Posts Tagged ‘DCI Doug Stirling’

Hello and welcome along to another post to celebrate indie publishing, where I like to shine the light on another book from an independent publisher or author and share some book love with you all.  Today I am delighted to share a review of The Last Thread by Ray Britain, and also a short interview with the author.

Book Feature:



Accused of pushing a boy to his death in a failed suicide intervention, DCI Doug Stirling is suspended from duty. Attacked in the media and haunted by the boy’s smile as he let go of Stirling’s hand, he must look on helplessly as an incompetent colleague intent on destroying him investigates the boy’s death, supported by the vindictive Deputy Chief Constable, McDonald.

Weeks later, an anonymous call leads the police to a remote location and the discovery of a burnt out car containing the body of an unidentified man who has been savagely murdered. Short of experienced senior investigators, ACC Steph Tanner has no choice but to take a professional risk. Throwing Stirling the lifeline he needs to restore his reputation, Tanner appoints him as SIO to lead the investigation.

But with no witnesses, no forensic evidence and more theories than investigators, Stirling’s investigation has far too many ‘loose threads’ as he uncovers a complex, interwoven history of deception, betrayal and sadistic relationships. Was the victim connected to the crime scene? Is the murder as complex as it appears? Or is there a simpler explanation?
Still traumatised by the boy’s death and with time the enemy, does Stirling still have what it takes to bring the killer, or killers, to justice before McDonald intervenes?

Things are already difficult enough when DC Helen Williams joins the investigation, a determined woman who seems intent on rekindling their past relationship. And is Ayesha, the beautiful lawyer Stirling has grown fond of, connected to the murder somehow?


My Thoughts & Review:

The Last Thread is a remarkable debut novel, with a superb plot and some fantastic characters.  There are so many strands to the plot of this novel that I feel that I should take a moment to appreciate how complex it is but at the same time how exceptionally interesting and thrilling a read it is.

The main character DCI Doug Stirling first appears in a very precarious situation, on top of a bridge with a fifteen year old boy who is about to commit suicide, and Stirling is there as negotiator.  Stirling succeeds in getting the boy to talk to him and trust him to take his hand before unfortunately the boy falls to his death.
The subsequent investigation by the Police Complaints Commission into the incident leaves Stirling on restricted duties and at the mercy of a Chief Inspector who has an agenda.
As it this weren’t enough for our protagonist to deal with, he’s then brought into the investigation of a gruesome death, a body discovered in a burnt out car and warned to keep a low profile whilst internal investigations are ongoing.  Once a positive identification is made the case is thrown open and the intrigue ramps up a notch or three.

For me, this book really stood out from the “normal” police procedural with the level of detail included.  It’s obvious from the writing that the author knows British policing and procedures and it’s really quite interesting to see a side of reality we don’t often get to witness.
The characters are interesting and varied, and I loved seeing the office politics play out between certain personalities.  Doug Stirling is a fantastic character that I hope to see more of in the future!

A brilliant crime thriller with realistic police procedural details – highly recommended!


You can buy your copy of The Last Thread via:

Amazon UK
Author’s website

Author Feature:

Ray Britain’s debut novel The Last Thread was published September 2017. Following a highly successful career in policing in the UK, it should be no surprise that his story is a complex crime investigation story.

Ray served in the Midlands region of the United Kingdom gaining promotion to a high rank, working in both uniform and investigative roles, but the investigation of crime and the camaraderie of investigators remained his first love. As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Ray led many investigations, some of which engaged specialist, national capabilities. For fifteen years he was also a Hostage & Suicide Intervention Negotiator responding to hostage situations, many firearms incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily.

In ‘The Last Thread,’ Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader in the driving seat of a complex investigation with all the uncertainties and realities of modern crime investigation.

Ray’s interests include: mountain walking, rugby, skiing, Dad dancing, reading, and sailing.
(Author bio courtesy of Amazon)

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

I most enjoy scoping and plotting the story, creating the twists and turns and the faux leads, or red herrings, to intrigue and interest the reader until the end of the story. I also like developing the characters so that they can become friends to the reader or, if not friends, then interesting as to what makes them tick. Having been a professional investigator for many years, studying and analysing people’s traits and characteristics in interview was always a fascinating process, particularly when seeking a confession or some fine witness detail. People come in infinite variables and are endlessly fascinating.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Proof reading and endless editing which is extremely tedious but essential to be sure you’ve made the best use of language and trim away excessive detail. Or, indeed, to flesh out a character to achieve their purpose in the story.

And what is the most challenging part of getting yourself published?

Without doubt, it’s getting yourself noticed. A challenging as the writing is, in many ways it’s the easy part. There are so many books being self-published through Kindle and the like that it’s a challenge to get yourself ‘seen’. Thank fully, we have excellent book review blogsites such as ‘The Quiet Knitter’ which are of tremendous help to new authors like me.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Hmm, I’m not sure. I think that given my background, I should stick with what I know and only if sufficient people like my writing, would I consider branching out into a different genre. Anyway, I have too many plotlines and romantic entanglements for my protagonist, DCI Douglas Stirling, in my head for the time being.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

I’ve finished working in the conventional sense of the word and as writing is a very sedentary occupation, particularly when in the throes of the storyline, I try to keep myself sensibly fit by going to the gym a few times each week. I love walking, particularly in the mountains and fell walking and as there aren’t any mountains in the Midlands, the Lake District is my favourite destination in the UK.

Do you have a set routine for writing? Rituals you must observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

Not really. Having worked in a reasonably disciplined organisation for over thirty years leading investigations and large-scale teams, I’m a ‘self-starter’ anyway. I use a laptop for writing and back up each day’s work to both cloud and to a hard drive in the event of a catastrophic system failure, or theft.
Writing has seen me keeping some very strange hours, though. If I can’t sleep I have to get up and use my time usefully so if I’m wrestling with the plot, or a particularly tricky item in the story, I might get up and write through the night. It can make me a bit grumpy in the mornings, I’m afraid.

What’s on the horizon? What can your fans look forward to next?

Subject to readers enjoying my writing and the characters in it, ‘The Last Thread’ is just the first in a series of DCI Douglas Stirling investigations. The next book is mind-mapped out, I’ve drafted the Prologue and committed the first murder. Most satisfying!

You mentioned mind-mapping?

I’ve been a big fan of mind-mapping for over twenty years. I use mind-mapping software to capture my thinking, any research required, parallel story lines and timelines and my character profiles to ensure consistency and so avoid any mistakes. In short, I aim to treat the reader with respect. I want them to immerse themselves in the story without the distraction or irritation of inaccuracies or inconsistency.

Sounds great! So, where can we buy ‘The Last Thread’?

It’s for sale on Amazon and all good e-readers, or simply visit my website at
http://www.raybritain.com/ where you buy it through there.

My thanks to Ray for joining me today and sharing more about himself, and I am so excited to hear that book two is plotted out …..fingers crossed we can get reading soon!

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