Meet the Newells, a big family of good lookers and hard grafters. From their sleepy working class backwater, the siblings break into Oxford academia, London’s high life, the glossy world of magazine publishing and the stratospheric riches of New York’s hedge funds. Then there’s Paddy, the wrong’un in their midst, who prefers life’s dark underbelly. As things fall apart around his sister Bea, is Paddy behind it all? And why does matriarch Edie turn a blind eye to her son’s malevolence? Will she stand by and watch while he wrecks the lives of her other children? Just how much is she willing to sacrifice to protect her son?

How it started

The novel started as a short story. I was part of a creative writing group at City University, and their feedback was that I’d submitted a Chapter 1, rather than a short story. The story grew organically from there.

It was published in 2018 by Unbound, eleven years after that submission to my group. 


Meet the characters


The mother of six children. Why does she favour her bad seed, Paddy? What is she atoning for? Why does she resent her only daughter so much?


Only daughter in a big family of boys, and the last child. Loved by everyone, except her mother.

After the death of her adored husband, she is confronted with evidence that he was having an affair.


Charismatic misfit, drawn to the dark side. 

Why does Paddy hate his sister so much? What hold does he have over his mother? 

There’s only one person Paddy cares about. Apart from himself, of course.


Exotic, sensuous and utterly amoral. Paddy’s perfect woman.

She’ll go along with his plans as long as it suits her.

But Lorena has an agenda all her own. 


Father of the Newell Family, Edie’s husband. Kind, decent, and hard-working, he has done his best to instil these qualities in his children. 

But he knows a wrong’un when he sees one.

The Brothers

Sam, dreamy lab rat, who loses the only girl he’ll ever love.

Sonny, second son who should have been first.

Will, clear-sighted and wanting the truth.

Colin, who loses his wife to Paddy.

Baby Timmy, so long dead that Edie worries she’ll forget his face.