Detective Ian Drake is an inspector in the Wales Police Service and is based in the northern division headquarters near Colwyn Bay on the coast. North Wales is a large area that stretches from the coast to the border with England. It is an area rich in history and great scenery.
Book 0.5: The Devils Kitchen (a prequel novella)
Book 1: Brass in Pocket
Book 2: Worse than Dead
Book 3: Against the Tide
Book 4: Dead on your Feet
Book 5: coming soon
The Devils Kitchen: Inspector Drake #0.5
It is Inspector Ian Drake’s first murder case and he’s keen to do a good job and impress his superiors. When the body of man and a woman are found at the bottom of a cliff face in the mountains of Snowdonia it seems a straight forward case. The woman has been brutally murdered and all the evidence points to her husband as the culprit.
But despite the clues Ian Drake wants to cover ever possibility. He builds a picture of the wife that suggests she was having an affair so Drake knows he has to investigate further. And when he discovers evidence about the husband he has to follow his instinct and dig deeper into their lives.
It is only after Drake’s superior officers have closed the case that he finally puts all the pieces together and discovers the final clues to identify the killer.
Brass in Pocket: Inspector Drake #1
It is the middle of the night …The road is deserted …A killer is waiting …
Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer – traffic cones in the shape of a No 4.
The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages or is there some hidden meaning in them?
Does it all mean more killings are likely? When a politician is killed Drake has his answer. And then the killer sends more song lyrics. Now Drake has to face the possibility of more deaths but with numbers dominating the case Drake has to face his own rituals and obsessions.
Finally, when the killer threatens Drake and his family he faces his greatest challenge in finding the killer before he strikes again.
Worse than Dead: Inspector Drake #2
The body of Frank Rosen is discovered when the ship is in the middle of the Irish Sea. A galley knife protrudes from his chest and the body has been dumped in the oil and grease on the car deck by the side of an articulated lorry.
Inspector Ian Drake is attending a course on data protection and the perils of cyber space crime when he’s called to take charge and has to rush to the port to meet the ferry. Drake realises that the murderer is on the ship, making it the first case where he knows how to find the killer.
But when the port manager insists that the ship be emptied Drake has to struggle to manage the demands of following procedures against the commercial requirements of the ferry company. And he goes head-to-head with the uncooperative manager when he realises that Rosen’s laptop is missing and he halts the disembarkation of the ship.
Later when traces of drugs are found on Rosen’s clothes and on his possessions Drake knows that he has to involve the drug squad officers and reluctantly he commits to co-operating with them despite having suspicions they may be corrupt.
But when he’s contacted by the ‘black sheep’ of his own family, a man with a criminal record, who tells him Rosen was involved with drug smuggling, and that he may know who killed Rosen, professional and family loyalties get intermingled and Drake finds himself desperately fighting to keep the investigation focused and his own objectivity intact.
With the discovery of an Irish bank account in Rosen’s name and then the apparent suicide of Rosen’s girlfriend the case rapidly becomes anything but straightforward. And with the obsessions and rituals that had been dominating his mind now facing regular examination by counselling through the Wales Police Service Drake faces his sternest challenges in managing his own personality as well as facing the challenges of the investigation.
Against the Tide: Inspector Drake #3
A man’s body is washed up on the shore …
On a clear summer’s morning Detective Inspector Drake is working through the latest pile of management reports that Superintendent Price has dumped on his desk. Drake is coming to terms with the death of his father, he worries about his mother and, driven by his obsessiveness, doesn’t see his relationship with his wife deteriorating.He takes a call about a body washed up on an isolated beach on the Isle of Anglesey and arriving at the scene he discovers the body of Ed Mostyn impaled by a fork to the wet sand. It becomes a race against the tide to secure evidence from the scene. Drake begins the task of unearthing details about Mostyn’s family and establishing who might have a motive to kill him. He discovers that Mostyn had been refusing to sell a piece of land needed for the development of a nuclear power station and that other landowners were incensed by his refusal. When a young girl, Jane Jones is found dead by some cottages near a beauty spot Drake suspects that there may be other motives linking the deaths. He has to break the news to the girl’s family who run a small farm eking out a meagre existence, clinging to a rural way of life dominated by a strict nonconformist background.
But once he begins to unravel Jane’s lifestyle he realises that she had left behind the disciplines of her childhood. Family photographs show Drake how attractive she was and inquiries establish how many boyfriends and lovers she had had during her short life. One of the farmers linked to Mostyn is suspected of being implicated in a paedophile ring that may have been linked to Jane but when he commits suicide Drake faces intense criticism about his handling of the case. Then one of the other farmers linked to Mostyn is killed and Drake searches for the vital clue that links them all.The investigation takes him into direct conflict with the powerful forces involved in the construction of a nuclear power station on Anglesey and the fanatical opponents who will stop at nothing to prevent its construction and who see the new development as the final blow to the future of the Welsh language and the rural heritage of Anglesey.
Drake’s judgement becomes clouded when a member of the English gentry pressurises the investigation through his role as the high-sheriff. Drake and his team struggle to link all the deaths together and with the summer holiday period approaching and intense media interest the pressure builds.
Dead on Your Feet: Inspector Drake #4
A gruesome exhibit…
When the dead body of a woman is found on public display, the murder scene bears all the hallmarks of a famous work of art. DI Ian Drake knows he is dealing with a very creative and intelligent killer – one who enjoys having their work showcased for all to see.
A gallery of death…
As more murders take place, each copying a famous work of art, Drake faces a murderer who always seems to be one step ahead. And when one of the suspects is revealed to be his own brother, the pressure mounts…this case just got very personal.
The portrait of a killer.
The art world is small, but the murderer’s ego is too big to hide forever. Drake knows he is getting closer to unmasking the culprit, but can he stop the killer before their grand finale – and a very public murder?
Stephen Puleston: Biography
I write crime fiction based in Wales and about Wales. The rural landscape of north Wales provides the backdrop to the Inspector Drake novels. And Cardiff the capital of Wales provides the setting for the Inspector Marco novels set in a modern urban environment.
I love the novels of Raymond Chandler, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Henning Mankell, Val McDermid – the list could go on! And I enjoy watching detective series on the television the recent Hinterland series based near Aberystwyth in Wales was great. One of my favourites is the French series Spiral but The Bridge and Broadchurch and the Rebus series with Ken Stott and Kenneth Branagh in Wallander are great too.
I have been on writing courses at the Welsh Writers Centre in Llanystymdwy, North Wales tutored by Matt Whyman and Marcus Sedgwick as well as crime writing courses with Peter Robinson and Andrew Taylor at the Scottish Writers centre.
I was born in Anglesey an island off the north Wales coast and after leaving school in Holyhead I went to University in London before training as a solicitor/lawyer. I practised in a small family business doing criminal work in the magistrates and crown courts, divorce and family work.
I still live on Anglesey, North Wales near the beach and the mountains of Snowdonia