James Woolf



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"I thought this story was genuinely funny – in a way that induced large, stomach-heaving honks of laughter – but beneath the humour there was a freight of real sadness, or even darkness, and it was this that elevated the work above its own constraints."
KEVIN BARRY on R V Sieger - additional documents disclosed by the Crown Prosecution Service


James completed his psychological thriller Three Steps Behind in November 2017, having worked on it intensively for 32 weeks. The story is set in Yorkshire between 1979 and 1981 and its tone is very much informed by the activities of the Yorkshire Ripper.

The novel tells the story of wealthy local business women, Rebecca Ferguson, who recently bought an ailing brewery and turned it into a profitable venture. She only became a successful businesswoman through sheer strength of character following her traumatic teenage years. And now she will need every ounce of that strength to deal with the life or death situation that is developing.

"The day began well enough and for a while it gets better still. Then it becomes a day of tragedy, the most unspeakably awful of all days, the one that will define her teenage years and a good many beyond. "


James researched the period and location extensively, speaking with many people who were living in Leeds at that time as well as reading numerous books, articles and original newspapers. He shared the novel with around a dozen other writers during the writing stage and is now sharing it with literary agents.