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A new thriller by a city author has just been released centred around Peterborough’s prison and it’s already been getting some great reviews.

We love to celebrate local talent and ESP has featured the work of local writer Ross Greenwood many times. He’s had a successful series of novels based on fictional detective DI Barton based at the city’s Thorpe Wood police station – now he’s turned his focus on the inmates at HMP Peterborough.

His latest release – Prisoner – is a shocking thriller inspired by Ross’ experiences working in HMP Peterborough, and tells the fictional tale of a man who moves from the male side of the jail to the female side, and finds it very different!

One Amazon review says – ‘The only thing I didn’t like was that I’ve finished it. I honestly think this is Ross’ best book and I’ve read them all. 10/10.’

Ross told ESP – “The storyline is that of prison officer Jim Dalton who works in HMP Peterborough, the only jail in the UK which houses male and female inmates. The main theme is how he is transferred to the female side of the jail and thinks it’s easy in comparison, but his problems have only just begun. It’s a new hell, and one which could destroy everything.”

Ross has drawn on several years of personal experiences working at the city’s prison for inspiration for his latest book looking at the other side of crime to his series of detective novels.

“I worked in the prison for four years and it really wasn’t what I expected. Being reasonably big and older, I worked mostly with the men. From TV and films, you get an idea of what an average prisoner is like, but there are a huge range of inmates, many of whom are like you and me. Some had made costly mistakes or terrible split decisions. Alcohol was often a factor. Obviously, there were murderers, robbers and rapists too.

“For the last year I was there, I worked much more on the female side and there was a big difference from the way the women carried themselves, to how they supported each other and, unsurprisingly, even the aroma was different! Many were victims before they were villains, and there were a lot less career criminals than on the male side.

“I felt sorry for a lot of the women, which was a little strange considering they had all broken the law, often many times.”

Prisoner actually sees Ross return to some of his earlier writing themes and has given him some creative breathing space before his next project.

“My earlier books had a prison theme, so in a way I’ve returned to it. I find it hard work holding the detective novels together in my head when I’m writing them, so this was a bit of a break before I wrote the fourth in that series, The Cold Killer.”

His previous work – The Snow Killer, The Soul Killer and The Ice Killer have proved hugely popular. If you’ve read any of Ross’ books before or are just intrigued to know what it’s like behind the prison walls, Prisoner promises to be a fascinating read by this Peterborough writer with ‘inside’ knowledge.

“Hopefully this will appeal to both sets of my fans. Many people are interested in what prison life is really like, and the battles officers and inmates have both physically and mentally. The main character is multi-layered, so already with the reviews there has been a contrast as to people liking him and respecting him, to thinking he’s been an idiot. That’s the beauty of reading. Everyone takes something different from each story.

“My main hope for all my books is that they will linger in the reader’s memory and challenge their view of the world.”

During the last year with the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns there’s been a huge increase in people having a bash at writing for the first time. As a seasoned author with several novels under his belt we asked Ross if the pandemic has also given him more time to write and perhaps influenced his own creativity.

“Being a writer, you don’t get out much anyway, so I was already used to working from home,” says Ross. “I had less time to write when we were home schooling. My wife probably suffered most, as she used to take the kids out to give me peace, but there were few places to take them. Not another walk, Mum!”

Ross has plenty of creativity for the future and certainly hasn’t said farewell to DI Barton but teased another project might also be on the way!

“The DI Barton trilogy has sold over 125,000 copies and there remains demand for more, so I’ll keep going as long as people are enjoying them. I also have an idea for a different kind of book with a contentious theme, but I’m not sure I dare write it… Watch this space!”


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