When greed, fear and obsession rule the senses, danger is never more than a heartbeat away.
A night of celebration affords the perfect opportunity for an unlikely band of criminals to make their move, but as details emerge, it soon becomes clear the crime is far more sophisticated than the police first thought.
And that's only the beginning.
A Timelime of the stories in the series...
I'll add details of which characters are the focus of each episode at some point.
Investment banker Will Richards is a walking, talking contradiction. With his love of surfing and his farmhouse menagerie of rescue animals, he's far removed from Gray's idea of the perfect man, but that's 'not a problem'. Gray wants nothing more than friendship, and Will seems happy to accept that. After all, with his mum's illness and resigning from his job, he's got enough on his plate already.
Assuming, of course, he's telling the truth.
When former colleague, Rob Simpson-Stone, asks for Gray's help with a case of a destitute banker who faked his own death, Gray is understandably reluctant to get involved...until Rob reveals the identity of one of the suspects.
Following the imprisonment of his ex-girlfriend, Mike Jeffries has one priority: his six-month-old daughter, Bethan. Between caring for her and being a self-employed painter and decorator, he's already got enough on his plate, without his sisters-in-law insisting he's ready to date again. Now Bethan's grandmother intends to fight him for custody, and Mike's not sure he can rise to it.
Always up for an adventure, Andy Jeffries has finally found the perfect challenge: keeping the woman he loves satisfied and raising their twin daughters, Rosie and Sorsha. The problem is everyone else thinks he needs more, and dealing with his brothers' trials and tribulations means he's getting it, whether he wants it or not.
Dan Jeffries is about to become a father for the second time, and he's terrified, not that he's the kind of man to admit it. But after the premature birth of his daughter, Shu, he's taking no chances until his son is safely delivered into this world, which means putting a hold on his hunt for the perfect family home. However, the house he wants comes with a very big price tag, and not of the monetary kind.
Where it all began
I began writing the series back in 2007, with the first novel, Hiding Behind The Couch, from which the series title derived.
At that point I must confess that it was not my intention to write a series. Indeed, I only set out to demonstrate for my own benefit that I had more than one novel in me. However, the following year, I decided to write No Time Like The Present - book two. Then I left it alone again.
In 2012, a reviewer's remark that they hoped I would turn this into a trilogy led me to reconsider, and thus The Harder They Fall was born. At 140,000 words, it was quite a bit longer than the previous two books, for in writing it I had realised I had a set of characters that were richly developed with distinct personalities.
Much more than a trilogy...
I reached the end of the first edit/rewrite of The Harder They Fall in December 2012, and I was thoroughly miserable. It took me a while to realise why, but it was due to one reason only. The word 'trilogy' meant I was done, finished with the characters whose lives I had created, narrated, given form and voice to.
Or I should have been done; but I wasn't.
See, my readers (who could be far greater in number) have often remarked that these characters are like friends - people that they know and love - which means that reading books two and three became less to do with following a series and more about catching up with friends they hadn't seen in a while.
And the problem (or in fact benefit) is that I was experiencing them that way too.
In psychological terms, it's something like the concept of source monitoring error - where we recall information in a different form to that which it was originally presented.
For instance, you hear a radio report of a motorway pile-up as it's happening and the memory is embellished by images so that when asked later you'd swear you saw it on TV. Likewise, I wrote the first two books and had a four year break. When I came back to them I recalled 'The Circle' not as characters, but as people I had been in contact with a while ago.
And probably a little bit bonkers!
A series is born
In a staggered process over Christmas of 2012, all of my family came down with the novovirus. I wrote through it. Yeeeeaahh! I'm a literary soldier, spurning vomit and stomach cramps for festive festoons of metaphorical magic! The outcome was First Christmas - a short story which narratively follows on from The Harder They Fall (book three). I thought maybe, just maybe, I could leave it at that. Closure.
January 2013: I thought perhaps the way forwards was backwards, so I wrote another short story, but this time telling of 'The Circle' as little people, back in their primary school days. The result is Beginnings.
Done now? Erm...perhaps not.
In The Stars marks the point at which I gave up fighting this thing. I love writing about these characters and the fictional reality they inhabit. It's fun. It makes me happy and a few other people seem to like it too, so I've given up giving up. Thus, in 2014 there are two books (In The Stars Part I and Part II), separated by a short story interlude entitled Breaking Waves.
A Midnight Clear and Red Hot Christmas are two further festive short stories (one young adult, one very adult!) to be released for Christmas 2014, with maybe a couple more arriving along the way...we'll see!
July 2014: Addendum... A Midnight Clear and Red Hot Christmas inspired two separate, interwoven storylines. I think, probably, that the Christmas stories, and the resultant Season Six (observe the shift from book to season - yeah, I wrote long again), which is called Two by Two (and is in six manageable episodes), is probably the perfect starting point for new readers.
I have other stories in my head, jotted on paper. I have to write. I'd love for you to have a read of what I write, but whether you do or your don't I have to write. And let's face it, it's cheaper than a holiday!
Catch Up Opportunity
It's not a perfect solution, but if you'd like to start reading from the middle of the series, then below you will find links to brief outlines of the plots and key events in the first two books. These will spoil the story, although they are only the key events, so there will be other stuff not mentioned here, so all is not lost if you later went back and read the real thing.
I'm doing this so as not to put off those of you who are thinking you like the sound of one or all of the later books, but don't want to wade through the earlier novels first.
In other words, I'm sacrificing Hiding Behind The Couch (book one) for the greater good. It will be available for free on here for the forseeable future - you can buy it as an ebook or paperback elsewhere if you'd like to financially support this poor author, but I care more about being read than being rich.