• Raise the Blade

    Like a spider wrapping flies...

Gloriously gruesome...*

Would you go, alone and unarmed, into the home of a murderer? This darkly humorous novella examines the theory that certain people contribute to their own downfall through the choices they make, whilst referencing Pink Floyd's brilliant track Brain Damage - and the odd elephant or two.

When psychopath Duncan leaves a trail of duct-tape-wrapped bodies scattered across the suburbs of Birmingham, there’s nothing to link the victims except his own name and address, carefully placed on each new corpse.Six very different people follow his clues, each convinced they can use Duncan to further their own selfish or naïve ends. Is there a reason Duncan’s driven to target these particular individuals, or does their very nature contribute to their fate?Will any of them be strong enough to break the cycle and escape a painful death? Or will Duncan reel them in and rearrange them to his own insane ideal?

*"...a gloriously gruesome read, riven with the very blackest of humour. And I loved it." Ian Ayris

Music to Write Books By

How Pink Floyd's track 'Brain Damage' inspired the book, on Sarah Ward's regular feature.

The Scariest Part

There's some dark stuff in 'Raise the Blade'. Find out which bit made Tess shudder the most!

Character in the Spotlight

The self-righteous Gillian was the only character based on a mash-up of two people Tess knew in the past...

The first cut

A quick excerpt from the very beginning of the book...


Duncan raises the blade and watches the parcel squirm. He's going to love the next few hours. The pain, the fear, the pleading. Not that the parcel can speak, of course - he always makes sure of that. But the eyes: he can tell from the state of the eyes. That's why he leaves those till last. So they can watch him watching them. So they can watch his work.

The first cut. Not the deepest, in spite of what Cat Stevens says. Just a little scratch, through the tape, barely enough to mark the skin. The victim whimpers. Duncan bends low over the table, catching the sound, the very breath, and taking it in. It feels good. In many ways this is the best bit, before it gets messy, before the tape stains scarlet and the body fluids flow. He sometimes wishes it could stay like this, while he still has hope, before it all goes wrong. But that would leave his work unfinished, and he can't allow that.

He can't quite believe that his plan worked so well, that they keep on coming to him. He felt sure someone would tell the police; that he'd wake up at dawn to find blue lights outside the house. Or worse, that one would think to bring something more powerful than a knife - a baseball bat, or a gun. But nobody's done that yet. They're like lambs to the slaughter, he thinks. Or the flies he experimented on as a child.


Tasty morsels

Readers and reviewers love 'Raise the Blade'. Here's a selection of their quotes.