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The 80s was the decade when greed was good, but for some, that proved deadly …
1986 and veteran conman Degsy Dempster fears his best years are behind him. All he needs is one last payout to enjoy his retirement.
Twenty-something wannabe grifter Jay Ellis is keen to make a name for himself. His chance comes sooner than planned when a jealous gangland boss forces him to flee his hometown for the bright city lights of London.
Mich Earlston’s marriage wasn’t founded on love, but a wealthy husband and a city apartment helped her to live with that. Against her husband’s love for his daughter, Mich would always be second best. But she’s determined to get what she’s owed. All she needs are a few hapless souls to help with her plan.
A compelling tale of greed, kidnapping, betrayal and deception

Math Bird recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, GOODBYE HOLYHELL.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
The idea came when writing the first novel in the Welcome to HolyHell series, and the series was always intended to cover three decades: 70s, 80s and 90s Britain. It’s very much the main protagonist’s, Jay Ellis’s story. The first novel sparked the initial ideas of how the other books in the series would flow and his experiences and development over three decades.

Math Bird

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
The characters and the main protagonist were vivid in my mind. As they developed more, I became more engrossed with their story. Also, I’m incredibly interested in Britain’s cultural and social history, especially the 70s and 80s and the HolyHell series allow me to explore that alongside a compelling narrative.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
As the novel was set in 1986, there are many references to the news, music, radio and TV of that time. So as part of the research, a lot of 80s music and cultural events were in my mind while writing.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
The story uses characterisation to explore many social and cultural aspects of the 80s. The 80s is often described as the decade when greed was good, and this fits well with the hardboiled, noir narrative of the plot. It also explores the decade’s obsession with money, people’s greed and the lengths they’ll go to get cash as quickly as possible. Also, it explores people buying into a false notion of themselves and trying to be the person they’re ultimately not.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?
‘Return to HolyHell,’ the third book in the HolyHell Series, and book 2 in the Elizabeth Daton (Witches Copse series) and book three in the ‘Ned Flynn Whistling Sands Trilogy’.


Math Bird is a multi-genre novelist and short story writer. He’s a member of the Crime Writers Association and the Horror Writers Association, and his work has aired on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Wales, and BBC Radio 4 Extra.

He is presently writing four series: HolyHell Crime Thriller books; Elizabeth Daton Occult Thriller Books; Ned Flynn Whistling Sands Trilogy; Mabon Pryce Crime Thrillers

To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.