Norfolk council worker at centre of dark psychological thriller

Novelist Neil Randall has written a new novel, dark thriller Isolation set in north Norfolk. Picture

Novelist Neil Randall has written a new novel, dark thriller Isolation set in north Norfolk. Picture: NEIL RANDALL - Credit: Archant

Time spent taking calls at a council office has provided the unlikely literary inspiration for a dark psychological thriller.

Author Neil Randall has drawn on a spell working as clerical worker for his new novel Isolation.

The spine-tingling book is the latest to be set against the backdrop of north Norfolk by the West Runton based writer.

Former Cromer High School pupil Mr Randall, 41, has used a variety of personal experiences in his work.

'I worked for a local council when I finished university and I have placed the main protagonist in Isolation in the same job,' explained Mr Randall.

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'Most of the time was spent answering calls from people about pot-holes. It was truly mind-numbing, but if nothing else I learned to touch-type.'

He added: 'Isolation is really about mental illness, the main character opens the mail and finds a picture of a murder scene. He thinks it is a prank, but the victims turn out to be members of his old psychiatric group.

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'With thriller writing the qualities I admire most are hooking the reader immediately and the addictive page turning quality.'

A short story collection, Tales of Ordinary Sadness, drew on Mr Randall's experiences growing up in the area, including a summer job working on a farm and a spell waiting on tables in a Cromer fish and chip restaurant.

His debut novel, A Quiet Place to Die, was set in a fictional north Norfolk fishing village. A sequel to Isolation has already been written and is due to be published later this year.

'I have got a strict routine, get up early and go for a massive run then write in the evening and afternoon,' said Mr Randall.

'If something comes into my mind when I am jogging then I will go straight back and write it down.

'People often think Norfolk is a sleepy backwater, but there are a lot of things happening under the surface. I enjoy the peace and solitude, it is a good place to write. I have found a lot of unlikely inspiration not only growing up in the Cromer area and the colourful characters I've encountered, but in living and working here now.'

Isolation is published this month by Crooked Cat Books and available as a paperback and e-reader.

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