South Yorkshire author pens crime thriller

Author Paul Johnson with his e-book.
Author Paul Johnson with his e-book.
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South Yorkshire crime writer Paul Johnson loves nothing better than a good mystery – which is why he created his first thriller.

Smoke Without Fire, a self-published novel, tells the story of David Barton, a married father of three whose life is turned upside down when he is wrongfully arrested on child pornography charges.

Paul, aged 43, said: “It’s dark subject matter, but I thought it was such an interesting concept - watching extraordinary things happening to ordinary people.

“I mean, how well do you we really know our neighbours, our friends, people we work with?

“And how convinced would we be of their innocence in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary?”

Paul, who lives in Anston with his wife Tara and their three children, started writing the book three years ago, after years working for Sheffield Council.

Paul said: “Everything in the book is a work of fiction, absolutely, but it was inspired in part by my experiences working with vulnerable children and their families in the city.

“Normal people have so many things going on under the surface that, from the outside looking in, you’d never know about and I found that fascinating.”

The book is already getting good reviews on online retailer Amazon, where it has been on sale since July.

Paul said: “There’s nothing better than somebody telling you they enjoyed something you created.”

Although Smoke Without Fire is Paul’s first novel, it is not his first book.

Mental health publisher Chipmunka Publishing released Choose Life back in 2009 – his autobiographical tale of stress, personal growth and development.

Paul said: “I’ve always loved writing.

“It’s something I find myself driven to, especially with Smoke Without Fire, as I loved finding out where the story was going to take me and being surprised as my characters began to misbehave and take on a life of their own.”