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Joining the Crime Family!

Article by Louise Phillips © 27 June 2019.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

Firstly, huge thanks to Louise for having me guest on her blog. After being asked, I must admit, the nerves did set in a bit. I mean, a guest blog for writing.ie and being hosted by a writer that I hugely admire, no pressure at all right!!

So what was I going to write about? Yes, it’s true that I’m currently on the promotion trail for Book 2 in the Terror Trilogy, but I didn’t want this to be a shameless marketing opportunity…well not completely anyway.

Whilst sitting staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration and trying to resist the opportunity to delve into my social media (we’ve all been there), I was distracted by a Twitter notification from my phone…from none other than Louise herself. Low and behold, my post topic was now staring me in the face.

The Tweet was a simple shout out from Louise to fellow writers who had helped her along the way in her own writing journey. That was it. I’d been talking to my editor about this very topic weeks ago, how any crime writer I’ve meet, have been so supportive and keen to help me, especially as I was a new kid on the block. They also go to great lengths to help each other out, something I have witnessed first-hand many times. In theory, these people are our competition, the realty for me and for virtually everyone else I’ve spoken to, is that they are friends and like all friendships, some crazy stuff happens along the way.

For me, these have ranged from drunkenly singing with the fun lovin’ crime writers, alongside the Belfast Crime writing fraternity, at their most recent Belfast gig, to being supported by Gerard Brennan and Simon Maltman in my hare brained promotional idea, Noirpool Karaoke, involving guitars, chats, songs and some dodgy backing vocals all recorded in my car as we drove around Belfast. Fun times indeed, but then there’s the serious stuff too, like attending each other’s events and launches, giving feedback on our work etc, but also coming together to support new writers in starting their journey.

One of my most memorable examples of that came about two years ago, from attending an event that Louise was speaking at and being encouraged by what she had said, enough to approach her at the end, shakily presenting my debut work as I did so. What happened after was the beginning of a friendship and I’m delighted to say, a mentorship. At one stage she even allowed me to interview her. The article turned out well, but attending that event, unbeknownst to me was my induction into what some refer to as the Crime Family.

Fast forward to April 13th, 2019. Picture the scene. There I was standing in the line-up for a photo call. To my left stood bestselling and award winning Northern Irish Crime Writers, Simon Maltman, Gerard Brennan and Stuart Neville, each of us holding our latest release in front of us as my editor and publisher Tina Calder eagerly snapped pictures. Behind her, my wife Heather and daughter Bella, proudly looking on. I was ecstatic. The occasion, the launch of my second novel (did I mention I have a new novel out), as part of an event that I’d curated in my role as a Director of The Northern Ireland Festival of Writing, in its inaugural year.

James Murphy, Simon Maltman, Gerard Brennan and Stuart Neville

The event had been titled, Noir Share, and the reason I was so happy was not just because I had nervously sent my second Terror novel out into the world, but also because I had just hosted my first ever writers panel, aimed at encouraging aspiring and emerging writers to begin their journey into the Noir. The event wasn’t packed to the rafters, but those attending enjoyed it and learned a lot. The lasting memory for me though was having a great time with members of my family, both actual and of the Crime Writing variety, and encouraging some young people to have faith in their work.

There is always room at the table in the Crime Writing Family, as long as you are prepared to leave your ego at the door.

I hope as readers, you enjoy my next novel called The Terror Within, and that our paths will cross at other writing events in the future.



An early morning phone call to his New York hotel signals the descent of Mark Shaw’s life into turmoil. Alone in the US, the Belfast born Private Detective must face a succession of earth shattering pieces of news from his home Province whilst he is stranded on the other side of the Atlantic, unable to take action. 

With his elderly father about to be arrested as prime suspect in the murder of a young woman in 1977 following the reopening of a missing persons cold case, Shaw must also deal with the news that his wife is currently fighting for her life having been brutally stabbed as she slept at home, just feet away from their young daughter.

“He couldn’t have survived, it’s not possible”.

Famed serial killer and nemesis to Shaw, Terror has survived an attempt on his life and is seeking retribution, placing the continued existence of all those associated with Farset Investigations under threat, a threat that is soon magnified drastically when the actions of one team member puts them firmly back on the radar of cult leader, The Prophet.

The quest to apprehend Terror and protect the team from The Prophet’s equally vengeful intent brings with it the dark realisation that sometimes we have to act against our better nature to protect the ones we love.

The question is…how far are you willing to go?




James Murphy is a writer working within the genre of Ulster Noir. His first novel in the Terror Trilogy, The Rise of Terror, was first published in 2016 and achieved a second print run with Excalibur Press in 2017. Having been met with excellent reviews, James has since achieved Professional Membership Status with the Irish Writers Centre. After obtaining a Single Honours English Degree from Queen’s University Belfast, he embarked on a teaching career, first entering the classroom almost 20 years ago. In the intervening years he has become a successful educationalist,holding the offices of Head of English Department, Vice Principal and School Principal along the way and guiding schools both in Northern Ireland and across the UK to leading edge status. It was after a visit to a Medium and a well-timed word from his wife that gave the west Belfast man the confidence to get writing, and he’s never looked back since.



Order Book Links:

Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Terror-Within-James-Murphy-ebook/dp/B07SC79DK1/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=The+Terror+Within+James+murphy&qid=1561125457&s=gateway&sr=8-3

Excalibur Press at https://excaliburpress.co.uk/product/the-terror-within-by-james-murphy/


Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.jamesmurphywriter.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/01theriseofterror01/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/james_murphy_writer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/farset_i

Follow Louise online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

LOUISE PHILLIPS is the author of four bestselling psychological crime thrillers. Her debut novel RED RIBBONS, and her subsequent novels, THE DOLL’S HOUSE, LAST KISS and THE GAME CHANGER, were each nominated for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year. She won the award in 2013. Louise’s work has formed part of many literary anthologies, and she has won both the Jonathan Swift Award and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice platform, along with being shortlisted for the Molly Keane Memorial Award, Bridport UK, and many others. In 2015, she was awarded a writing residency at Cill Rialaig Artist retreat and she was also a judge on the Irish panel for the EU Literary Award. In 2016, she was longlisted for the prestigious CWA Dagger in the Library Award, and her first two novels, RED RIBBONS and THE DOLL'S HOUSE, were published in the US. She has recently been awarded an Arts Bursary for Literature from the Arts Council of Ireland, and her latest novel, THE HIDING GAME, will be published on September 5th 2019. Louise Phillips is the crime writing mastermind behind writing.ie's Crime Scene blog.