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Hi, how are you? Uh-huh. Uh-huh. OK, stop talking - I have news:

200 Minutes of Danger is ready to preorder.

Do you know a young reader who likes sharks? Explosions? Gangsters? Giant monsters? Submarines? Time travel? Then go to your local bookstore (if you're in Australasia) and preorder 200 Minutes Of Danger (ISBN 9781760660857) to make sure you get a copy before the first print run sells out. The book will arrive around February 1st, 2020.

Preorder 200 Minutes of Danger
PSA: Because of the way the book industry works, preorder sales are worth more than normal sales, even though they cost the same amount (or sometimes even less). Why? Beats me. I'm a novelist, Jim, not an economist. But if you like this series, preordering is the most efficient way to support it.

If you're in North America...

...then I'm afraid you can't preorder 200 Minutes of Danger just yet. But you can preorder 300 Minutes of Danger, which was a surprise bestseller in Australia, then was translated into several languages and adapted as an award-nominated film. It's finally coming to North America on April 7th, 2020!

And you can preorder The Truth App - the first book of my smash-hit LIARS series (also bestselling, translated, etc) which comes out on February 25th, 2020! This is the one about the kid who invents the lie-detector app and gets targeted by organised crime. You'll love it!

I have several more projects on the go:

  • 200 Minutes of Mystery (ooh! What's this? Not telling... yet.)
  • Stunt Kid, a comedy for age 9+ about a bookish kid whose dad, a talentless filmmaker, forces him to do outrageous stunts for a TV show
  • Kid President, a comedy for age 9+ about a kid who accidentally becomes president of the USA after the real president misspells his own name on the ballot paper
  • Hideout, the long-awaited third crime novel in the Hangman series
The first drafts of Stunt Kid, Kid President and Hideout are all due before May, and none of them is even half-finished, so I'd better get to work.

Speaking of Hideout...

You've all been waiting so patiently for the third and probably final book in the Hangman series. OK, that's a lie, many of you have been less than patient. I thought I'd help ease your hunger - or possibly make matters worse - by showing you the first page:
'The other guys?' I say.
'Sure,' Fred says. 'You didn't think it was just me here, did you?'
That's exactly what I thought. The plan was simple: kill Fred, then myself. Two monsters gone. The world a little safer.
But if he has friends here, I'm in a whole world of trouble.
'Great.' I follow Fred up the steps. 'Can't wait to meet them.'
Now that I'm closer, I can see that the house is made from many kinds of wood, carefully arranged. Pale slats around the foundations, darker beams up top, with a gradient in between, like a sunrise. Recycled timbre, maybe. Like in one of those expensive eco homes. The windows on either side look double glazed, the light inside muffled by lush curtains.
Fred is unlocking the front door, even though he only just walked out of it. 'Automatic locks,' he explains. 'Can't be too careful. There are some bad people out there.'
'Oh?' I say.
He welcomes me into the warmth of a short hallway, two mirrors gleaming on either side, like in an elevator. I can hear a fire crackling somewhere. The downlights are painfully bright. My head is still pounding from the crash, and I can taste blood pooling at the back of my throat from my broken nose.
The door locks itself behind us with a crisp beep.

Warning: I don't have a US publishing contract for Hideout yet.

This means that Australians and New Zealanders will definitely get to read it, but North Americans and others may not. If you'd like to boost Hideout's chances of getting published in Canada and the USA, the best way is to buy Hangman and Just One Bite as Christmas presents for your strong-stomached friends and relatives. (Can I recommend the audiobooks, read by the amazing Christopher Ragland?)
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And, as always, here's a free short story!

Thanks for reading this far, and for staying subscribed. I wrote this story in seven minutes during a creative writing workshop, using ingredients chosen by my students. I hope you like it:
THE FOREST

The hippocratic oath spun through Kelly's head as she raised the sledgehammer: First, do no harm.
She had stood by those words for decades. Fifteen years of setting broken arms, cutting off warts, fighting influenza. Then four years of war - bleaching knife wounds, removing bullets, tightening tourniquets around bleeding stumps.
The young Nazi squirmed beneath her. He was too dizzy to stand, but that wouldn't last long. She had to do it now. But he was just a kid. Conscripted into a war he didn't understand.
The faces behind the fence were ghoulish. Sunken eyes, matted hair, spit flying from their mouths. White knuckles gripping the chain link as they shouted, "Die, Nazi scum! Die, Nazi scum!"
And then it was too late. The kid rolled over and grabbed her legs. Kelly lost her balance and fell face-first into the mud. The hammer slipped from her fingers. The crowd jeered.
The kid bellowed something in German. Kelly couldn't translate - she was too busy trying to get her face out of the cold, bitter mud. She felt her ribs protest as he stomped on her spine with her tattered boots.
Do no harm, she thought. But the need to survive was too strong. Her body took over. She grabbed the knife hidden under her skirt, and ripped it free. Then she slashed blindly at him.
The beating stopped immediately. She cleared the muck from her eyes in time to see the kid, already white, toppling over like a bowling pin, his throat hideously open. And Kelly wept.
OK, writing newsletters is fun, but I should stop messing around and get back to writing actual books. Have a happy new year, everybody!
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