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John Lake

Before the Gulf front.jpg



John Lake has been described as a 'West Riding iconoclast' by Anthony Clavane and as an exponent of 'Yorkshire Noir' by David Peace. He published his earliest stories as a teenager in the Yorkshire Evening Post and has been publishing poetry, fiction and journalism ever since including long stints at Leeds Other Paper and the music paper Sounds.


John is the author of The Leeds 6 Trilogy - Hot Knife (2008), Blowback (2011) and Speedbomb (2013) - published by Armley Press - and two other novels, Proxima West (as John Anthony Lake) and Starchaser and has contributed to the books Leeds Fax and Ethical Behaviour in the e-Classroom. 


John has lived in Leeds, on and off, for half of his life. He's also lived in Greece, Japan, Finland and London where he taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies for many years. John writes for online magazine Sabotage Times and also deejays under the name Bass BC. He lives in Leeds.


Work has appeared in:


Yorkshire Evening Post, First Time, Attack on Bzag!, Leeds Student, Views From Our Windows, Leeds Other Paper, Bradford Festival, Sounds, Loaded, Vort-X, Hot Dog, Chimp, Sabotage Times.


In professional and academic publication:


EL Gazette, English Teaching Professional, IATEFL Issues, ELT Journal, HLT Magazine, In-Form.


                                   Before the Gulf

Mike, an English expat, is a man with a hidden past. On a tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand, he ferries tourists on the back of his bike by night and dreams of being a writer by day. His only obligations are to Lily, his motherly landlady, and Captain Bandura, the corrupt local cop. Otherwise his life is quiet and solitary.


That is Until Laura arrives.

She says she's a visiting speaker at a climate change conference, but something about her doesn't add up. As Mike is drawn into her orbit, questions multiply while the world burns, and his quiet life turns into a game of cat and mouse.

But who's the cat and who's the mouse?

Before the Gulf is a new departure for the author of Amy and the Fox and the Leeds 6 Trilogy.

Yes, it's a tale of attraction, suspicion, guilt and double dealing set in the sweltering heat of the tropics.

Amy and the Fox
‘West Riding iconoclast’ John Lake turns his focus on Southern middle class mores in his new novel, a tale of loss, love, sex, betrayal and talking animals set against the background of Cameron’s rise as Opposition Leader.  
After London schoolteacher Amy Trent's journalist husband Colin dies in a freak accident, his brother Max finds a concealed videotape left behind. He must now keep it from Amy – who unfortunately knows of its existence. Before she is ready to watch what is on that tape, Amy will make rash choices and shocking discoveries that threaten to blow her world apart all over again and turn her own family against her.
Perhaps the only things that can save her are a beguiling student troubled by psychic abilities and an urban fox that speaks in her dead husband’s voice.

Hot Knife

John Lake's first Armley Press title is a fast moving thriller set in the seedy underworld of Leeds 6. Wrapped up in the harsh world of armed robbery,beatings and killings is a real life love story, can it survive the love, bullets and revenge of Leeds Yorkshire England?


"This bruised and tender account of lives lived on a knife edge hurtles along relentlessly, like a TWOC'ed car tearing round an estate. An unflinching portrayal of the skewed morality of the petty crime underclass, Hot Knife's real triumph is that it strives to understand more and condemn less." Russ Litten, The Yorkshire Post.


Hot Knife was the second title published by Armley Press and the first of John Lake's Leeds 6 Trilogy, the film rights to HK have been sold and the project is still progressing.





It's been three years since the events of Hot Knife and Kelly and Bea have fled Leeds 6 to escape their demons and get their lives back on track. But when Bea finds a stash of pills under her teenage son's bed, they find themselves pulled back into a world of petty criminals and hardened villains that includes dodgy old mate Denny, Ukrainian gang lord 'DMT' Dmitri and a sinister killer known as 'The Carpenter'...


The second entry in the Leeds 6 Trilogy, Blowback is the stand-alone sequel to Hot Knife - another caper packed with colourful characters, colourful language and black humour. Russ Litten (author of Scream If You Want to Go Faster) described Hot Knife as a 'bruised and tender account of lives lived on a knife edge'. Now, Blowback takes us to a place even sharper and edgier.


"A brilliant and ambitious slice of Yorkshire Noir, BLOWBACK leaves you desperate for the third part of John Lake's Leeds 6 Trilogy." (David Peace, author of The Damned United and The Red Riding Quartet)


This is a pulsating sequel to Hot Knife and another fine example of that newest of genres, Leeds Noir, confirming Lake to be one of the most compelling writers around. Raw, visceral, brutal, often painful to read, it delves into areas of life less honest writers fear to tread." ( Anthony Clavane, author of Promised Land).






The compelling conclusion of the scintillating Leeds 6 Trilogy and a stand-alone story, Speedbomb is a street thriller that runs at a breathless pace. Colourful characters, colourful language and black humour fill the pages as we pick up the trail with Hamed on special operations in the Philippines before returning to Leeds to resolve one or two 'issues'. 


Of the previous books in the trilogy, James Brown (editor of Sabotage Times) described Hot Knife as 'A raw, honest and brave novel.' 


Author David Peace described Blowback as 'A brilliant and ambitious slice of Yorkshire Noir.'




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