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Memories or junk?

Thanks to all of you who got in touch following the sudden death of my mum last month. I’ve really appreciated all your comments. My brother and I have worked hard to get her estate in order over the last few weeks, and I’ll soon be back at my writing desk full-time again. Mum would have been appalled if she’d known that she’d inadvertently gate-crashed the release of AUTUMN: INFERNO. You see, she wasn’t a horror fan by any stretch of the imagination, but she supported my work tirelessly over the years and was one of my most ardent cheerleaders.

It was easy to take her support for granted. She used to infuriate me, if I’m honest. There were endless interrogations for news/gossip whenever I saw her, and I used to cringe whenever I released something new and she forced herself to read it out of motherly loyalty. She’d always report back with “it was quite good”, or “I enjoyed it (but it’s not my kind of thing)” when it was clear she’d had to force herself to finish every sentence, and I was forever telling her not to put herself (and me) through it every time I released a new book. She’d never been a lover of apocalyptic fiction, and nothing I wrote was going to change that! All that said, it will be strange when I next write a sex scene or a violent action scene filled with explicit language… I won’t be cringing inwardly thinking “Mum’s going to read this…”

As Pete and I have emptied the house, we’ve been forced to go through her most private things. Our parents’ love letters to each other, keepsakes and mementos, trinkets that meant everything to Mum, but nothing to anyone else.

I was talking to one of my daughters the other day about the transitory nature of memories. I have a cardboard box full of what can only be described as crap, but which I wouldn’t part with for the world. It’s filled with odds and ends that remind me of special times – mostly when Lisa and I first fell in love, and when the kids were born. I look in there and the emotion is almost overwhelming, but anyone else peeking in would just see junk: things like a perfectly preserved paper bag, a plastic roller skate keyring, a scrappy notebook filled with the track listings of mixtapes, a bunch of receipts for meals and gifts… To me, a box full of memories. To almost everyone else, a box full of rubbish.

It broke my heart when I found more memories in Mum’s purse. She’d been carrying these two scraps of paper with her for more than twenty-five years. They wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else, but to Mum they were clearly priceless. An invitation to the party Mum and Dad threw when my first book was released. Hundreds of friends, family, and neighbours piled into their back garden to eat, drink, and buy books. I know it started at 4pm, but I can’t remember when it finished… But it’s the receipt behind that touched me most. It took me a while to work out what it was for, then realisation struck – Mum posted the final edited manuscript of STRAIGHT TO YOU back to the publisher as I was at work, and she’d carried the receipt with her ever since. That release was the beginning of my writing career, the moment it stopped being a pipe-dream and became a reality.

To everyone else, these are just two dog-eared scraps of paper. To Mum – and now to me – they’re so much more than that.

An explanation

AUTUMN: INFERNO was released a week ago, but I’ve barely been online and I’ve not promoted it at all. I wanted to explain why.

Last Tuesday morning, my mum was taken ill. She deteriorated rapidly and sadly passed away on Wednesday afternoon. The end was swift and relatively painless for her, so we’re grateful for small mercies. It was what she wanted. My brother and I were with her at the end, and in these difficult times for the NHS, we’ll be forever thankful for that. The staff who looked after her were wonderful, and she received nothing but the best care and absolute respect and dignity.

I wanted those of you who’ve ordered signed copies of the new book directly from Infected Books or Etsy to know that all copies have been dispatched and should be with you shortly (if you’ve not already received them). I’m going to take a few weeks out to focus on my family and on sorting out Mum’s affairs, so things will be even quieter than usual around here for a while.

To those of you who’ve already picked up and enjoyed INFERNO, thank you. I’m thrilled with the reactions from folks who’ve already read it. It’s available now in all the usual places. Please don’t delay if you want a signed copy or if you have questions about an order you’ve already placed. I have plenty of copies in stock, and I’ll be checking emails and dispatching orders daily.

Book recommendation – The Final Cut

My friend (and THE FRONT co-conspirator) CRAIG DILOUIE released THE FINAL CUT, the long-anticipated third book in his INFECTION trilogy at the end of last year. Having just finished reading it, I’m pleased to report that it was well worth the wait.

It’s a testament to Craig’s skill as a writer that I felt able to jump back into the story, despite it having been almost a decade since the previous book in the series – THE KILLING FLOOR – was released. We’re right back into the action straightaway and it doesn’t let up throughout. Although the book is focused on a relatively small cast of characters, it’s evident that these people are the key players in humanity’s fight for survival against the unique alien scourge that’s decimated life on earth.

I’ve followed Craig’s work from the outset. From TOOTH AND NAIL onwards, he’s told a number of apocalyptic tales from the point of view of some of those folks on the military front line. Typically, stories with a detailed military content leave me cold, but time and again I find myself enjoying Craig’s writing and the realistic, personal perspective he brings to these chaotic, world-defining battles. The focus remains on the people and their physical and emotional fights, rather than the calibre of the bullets they’re firing.

It was great to finally get to read the last book in the trilogy. It’s sometimes hard to hit the landing when you’re writing sequels, particularly when the last book was written more than ten years previously, but THE FINAL CUT brings the story to a smart and satisfying conclusion. As many of you may know, I’m a sucker for hearing about the post-post-apocalypse, and the book’s coda, in which we get a glimpse of life with the Infection after another ten years, was very much appreciated.

You can grab a copy of THE FINAL CUT from Amazon now. Highly recommended.


One week until Autumn: Inferno is released

A quick reminder that the release of AUTUMN: INFERNO is now just one week away.


Population seven million
99.9% of them dead
The survival of the rest still balanced on a knife-edge

Pre-order links are now up and running, with the German and audio versions in production as I type:



For those who’ve ordered signed editions, they’ll start shipping in the next couple of days. There’s still time to order limited edition hardcovers (with bonus material) or signed paperbacks. Place an order today, and you can download and start reading a complementary eBook version of INFERNO immediately. Click here for more information.

Don’t Look Up

It’s the number one film on NETFLIX at the moment, so I’m sure you’ve either already seen this movie or have heard plenty about it. That said, for posterity I’m adding it to the ongoing list of films I recommend here on this site, and I’ll explain why after the trailer.

Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

Reaction to DON’T LOOK UP has been polarising, to say the least. Glancing at IMDB just now, the Metascore is 50. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently stands at 55%. I don’t think the stats are at all surprising – if anything they’re quite appropriate – because the polarisation of society is at the core of the film. As an apocalyptic story, it’s by-the-numbers. As a comedy, it’s intermittently very funny. I can understand why people expecting either a laugh-fest or a GREENLAND or ARMAGEDDON style action adventure would be disappointed. Much has been made of the fact that the destruction of the planet by a comet is an allegory for climate change, but you can substitute any number of current social issues. I think the film’s scope is far broader than any one scenario. It holds up a mirror (albeit a deliberately distorted and exaggerated one) to some of our worst traits as individuals and as a society.

Throughout the story, the characters are fixated on things that don’t matter at the expense of things that do: the President of the United States wants to sit on news of the impending apocalypse so as not to tarnish her approval ratings, a tech guru concocts a plan to mine the planet-killing comet to tap into the trillions of dollars worth of minerals it contains… even the scientists become distracted with the irrelevances of fame. There are many levels to this film, but what hit me hardest was the demonisation of critical thinking and the absolute intolerance of other perspectives. In some respects, it felt like a comedy version of HATER.

It saddens me that in the sixteen years since I wrote HATER, it feels like it’s become more and more relevant with each passing week. I never explain the reason for the Hate in the books, but I’d always had it in mind that it was some kind of biological quirk that separated them from us, a genetic or other physical difference. Turns out it was worse than that. Turns out we’re capable of killing each other on the basis of our ideologies, beliefs, opinions, and personal desires. That’s always been the case, of course, and I’m being deliberately simplistic here, but it truly does feel like we’ve reached the point in our evolution (devolution?) where many of us appear incapable of even listening to, let alone considering or accepting, another person’s point of view when it doesn’t fit with our own world view or if it will be detrimental to ourselves in any way, shape, or form. There is no maybe anymore, there’s just right and wrong, and if one person’s right is another person’s wrong (which it inevitably will be), then we hit an impasse.

It’s fucking terrifying when you think about it, and pretty depressing, but that’s why I’m recommending DON’T LOOK UP. The characters are caricatures and it doesn’t offer any solutions or profound explanations, but it does a great job of showing how heartbreakingly stupid and blinkered us human beings can be. I’d like to think we’ll smarten up before the planet is destroyed (either by a comet, climate change, a rogue AI, aliens, or – most likely – ourselves), but like the scientists in the story, I’m not holding out a lot of hope.

The Battle of Wapping

It’s less than three weeks now until AUTUMN: INFERNO is released. I thought you might like to read an excerpt. The book opens with an army of survivors setting out to reclaim the streets of London from the dead – the battle of Wapping. Click the link below to read it.

You can read the entire novel today if you pre-order a signed copy from Infected Books. Otherwise, there’s not long to wait now. You can pre-order the eBook, and print pre-order links will be appearing shortly. Aubrey Parsons is busy at work recording the audio version, and the German translation is in Jasmin Kraft’s capable hands.

Can’t wait for you to read this one. And while you’re doing that, I’ll be hard at work on AUTUMN: EXODUS. The last book in the series will be nothing like you’ve read before.

Continue reading “The Battle of Wapping”

Autumn: Inferno (book two of the London trilogy)

Just a couple of very quick AUTUMN: INFERNO updates.

First, the eBook version of the book is now available to pre-order from all the usual outlets – Amazon, Apple (due imminently), Kobo, Google, and B&N. The general paperback pre-order links should start popping up in the next couple of weeks.

Second, if you’ve already pre-ordered AUTUMN: INFERNO direct from Infected Books, either the limited edition hardcover or signed paperback, you should have received an email from me yesterday with details of how to download your complementary eBook copy RIGHT NOW! Please get in touch if you didn’t receive the instructions, and I’ll get the details to you asap.

There’s still time to pre-order signed copies from Infected Books, and now that the eBook is available, you’ll be able to download a copy straight away.

It’s very nearly Christmas… Happy Holidays!

It’s my last afternoon in the office before I pause for Christmas and the New Year, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to wish everyone the very best for the upcoming holidays. We’ve all had a difficult couple of years, and whilst I don’t think for a second that we’ll be completely out of the woods in 2022, I’m cautiously optimistic that – if we can hold ourselves together and resist the urge to dive down media-fuelled, conspiracy theory laden rabbit holes – things will start to improve.

Before I disappear I’d like to share an offer, a reminder, and a recommendation.

The offer – in anticipation of the release of AUTUMN: INFERNO in January, the eBook version of AUTUMN: DAWN is available for 99c/99p from all your usual eBook outlets. If you haven’t started reading THE LONDON TRILOGY, this is a great way to start.

The reminder – limited edition signed hardcovers and signed paperbacks of AUTUMN: INFERNO are available for pre-order from Infected Books. They’ll be shipping from mid-January, and anyone who pre-orders will receive a complementary ebook version of the new novel in advance of its official release on 25 Jan. If everything goes to plan at this end, you could be reading the book before the end of 2021 (ie next week).

The recommendation – have you seen ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE? It’s the best Scottish Christmas zombie musical I’ve ever seen. Cheesy as hell, but a lot of gory fun and it’s well worth a watch. The trailer is below and if you’re in the UK, you can stream the movie now on Amazon Prime.

There’s lots of good stuff coming up from me, so I hope to see you soon in 2022. In the meantime, Happy Holidays!