You have to sit down when you’re reading Standstill. This first novel by Belfastman J.A. Marley sweeps you along through the darker side of London’s crime scene, cops and robbers at their best and it keeps you rooted to the spot.
The characters captivate, Danny Felix whose love of the cinema helped him make up his mind to be a top class thief after seeing the US crime film ‘State of Grace’ as a young teenager. His education was on the streets of London and he won’t take any bullying tactics from anyone – he had enough cruelty from his father.
Christine Chance is a top cop. She works hard but she is also a mother with a daughter who is dying in hospital. Her life swings between the two responsibilities and emotions are strong. Danny and Christine are on a mission, Danny to pull of the biggest boldest heist London has ever seen and CC to stop him.
Marley was born in Anderstown, graduated from University of Ulster in Coleraine, I’m proud to say he cut his television teeth with me as a researcher on Ask Anne programme before his talents took him to establishing his own TV company Archie Productions. He has many top programmes to his credit including the recent BBC 2 ‘Britain’s Ultimate Pilots’ celebrating the work of the Red Arrows and the RAF display teams.
Now he’s turned his talents to his first novel and he has employed the same meticulous research to this complex story, full of twists and turns as the story unravels at high speed. “I was fortunate to have a brother-in-law in the Flying Squad before he retired and his sister was in the drugs squad – a good start!”
It took four years to complete the book, he was producing television programmes at the same time, and there are four more to come, maybe a film after that. John admits he’s floating on air at the moment and delighted with the positive reviews Standstill is getting.
“I don’t want my name in lights, far from it, I just want my audience to say ‘I enjoyed that’”.
Well, with his writing debut he has proved that this audience certainly can say she thoroughly enjoyed that!
Standstill is published 15th September by Avocado Books – paperback £8.99 and £3.99 in eBook.