sent to prison.

"Dizaei behaved like a bully and the only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. Mr al-Baghdadi has shown tremendous strength of character throughout this case ‑ from the moment he was confronted by Ali Dizaei, throughout our investigation, and finally when giving evidence at court. We are grateful for the confidence he placed in the IPCC and, as a result of that, justice has been done today.

"The greatest threat to the reputation of the police service is criminals in uniform like Dizaei."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our Crazy Country

Anyone who doubts that the UK Government has lost touch with reality should read this story... an Iraqi who killed two doctors in England won the right to stay in this country because sending him home would breach his human rights. There is a happy ending of sorts in that the guy is now dead.... the cops reckon he killed himself but I have another theory, namely that someone decided to kill him and frankly I think whoever did it should be given a medal. The new Dan Shepherd book, out in July, has vigilantism as its theme and I'm starting to become more sympathetic to those who take the law into their own hands. The Iraqi was in Rampton Secure Mental Hospital for many years - a location that features in the Jack Nightingale book that I'm currently writing. He was being prepared for release - can you believe that? He kills two family men who were trying to help him and we let him stay in our country... unbelievable!

An Iraqi immigrant who killed two doctors because he had received 'a command from Allah' has hanged himself just weeks after winning the right to stay in Britain.

Laith Alani, 41, was found dead last week at a secure hospital in West Yorkshire.

Alani has spent most of the last 19 years in a secure hospital after he killed two NHS consultants in a frenzied attack in 1990.
The Home Office wanted him deported on his release but in October he won the right to stay in Britain - because a tribunal ruled he would be a threat to the public if deported to his homeland.

It also ruled that sending him back to Iraq would also be a breach of his human rights.

The tribunal panel, led by senior immigration judge Lance Waumsley, made the decision because if he was sent home he would inevitably be taken off the medication which controls his behaviour.

Alani, 41, who was due to be released in the near future, has been receiving the drug clozapine on the NHS for ten years.
Alani killed consultant cosmetic surgeons Michael Masser and Kenneth Paton, to whom he had been referred for the removal of a tattoo on his arm. He became concerned about treatment delays and tried to remove the tattoo himself with a knife.

The doctors died at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in November 1990 after Alani was told he would have to wait to have the work done on the NHS.

Mr Masser, 42, who had a seven-year-old daughter, was stabbed six times in the throat and chest. His wife gave birth to their son six weeks before Alani's trial in 1991.

Mr Paton, who had three children, suffered 24 stab wounds in his chest and abdomen.

At his trial, Alani admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was sent to Rampton maximum security hospital for an indefinite term.

In 2008 as part of a 'staged preparation for his intended release into normal society' he was moved to a 12-bed residential care home for those with mental health problems.

Shotsmag Review

I got a good review on the Shotsmag website... written by Adrian Magson who is the author of the Riley Gavin/Frank Palmer series published by Crème de la Crime. Visit for more.

Jack Nightingale’s career as a negotiator with the Met Police reaches an abrupt end when, after failing to prevent a 9-year-old girl leaping to her death, he is the only person present when her long-term abusive father takes a dive from the 20th floor of his office block.

Choosing to remain silent about his part in the man’s death, although lauded by his police colleagues for his supposed actions, Jack becomes a private detective, scratching a living from divorce work. His fortunes appear to take a turn for the better, however, when he learns that he has been left a mansion by a man claiming to be his father. For Jack this is a huge shock, as he has always viewed the late Irene and Bill Nightingale, the couple who brought him up, as his parents.

But the surprises don’t stop there; the dead man, Ainsley Gosling, has also left Jack a personal video in which he reveals that not only did he give him away as a baby, he sold his soul to a devil. Furthermore, on his 33rd birthday, that devil will come to claim his part of the bargain… Jack’s soul.

Stubbornly sceptical, Jack visits the mansion, and finds disturbing evidence that Gosling had a more than passing interest in devil-worship and the occult. His state of unease about all this is not helped by the fact that he keeps hearing total strangers telling him, “You’re going to hell, Jack Nightingale.” and even sees it scrawled in blood at a murder scene.

Sustained by friends and his determined and loyal secretary, Jenny, he can’t help but feel a growing sense of unreality, where his life seems to be changing faster – and growing shorter, if the video is to be believed - than he can cope with. And when people around him start dying, including a demented woman who turns out to be his birth-mother, it’s no surprise that the normally pragmatic Jack Nightingale begins to wonder if he isn’t going mad.

This is a tautly-plotted story of a man faced with the unimaginable; where, as time goes by and with evidence mounting which goes against everything he holds true, his sense of equilibrium becomes ever more jaded and out of kilter. Yet Jack is a survivor, and he fights to use all his skills and determination to find out the truth and put it right – whatever that right might be.

It would be unfair to say more, save that the pace simply never lets up, from the shocking start, where the little girl chooses to slip quietly and with touching dignity to her death rather than stay on in the world, to the surprising and electrifying ending. The twists and turns are savage, adding to Jack’s torment, and the domino effect of shocks to his system are unrelenting.

It got so that the only way to finish this book was at a gallop, and I wasn’t disappointed by the denouement.

It’s harsh, it’s tense, it’s stunningly controlled and executed.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Everyone Makes Mistakes!

Just had a great review in The Northern Echo - but see if you can spot the typo....

JACK Nightingale’s career as a special police negotiator ends in a double tragedy.

Nightingale resigns, becomes a private investigator and his life is going nowhere until his father kills himself in particularly bloody circumstances, leaving poor Jack with a vast potential inheritance but the prospect of a very short future.

His father’s death plunges him into the arcane and dangerous world of Satanism and the words of his recurring nightmare, "You’re going to heel, Jack Nightingale", take on a sinister significance. Evil begins to ooze onto every page as Leather stokes the hellish fires to red hot.

'Going to heel'..... good grief! Still, I was a journalist for more than ten years and I know how easy it is for typos to creep in. Plus my books are riddled with typos these days, and have been since Hodder outsourced the typesetting to India!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Money From Mr Frank

And still they come...this one from Ghana. Why do you never get scam letters from Milton Keynes? Or Leeds?

Good Day,

Pardon me for not having the pleasure of knowing your mindset before making you this offer as it is utterly
confidential and genuine by virtue of its nature. I write to solicit your assistance in a funds transfer deal
involving US$3.5M.

This fund has been stashed out of the excess profit made last year by my branch office the International
Commercial Bank which I am the manager. I have already submitted an approved end of the year report for
the year 2008 to my head office here in Accra-Ghana and they will never know of this excess. I have since
then, placed this amount in a Non-Investment Account without a beneficiary.

Upon your response, I will configure your name on our database as holder of the Non-Investment Account.
I will then guide you on how to apply to my head office for the Account Closure/ bank-to-bank remittance of
the funds to your designated bank account.

If you concur with this proposal, I intend for you to retain 30% of the funds while 70% shall be for me.

Kindly forward your response to: {}

Mr. Frank Wuddah.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Scammers Can Be Deadly

From time to time I post scamming emails that I receive, often from Nigeria. They are a laugh, but there is a serious side to it as the following story shows. Worth repeating that anything that sounds too good to be true probably is. And Nigerians are generally best left alone.....

When lonely divorcee Philip Hunt fell for a beautiful woman on an internet dating site he thought all his prayers had been answered.

She convinced him she was young, fabulously rich and if he could help transfer $2.9million from Nigeria to the UK then they could start a new life together, an inquest heard today.

Unfortunately it was all an elaborate scam that would cost Mr Hunt £82,000 and ultimately his life.

The 58-year-old was hooked on the fantasy of a future with the stunning 'Rose' and he willingly paid out tens of thousands of pounds to help her beat malaria and get her funds through customs and into the UK.

The cargo officer remortgaged his house, took out loans, ran up overdrafts and begged for cash from his employers after repeatedly transferring money across to the fraudsters' account.

Eventually he became so hopelessly mired in debt that he committed suicide by lying down in front of a train.

Although warned by a former girlfriend that he was the victim of a 'scam', Mr Hunt appeared to believe in Rose until the very end.

His mobile phone was found in a rucksack near his body and a text message to Rose - which was never sent - read: 'I'm cold, lonely and depressed, I'm so lonely without you tonight. Going to meet my maker..'

Twice-married Mr Hunt went online in search of love after splitting up with girlfriend of three years Lesley Smith.

He began exchanging texts and emails with Rose, who claimed to be living in Nigeria. She sent him a picture of herself and he quickly fell in love with the attractive white brunette.

Over the months that followed Mr Hunt was tricked into thinking Rose was seriously ill and in desperate need of his help. The prize was the rest of his life with her and her cash.

Each time he came close to arranging a meeting with 'Rose' the anonymous criminals behind the 'romance scam' demanded further cash for hotels, medical bills and travel expenses to the UK.

He even travelled to London to meet two of the fraudsters who claimed they needed money for an expensive solution which would magically turn scrap paper into $100 bills.

Mr Hunt met two 'agents' at the Travelodge near London's City Airport. He was greeted by two large men who opened a case containing scraps of black and grey paper.

One of the men then sprayed a note with a mystery substance which seemed to turn the filthy paper into a $100 in front of his eyes - convincing him to hand over more money to pay for the chemical spray.

Mr Hunt began wiring over money in December 2008. At one stage he asked to borrow £25,000 from his employer, a shipping company at Immingham Docks, but later retracted the request and resigned from his job.

His last contact with the fraudsters was in June last year and he died on August 13 when he was hit by a train and suffered multiple injuries.

Police investigating his death found a handwritten note at his home in Grimsby addressed to them, which read: 'I just can't take it any more.' They also found bundles of emails outlining the huge scale of the fraud and a message predicting his own suicide. He wrote: 'I have insurmountable debts and will take my own life.'

A jury at the inquest in Hull returned a verdict of suicide.

After the hearing former girlfriend Miss Smith said: 'These people are out to get people when they are very vulnerable, they are like vultures. I'd like to alert people to this so they can be aware and be cautious.

'Philip was a quiet and reserved gentleman, and he was very intelligent which makes it all the more unbelievable that he fell for this, but he was at a low ebb and they got him when he was most vulnerable.'

Detective Chief Inspector Danny Snee, of British Transport Police, said: 'People need to be very wary, if something looks too good to be true it usually is. They should be particularly wary about parting with money with someone they have never met, it just doesn't ring true.

'The demands for money for supposed medical bills, hotel bills and travel expenses were endless.'

He said a criminal investigation into the international fraudsters was ongoing, although no arrests have been made.