Five on Friday with Emma Salisbury @emmasauthor

Today I’m delighted to feature Emma Salisbury who writes gritty, crime fiction that focuses on the ‘why’ dunnit as well as the ‘who’. Her latest book in the popular DS Coupland series Made to be Broken is out next week (27th)

Emma worked for a housing association supporting socially excluded men and ex-offenders with their return into society, which provided her with a lot of inspiration.

When she’s not writing she has been known to frequent bars of ill repute where many a loose lip has provided the nugget of a storyline.

Over to Emma:

Which piece of music/song would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Sit Down – James

I’m from Manchester (Salford) and the soundtrack to my early twenties was Oasis and James. I’ve picked this James track as I’ve suffered from anxiety over the years and always felt the lyrics were aimed at those who feel they don’t fit in.


Tub Thumping – Chumbawamba

I’ve had some serious knock backs in my time. Being widowed unexpectedly at 49 was one of them. This track became my mantra and I’d play this on headphones every time I took my dog out for a walk. Sadly I had to say goodbye to her this month after 18 faithful years, so I shall be playing it again once more to remind myself to keep moving.


In My Life – the Beatles

I only ‘discovered’ this track recently when I watched the programme Vicky McClure made about dementia sufferers using singing as therapy and a way of coming together. It acknowledges that we may have loved many times in our life and that love later on is not only possible but can be better because of the life we’ve experienced.


Ooh Child (Things are going to get easier) – MILCK

This is such an uplifting song. I’m a huge New Amsterdam fan and this was played very early in the series. It’s another track that was new to me but I downloaded it immediately as I thought, yep, the lyrics are pretty bang on.


Into My Arms – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

I think this is possibly one of the greatest love songs ever. Bear in mind I prefer listening to Fairytale of New York at Christmas rather than Silent Night and you’ll get the gist of what it’s like…When I play it I think of how Coupland feels about his wife and family and it helps me draft plots that push him to the edge.


What (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

Chocolate. Enough said, right?

My morning cuppa. Yes, I have been known to take my tea bags on holiday.

Hand cream. When I’m not writing I’m gardening. Even though I wear gloves nothing seems to stop them feeling like sandpaper.

Tweezers. Sadly not for my eyebrows anymore. Thanks Menopause!

My oversized sunglasses. No eye cream conceals the bags under my eyes better than these bad boys.

Can you offer a piece of advice for your younger self?

You’re lovely just the way you are – don’t change for the sake of others.

Value yourself.

Listen to your inner voice.

There are some things you can’t forgive.

Don’t worry so much.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you

Open spaces make me anxious.

I was sacked once for whistleblowing.

I was bullied at school.

I was invited to audition as a presenter for Granada TV – and didn’t go.

I met Oprah once in a hotel in Scotland – before I started writing! Imagine being one of her book club selections…#MissedOpportunity

Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.

Now travel restrictions are relaxed I’d like to get a holiday this year.

Readers keep saying they’d like to see my DS Coupland books turned into a TV series. I think that’d be pretty awesome.

I’d like to learn how to type faster – and get more books out to keep my readers happy!

I’d love one of my books to be a Sunday Times bestseller.

I’d love to invent fat-free chocolate.

Many thanks for joining me today Emma and so sorry to hear you had to say goodbye to your dog. 18 years was a very good age – though there’s no age that means we’d ever want to lose them. I love your music choices, Rubber Soul is one of my favourite albums and In My Life has wonderful lyrics. Welcome to the chocolate club, and in my case the ‘lack of eyebrows’ club – I empathise! I also take tea-bags on holiday, especially when in Europe, it’s the only way to get a decent cuppa. Wise words of advice to yourself, if only we could have told ourselves, we could have avoided a lot of worry and angst. Sorry you were sacked for whistleblowing, I’ve never understood why doing the right thing is punished. Hope you get your holiday this year, and give me a shout when you invent that fat-free chocolate, I’ll definitely buy it (along with millions of others). All the best with the new book!

Emma’s Books

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

DS Coupland series

Fragile Cord (Book 1)

What was Tracey Kavanagh so frightened of she thought wiping out her family was the answer?

Introducing Salford detectives Kevin Coupland and Alex Moreton as they investigate what appears to be a routine murder-suicide. For Alex Moreton, this case couldn’t have come at a worse time, battling with her partner over whether to have another child, she is superstitious about pushing their luck – they’re happy enough as they are…aren’t they? DS Kevin Coupland is dealing with a serious assault outside a wine bar in Swinton. Devoted family man Ricky Wilson is brutally stabbed following an altercation with youths while out with his wife and their children to celebrate her birthday. Coupland and Moreton’s cases merge when it transpires that Tracey and Ricky were tragically connected. Is it possible that there could be more to these two investigations than pure coincidence?

As the past collides with the present Coupland uncovers a tragic secret that will destroy Tracey’s family, or what’s left of it. Coupland must choose whether the truth shall come out – or be taken to the grave.

A Place of Safety (Book 2)

Earl Baptiste’s life has gone into freefall, one minute he’s trying to impress a local gang leader, next thing he’s on the run for murder.

DS Kevin Coupland, still coming to terms with his wife’s illness has a new DCI to contend with. DS Alex Moreton, due to start her maternity leave at the end of the week has a replacement DC snapping at her heels.

When another witness is murdered Coupland comes under increasing pressure to track down the killer but then tragedy strikes, testing him to the limits. Someone is intimidating the remaining witnesses with a cold blooded callousness that smacks of a professional. As Coupland sifts the truth from the lie he discovers the drive-by shooting wasn’t so random after all, and that Abby Marlowe is in the worst possible danger…

One Bad Turn (Book 3)

No sooner has Detective Sergeant Kevin Coupland stepped off the plane from a family holiday than he gets the call that a woman’s body has been found on a path beside a recreation park in a smart suburb in Salford. Account Manager Sharon Mathers suffered a brutal blow to the head following a night out with friends from work.

Teamed with DC Ashcroft who has transferred from the Met under a cloud, Coupland struggles to find a motive for the killing when two days later another body is found, this time at the bottom of a footbridge at Salford Station. Could the same person be responsible? While still trying to work out the answer to this Coupland’s personal life spirals into freefall when his daughter Amy introduces him to her new boyfriend – a thug he’d put away for GBH two years before. The relationship puts a strain on the detective’s home life and impacts his judgement at work – putting him under the microscope with the powers that be.

When a third body is found he makes a startling discovery – the killings are linked to a murder in ’92. Coupland was a probationer back in the nineties – could he be linked in some way to the killer?

Absent (Book 4)

The worst things happen in plain sight.

When he stopped a serial killer in his tracks earlier in the year he thought that would be the end of it, but for DS Kevin Coupland his nightmare has just begun.

A child’s body is discovered hidden in a bag, kicking off a major investigation for Salford Precinct’s murder squad. Soon the National Crime Agency roll into town and Coupland is under strict instructions to play nice.

He’s got enough on his plate to worry about politics. A shock discovery in his personal life is starting to take its toll, causing him to make decisions that bring him to the attention of the powers that be for all the wrong reasons.

DS Alex Moreton returns from maternity leave to find her partner deeply troubled, but with a cold case to review she’s in no position to prevent him hitting the self-destruct button.

As he hunts down the child’s killer Coupland is forced to reflect upon his own life and find an answer to the question he’s been avoiding. Is it possible to accept the things you cannot change?

A gripping warts and all police procedural which will hook fans of 

Flesh and Blood (Book 5)

An accusation of police brutalityAn unsolved hit and run

A social media minefield

The murder squad’s resources at Salford Precinct Station are stretched to the limit. DS Kevin Coupland is called out to a fatal fire at a local residential home for vulnerable people, and immediately suspects arson. One of the victims is the sister of local gangster Kieran Tunney, sparking revenge attacks which threaten to bring the city to a standstill.

For Coupland the clock is ticking. With a Professional Standards hearing to prepare for and an avenging gangster to contend with he makes a shocking discovery which has devastating repercussions – for the community, for the crime boss, and for Coupland himself.

Sticks and Stones (Book 6)

A consultant is accused of killing his patients…

A local MP has murdered a call girl…

A teacher ploughs a minibus into a group of pupils…

It’s as though Salford is under a permanent full moon, not helped by the fact DS Kevin Coupland is fighting to hold onto his career.

Following an allegation that he was behind a prisoner’s murder in HMP Manchester, Coupland enlists the help of the one man everyone is certain has set him up – Kieran Tunney, a notorious crime boss already under investigation by the murder squad.

When Coupland reviews several cases his team have handled in his absence he suspects they are linked, in a way he cannot believe is possible. If his suspicions are correct then he must act fast to stop the unthinkable from happening – even if that means putting himself in the firing line.

When Darkness Falls (Book 7)

Winter is approaching

A world gone mad

Two murdered girls

The body of a teenage girl is found two days after being reported missing. A discussion with the pathologist reveals that another girl was found in similar circumstances only her murder never made it into the press. When DS Kevin Coupland looks into the earlier case he finds out-dated views and social stereotyping have thwarted the investigation from the beginning.

Along with Acting DS Chris Ashcroft he lifts the lid on a world where victims are defined by their postcode, where certain crimes are written off as a ‘lifestyle.’ Yet beneath a layer of public indifference lies a world far darker than Coupland thought possible.

Just when Coupland thinks he’s getting closer to the perpetrators a child goes missing, blowing everything he thought he’d discovered out of the water.

The darkness keeps getting deeper…

Made to be Broken (Book 8) – available to pre-order published 27 May

To love, honour, cherish, kill…

The investigation into the murder of an investment banker reveals a hidden side to sharp-suited victim Adam Sinclair – and a cast-iron reason why someone would want him dead. The problem is DS Kevin Coupland knows the chief suspect. Not a friend in the conventional sense, but certainly the closest he’s had to one. Following his gut, Coupland pursues Dominic Neilson, a more likely suspect, and it helps that he keeps treading on Coupland’s one remaining nerve. As he digs deeper he learns Dominic is guilty of an entirely different crime, one that forces Coupland to confront a trauma from his childhood.

Made To Be Broken is about survival at all costs, and whether sins of the past can ever truly be forgiven.

Davy Jones series

Truth Lies Waiting (Book 1)

Imagine you’ve just witnessed a murder.
And you’re now being framed for it.
Only the person framing you is a cop…

Davy Johnson is a young man from the wrong side of the tracks with a target on his back. After a spell in prison he is trying to make a life for himself but one cop won’t leave him alone, following him around and carting him off to the station just for the fun of it. The harassment turns sinister when Davy witnesses his nemesis overstep the mark with a local junkie – and makes the mistake of telling him he’s been seen. What happens next sees Davy framed for a string of murders with no one to help him but the gang leader he turned his back on when he got out of jail – but what will he want in return?

With the help of an ex con and a local cabbie Davy goes on the run to prove his innocence but as the body count rises he discovers a connection between what’s happening now and a tragedy involving his father many years before.Will he be able to work out the truth from the lie in time to save the killer’s next victim?

The Silence Before the Scream (Book 2)

When the daughter of Edinburgh’s most powerful crime lord is kidnapped all hell breaks loose in the city. Determined to find her without the hindrance of the police Gus McEwan summons his most reliable men to track her down. Davy Johnson, still reeling from witnessing an horrific suicide is in no position to refuse.

As the violence escalates but no ransom note emerges Davy must convince Edinburgh’s most fearsome gangsters that this isn’t about money or power, but something far more primitive.

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