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It's a fair cop! Debut novel by ex-Thames Valley Police chief

READERS may recognise many of the Berkshire locations where crime and intrigue abound in Hidden By The Law, the debut novel by former police boss Simon Bowden.

Simon, who now lives in Woolton Hill, retired from Thames Valley Police as a chief superintendent in 2018 after a busy career. He’d worked in numerous operational roles, from response officer to public order commander. Simon was the Local Police Area Commander for Bracknell before commanding the police in Windsor and Maidenhead and then moving on to be the commander at Slough and then to the National Police Chief’s Council, where he was based in the Home Office.

Simon’s writing combines a good dose of storytelling with his policing and academic knowledge – he has a master’s degree in applied criminology, awarded by Cambridge University. The idea for his first novel surfaced in 2013, but he could never find the time to take it further. However, the coronavirus lockdown provided him with the time to commit to writing, resulting in the publication of Hidden by the Law, the first of the Seth Hannen stories.

The newly-published book
The newly-published book

“I’ve always wanted to write a book and was kicked into action by the morning radio shows hosted by Chris Evans and Graham Norton,” Simon says.

“Chris was promoting doing something meaningful during the 2021 coronavirus lockdown, and Graham often talks about books on his weekend show.’

The book is loosely based on Simon’s own experiences in the police. “The locations, and many of the characters, are based on my own experience. But the plot is most definitely a work of fiction.”

Simon Bowden with his new book Ref: 21-0421B Picture by Phil Cannings
Simon Bowden with his new book Ref: 21-0421B Picture by Phil Cannings

The action follows Seth from the early days of his career. He makes one mistake that comes back to bite him. Thursday, June 18, 1992, was a day like no other. Its events would change his life in more ways than one, and the consequences will return more than once to haunt his life and career over and over again – even after he leaves the police in 2020.

DCI Seth Hannen had worked hard for his pension, doing his best to run from his past while giving loyal service in the Thames Valley and Metropolitan Police forces. He sold his soul to his career, wrecking two marriages and becoming estranged from his only son. It’s time he took it easy with his new love. But she comes with some secret baggage that makes retirement anything but relaxing, especially when the ghosts of skeletons in Seth’s closet return to plague him yet again.

One man keeps cropping up as Seth faces his demons and tries to come to terms with his past while also trying to face the future. Seth is drawn into a new dark world of law-keeping, one that will test him to the core.

And there’s plenty more to come. Simon is already working on Seth Hannen’s second adventure Bought To Die which centres around human trafficking and modern slavery.

“Some of the characters in the first book may well make an appearance,” he says.

Hidden By The Law is available in hardback, paperback and e-Book versions from Amazon. Most other e-Reader services are also supported.

Simon blogs about his writing on Facebook. You can follow him by searching for Simon Bowden - Author.

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