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A seaside world of murder and mayhem inhabited by ghosts cats? Sounds good to me

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Things have been quite full-on recently at Hobeck Towers. Firstly, with the publication of Robert Daws' Rock series, and the love that has poured forth from readers as a result. (Thank you all so much for taking the time to write to us - you give us joy and energy.) Secondly, reading (mostly whilst lying in bed at night) a myriad of submissions sending us to all sorts of weird and wonderful fictional lands where people get murdered. Finally, we have been signing two new authors and preparing for their introductions to the world as soon-to-be-published writers.

The first being Antony Dunford, who Adrian and I met recently. Antony's book Hunted is being read by a structural editor as I type. We have a cover (all to be revealed soon) and there will be move news about Antony to come. Exciting times ahead!

The second being Wendy Turbin who we have announced today. Wendy first approached us a few weeks ago, a couple of days after Antony in fact, with her first full novel Sleeping Dogs. After reading the first three chapters we both agreed that we needed to read the full manuscript as soon as possible. Wendy duly forward it to us. I confess it kept me up until 3am. I was hooked. I was there. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, lost in the 'other' world which felt larger and more vivid than my imagination, while my real world slept on, breathing gently besides me. I decided there and then, we needed this book in our lives.

Sleeping Dogs is Wendy's first novel. It is set in a fictional seaside resort and introduces us to the world of Penny Wiseman. We first meet Penny, a private investigator, desperately trying to keep her late father’s business afloat. She takes on a prosaic case following a husband behaving suspiciously, but that leads to an altogether more intriguing series of mysteries (and encounters with not-so-real characters). For Penny, seeing the dead is a fact of life, so when a teenage ghost wants justice who else can the girl turn to for help? Only the dead don’t talk, so Penny’s first job is to work out exactly why she’s being haunted. The cases that should pay the bills are puzzling too. Is amateur thespian Brian having an affair? Is transwoman Alice a suspect? And where does the ghost Basset Hound fit in? Sleeping Dogs is full of brilliantly drawn characters (not all of them human and not all of them living), quirky humour and twists.

Wendy lives near the sea (am I a little jealous? Maybe), walks a dog or two for the Cinnamon Trust, and is owned by Little Ernie, a cat who spooks at invisible things (Ernie pictured here to the left). An avid reader of crime fiction, Wendy has long been a fan of the private detectives from Chandler to McDermid, from Grafton to Galbraith. This combination of facts may explain why her novel contains a PI, a pier and a pet – and a ghost girl in need of help.

Wendy feels that despite working in a variety of different jobs from international logistics to education she has always been a writer at heart. Adrian and I both know that sentiment very well. She came to enrol on UEA's MA in Creative Writing Crime Fiction course through the touch of serendipity and a 'seize the day' moment. Now she has completed the course, her world is suddenly all murder and mayhem (seaside and cats). What could be better than that?

We can't wait to share Wendy's vivid world with you all. I am sure you will also be still reading at 3am.

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