Crime pays for ex-Lancashire cop turned novelist

Crime author and ex-policeman Nick Oldham
Crime author and ex-policeman Nick Oldham

It would have been a crime for retired policeman turned author Nick Oldham not to have penned his latest book.

The former inspector has released a novel based on a new film and has found the whole process both challenging and exciting.

Former Insp Nick Oldham, 57, swapped fighting a life of crime to writing about it after retiring from Lancashire Police in 2005.

He is best known in the literary world for his series of DCI Henry Christie novels, based in Lancashire.

But his career has taken a leap into the world of film after he was asked to write the official novelisation to British-made film, Vendetta, which stars Eastenders star Danny Dyer and Vincent Regan.

The father-of-one, who lives with his partner Belinda in Fulwood, said: “I always wanted to write and wrote my first novel while I was in the force.

“I did not base characters on people I knew, but I got a few people coming up to me after reading my books and saying: ‘That’s me!’

“I drew inspiration from the job and incidents that happened. The first book I wrote was partly inspired by the Handless Corpse case, although I was only a bobby on the beat at the time.

“The fact of the matter is a lot of gangsters do operate in Lancashire and turn up from time to time. The Handless Corpse case went global.”

The infamous discovery of the handless corpse of drug dealer Marty Johnstone in Eccleston Delph near Chorley in 1979 was Lancashire Police’s biggest investigation and helped smash an international drug smuggling ring.

Johnstone was executed on the orders of the drug syndicate’s boss Terry Sinclair.

Nick’s new novel is the first book he has written that is set outside Lancashire. It follows Dyer’s character Jimmy Vickers, an SAS operative back from Afghanistan in mysterious circumstances, following the brutal murder of his father and mother by a feral group of criminals playing havoc in his hometown.

Nick took on the challenge of turning the screen images to a fast-paced novel in just six weeks – a big change from penning his usual novels.

He said: “ I think the short timeframe I had to complete the work benefited the novel because it added to the sense of pace that the film has. I knew we had to capture those elements to make this a real page-turner.

“It has been a different process but it has also been a very exciting time working with a film company and getting to see the film and work with the original screenplay to develop the novel.”