A Bitch Called Tracy
It’s Australia in the 1970s and Australia is awakening. Whitlam has brought sweeping social changes. The shameful Vietnam War has brought politics, Yankee servicemen and drugs to the streets. Nowhere was this more so than Sydney’s Kings Cross.
This was a world where gambling and prostitution were illegal and flourishing and everything was hidden in plain sight in ‘The Cross’. The NSW police force, it was openly said, was the ‘best that money could buy’.
A sharp eyed and straight copper finds himself involved in three different murders. One of the victims is Roxy, a working girl, who is brutally murdered. Her boyfriend, Jack McCalister is immediately a suspect. Roxy had also been the mistress of a crime boss who still held a soft spot for her. Jack is tipped off that the cops are looking for him and desperate to avoid detection he moves to Darwin. Unfortunately, Jack chose the worst time in the history of Australia’s northern-most city, as category five cyclone Tracy arrives on Xmas day, 1974..
The bitch called Tracy devastates the city and is responsible for massive loss of life. In this chaotic mess, Jack is pursued by two Sydney cops and two Sydney hit-men. In the meantime, he has met a significant woman, a Tasmanian, who must decide if he is guilty of a horrible crime or simply a lovable rogue. The story twists and turns. Justice seeks its recompense and the suspense lingers right to the end.
This is Tasmania’s finest storyteller at his very best.
— Warren Boyles
Isola dei Morti
We begin in present day Hobart, Tasmania through a chance discovery at a home auction. Hidden in a nondescript and decrepit shed are what at first appear to be valuable antiquities but are revealed to be high-end forgeries.
In parallel the ancient part of the story begins with the eruption of Mt Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii.
Archaeological adventurers Jameson Rowley and Elspeth Poole arrive in Italy, drawn by their passion for history and the hint of mystery surrounding the forged artefacts. The story brilliantly draws the reader into the lucrative and often criminally violent trade in black market antiquities.
While modern day Vesuvius again threatens Naples, for first time in 74 years, the investigation takes them from Pompeii to Venice to Poveglia Island – an island once used to quarantine plague victims and the insane – an island where the ‘sandhills’ are actually powdered human bones – an island where arch- criminal Cambino and his ruthless female accomplice Drishya have established an elaborately concealed headquarters.
An island many think, with good reason, is haunted.
The different parts of the story are linked by a metaphorical bronze thread. The Lance of Destiny. The lance said to have pierced the side of Jesus of Nazareth – a lance said to have supernatural powers.
Chasing Shadows continues the adventures of 19th century detective, Caspian Hunter. Although he has recently arrived from mother England, he has been practising his profession, in the service of Queen Victoria, in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, for long enough to be well aware that his new home has its share of rogues, escaped convicts, thieves and murderers.
Caspian is possessed of an incisive mind and is well versed in the rapid advances that are occurring in matters scientific – a technological revolution is in full swing in the British Empire. Beware the careless criminal.
Although a resolute and successful detective, Caspian is far from immune to the temptations of a colony where every street corner or bush town is a source of all possible temptations – whether it be fine ales, excellent food or the pleasures of the filles de joie so prevalent in this colony on the far side of the world and far from moralistic Victorian England.
Murder was commonplace in Van Diemen’s Land. There were rogues aplenty although freed convicts and an increasing flow of free settlers were demanding that law and order was to be central to the developing colony.
While solving several crimes it slowly and chillingly becomes apparent to Caspian that Hobart Town has a serial killer, a killer most adept at covering his crimes. In a frightening conclusion, the drama is played out in an abandoned prison hulk.
If you like your crime in many colours this is a must read.
Darker Shadows is another tale in the continuing saga of intrepid 19th century detective, Caspian Hunter. By now he is an established figure, in the service of Queen Victoria, combatting crime in the rambunctious colony of Van Diemen’s Land – and there is all manner of crime in this island of convicts, remittance men and military deserters who had chosen to hide at the end of the Earth.
Caspian is a modern man well versed in the science of his times. Beware the careless colonial criminal – lest your last view of the world is from the gallows or your life becomes one of penal servitude.
For all Caspian’s sharp mind, he is also a man of the world, far from immune to the temptations of the flesh and fond, perhaps a little too much, of the fine food and fines ales of this colony.
Hiding in plain sight amid the Darker Shadows is a rich collection of rogues, ladies of opportunity and characters who populate this furthest reach of the British Empire.
This is a crime novel with unpredictable twists and turns, plots within plots and stories within stories that require the sharpest of sharp minds – the minds of Caspian Hunter and his team of intrepid enforcers.
Port Royal, Jamaica, is an impossibly exotic place. For centuries it has been a place where worlds collided – the Old and the New Worlds, the world of the Carib Indians, Spanish invaders, English adventures and sanctuary to pirates the likes of Captain Morgan with their lust for rum, women and gold … There to swash and buckle in lawlessness.
In 1662 a massive earthquake shattered Port Royal. The sea rolled in submerging much of the city, now lost under the waters of Kingston Harbour. Yet even as this earthquake devastated the city it was, centuries later, to provide a treasure trove of opportunity for archaeologists diving the shallow waters of the harbour.
In this historical novel Craig Godfrey has woven the history and real life of modern Jamaica into a swashbuckling tale of treasure and action involving corrupt officials, drug cartels and 21st century ‘pirates’.
Hunter, Hunted is a story of the ongoing fortunes and misfortunes of Hobart Town sleuth Caspian Hunter in the British penal colony of Van Diemen's Land. The year is 1855. Caspian arrived as the first professional detective of the colony's overworked and somewhat inexperienced constabulary, confronted as they are with murders, mysteries and mayhem.
Set in Hobart Town in 1855 Shadow Hunter is a murder mystery written in the first person by fledgling detective Caspian Hunter - recently from Birmingham - to assist in the running of Hobart Town’s new criminal agency.
An abandoned ship off the southern coast of Van Diemen’s Land leaves a trail of mystery and unanswered questions, not to mention several murders. This fast paced novel documents Caspian’s efforts to solve the crimes whilst being seduced by the delights of mid-Victorian Hobart Town in the guise of innkeepers, convict constables, doxy’s and many characters larger than life. Characters of nineteenth century Van Diemen’s Land such as Aboubacar the Negro albino magician, Lynch Savage the obese tavern keeper, Nebena the blackfella gentleman or Bonnie Nettles the whore.
All in all, great bed time reading!
Escape the Hangman
Craig’s first novel to be published this year (2015) is Escape the Hangman. Once again an historical drama set in Van Diemen’s Land in the early nineteenth century:
A young lieutenant Abbott Bragg, dismissed from the King’s Indian army for an indiscretion with his commanding officer’s young temptress wife commits a minor crime leading to his being sentenced to transportation to far off Van Diemen’s Land. Here he meets fellow prisoner, French Frank, a citizen of France also enjoying the hospitality of the King.
Following a creative and daring escape the pair become bushrangers. They are captured and re-captured, make the finest of rabbit pies, pose as innkeepers while indulging in honest highway robbery all the while cheating the hangman. A life of many adventures that includes a live-in relationship with a pair of amazing sisters in the colony’s finest house of ill repute.
Woven through the novel is a temptress story within a story about Nathina, a young Tasmanian Aboriginal woman who is taken to London and then returned to Van Diemen’s Land.
This is a rollicking tale of violence, sexual passion, love in many forms and brilliantly described action. It is populated with a rich cast of characters as might be expected in a remote outpost of the empire where the severity of nineteenth century British justice is paramount and where almost everyone is escaping from something – whalers, drunkards, whores, innkeepers, ship captains, over-zealous commandants, incompetent governors and all the characters needed to spin a great yarn.
This book is a great read, a fast-paced novel that examines the dark horrors of the times. There is vivid description of the convict system, of sadistic pointless cruelty, of the cat o’ nine tails, of nineteenth century ‘science’ when Aboriginal heads were preserved in spirits and sent to the British Museum.
As well as a rich supply of whimsy, black humour and hope for the battler there is plenty to make a modern Tasmanian uncomfortable about the past. Yet the reader will feel that this novel is a ‘must read’ right to the exciting action of its imaginative ending.
21 Steps Down
21 Steps Down is a sequel to Five Pipes. It is an action adventure set in Tasmania. A chance find of a message in a bottle discarded off Hobart’s Sullivan Cove in 1918 leads heroes Jameson and Elspeth on their second mad adventure in this series. An early film archive purchased at a bargain price at auction hints at missing art treasures that disappeared from a wealthy estate in Queenstown, Western Tasmania. This crusade to find the missing art leads our adventurers on a roller coaster journey whilst pursued by villains.
Dark Valley is an action adventure set in Tasmania’s wilderness surrounding a German internment camp in 1940:
1939 war is declared. Australia supported Britain in its war against Germany. As a consequence German citizens living in Australia were arrested and imprisoned an internment camps around Australia.
Camp L42 at Dark Valley was not on any map. The primeval southwest Tasmanian wilderness being remote enough to ‘sweep the problem under the mat.’ The prisoners were not deemed dangerous and security was minimal; they were after all, out of harm’s way. Camp 42 was run by a few dozen guards, too old to be sent to the war in Europe. They were governed by a commandant, Alexander Pearce and his Company Commander Sergeant Major Remus Riley. Unknown to the authorities these two men had an unhealthy past.
Prisoners began escaping.
It was all too easy.
But the escapees were still trapped in Dark Valley between a gorge and mountains. As the warmer weather approached the visitors arrived in small groups – wealthy visitors. Wealthy hunters.
And then the real fun began …
‘Dark Valley is a novel that features a startlingly original premise. This chilling tale reminds us that the line between hunter and hunted can be a very fine one indeed. There’s a movie in it!’
- Stephen Dando-Collins
Stephen Dando-Collins, internationally renowned author of Legions of Rome, The Inquest, Caesar’s Legion.
Island Of Secrets
After writing several young adult novelettes and a comedy novel Craig wrote his first adult novel, Five Pipes, in 2013. The book is in three parts starting in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo: In his haste to retreat Napoleon left behind a coach of gold destined to pay mercenaries. Found abandoned by the English General, Cornelius Ferguson, the gold was temporarily hidden in a Flanders well, but due to the turmoil of war the clues to its whereabouts were lost.
Part two jumps to the village of Tromelles in the Somme Valley, France, 1916.
The gold accidentally resurfaces, albeit briefly, found by Australian Infantry Force sappers – tunnellers – on one of the decisive battlefields of the Great War. But the bullion disappears a second time. Lost to the savagery of war once more.
Part three is set in contemporary times: A chance purchase of World War One souvenirs at an antique auction in Hobart, Australia, has restaurant chef and amateur historian Jameson and partner Elspeth on a wild hunt for the lost gold. But in their enthusiasm they unwittingly stir up a hornet’s nest of violent criminals with their own plans for the treasure.
Five Pipes is an adult-only auction adventure peppered with true romance and men with a lust for more than gold.