Harlan Coben's The Stranger, Netflix

Safe, the UK-set drama created by Harlan Coben, did great guns for Netflix when it was released a couple of years ago, so it’s no wonder that the streaming-service is hoping to repeat the success with The Stranger, all of which you can binge from Thursday, January 30th. If you’re reading this in 2022, you’ve probably seen it already. 

But this time, the series is based on one of Coben’s own novels. Richard Armitage stars as a man whose life is turned upside down when a woman approaches him in a bar and reveals to him a devastating secret about his wife – and it’s not long before he’s entangled in a conspiracy.

The Stranger is made by Red Productions, which also made the twisty-turny Safe, and adapted by British writing stalwart Danny Brocklehurst, which means Coben’s US-set crime novel has been relocated in Manchester.

Says Coben: “The Stranger was one of my most challenging novels — and definitely the most twisted. When I wrote it, I never imagined that I’d be part of a ‘Dream Team’ of extraordinary talent bringing it to life.’

Giri/Haji, BBC2.

You’ve burned through all the crime series on Netflix, and have a crimey series shaped hole in your life following the end of Peaky Blinders and The Capture on BBC1. You need another fix and quick. The Dublin Murders, based on the books of Tana French, has started, so that’s good, but you’re looking for something more. The enigmatically titled Giri/Haji may fit the bill.

Giri/Haji is a soulful thriller that explores the butterfly effect of one murder upon two very different cities, sees celebrated Japanese stars Takehiro Hira and Yosuke Kubozuka leading the Japanese cast.

Kenzo is a Tokyo detective and family man who is abruptly dispatched to London by his superiors in the police department to search for his missing younger brother Yuto, the honour of his family at stake. Arriving, he becomes drawn into the shadowy world of Abbott and Vickers (Long), a once lucrative business partnership now under threat, as the former now looks to the East to expand his empire.

Distant from everything familiar to him, Kenzo unexpectedly finds hope in a remarkable makeshift family of Londoners, each in turn confronting the tumultuous, spiralling effects of fateful past decisions. Among them is charismatic rent boy Rodney and Sarah, a Met detective investigating the London murder, who begins to present a delicate threat to Kenzo’s marriage.

The action moves between Tokyo and London, as Kenzo attempts to stem the violence engulfing both cities and to confront his own part in it.

Writer/Creator Joe Barton said the genesis of the idea came from a conversation he had with a former girlfriend.

“She’d just started studying for a Masters in Forensic Crime Science at UCL and was telling me about her first day. Her fellow students were mostly recent graduates like her, except for one – a middle aged Japanese man, sat at the back of the lecture theatre on his own, diligently taking notes and looking out of place amongst his other, younger, classmates.

It turned out he was Tokyo detective, sent over to learn about forensic procedures used by the Met Police. Something about the image of that man sat by himself in a strange room in a strange country, many miles from home, stuck with me.”

Eight episodes long, Giri/Haji – which means Duty/Shame, by the way – starts on BBC2 on Thursday, October 17.

The Bad Place Is Crime Book Of The Month In The Times

My latest crime novel The Bad Place has been out as an ebook and in hardback for more than a week now and I’m thrilled to say that the response from readers, from bloggers and reviewers, has been fabulous. And I was particularly pleased to discover that not only was it reviewed in The Times newspaper on Saturday – in which it was described as ‘sharp, funny, moving and tremendously exciting’ –  but it was also named The Times crime Book Of The Month in September, which is a fantastic accolade.

​Hopefully, I’ll have some more news to bring you very soo. But remember, it’s readers who really count, so if you’ve read and enjoyed The Bad Place, please do remember to leave a short review on Amazon – it really does help the book find a bigger audience!

The Bad Place Is Out Now!

Hi everyone, I’m thrilled to be able to tell you my new crime novel THE BAD PLACE is out now!

It’s the first in a new series about Sasha Dawson, a detective inspector with Essex Police. Sasha leads up a Major Investigation Team on the Essex coast. She’s an easy-going investigator and a harassed mum with a noisy family. I’m a little bit in love with Sasha – and I think you’ll fall for her too.

In Sasha’s first investigation she races against time to find a teenage girl who’s gone missing – and discover the connection to the notorious abductions that happened at The Bad Place…

 Here’s the blurb:


‘The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Only five came home.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a candlelit vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes. 

Is history repeating itself? Is one of them responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message? DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…’


The Bad Place is out in hardback and as an ebook, with the paperback coming in March ’20. You can get your copy right now from Amazon and Kobo, and at your local bookshop.

I hope you enjoy it!

The Bad Place is coming…

THE BAD PLACE3

I’m thrilled to reveal the cover and title of my next book, The Bad Place, which is published by Head Of Zeus on September 5th.

It’s the beginning of a new series featuring Sasha Dawson, a detective inspector with Essex Police. Sasha leads a Major Investigation Team on Essex coast – she’s an easy-going investigator and a harassed mum with a noisy family. I’m a little bit in love with Sasha and I think you’ll fall for her too.

In Sasha’s first thrilling investigation she races against time to find a teenage girl who’s gone missing – and discover the connection to the notorious abductions that happened at The Bad Place. Here’s the blurb…

‘The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a candlelit vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

Is history repeating itself? Is one of them responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message? DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place.

But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…’

I’m really in love with the cover, which I think you’ll agree is big and bold! I’d love to hear what you think! The Bad Place is published in hardback and as an ebook, with the paperback coming in March ‘20.

And of course you can pre-order your copy of The Bad Place right now…

I’m Outside Your House.

9780751563252Hands up who’s ever found themselves staring into a stranger’s house late at night?

You’re strolling along the street, say, minding your own business – taking the dog for a walk, or on your way home – and your attention is caught by soft lamplight coming from inside a home. The curtains are open so you can see right inside, you see everything. You slow. The dog may helpfully stop to sniff something on the pavement, giving you the excuse to stop in front of the house.

Your eyes drink in all the details of someone else’s life. The flowers in a vase on the dining table, the photos on the mantelpiece of friends and family. The room is filled with knick-knacks accumulated over a lifetime. There may be a flickering fire and a comfortable armchair with a paperback laying open on the arm. You can’t help but wonder who lives there, and what it must be like to be them. You want to know how it feels to relax in that cosy armchair, feel its worn fabric beneath your fingertips, in front of that crackling fire.

If you’re unlucky, you might get busted. Someone will walk into the room, or appear suddenly behind the curtain, silhouetted in the light behind them, to glare at you for staring into their house. They’ll pull the curtains shut to hide their personal space from your prying eyes.

Have you ever done that, stood outside a stranger’s house staring in…

Oh. Only me, then.

It’s like that one time. I was house-hunting – this was years ago – and for some reason the only time I could view a particular property was late one winter’s night. I remember standing alone in a stranger’s bedroom, surrounded by all their personal things, their bedclothes folded neatly on the duvet, all their cosmetics neatly arranged on a dressing table, a full moon shining in the window, and I had a weird sense of dislocation. For a moment, I felt like I already lived there, that it was my room – in my home.

Oh dear. I’m not coming out of this very well, am I?

Point is, it’s those fleeting moments, those tantalising glimpses into the personal space of other people, that inspired my second novel, It Was Her.

I wanted to write about a cuckoo in the nest. Someone who slips into other people’s houses when they’re empty, like a modern-day Goldilocks. To take a bath, watch a bit of telly, eat the lovely food in the kitchen cupboards, curl up in bed. I wondered what would make them do such a thing? Perhaps they need to go into other people’s houses because their own happy home was once taken from them. And, of course, I wanted to discover how such a creepy obsession can lead to murder.

And the more I thought about it, the more it was obvious that it was exactly the kind of fucked-up investigation that my enigmatic detectives Ray Drake and Flick Crowley would get their teeth into. So that’s It Was Herin a nutshell.

But, anyway, if you ever see some guy staring in the front window of your house looking in, don’t worry, it’s probably just me taking the dog for a walk.

Except I don’t have a dog.

*It Was Her is available to buy here and at all good bookshops.*