Life of crime (prevention) inspires CJ’s debut book

Revenge Ritual by CJ Browne

Revenge Ritual by CJ Browne - Credit: Archant

A budding author took inspiration from Sidmouth and her career as a Home Office advisor to craft her debut psychological thriller.

Author CJ Browne

Author CJ Browne - Credit: Archant

Revenge Ritual was driven by an incident CJ Browne attended after Euro 2004 when the England football team was knocked out and rioting erupted in the sleepy Lincolnshire town of Boston.

She was tasked with finding out the cause, discovering the first large-scale disturbance in the UK aimed at migrant workers – but it wouldn’t be the last.

Revenge Ritual sees migrants brought in to build a new town outside Sidmouth, called Ladram Heights.

When criminologist Kate Trevelyan is seconded to her hometown to research the growing hostility, she has no idea someone is studying her every move – or that her father would be killed in a suspicious house fire.

Author CJ Browne

Author CJ Browne - Credit: Archant

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“I’ve thought about writing for about 15 years,” said CJ, whose debut novel has been released at a time when the UK is considering how to support migrants from Syria.

“It’s about migrants and how they are accepted – it’s become more topical than I first imagined.”

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Her job with the Home Office required her to meet top police officers, handing down policies from the Government – messages of rape and domestic abuse prevention that were not always well received.

The mother of two was in a ‘man’s world’ and would take courage imagining the likes of crime author Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus at her shoulder.

From here, it was a natural step to create her own protagonist.

Kate and her adversary, the entrepreneur behind the development, are both women, but CJ said this was not a conscious decision – more a rebellion against the lack of women in top-level jobs she experienced in her career.

The 66-year-old is also a keen walker, and drew inspiration from a range of locations around Sidmouth. Fortfield Terrace, for example, became her centre of criminology.

Revenge Ritual has been published online – hitting the number two spot in the psychological thriller charts in a day when it was offered for free – and is now available as a paperback.

CJ will be launching it at The Clocktower Café in Connaught Gardens between 10am and 11am on Thursday, before a tour of some of the locations in the book.

And she already has ideas for a sequel in the pipeline.

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