Deborah Latham


I've been a creative writer ever since I was old enough to first hold a pencil, but coming up with a different slant when in terms of fiction every conceivable theme or subject has already been covered by someone somewhere at some time proved to be a challenge which I felt unable to meet for many years.

But at some point in 2011 I finally came up with a concept for a thriller.

More than that, a thriller told largely from the viewpoint of the main female character, rather than the male, as is usually the case.

That was when I knew I finally had a story to tell that had the crucial element of 'difference' that made it worth sharing with the wider world.

As a brief aside: while much crime fiction is written by female authors, I was told by my publishers that female authors of thrillers are a much rarer breed.

Be that as it may, Peter McLeish was the result.

Front cover of ‘Peter McLeish’ by Deborah Latham.

Since it had taken me about fifty years to come up with a story that was 'that bit different', I knew it was unlikely I was going to come up with another significantly different variation on a theme any time soon. I also knew that statistically the likelihood of a one-off manuscript being accepted by any of the traditional publishing houses was vanishingly small. Therefore I decided to bypass approaching any of them, and instead went direct to self-publishing.

(I did this with SilverWood Books, a self-publishing company based in Bristol, of whom I cannot speak highly enough; if anyone reading this is thinking about following the same route, I recommend them without reservation.)

Peter McLeish was available in both paperback and Kindle formats from October 2014 until August 2019, by which time it had become clear that everyone who was likely to buy it had probably done so. (I early came to the conclusion that I am a much better author than I am a self-publicist, but at least the extent and nature of reader feedback means I need have no reservations about claiming that it must be a good book!)

Judging from the reviews generated both online and from various other sources, Peter McLeish was indeed gratifyingly well received by its readers. If you care to see those reviews, you'll find them in this summary document (PDF format):
Peter McLeish - Reviews

It seems I succeeded in achieving a rising swell of tension throughout the narrative that kept many readers utterly gripped - indeed, I personally know of two people who found it so compelling that despite its length of 371 pages they read the whole thing in a single day!

In brief, and hopefully without including too many spoilers, here are some bullet points summarizing the main theme of the story:
  • Jenny Gregory aids Peter, a police officer, when an attempt is made on his life; a connection is made between them that continues to develop, despite an initially puzzling degree of caution on Peter's part.
  • Jenny subsequently comes to realize that Peter has been and is being relentlessly persecuted because of an incident earlier in his career, and that the persecution is extended to anyone to whom he gets too close. She is now such a person...
  • They both have to face the moral dilemma of whether they are justified in continuing their relationship with each other, even though Peter can't bear to give Jenny up despite the fact that it's putting her in danger, and Jenny knows her presence in his life makes Peter more vulnerable to his persecutor than ever.
  • As Jenny becomes the target of a mounting series of attacks, Peter is driven to desperate measures...
Several readers expressed the opinion that Peter McLeish would make a brilliant TV series or even film; for what it's worth, my opinion is that if it were a film, it would probably be rated either a PG or at worst a 12 (that's on the UK classification system, you understand). Just so you know.

Further observations are contained in this author commentary video, which you might find of interest:

Even though Peter McLeish has now been withdrawn from general availability, it is of course possible that second-hand copies may be available via the website. While this means that it will no longer be available in Kindle format, the paperback can still be obtained direct from me, so if you'd like a copy (£10 plus p&p) please contact me on (Note: Since the volume of traffic is unlikely to necessitate it, I haven't so far set up any online payment system for this purpose; if that changes, I'll let you know. But until the level of demand proves that to be the case, I'm happy to negotiate whatever workarounds are possible instead...)

You can, if you wish, continue to visit Peter McLeish on Facebook, where you'll (sporadically) continue to find my observations on writing in general and also on my fan fiction writing and supporting video trailers (for more information on which see the About Doctor Who page on this site).

Even if I'm never formally published again (which seems more than likely!), I'll still continue to write fiction, because I thoroughly identify with the following statement:

"Even if no-one ever saw this stuff, I'd be doing it anyway."

Russell T Davies, 'Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale ' The Final Chapter'

Couldn't agree more.

Deborah Latham