Publication date: Autumn 2017
102% funded
130 backers
Cover of The Meal Of Fortune

The worlds of arms dealing, espionage and TV cookery collide in a fast moving comedy caper

The Meal of Fortune is part crime caper and part love story, which sees the worlds of espionage, arms dealing and TV cookery collide. Failing celebrity agent Dermot Jack thinks his luck has turned when a mysterious Russian oligarch hires him to launch his daughter’s pop career in the west. Disaffected MI5 officer Anna Preston is equally pleased to be handed the task of catching the Russian – in reality a notorious arms dealer – before he can sell a stolen nuclear warhead to the highest bidder. Dermot might just be able to help her out. So what if he’s her ex? That was years ago and she’s so over him now, isn’t she? And she never suspects that it is anything other than sheer coincidence that is about to bring them together again.

Dermot soon realises that the Russian girl isn’t exactly star material and that failure to take her to No. 1 will cost him his life, most likely at the hands of the diminutive yet deadly hitman who is acting as the her minder. Thankfully Anna is on hand with a plan that might just get him off the hook – help MI5 trap the Russian at the world’s most iconic music event and put him in prison. Crazy? Yes, but Dermot’s a bit short of other options and agrees to travel to Russia to set the trap.

With everything in place it seems all that Anna and Dermot need to do is wait. But neither the Russian girl nor the hit man are quite what they first seemed and Anna’s MI5 bosses keep moving the goalposts. Then there’s the loan shark who lent Dermot rather a lot a money and has decided its time he got it back.

The novel comes to its climax backstage at the Eurovision Song Contest, where Anna and Dermot are forced to step out of their comfort zones in ways neither could ever have imagined. Still there’s one thing they’re equally clear on. They’re absolutely not about to fall in love again.

The Meal of Fortune is named after a fictional TV cookery quiz show, which plays a small but important part in the plot. It is the first in a planned trilogy of comedy thrillers parodying society’s obsession with celebrity. The follow-up sees Dermot and Anna reunited in an attempt to foil a plot by the world’s most secretive intelligence agency (The Belgians) to bring UK economy to its knees. The final instalment, again featuring the same characters, will centre on a referendum in Wales to decide whether the country should sell itself to an international technology giant for use as a conveniently located tax haven.

Phil was first inspired to write when he read Lord of The Rings as a child. Back then the ambition was to create a whole fantasy world with dragons and sword fights but, as George RR Martin seems to have cornered that market, he now writes comedy thrillers set in the (almost) real world instead.

He is somewhat obsessed with the public and media’s obsession with celebrity, which forms the backdrop to his books. These also tend to feature spies, gangsters, vicious (if feckless) criminals, washed-up private detectives and daytime TV presenters.

The Meal of Fortune is the third novel he has completed but he is as yet unpublished. The first will stay forever in a locked draw in darkened room with a cool wet flannel over its face. The second, the story of a revenge agency may see the light of day once he has finished his current trilogy.

Phil lives in London with his wife and children and works in marketing. His main rule in life is to never let tomato ketchup touch any food that is green. He hasn’t yet worked out any deep meaning behind this and suspects it is not the soundest of principles by which to live your life by. Although it’s better than quite a few he’s come across down the years. Best not to get him started on that one though.

Every Thursday, every last single Thursday, the music would start up in his head. And even before he got to the front door he’d be dancing inside. Already out of the car, the little girl would be running up the path, one hand tucking hair behind her ear, the other clutching the bag filled with a week’s worth of things to show him.

She’d always be laughing.

And the music? Well it would be that year’s big feel-good summer hit or some long forgotten guilty pleasure with too much synth bass and cheesy samples. Maybe even something a little closer to home. It didn’t matter; it always got him dancing inside.


Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

Friday, 16 March 2018


Hi everyone its's been a while since I posted here. So I'd  just like to start by saying a big thank you again for supporting the Meal of Fortune.  Since publication I have been working hard to get readers and bloggers to review the book, as the guys at Unbound tell me that reviews are really important.  So I'm going to ask for your help again.  If you have read The Meal of Fortunes I hope you enjoyed…

Publication Date 14th November

Friday, 10 November 2017

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Publication of The Meal of Fortune now definitely, definintely, confirmed for 14th November.  Thanks again to everyone who has supported the book.  You should recieved a copy of the e-book from Unbound and other rewards such as T-Shirts, framed covers etc are on the way for people who pledged at those levels. Paperbacks now are availlable to pre-order on Amazon too.  If you do read it please do post…

Meal of Fortune Publication Date

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

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The Meal of Fortune is scheduled for publication on 24th October. Lots of back and forth on the edits but final version now submittied.   Much excitement, here's a picture of the cover spinning to mark the occasion.  Not really sure why.  More updates soon.

Meal of Fortune Still Spinning

Friday, 16 June 2017


Thanks again to everyone who supported the crowd funding for The Meal of Fortune. Have been a bit quiet over the past few months since we hit the target but then I guess people are not that interested in hearing about the ins and outs of the publication process. I've also had my head down re-drafting and editing the whole book. The feedback I had from my editor Rachel once she got to work on it…

We've done it...

Friday, 28 October 2016


Really grateful to everyone who's supported The Meal of Fortune.  Reached the crowdfunding target a couple of days ago, although it is still possible to support the book.  Waiting to hear from Unbound on the production process and timings but think it takes three- six months from publication to posting.  I will keep the blog updated with progress.  

For now here's another character sketch.

So what exactly is a comedy thriller?

Friday, 7 October 2016

Over 90% of the way there on the crowdfunding for publication of the Meal of Fortune. Thanks again to everyone who’s pledged. That’s 116 supporters so far. 

I’ve been describing the Meal of Fortune as a comedy thriller in which the worlds of arms dealing, espionage and TV cookery collide. A few people have asked what I actually mean by a comedy thriller.

It is a good question. It is perhaps…

Meal of Fortune - Crowdfunding Update and New Character Sketch

Thursday, 29 September 2016


One of the real challenges with writing ficion (however well researched, you're still just making stuff up) is that you need to make sure it is still believable on some level.  And I know people often trot out that old "truth is stranger than fiction line" but still Sam Alladyce.  Really?  And I mean Really? (was almost tempted to put that one in capitals).  And then there's Trump. It's not that Donald…

Crowdfunding Update #2 Plus Dermot Jack Character Sketch

Friday, 23 September 2016


What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger to slightly misquote Nietzsche. Clearly our boy Freddie never stepped on a plug hidden under a duvet. But there’s certainly some truth in it because after months of rejection from agents and publishers I opened myself up to the prospect of even more rejection by trying to crowdfund publication with Unbound. What if even my own mother wasn’t interested? Thankfully…

Meal of Fortune - Crowdfunding update #1

Monday, 12 September 2016


A week or so in and the crowdfunding seems to be going well.  It's a scary putting your writing out there.  What if everyone thinks it's rubbish?  Thankfully that doesn't seem to be the case.  Either that or they're just being very nice.  Thanks to everyone who has supported the Meal of Fortune so far.  If you haven't and you like the sound of it, please do pledge and help me get the published. 

The Meal of Fortune Is Spinning

Monday, 5 September 2016


Up and running with the crowd funding for the Meal of Fortune

It's great to finally be up and running with the crowd funding for the Meal of Fortune. It's a comedy thriller where the worlds of espionage, arms dealing and cookery collide.  It takes it name from a spoof cookery quiz that I dreamt up years ago.  Sort of Ready Steady Cook meets Bullseye.  I hawked the idea round…

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