Today I’m delighted to feature Murray Bailey, the author of crime novels and pacy, mystery thrillers. His latest book The Killing Crew features his popular character Ash Carter who first appeared in a series inspired by his own father’s experiences in the Royal Military Police in 1950s Singapore.
Over to Murray:
I have always enjoyed writing and, as a child, I even managed to be published in both the Times Educational Supplement as well as my local paper the Lichfield Mercury. Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to publishers knocking on my door. After studying Physics at the University of Southampton followed by Applied Mathematics at Cambridge, I entered the very different world of Consumer Credit.
Although I edited Credit Risk International for a year, contributed and edited 3 textbooks and wrote two more, my passion has always been with fiction – in particular, thriller and crime writing. Surprisingly, I discovered there is quite a large overlap between credit risk and crime writing – not least, the amount of logic, problem solving and analysis that each requires.
I have been writing as a hobby for more than 10 years and, after a lot of encouragement from my wife, finally focused on getting something published. My first book, I Dare You, is available as a paperback or Kindle version through Amazon and was followed up in 2017 by the sequel, Dare You Twice. My second work, Map of the Dead, allowed me to indulge my passion for Egyptology while Black Creek White Lies, based in Cornwall, is a stand alone written for my mother. The Ash Carter series was influenced by my father’s experiences in the Royal Military Police in 1950s Singapore.
Born in Greater Manchester, England, I have gradually moved south until I reached the beautiful Dorset coast where I now live with my wife and family. Having young children and an all-consuming passion such as writing doesn’t leave much free time, but when I do take a break I enjoy running and cycling, kayaking along the gorgeous River Stour and building sandcastles with my children.
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Sonique’s – It Feels So Good, because I heard this for the first time when I saw my wife to be and then set it as her ring tone.
Gary Barlow’s – This House, because it sums up how I feel about my house and family.
Morcheeba’s – The Sea, because it’s on our Sunday morning playlist and reflects my life now, by the sea.
Ludovico Einaudi’s – Primavera, because it reminds me of my father and when I’m in a contemplative mood.
Heigh-ho, it was the first song I recognised as a child and was subsequently both of my boys’ favourite song for a while.
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Chocolate – I’m not keen on sweets but am a chocoholic.
My dogs “Teddy” and “Muffin”. I didn’t realise I was a dog person until we got them.
My laptop – I’m addicted to writing stories and prefer my laptop to paper (because I lose my notes otherwise).
Wine – I do love a good Chianti or Rioja.
Exercise – I have to do something everyday or I get cranky.
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
Don’t marry the first person you fall for.
Your parents’ view of the world isn’t necessarily correct.
Learn who you are and what makes you happy.
Don’t buy the farm house!
Trust that all will work out in the end.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
I did the Canadian Ironman in 1998.
I used to paint watercolours (without real talent).
I got arrested in Canada when I was 18 (I like to think it was a misunderstanding) – long story!
I hitch hiked from the Midlands to The Amalfi coast (and back).
I went to Peru 5 times but never did the tourist thing.
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
Visit Machu Picchu.
Have a holiday home in Pollenca, Mallorca.
Be able to row 10k in under 40 minutes.
To maintain my health and fitness for at least another 20 years.
And of course… achieve a much wider readership, especially of my Ash Carter series.
Many thanks for joining me Murray, you’ve given us some great music choices, with a definite earworm in Heigh-Ho to stay with us for the day. You’re quite welcome to join the Chocoholics Club, there are lots of us! You’re advice to your younger self sounds heartfelt, but it does sound as though life is all going in the right direction now. You’ve certainly managed to pack some adventures into your life and I’m sure we’d all be happy to hear your Canadian long story if you wanted to share. Here’s to ticking off further adventures, Machu Picchu is certainly worth the trip (I didn’t do it via the tourist route) and having visited Pollenca I can certainly see the appeal. On the plus side, hopefully this feature will introduce new readers to Ash Carter!
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
The Ash Carter Near East series
Cyprus Kiss (Book 1)
Help Me! Those were the words on the back of a woman’s photograph. And she vanished six months ago.
It’s 1948 and military investigator Ash Carter has arrived in Cyprus.A gang has been operating for two years, leaving a mark known to police as the kiss of death. Is this something to do with them? And why ask him for help?
After a murder, Carter begins to realise this is personal. In a race against time, Carter must work out the connection between the gang, the missing woman and the murder before it’s too late.
The Killing Crew (Book 2)
Ash Carter and Bill Wolfe are in Israel hunting a group of British Army deserters known as the Killing Crew. Some people think they were a myth, others believe they were the most hated of British soldiers.
In the newly formed state that’s at war with the Arab nations, hated by Jews and despised by Arabs, the two SIB officers think they face an uncomfortable task.
But when they become targets they realise this is more than just a job. It’s life or death.
The Troodos Secret (Book 3 – on pre-order, due Sept)
Ash Carter is called in to investigate the mysterious
death of a commando. Working with Detective Sofia
MacKenzie he finds that nothing is quite what
it seems and no one is willing to tell the truth.
When another man dies, it appears that the truth lies in
the mountains and the mines to be found there.
Threatened and working against the clock, Carter
and Mackenzie must solve the case or risk
becoming the mountain’s next victims.
The Ash Carter Thrillers
Singapore 52 (Book 1)
Chinese New Year 1952
Ash Carter had to leave the Middle East in a hurry. But when he arrives in Singapore he finds himself in the middle of a much bigger problem.
No one knows where, or when, or who but someone is planning an attack. Carter is told to make sure it doesn’t happen. With pressure from politicians and the army and with Chinese Secret Societies watching his every move, he has other plans. He is more interested in finding out who killed his friend.
Singapore Girl (Book 2)
A GRISLY DISCOVERY
A headless body, found on a causeway between Singapore and Malaya, gets assigned to ex-military investigator Ash Carter. Now working for the government, he needs to find out if this is just another drug-war punishment or something more.
His search for answers takes him through Malaya as far as Penang. But with children going missing, he starts to uncover connections to the establishment. He knows he s getting close to the truth. Too close…
The investigation gets shut down.
But he knows it s not over. And it s not in his nature to quit.
Singapore Boxer (Book 3)
Ash Carter goes undercover in central Malaya with a private militia providing protection against the Chinese terrorists. Some business owners appear happy with this protection while others are not.
Villagers are getting sick and the local doctor says the tin mining business is to blame. They’re poisoning the water. But no one will listen and everyone says she’s trouble. She tries to enlist Carter, but he’s there for a different reason.
One of the militia has disappeared and another is dead.
And then someone tries to kill Carter. As things escalate, he finds himself drawn into a world of intrigue, disputes and deception.
Will Ash Carter uncover the truth before it’s too late?
Singapore Ghost (Book 4)
Ash Carter is in Penang on a job that seems beneath him: babysit a newspaper reporter. She’s investigating ghost stories at the barracks but it’s Carter’s past that is back to haunt him.
Returning to Singapore he finds himself caught up with a Chinese Secret Society. It’s not Andrew Yipp’s and Carter finds himself beholden to the leader, Chen Guan Xi. Chen wants to remove his big rival without a turf war and he wants Carter to do it for him.
However Yipp and Carter have so far had a good relationship. But when investigations on behalf of the gorgeous Su Ling uncover Yipp’s wicked actions, Carter’s attitude changes.
Stuck between the two criminal organisations, Ash Carter must find a solution and put the ghosts to rest.
Singapore Killer (Book 5)
A helicopter crash and burned bodies.
A faceless corpse.
A mysterious town.
It’s September 1953 and Ash Carter is drawn into a dark case from which there seems no escape.
Singapore Fire (Book 6)
She wants to escape. He wants to save her. But nothing is what it seems.
Singapore 1954 and once again, private investigator, Ash Carter is caught between the government and the criminal gangs. It’s time for Carter to choose. Escape now or stand and fight?
Alex MacLure Thrillers
Map of the Dead (Book 1)
When Alex MacLure’s friend and colleague dies he is determined to carry on her research into ancient Egypt. He finds she has left him a coded message and, as he tries to make sense of it all, he discovers she was murdered. And now the murderer needs to silence him.
With only a few clues and a mysterious object, Alex follows a trail from London to Cairo. He must crack the code and expose a shocking and inconceivable truth before the secret is buried for ever.
Sign of the Dead (Book 2)
Beware the surgeon. He’s not here to save you!
Atlanta, Georgia. When a body dump is found, FBI Special Agent Charlie Rebb, thinks a serial killer has resurfaced. Called the Surgeon by the media, his tell-tale technique has everyone wondering why. But then the murders seem to stop again.
Cairo, Egypt. Alex MacLure is contacted by a student who thinks he s uncovered a conspiracy involving the pyramids. He asks for Alex s help to piece together a message using new discoveries from the Amarna Letters. But the student disappears and Alex is arrested for a murder. Meanwhile the special agent sees a sign that the Surgeon is now in Egypt.
MacLure links up with Special Agent Rebb to track down the killer. As he decrypts an ancient story MacLure realizes this is a race against time. The Surgeon must be stopped before he completes his terrible and startling mission.
*** PREVIOUSLY TITLED “SECRETS OF THE DEAD” ***
I Dare You
Why was Kate’s enigmatic American boyfriend snatched off the street? Pressured by her family to forget him, a year later she finds a photograph that suggests he wasn’t what they said he was. As she investigates people start to die and Kate is left wondering who to trust. She follows clues from England to the Czech Republic and finally to the US, all the while with the killer on her tail. Her boyfriend said: ‘Don’t believe what you read. Don’t believe what they say. Trust me. I dare you.’ Kate wants the truth but is the truth worth dying for?
Dare You Twice
A teenage girl disappears from her locked bedroom. With no way out, and a trace of blood, the police conclude the worst.
As Kate Blakemore investigates the strange case, she finds her own life threatened. She goes into hiding only to find herself drawn into another mysterious case.
On the Dorset coast, a young man has vanished without trace. Except for a cryptic message he seems to have intended for Kate. Accompanied by her friend, Andrew and a British Detective, Kate follows the clues that take her from England to Paris, France.
As the puzzle unfolds, Kate questions what she believes and whom she can trust. She has to work out what is really going on – or die trying.
Black Creek White Lies
One night, Jade Bridger takes a dead-end path by the creek, and vanishes. Eighteen months after being wrongly accused of her murder, Dan Searle returns to Cornwall to rebuild his life and forget. But others won’t let him forget. He is quickly drawn back into the case and a dark and violent mystery; one that involved another girl years before. As the lies begin to unravel, Dan uncovers startling truths about his family and the past. With dangerous people trying to keep their secrets safe, he must save those he loves – before time runs out…
The Lost Pharaoh
The year is BCE 1318 and Yanhamu, Lord Khety, is invited to sit as a judge on a High Court case. However, he is out of his depth and when the case concludes he knows that justice has not been done. A meeting with the emissary of the High Priest of Amun leads to Yanhamu’s arrest for treason. Accused of conspiracy and thrown into prison he must prove his innocence. The Two Lands are on the brink of civil war. Yanhamu may hold the key, but he must battle his own demons before he can save his country.
**** This crime-mystery occurs between the historic flashbacks in Map of the Dead and Secrets of the Dead ***.