The sequel to 'Blackmail" is well underway and will hopefully be published this year (2017). Look out for it - "A Private and Convenient Place". It tells the story of the trial of Julia Hamilton whom readers of "Blackmail" will remember pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping of Judge Campion's wife and child and the attempt to blackmail him into ordering the release of Michael Doyle and Charlie Benson.
Some reviews of "Blackmail"
'A stunningly good debut novel'
'An unputdownable romp through the intricacies of an armed robbery investigation - a joy to read" -Felicity Gerry QC
'A real find. Can't wait for the sequel.' - Bruce Houlder, QC
'A wonderfully engrossing first novel' -Christopher Goodchild
'Superb. Brilliant plot, careful detail and absorbing characters' - Kindle Customer.
'Sophisticated and beautifully written police/legal thriller.' -Celtic girls
'One of the best books I've read for quite a while.' David avid reader
'Thoroughly enjoyed. Bring on the sequel!' - Andy Best
This is a sophisticated and beautifully written police/legal thriller. Meticulous plotting is combined with forensically detailed accounts of the workings of the law and legal processes to make this one of those rare books where the quality of the thinking matches the content and pace of the narrative. As a retired judge, Stokes is ideally placed to take the reader deep into the relationship between police and lawyers – too often this element is caricatured in police thrillers, but in Stokes’s hands these complexities are handled subtly and convincingly.
Stokes’s talents are in character creation, intricate plotting and suspense. He has an unerring feel for how much to tell the reader and how much to keep back at every stage of this book’s complex webs of plot and counter-plot. Blackmail avoids the cheap histrionics of gruesome corpses and manufactured horror; tension lies much more convincingly in the cat-and-mouse games between police and criminals, when innocent lives are at stake and time is running out; and in the machinations of the criminals themselves, as they duck and weave to save their own skins: there is very little ‘honour among thieves’ in this book!
It’s hard to believe that Blackmail is Stokes’s first publication; he is definitely a talent to be watched. The good news is that a sequel to Blackmail is already planned; we therefore hope to see more of the admirable Henry Hood (promoted to Superintendent?), the resourceful Julia Hamilton, and some of the keen legal minds to whom we were introduced in this satisfying thriller.
For any fan of the genre looking for a cast-iron alibi to cover their absence if the Christmas and New Year festivities become a little tiring, you can’t do better than say you were ‘spending time in the company of Michael Stokes, former Recorder of Nottingham’. Who would dare challenge that?
by Ros McCulloch
Michael Stokes was born in Preston in 1948 and educated at Preston Catholic College and Leeds University. He was called to the Bar in 1971 and after spending 2 years lecturing at Nottingham University, practised at the Bar, became a QC in 1994 and a judge in 2001. In 2007 he was appointed Recorder of Nottingham and retired from the bench in 2016. He is married with 2 children, was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire 2016 and continues his interests in the law as an Honorary Professor at Nottingham Trent University.