Originally from the UK, I have been a translator by profession for much of my life. Some years ago, I moved with my wife and family of three boys to Switzerland, where we grew the family further with a fourth boy and are now naturalized Swiss citizens. While translation remains an endlessly fascinating occupation, it can also be something of a frustration putting other people’s ideas into words when you feel driven by an urge to express your own ideas. And it took the move abroad to spur me on at last.
Without the move to our adopted country, my debut novel The Dark Frontier, published in the spring of 2021, would never have been written. This time-shift mystery/thriller with a literary bent is aimed at readers with a penchant for psychological suspense revolving around questions of identity. The inspiration for it was twofold: partly the location and partly the feeling you get when you find yourself in a place that seems ineffably familiar, although you’ve never been there before.
I am currently working on my second novel: a somewhat more straightforward tale of murder and revenge set in Turkey against the background of political tensions in the country.
The Dark Frontier
In Locarno, Switzerland, Ellen Goss contemplates her brief marriage to Frank and shares her story with an elderly lady on the next table.
When journalist Frank is assigned to cover Switzerland’s referendum in 1971 to give women the vote, he suffers hallucinations and a disturbing dream that land him in a psychiatric clinic. Ellen is called over from London. But Frank has discharged himself and disappeared. She is shown a cryptic text written in his hand, but does not believe he is her husband, not least because he calls himself Frank Eigenmann.
As the search for Frank continues, Ellen almost crosses paths with him every so often, yet he is captivated by the mysterious Patricia, who is in thrall to Breitner, a Nazi gangster. It is 1937. Switzerland is a hotbed of espionage and intrigue. In his pursuit of Patricia, he learns the reason for her thralldom, becomes embroiled in sinister activities and decides the only solution is to kill Breitner. But things don’t quite go to plan.
Finally stricken by events, Ellen returns home to London. On the train north, she meets the lady from Locarno again and only then gains an inkling of the story behind Frank.