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Chris High reviews the author Colin Campbell


Colin Campbell

Pen Press
September, 2006

Front cover of the book by Colin Campbell: The Ballad Of The One Legged Man

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With The Ballad Of The One Legged Man, Colin Campbell shows that he is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Mick Habergham – Hamburger, or just plain Ham, to his friends and colleagues – is back at the beginning and determined not to swear. It’s the long hot summer of 1976; a steep learning curve for a young copper trying to carve out a career in the police force and so survive his two-year probation period. Formative years at the sharp end that see him make tough decisions that divide loyalties, jeopardise friendships and teach him what betrayal really means.


From petrol bombs to gypsy fights to the realisation of death and what it means, The Ballad Of The One Legged Man carves a niche that the genre that will be hard pressed to surpass. Colin Campbell, make no mistake, tells an incredibly good tale and his vivid descriptions of events, the use of genuine dialogue and his ability to captivate a reader are second to none, whereas his skill at turning the everyday into points of either high drama or of outlandish humour should be roundly applauded for their candour.

The most compelling aspect of this “prequel” to the much acclaimed Through The Ruins Of Midnight, however, is that no matter to which character the reader turns, he or she will see a little of themselves in each and few are the authors who can count the ability to perform that particular trick amongst their armoury.

As fast paced as they come, as well written as they come and, at times, as discomforting as they come, Colin Campbell’s The Ballad Of The One Legged Man is a novel which is sure to set the author’s name in stone.

“The great reviews for Through The Ruins Of Midnight, and Ballad Of The One Legged Man are much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed them. I certainly enjoyed writing them.”
Colin Campbell 2006

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Colin Campbell goes back “on the beat”
by Chris High

Having spent thirty years as a police officer, it was almost inevitable that Colin Campbell would, one day, write a Crime novel. Colin, who has written books in the horror, fantasy and children’s genres, had his debut Crime novel, Through The Ruins Of Midnight (Pen Press), published in 2004 with much acclaim. ‘The TV option for "Midnight" was sold to an independent producer in London a year ago and she has been working on the script with my help; mainly keeping it straight with the dialogue and procedures,’ Colin explained. ‘It was originally going to be a six-part drama but that's been tightened to two and is now much sharper.’

Colin’s second Crime novel, The Ballad Of The One Legged Man, is something of a prequel to Midnight. ‘I didn’t want to fall into the, “just another night shift with Mick Habergham”, trap. So this story covers the long hot summer of ’76, the year he joined the police. It tells how he became the person we know from Midnight, of the importance of friendship on the front lines and how much more painful betrayal is because of that.’
So, having written in other genres, which does Colin prefer? ‘Ideas sort of come at me from all over so which genre they end up in depends on the idea. I love words and the rhythm of a good sentence or line of dialogue. And characters. Once I've got a good cast and a story line, I don't really change my style for the genre.’

Now retired from the police, having spent fifteen of those years in Scenes of Crime, Colin has always held a love of writing. ‘My English teacher used to encourage my fiction. He was also my Religious teacher so, realising I wasn't going to be too Godly, he let me write in that lesson too. After joining the police, I got back into writing with a James Bond short story competition and was hooked. I wrote a few short stories for practice and then a novel. I was convinced I'd be a millionaire “this time next year”. Four published novels later, I’m still waiting but I’m starting to make headway.’



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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