Getting ready for print
Publication date: October 2018
100% funded
83 backers

Robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach, a young British soldier sets out to save the favela kid who nearly killed him:

On the run from unjust court-martial back home, a young British soldier gets robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach. The bullet in Jake’s head should have killed him but, miraculously, it saves him from a previously undetected brain aneurysm that soon would have killed him.

Jake doesn’t believe in fate, nor does he feel he owes anything to anybody, but he does hate injustice, and the favela kid that fired the bullet is a victim of injustice. Named Vilson, the teenage kid is in a corner with corrupt cops and a sadistic drug-lord after his blood.

Jake was at his best in combat, he is not so great at being a civilian. His career was destroyed by a compulsion to fly in the face of authority, and Brazil was meant to be a clean break. But anger is never far from the surface, and it drives him into Vilson’s brutal world, intent on getting him out. If he can just save Vilson, maybe he can finally purge some of his own demons. 

With a turf war erupting between drug gangs and corrupt cops for control of Vilson’s favela, fear stalks every narrow alleyway. And anyone dragged up to the notorious Burning Hill had better hope they’re dead before they get there.

But it’s not just fear that shapes life in the favela, belief is also powerful, able to both save and destroy. When Jake rescues Vilson from execution on the Burning Hill and spirits him away from the favela, Vilson is convinced that he is finally on the path to his destiny, having clung to a promise made to him in childhood. When it turns to dust he becomes someone else, something else. From timid kid to vengeful killer, he becomes known as the Ghost when he returns to the superstitious favela.

Jake refuses to give up on a kid seemingly beyond saving and, in a final conflict on the Burning Hill, he is faced with a choice that could push him to the dark edges of society forever.

The Burning Hill is about the power of belief and one man’s compulsion to get justice at any cost.

The idea for the story came from a robbery the author saw when he lived in Brazil that had a link with the massacre of street children outside a Rio church years earlier. What played out in the aftermath of the robbery on live TV news was an embodiment of the desperation of life at the bottom of the heap, and shocked a society inured to everyday violence.

The story also explores how the fusion of religions like Candomblé and Umbanda with Catholicism can create powerful beliefs.

The author now lives on the south coast of England with his Brazilian wife, two boys and an excitable dog. His next novel is about a cult, set in Guyana, where he previously worked in the sugar industry.


Vilson and Babão

Most people looked right through Vilson, like he was invisible. Sometimes he wished he were. The barely-there kid stood alone in afternoon shadows of the church, away from the others. He saw the cop car drawing up before anyone else did, and something cold and slippery moved inside him. Cops never came with anything good. He wrapped his skinny arms around himself, shoulders hunched.

The Candelária church was in central Rio, an island with multiple lanes of traffic washing past, surrounded by modern office blocks. It had become a safe haven for street kids, the sparse, dusty grounds at its front a patchwork of cardboard boxes flattened into mattresses.

The cop car pulled over at the kerb alongside the encampment, near a bunch of older kids kicking a Fanta can around in the harsh sunlight. The cop squinted through his open window and jabbed a finger at them, “I told you lot to clear out of this place,” he shouted over the roar of the traffic.

Most of the kids carried on with their game, intent on ignoring the cop. But one of them turned. At twelve, Gabriel was the eldest, the leader. He was Vilson’s big brother.

“Oh yeah, sure,” Gabriel shouted, puffing out his chest, “and make it easier for you to catch us and beat us? You’d like that, huh?”

“Watch your step or I’ll make you pay for that tongue, you little shit,” the cop shouted.


Cover design on the way

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Giant otters pantanal

We're getting there! Progress was slowed over the summer with a family trip to Brazil but I got the final, final proof back to Unbound a few weeks ago. The cover design process is underway and I've just had draft ideas back from Mark Ecob , who creates fantastic covers (for Iain Banks amongst others). I'd love to share the design ideas with you but copyright protection forbids…

Pigeonhole until 24 June

Friday, 15 June 2018

The burning hill thriller set in rio

Just wanted to let you know that The Burning Hill is available to read for free on Pigeonhole only until 24 June.

I’ve had amazing feedback from readers through the Pigeonhole app and have received some fantastic reviews on Good Reads:

‘This book pulled me in to a different world and I found I couldn’t put it down. Beautifully written, bringing sounds, smells and pictures so clearly to me…

The Pigeonhole

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The burning hill pigeonhole

So, I have come to the end of the structural edit and have had a great experience with my editor, Craig Taylor. Thorough, frank and always bang on the money with his comments, Craig has also been very positive about my book, and I’m looking forward to cracking on with the copy edit now.

Excitingly, Unbound have managed to bag me a spot with online bookclub The Pigeonhole. Serialising new books…

The structure

Thursday, 29 March 2018

I think you may have received an update from Unbound on progress with The Burning Hill last week, but here’s a little more from me:

After reaching 100% funding I revisited the manuscript and spent a couple of months going through and rewriting chunks and tidying up. It was basic stuff rather than polishing as I knew it would get picked apart in the structural edit.

The guy that runs the Unbound…

Advent 100%

Friday, 15 December 2017

Esme advent calendar

So, The Burning Hill got to 100% funded! Thank you so much for all your help. It actually got there just after my last update - I’m just a little slow catching up as life is a little frantic at the moment.

I’m running through my manuscript, tidying it up and making sure there aren’t any clangers in it before handing it over to an Unbound editor. The editor will then give it a going over and it…


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Fogocruzado app

We’re nearly there - 3% away from fully funded…

If you know of anyone interested in a cracking thriller set in Brazil, I’d really appreciate you putting it out there on Twitter, Facebook etc. As ever, pledges start from as little as £10.

I know many of The Burning Hill supporters (thank you family and friends!) but I don’t recognise all of you - please do drop me a line if you would like to…


Friday, 25 August 2017

Screen shot 2017 08 25 at 14.14.22

Do you know anyone that might be interested in a cracking thriller set in Brazil? Then please share the link to my page for The Burning Hill: on FaceBook… Twitter… email... anywhere…

As always, people can pledge for a copy from as little as £10.

Please do let me know if you’d like some promotional postcards and I’d be delighted to send you a little…

A place to think about

Friday, 18 August 2017

Car oradour sur glane

I trust the summer is turning out well for you, even if the UK weather has not been so fabulous lately.

Funding for The Burning Hill is now up to 77%. Not too far to go... Please do let me know if you would like some of the postcards I’ve had printed for distribution among book clubs etc. and I’d be delighted to pop some in the postbox to you. Every flicker of interest and every pledge is gratefully…


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Burning hill postcard

After the baking weather in the UK, we're back down to 18°C - same as Rio today.

On The Burning Hill front, I've had some promotional postcards made as per the photo below.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in my novel, whether individuals or book groups or other groups, please do let me know and I'd be delighted to send as many postcards as you would like for distribution. As always…


Friday, 26 May 2017

Pitch party the burning hill

So, it's been a fairly potty week since the Pitch Party on Monday evening and I've only just managed to catch my breath.

My pitch went pretty well. I was third up out of the eight authors, and remembered all my words and managed not to use my notes, which is probably the first time ever with stuff like this (practiced quite a bit on Sunday and mumbled through it over and over on the train up to…

Pledge Party at Waterstone's, Gower St, on 22 May

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The burning hill ad flint ansml

Partnering with Waterstone's, Unbound are running their second pledge party at Waterstone's in Gower St, London, next Monday, 22 May at 6:30pm, and I've been picked as one of 8 authors to do a pitch!

It's like a Dragons' Den for authors, and attendees can vote for their favourite at the end of the evening. There will be everything from Fiction (me!) to Memoir, Poetry to History - please see details…

Letting you know

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Crowdfunding has been an interesting process so far. There have been weeks where loads of activity have resulted in not very much, and then along comes a run of pledges (a case of waiting for buses, the Brits might say). I have now made it to 63% funded and I’m very grateful to all supporters.

Unbound reckon that the 60/70% mark is the home straight and that funding tends to snowball from there…

video feedback

Friday, 10 March 2017

Hello lovely people,

A quick update - The Burning Hill is now 45% funded. Many thanks to those who have pledged this week.

I'm getting great feedback on the video on my book page with the excerpt read by my friend, James Langton. If you haven't looked/listened, please take a few minutes and, if you like it (as I'm sure you will!) please share on FaceBook, Twitter, email etc.

The video replaced…

40% and video

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Hello lovely people,

Thank you so much for your support - nearly 4 weeks since launch and The Burning Hill is now 40% funded. Unbound reckon that if you get to 30% within 4 weeks of launching it’s generally a good indicator that you’ll reach full funding by the 90-day deadline…

My lovely friend, James Langton, a jazz musician and audio-book pro, has recorded an excerpt and I’ve added some images…

29% funded

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Hello wonderful supporters,

I will be writing a personal thank-you to each of you, but just wanted to give you all a quick update:

Thanks to your incredible generosity my book is now 29% funded and because it's been funded to that level so quickly it is trending on the site on the main books page:

I'm only 4 along from Dave Hill's autobiography (yep, the one with…

These people are helping to fund The Burning Hill.

Martin Reid
Carlo Navato
James Langton
Maddy Pass
Paul Smith
Eth Ibrahim-Flint
Eth Ibrahim-Flint
Jane Fletcher
Magda Ashley
Fabia Bates
Eth Ibrahim-Flint
alison ascough
Kwaku Osei-Afrifa
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Ray Goold
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ian graham
Tony Hudson
Inge Senior
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Martin Percival
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Peter Allport
Dan Johnson
Peter Dale
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Jason Wild
Judith Wraight
Kate Innocent
Richard Willis
Eth Ibrahim-Flint
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jamie goold
Stuart Richardson
Tim Pass
andrew mcbeath
Wendy Jane Jackson
Russ Veduccio
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charles rae
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