Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend: perky, insubordinate, utterly brilliant.
Since returning from assignment in America, Alicia Friend has been grounded at a desk, her new boss at the elite Serious Crime Agency unwilling to risk her in the field. But when her former partner, newly-promoted Detective Chief Inspector Murphy requests her input, the SCA cannot refuse.
It only involves interviewing a young terror suspect, after all. What can go wrong?
But Alicia backs Murphy's suspicion and links the crime to a seemingly unconnected incident. Then a third attack occurs, and there is no denying it: someone is coordinating these vicious incidents, and the endgame is building.
Back in full flow, the sometimes-annoyingly-perky detective summons all her brain power to push the investigation toward a seemingly benign cult of rehabilitated violent offenders, hindered at every turn by the group's lawyer, by the detective seeking to replace her, and by a hierarchy as interested in politics as they are in catching the killer.
With Courage With Fear sees DS Alicia Friend face her most devious serial killer yet – one who may be even smarter than her.
The Alicia Friend Series
To follow Alicia's journey through the dark world of murder, it is encouraged to read all the novels, but each books main plot is self-contained, so reading order is not 100% necessary.
1: His First His Second
2: In Black In White
3: With Courage With Fear
4: TBC January
Q: Alicia Friend is kind of an oddball, isn't she?
A: I'd say she's unique. She knows who she wants to be and she doesn't compromise. Most police officers she meets are dour and grumpy, and she sees how that impacts their personal lives. She doesn't want to be like that so radiates the sort of perkiness that sometimes grates on her fellow officers. But it's who she is. That said, With Courage With Fear picks up with her in a "down" place. Down for Alicia, anyway.
Q: So who is your ideal reader?
A: Fans of serial killer books in general. If you like James Patterson or Steven James, Mark Billingham or Ian Rankin, Alicia Friend's series could be worth checking out.
Q: What levels of violence and bad language are there?
A: Some of the violence is quite graphic, With Courage With Fear in particular has some distressing moments, but the language goes as strong as references to one's posterior and some faecal synonyms, if you get my meaning. No "F" or "C" words, as I don't think Alicia's audience appreciates that.
Q: Unlike your other series?
A: No, my Adam Park private detective series (starting with The Dead and the Missing) is very popular, but it somewhat darker, with harsher language. My UK stand-alone Three Years Dead is even grittier. I have a couple set in the US - Rite to Justice and The Sublime Freedom - where I didn't feel the need for any swearing, but both still feature violent scenes.
Q: And how, exactly, do you come up with a character like Alicia?
A: She is based on a real person. But very loosely. The essence is there, although I had to invent certain aspects for dramatic effect. The parts from real life are: a ditzy, perky outer shell, yet possesses a fierce intelligence, true dedication, and being brilliant at her job.
Q: So the real Alicia Friend isn't a serving police officer?
A: No, she isn't. And if she was, I certainly wouldn't say so here.