In these days of mainstream media hype and social media hysteria, it’s frequently easy to confuse fact and fiction. In his series of short stories and full-length crime thrillers, writer Frank Westworth enjoys speculating on what might be the facts behind the headlines…

Frank Westworth’s latest quick thriller, Six Strings, releases on 22 February 2018. To celebrate, we have three ebook editions of the first story in the series to give away. First Contract gets the ball rolling with protagonist JJ Stoner – a military man who abruptly finds himself working for private enterprise in circumstances which strongly resemble real-life events. Frank explains where his storylines and characters typically come from:

‘They’re all based around real people. Both my brother and sister were military; one broke people for the military and the other put soldiers back together again… for the military. Several other friends have military or security services backgrounds – sometimes they’ll even talk about it! Lots of the detail comes from a whole lot of listening, then asking questions, then listening some more.

‘Actual events supply opportunities for a little interpretation, too. The government scientist in the Four Cornered short story will be familiar to anyone who remember the Iraq war and the ‘dodgy dossier’, for example. Likewise, in Third Person, the inspiration is the time around the Good Friday agreement. First Contract’s opening scene is based on a real event. It’s often easier to discuss reality disguised as fiction.

‘In fiction, it is gloriously possible to – pause for a moment – to tell the truth, to be honest, to have a balanced and forceful discussion without laying the author open to personal abuse. It is possible, for example, to have a character in a story spout condemnation about drone warfare being the very definition of cowardice, to reveal that a character can see no moral difference at all between the bombing of a remote village by a distant state and the bombing by the surviving villagers of the ground troops of that same state.

‘That same character might suggest that she believes that chopping off the heads of a few captured foreign “spies” might be a quick way of discouraging others from that same foreign state interfering in the internal affairs of another sovereign state.

‘And as we’re talking about fiction – thriller fiction, maybe – of course all of the counter-arguments can be presented, disassembled and discussed in whatever detail the author feels happy with. Such is the joy of fiction. The Reader is free to agree, disagree and to care not at all … because it’s only fiction, right?’


We have three ebook editions of Frank Westworth’s quick thriller, First Contract, to give away. First Contract introduces JJ Stoner; a soldier who killed people for a living and made no bones about it. On a scorching day in the Iraqi desert, when British blood stained the sand, he over-stepped the mark. Faced with a dishonourable discharge and accusations of murder, Stoner accepted an offer from a stranger who represented an intelligence agency. Suddenly, Stoner found himself half a world away and about to execute his first private contract…

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‘It’s not every day you discover a short story with action, tension, and characters who draw you in. But Westworth’s JJ Stoner short story, Six Strings, offers all that plus dangerous locations and precision plotting wrapped in a ribbon of sharp noir dialogue. Brisk, tight, and worth the read… keep your eye on Stoner. And Westworth too.’   Rich Leder, novelist / screenwriter


Frank Westworth shares several characteristics with his literary anti-hero, JJ Stoner: they both play mean blues guitar and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

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Six StringsSIX STRINGS by Frank Westworth

In a former life, JJ Stoner was a hard-faced military man. Now, discreetly and deniably, he resolves sticky situations for the British authorities. So when the Drug Squad can’t convict a particularly unpleasant pusher, Stoner is tasked with permanently solving the problem.
But before he can deploy his very particular skill set, an old acquaintance steps out of the shadows and delivers disconcerting intelligence…

‘You want me to kill someone.’ Stoner plainly had a grasp of both the gravity and the subtlety of the situation.‘There’s no need to rattle on so much. Killing people is what I do.’ He paused. ‘But only if he orders me to…’

Six Strings is a quick thriller, an hour’s intrigue and entertainment. It features characters from the JJ Stoner / Killing Sisters series. You don’t need to have read any of the other stories in the series: you can start right here if you like. As well as a complete, stand-alone short story, Six Strings includes an excerpt from The Corruption Of Chastity. There’s also a behind-the-scenes blog from author Frank Westworth, who shares some of the secrets of Stoner’s shady existence.

Please note that Six Strings is intended for an adult audience and contains explicit violence.

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