Society of Authors  -  Full member. 

Though I instinctively dislike categories I would broadly describe my fiction as ‘psychological mystery’. I am particularly interested in exploring how buried family memories and secrets can erupt into everyday life with devastating consequences to the individual and society.



A Liverpool parish priest receives an anonymous letter, denouncing an unnamed priest for abuse and betrayal of the secrets of the confessional. As he struggles to solve a mystery protected by the obsessively secretive Church hierarchy, he ventures into an unknown inner city world of dispossession, cruelty and repression. To his horror he realises that the answer may lie in a terrible secret at the heart of his own family history. A study of evil hidden behind an aura of holiness, a baffling crime puzzle, and a heart-breaking story of thwarted love.

‘...a story that lurks in the dark places behind the headlines about abuse in the Roman Catholic Church... a voyage through a world where desire masquerades as consolation and betrayal as absolution, its intricate, skilfully-woven web of deception keeps the reader guessing all the way to the last page.’ Sam Llewellyn, acclaimed thriller writer (

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Detained for the murder of a stranger, a crime she cannot recall committing, Madeleine is drawn back to the scene on her release. She is convinced the remote cliff-tops of Cornwall where her mother had fallen to her death hold a key that will unlock her memory. As she uncovers more about her mother’s past, her own memories start to return, horrific memories she has kept buried at great cost to herself and those around her. She realises it is she who is now in danger, not only from an unknown killer but from the Furies who are slowly emerging from the shadows.

From reader reviews:

‘...beautifully understated thriller...cleverly drawn characters whose psyches, emotions and actions only gradually unfold...a Greek classical tragedy set in modern times...characters that grow as the story unfolds...’

‘...excellent novel, very well written and constructed...from whodunit through psychological thriller to Greek Tragedy...’

PLACE OF A SKULL (Published 1 June 2013 - nominated for 2014 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger Award)

'Place of a Skull'  is available from from 

A hard-hitting story set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and its aftermath of bitterness and betrayal, it chronicles the tragedy of a family torn apart by conflict and a killer's search for redemption. 


'Seamus stood clutching a bunch of spring flowers at the place where the winds met and wheeled around him, from Belfast Lough before him and the Irish Sea beyond, from Black Hill behind him, from the Lagan Valley to his right.  He turned down the grassy path to the part of Milltown Cemetery sacred to Republicans, where their heroes were buried beneath florid Gaelic inscriptions.  He came to the most hallowed plot of all, reserved for those killed in action.  It was where he had once dreamed that he and Brendan would be laid to rest side by side.
"I did it for you, Da', as you made me promise.  I did it for you."  He was almost shouting.  "So you would find peace.  So why can't I find peace?  Why is he still haunting me?  What else do I have to do?"'

   'He thought he recognised some of the men who shuffled along the pavements.  They had been prematurely aged by the times on those streets when snipers lurked behind corners and bullets raked the walls, when running feet, harsh shouts and the sounds of crunching wood from the back alleyways told of smashed doors and of men and women, old and young, pressed against the walls, searched and frogmarched way.'


'He linked arms with his neighbours.  They sang that they would not be moved, until the screams drowned out the song.  He turned to see armoured vehicles disgorging men with blackened faces, carrying metal tubes that spat fire and death.  The crowds surged, carrying him up towards Creggan Estate.  As soon as he could break free he sheltered behind a wall.  They streamed past, men, women, boys and girls.  All were crying.  He fought his way back against the weeping, screaming torrent until he could see the place where he had stood.  Sobbing groups huddled aorund bodies which had been carried into the shelter of the block of flats oposite...Unable to bear it, he knelt in the middle of the street and howled.'         


'He had killed, always knowing and seeing his enemy.  But now there was an enemy he could not see.  He could kill flesh and blood but not shadows. '  

From reader reviews:

'The first half is a good book about 'the Troubles'. Then about half way through it really starts to dig into the family reactions and how the times warped them...This is a book you will probably want to read twice...[it] will make you look at your own family and how you are interacting with them.  Recommended for everyone who is part of a family.'

'Intense.  Really intense...Even though it only weighs in at 237 pages the story expands well beyond that....The ending was fitting  -  like a good Greek tragedy or Romeo and Juliet...Betrayals abound around every corner and the narrative navigates through those so fluidly you can't put the thing down.'
'If you're looking for a real life account of what it's like in Ireland during the uprising [sic] then this is definitely a must-read.'

'A wonderful perspective on how it could be for families to have to go through such dreadful times.'

'The story is fascinating...not a happy story but it is gripping, well written and not at all predictable.  Characters are well-developed and interesting...'

'The recent Irish history is added bonus for those interested in that kind of thing but it is the family tragedy which is the heart of the book.  Almost Shakespearean in that sense.'

'First and foremost a tense and gripping psychological thriller about a family...high Greek tragedy.  A  must-read for all who enjoy strong psychological thrillers that break new ground.'

SISTERS OF FURY   (November 2015)

In late 1960s Oxford, Jack Roberts, a shy northerner without dreams or ambitions, is a fish out of water.  Then he meets the charismatic, exotic Hasan and suddenly a new world opens up to him.  Jack hero-worships his new friend, even if he catches glimpses of something altogether darker under his dazzling persona.  At the end of university, Hasan just as suddenly disappear from Jack's life.  Jack has a breakdown and lives as a recluse.  A decade later Jack learns that Hasan has published a book and is going on tour to promote it.  Jack follows him on the tour but keeps his distance.  Then he realises someone else is also secretly following Hasan, the fragile, elusive figure of a young woman.  Jack and the woman meet but an aura of mystery continues to surround her, until Jack begins to suspect that both he and Hasan may be in danger.

'Part Hitchcockian thriller, part melancholy Almodovarian melodrama, this beautifully written book will tease and entice to the very last page.'  (cover blurb). 

'Carefully plotted and peopled with believable, fully rounded characters Jacobsen has pulled off another moral tale dressed up in a readable mystery story.'  (Derek Pearce, bibliophile and reviewer for LIbrarything).   

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THE EYE OF GOD  (6 March 2016)

'The Eye of God' is the sequel to 'Out of the Depths' (New Generation Publishing, 2012).

Former Catholic priest Michael Jones and the irreverent Father O'Malley return to tackle another baffling clerical mystery set in Liverpool. 

Battling loneliness and alcohol addiction, Michael meets Martha, a refugee from the Troubles in Northern Ireland.  She tells Michael of the unexplained disappearance of her son, a former altar boy at his church, fourteen years ago.  Suspecting the involvement of a visiting priest who has also vanished without trace, Michael and Father O'Malley decide to investigate.  The trail leads them to a deserted village, a deconsecrated church and a walled-in estate haunted by the ghosts of a terrible past.  Searching for the place where the Eye of God is blind, they soon find themselves in mortal danger.

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 EVIL RIVER  (February 2020)


Alan Harris, an old school Oxford don comfortable in his enclosed academic world, leads an outwardly contented life, until the body of one of his students, Simon, is discovered in the river, his empty punt moored nearby.  The verdict is suicide.  But Simon seemed happy and confident.  And why do his family show no emotion at the loss of their son?  Meeting Simon's closest friend, Alban, leads only to more questions and Alan starts to suspect there is much more to the tragedy than meets the eye...

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