my books

Non-Fiction

Guitar Making

Step by Step Guitar Making

Guitar enthusiasts will love this revised and expanded edition of the popular Step-by-Step Guitar Making, packed full of handy information and expert tips. Learn how to make a steel-stringed OM cutaway guitar with 14 frets from scratch, following the clear step-by-step pictures and straightforward instructions. There is no need to be daunted, as you will be guided closely through the whole process from choosing the materials to the final stringing up and there is even a full-size plan of the guitar to follow. Suitable for woodworkers who have a basic level of skills, this is a rewarding project to undertake and will no doubt become a family heirloom.

 

Fiction

adventure

The Penitent Heart, is one man’s journey from despair to hope. It is the story of Bill, a hapless househusband, who while being under the influence of alcohol causes a road traffic accident, and the subsequent death of the other driver. Overloaded with stress and guilt, Bill suffers a debilitating emotional breakdown. Bill abandons his wife, Ruth, and her three young daughters by her first marriage, to become a cook on a charter yacht bound for the Amazon.Bill may have run away from his wife, his family, and his responsibilities, but no matter how hard he tries, he can’t run away from the shadowy spectre of his past. He realizes that one day, sooner than later, he will have to decide whether to keep on running or stop and face the music.

 

For Eastbourne guitar maker Jack Nevis, tomorrow is a foreign country. Yet today, living and working on the Osprey, a rust encrusted WW2 tugboat, are memories, safety, and home. Woken by the sound of a gunshot, Jack finds a body in his workshop and is immediately thrust into a world of dead Pharaohs, looted Nazi gold, and a damsel in distress, Nancy. Does Nancy really want to learn how to make a guitar? Or is she being coerced into to finding out if the much sought after falcon figurine of Horus and the Nazi gold are secreted somewhere on the Osprey? Chased from Eastbourne to the highlands of Scotland and back on their quest to find the falcon and gold, can Jack and Nancy keep one step ahead of those who seek the Falcon and gold for their own evil ends? 

 

The Road Home is about Alan. Born in Scotland but lived most of his adult life in California. He has been extremely successful in work and investments. When he finds out he has inherited a dilapidated country mansion on a remote Scottish island, he jumps at the challenge of restoring it to its former glory. 

He packs up his life in sunny California and sets of for the challenge not knowing the history of the island and the mansion he will have to deal with.

The book is currently being writen and researched and had a publishing date late in 2021.

 

The story behind DCI Jack Buchanan series

Not satiated from writing a series of magazine articles for the Woodworker magazine, plus writing a 2nd edition to my guitar making book, I turned to one of my first loves, storytelling. My first published novel was “The Penitent Heart” which, due to running a very busy IT company, took me eleven years to write.

Busy as I was, I still found time to join the Hastings Writers Group, and what a fortuitist decision that was. I was given a warm welcome and oodles of encouragement to persevere with my writing. At the group I was able to hone my writing and composition skills by entering their short story competitions. One such competition was to write a story in the style of a well-known author. Being a fan of the TV detective series Morse, I chose to emulate the style of Colin Dexter.

Excited by the challenge, I set to work on the task ahead. Though not quiet on par with such a great writer as Colin Dexter, I placed fourth in the competition with my homage to DCI Morse. This short story subsequently became the inspiration for the DCI Buchanan stories.

I soon realised that writing a crime story with a main character as a police detective required a location and of course a character. Although I was born and raised in Glasgow, many years had passed since I lived there, so another location was necessary. Oxford had Morse, Glasgow Taggart, Edinburgh Rebus, Hastings Foyle, and Brighton Roy Grace, so where to place my detective? The obvious choice was Eastbourne where I have been living for these last 30 plus years.

Next was to create a suitable detective. The candidate had to be different from the current genre of detectives. He – yes, I chose a male character, he had to be happily married, childless, a moderate drinker, struggling to give up smoking, be reluctant to retire, and prone to burst out with poetic utterances.

Next was to decide on my detective’s nationality and being a Glaswegian I was somewhat biased. Glasgow has one of the greatest records in history for true-grit detectives, having come into existence on the 30th June 1800, twenty-nine years ahead of London’s Metropolitan force. Some notable Glasgow detectives were Percy Sillitoe who brought a spectacular end to the Glasgow razor gangs and later became chief of MI5. Joe Beattie who worked on the Bible John case, and Alexander Brown and Tom Goodall who worked ceaselessly to successfully bring an end to the murder spree of Peter Manuel.

For my detective, a good solid sounding Scottish name was absolute must, one that could clearly identify his pedigree. I have been asked many times how I came up with the name Jack Buchanan, all I can answer is this is where serendipity knocked on the door. It wasn’t till I introduced Buchanan’s partner, Jill Street, did I realise just how serendipitous my decision had been. But how to get him down to Eastbourne? I could have had him put in a transfer request, but that would be boring. Instead I had him get involved in an altercation in a Glasgow pub which necessitated his transfer to the quieter environs of Eastbourne in East Sussex.

So, the stage was set, and the cast assembled for what was going to be the first case for my tough Glasgow cop to investigate – 

The case of The Bodies in the Marina.

The Bodies in the Marina. The first book in the DCI Buchanan series.

Glasgow cop, DCI Jack Buchanan is in Eastbourne, seconded to Sussex CID. His task is to investigate the death of an unidentified young woman found floating in the Marina and also the death of a Sussex Detective Sergeant, drowned in the harbour while still seat belted in his car.When he walked the beat in the Gorbals as a young PC, Jack’s idea of street justice was to take the miscreant down a dark alley, thump some sense into them, and send them on their way.Now, like a fish out of water, and in the genteel surroundings of Eastbourne, would Buchanan be in time to catch the killers before they strike again?

 

The Laminated Man. The second book in the DCI Buchanan series.

In spite of being trapped between the never-ending pressure from above to retire, and the need to quickly resolve the latest, cold blooded murder. Buchanan grits his teeth and doggedly forges ahead with the investigation.
Was the gruesome death of the businessman a one off, performed by some sadistic killer? Or was it a macabre message to those who think they can step out of line?Who sprayed superglue onto DS Street’s hair just weeks before her marriage to PC Hunter. Was it a warning of worse things to come if they didn’t back off?
Come join Buchanan and his indomitable team of, DS Street, PC’s Hunter and Dexter as they unpick the truth from the warp and weft of lies and deceit spread before them.

The Mystery of Cabin 312. Book three in the DCI Buchanan series.

Recovering from a very bad car crash, Buchanan takes his wife Karen on a two-week luxury cruise through the Dutch and Belgian canals. During the cruise, an English couple go missing. When their cabin is searched, blood stained female clothing is found but there is no trace of her, or her partner. Instead of shore trips, relaxing at the bar and reading, Buchanan is thrust into investigating the mystery of what happened in cabin 312.

 

 

The Reluctant Jockey. Book four in the DCI Buchanan series.

DCI Buchanan is on administration leave and is staying at Castlewood Country Club. He’d seen his wife and daughter off to France on the ferry and now planned to spend the week relaxing, reading, horse riding, and sipping his favourite single malt; and come hell or high water nothing was going to get in the way of that. But he hadn’t reckoned on what mayhem the whirlwind called Cynthia Mountjoy was about to cause.

 

 

The Missing Heiress. Book five in the DCI Buchanan series.

Due for publication late Spring 2020

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