The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time…

Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Electrifying, taut and immaculately plotted, The Quiet People is a chilling, tantalisingly twisted thriller that will keep you gripped and guessing to the last explosive page.


Every book I read, brings out very distinct emotions in me from excitement to very rarely indifference! Having read a lot of thrillers, most now leave me feeling entertained, but rarely do they pin me to my seat, unable to tear myself away from the book. The Quiet People did, it was like taking a ride on a rollercoaster and boy was the ride thrilling.

The author Paul Cleave has managed to create the perfect thriller! He has a story that twists and turns so many times, you are left second guessing yourself all the way through. With characters that defy the readers attempts to pigeon hole them into predefined roles, such as hero or villain. He writes them with such adroitness, you feel yourself constantly wrong footed every time your tempted to second guess their motivations, their guilt or innocence. Rarely have I felt so deceived. He tricked me into trusting him and his characters, then slowly eroded my assumptions, leaving me rattled, shocked and best of all surprised! Cameron in particular has so many layers to him that it feels impossible to pin him down. Is he just a gifted writer or a man about to prove that he can pull off the perfect crime? He feels in turns unhinged, then reasonable, full of barely contained rage, yet focused. Lurching from frenetic, to a calmness that both defies and yet proves, that crime writers could be the perfect criminal! You never quite know if he is capable of harming his own child and if the darkness that lurks within simply drives him to write the perfect thriller, or like Jekyll and Hyde, forces him listen to the voice within and turn words into weapons.

Many thrillers allow the story to be drowned out by the relentless twists in the narrative! This leaves them feeling shallow and they lack substance, so it was a relief to find that The Quiet People didn’t fall into this trap. It is insanely clever! Here we are asked to not only question our assumptions about those quiet people that sit behind the typewriters, but are forced to confront the very real possibility that evil lurkes behind the quiet doors of suburbia. The twists are there to wrong foot us, not just to keep up a relentless pace within the narrative. It doesn’t flow at one speed, but ebbs and flows, so we are a jangled mess of nerves by the end, but ultimately we know that the ride is one we won’t forget. Criminality is shown in it many and varied forms, themes of mental illness are weaved in and out of heart rendering depictions of loss and the drive to seek revenge, but for what? Best of all, why is only ultimately revealed at the very last moment. There is nothing predictable about The Quiet People and that is why I loved it so much.

I heartily recommend it to all. Buy it for yourself, your family and then sit back and watch while they to become mesmerized by Paul Cleave masterful creation. There are monsters within, but only by reading it, will you discover who they are!

You can buy this novel from the publisher Orenda Books directly, or from Waterstones and Amazon.

About the author

Paul is Christchurch born and raised, and other than a couple of years when he was living in London and bouncing around Europe a little, he’s always lived there. Paul wanted to write horror, and it was a few years in when he realised that crime – real life crime – is horror. When he made that connection, he turned to writing dark crime fiction, writing first The Killing Hour, and then The Cleaner, in his mid-twenties. Not long after that Paul sold his house and lived with his parents so he could write full time – a gamble that paid off a few years later when Random House signed him up. From that point on he’s written his dark tales set in his home city, introducing Joe Middleton – the Christchurch Carver, and Melissa, and Theodore Tate, and Schroder, and Jerry Gray, among others to the world.

Newport Writers – an anthology of poetry and prose

Welcome to our first anthology.

Since the group started, it has always been Tony’s vision to put together a collection of stories and poems penned by our members.

Please proceed with caution – these short stories and poems will introduce you to the alternative side of Newport: ghostly grandparents, a displaced porpoise, a little bit of Welshness, two philosophical security guards, a child whose food plays music, the awesome side of autism, a woman who made teddy bears in a concentration camp, and much more.Take a whirlwind tour through bereavement, love, regret and parenthood. Laugh and defy fate as you run the gamut of life’s experiences – seen through the eyes of a bunch of writers who celebrate their individuality.

You will meet a diverse group of people who enjoy what they do and want to share it with

We invite you to sit back with a cuppa or maybe something stronger, relax and enjoy what promises to be a whirlwind ride


Compiling a anthology of different writers is no mean feat. You need it to feel balanced, the writers to compliment each other, but at the same time, speak loudly and distinctly in their own voices. You want and require each individual entry to feel polished. A mini story that captures the imagination of the reader and holds their attention, even, when moments later the bookworm is transported into new worlds and new lives. Newport Writers – an anthology of poetry and prose fulfills a very precise wish list. Strong distinct voices, a willingness to push the boundaries, producing a series of short stories and poems that are exciting, expertly crafted, that feel offbeat and individual.

I love that I can’t really choose a favorite, because they are all very good in their own right! I was delighted by the variety and the obvious talent of each writer, aided by the way the editor created a flow through the anthology by mixing prose and poetry.

To pick one or two as examples only and not to indicate favorite’s in anyway, Rebecca Baker’s Writers Anonymous gave a very unique and fascinating look into the mind of writers of all types. It is highly entertaining, making me laugh out loud at the wonder and complexity of the writers mind. She gives a voice to the addictive and compulsive way writers need to write, how taking the characters and stories, placing down into written form is an impulse they can’t resist.

Leanne Evan’s remarkable poem Through The Gate is full of meaning, she spins sound, word choice and rhythm to produce the perfect poem. She took me back to a time when as a child I felt king “of the castle” and when the “whole world was mine”, looking deep into my heart, as I to, wonder where time has gone, yearning for when we played at ease, without a care in the world!

Each and every poem and piece of prose within Newport Writers is equally as good as these two. The variety and range is remarkable and goes to show that many writers, though unpublished by traditional means, are out there waiting to be heard and deserving to be listened to.

You can purchase this collection from Amazon

About the authors

We are a diverse group from south Wales with over 20 members, covering a broad age range and a variety of styles within the sphere of writing. We include poets, novelists, writers of flash fiction and short stories, plays and film scripts.

We published an anthology in February 2020 entitled Newport Writers – An anthology of poetry and prose. Available from Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.

We met on Zoom during the pandemic, but have now found a venue in central Newport where we can get together with plenty of space for social distancing.

We hold an Open Mic night once a month at popular Newport coffee shop Horton’s, and in the summer of 2021 we participated in several spoken word events.

Some members of our group are available to read and offer critique, and we have a proofreader among our membership.

Email us at

Facebook: Newportwritersgroup

Twitter: @NewportWriters

The Chair by GB Williams

On a snowbound Cader Idris, death comes stalking.

Cobb retreated to Cader Idris for a solitary life of peace and quiet, and to escape his dangerous past. Though that illusion starts to crumble after he and Branwen Jones, the local vet, find a mysterious RTA victim and shelter him in Cobb’s home.

When elements of London’s criminal underbelly reach Wales, and their presence throws the close-knit community into stark relief, the chance to settle old scores could prove too tempting.

With no choice but to try and hide the RTA victim from people who want to kill him, Cobb’s not sure he’s ready to rejoin the world he’s running from, when that means putting another woman in the firing line. Meanwhile, Branwen’s not sure she can face the revelation of her darkest secret.

But as they face the final showdown, a race over the snowed-in mountain, will anyone survive unscathed?


Having read the authors books in the past I was delighted to be asked to read and review this book on the one year anniversary of its publication.

GB Williams is an author that fills her books with the grim reality of lives that are touched by violence and criminal activity. Taking her readers into worlds far removed from the quiet safety of their ordinary lives and it makes for a thrilling, shocking and exciting thriller.

It should be said from the start that The Chair by GB Williams features a lot of violence. Importantly the violence fits the story and gives it an edge that resonates strongly with the actions of London’s criminal underbelly and the stark contrast it creates within the quiet wildness of a remote Welsh community. Anything else could never hope to reflect the impact created by the arrival of outsiders, whose only aim is to protect their paymasters. It gives the story a strong sense of danger, human trespasser against not just the villagers, but the quiet brooding menace of Cader Idris, the seat of giant warrior poet of Welsh legend. It works well, because it pits both assailants and ‘hero’s’ against not just each other, but the brooding danger and violence of the welsh chair itself.

The characters work well against the escalating brutality within the story, especially the mountain, which sits like a brooding personality front and centre of all the events that take place. In Welsh legend Cader Idris was the hunting ground of Gwyn ap Nudd and his Cŵn Annwn. It was said if you heard the howling of these hounds, death was foretold and as you read, you can feel the author create that sense of doom by using the mountain and the weather, to heard you the reader, Branwen Jones and Cobb towards what could be the fight of their lives. Both Branwen and Cobb are strong, yet flawed characters, who balance out the corruption of the criminals they are up against. They have secrets, pasts that haunt them, yet their bravery and determination to protect and save others, gives the novel that very important elements a reader needs. Hero’s to rally to. They both made me want to read on, to find out who survived the not just the violence of the villain’s, but the far more imposing danger of Cader Idris.

If you are looking for a exciting thriller than The Chair by GB Williams would make an excellent choice.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon.

About the author

I like to walk on the darker side, thankfully there are people and publishers willing to walk there with me.

Once upon a time I was going to walk around Europe. Then I met a guy. I kept the guy, kissed the travel goodbye.

Now I live and work and write in old South Wales, and frequently get mistaken for Clair from New Zealand – no idea why the Clair, but I grew up in Kent, and New Zealand is sort of halfway between Kent and South Wales – if you go the long way around.

My Wonderful Reading Year – October 2021. The Journey Continues.

Well summer is now over and autumn is in full flow in my garden! The leaves are starting to drop and the nights are drawing in. My thoughts are drifting towards books that will keep me company on the dark winter nights. I can’t wait to delve into stories that have sat on my shelves for a long time and new exciting releases soon to come.

The first book I finished is by one of my favorite authors and of my very favorite publishers, Orenda Books. The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen is a funny, quirky and moving.

Next came Helen Fitzgerald’s Worst Case Scenario. The humour is dark, the story equally so, with a phenomenal main character that will have you constantly changing your mind about liking her or not! But one thing is sure, you will never forget her. Stunning read.

One of my very favorite reads this month was Babes in the Wood by Mark Stay. I love historical fiction, I love fantasy and magic and this YA novel is the perfect mixture of them all. I can’t recommend it enough!

The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed is stunning. A story about a miscarriage of justice set in my home city Cardiff! It is a haunting tale, beautifully written, full compassion for a man who places in trust in a judicial system riddled with racism.

Then came the one and only non fiction book I read in October, Dear Read – The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink. This is a love letter to the power of reading to heal, to provide a haven during moments of crisis and it is both moving and heightening to read. Definitely one that will remain on my bookshelf, so that I can one day delve back into it’s pages in search of wonderful books to read.

I read less books than normal in October, but I visited family in Colchester for the first time in two years and we visited a wonderful independent bookshop, a trip full of laughter and fun.

I’m looking forward to sharing more fabulous books in November as Christmas draws ever closer. Happy reading all.

Babes In The Wood – The Witches of Woodville II by Mark Stay

July, 1940

In a quiet village in rural Kent, a magical mystery leads to murder . . .

Woodville has returned to ‘normal’ after the departure of the Crow Folk. The villagers put out fires from aircraft shot down in the Battle of Britain, and Faye Bright discovers that magic can be just as dangerous as any weapon.

The arrival of a trio of Jewish children fleeing the Nazis brings the fight for Europe to the village. When their guardian is found dead, Faye must play nanny to the terrified children while gathering clues to uncover a dark magic that threatens to change the course of the war. And she must do it quickly – the children have seen too much and someone wants them silenced for good.

For fans of Lev Grossman and Terry Pratchett comes the second novel in this delightful trilogy of war, mystery and a little bit of magic . . .


As a child, when life was less complicated, I could loose myself for hours in a story, totally immersed in the world the writer created and as an adult I am continuously looking for books that take me back to that time. Babes In The Wood by Mark Stay does exactly that, it’s magical, full of history and folklore. There are witches, evil wizards, danger, spies and battles on the home front, as war rages across Europe. Perfection in book form.

All the elements of a story I loved as a child, are here in Babes In The Wood. It is jammed packed full of adventure from page one. It is July 1940 and Hitler’s Germany considers invading Britain, the home front is under attack from the Luftwaffe, danger stalks the villagers of Woodville and some of it, is the magical kind. Now, that is an opening to excite any reader and the sense of danger and adventure never lets up.

I love how he brings quite serious issues into the narrative without losing the momentum he is building up, the flight of three Jewish children from the dangers of Nazis Germany, to the safer shores of rural England, but sadly Woodville is anything but safe for them or the locals. He doesn’t shy away from the horror they faced, but tells it in a way that pulls at the heart without overwhelming the younger reader. Mark Stay says just enough, weaving it in and out of the story, using it as a narrative tool to add heightened danger and a impeding sense of doom. He mixes this up with how much the threat of invasion ramped up tensions during the war, creating mistrust towards anyone from outside a community towards strangers, especially if they are German to absorb the reader in the the anxieties that riddled the nation during the conflict. From this he weaves a story in which Faye and the locals wages a battle against Hitler’s forces to secure a weapon that could lead to the Nazi leader achieving world domination. As a reader you simply can’t turn away and as an adult, I was as excited by this story as I had been by much loved adventure stories read as a child.

Babes in the Wood is the follow-up to The Crow Folk and many of the characters carry over into this new adventure. Reading with a younger bookworm in the family a few days ago, I was reminded of how exciting it felt when you realized as a child that your favorite character was going on a new adventure. To create this feeling of genuine wonder and excitement, you need a personality that readers really love. Watching the little person buzzing with joy that her favorite had not one new story on the bookshelf, but two, affected us all and Faye is that character within the Witches of Woodville books. She matures into a brave and spikey heroine, happy to battle Hitler’s henchmen, put her life in danger for the greater good or act as the protector of three lonely, scared children. She rides motorbikes, runs towards danger and not away from it. She is fabulous and very much comes into her own in book two. This is why I loved it so much, combine a bit of fantasy, lots of magic as well as history with a perfect character and you have a sure fire winner and Babes In The Wood is definitely that book.

You can purchase Babes In The Wood – The Witches Of Woodville Part II by Mark Stay from Amazon, Waterstones and all good independent bookshops.

About the author

Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at