Front Page Fridays Week-14

Welcome to Front Page Fridays Week-14. Every Friday I highlight a newly published book by showcasing the first page.

My Front Page Fridays Week-14 guest is Daniel Aubrey. I invited Daniel to take part after I had the delight of reading and reviewing a NetGalley early copy of his new mystery thriller, Dark Island. Here is the first page:


These islands are terrible at keeping their secrets. Nothing in Orkney stays buried forever.

Freya already knew that, didn’t need the reminder, but she still got one this morning. She stood alone at the top of the steep bank of boulders that protected the dunes and she watched. She knew she was at a safe distance, a couple of hundred metres across the semilunar curve of the bay – not close enough to be seen, too far away to hear anything other than the rush of the wind and the roar of a bad-tempered sea. Away to the southeast a reluctant dawn was leaking into the sky, turning the clouds greenish-grey at the horizon and casting barely enough light to see the people in white paper jumpsuits, appearing and disappearing between the mounds in the earth where the Neolithic village lay. Last night’s storm had passed but, as she watched a pair of the white figures struggle to put up a small tent, a gust caught on the tarpaulin and threatened to carry them both away. Freya couldn’t make out what it was exactly, but through her cheap binoculars she could tell they were trying to cover something that had been unburied at the back of the beach.

Another secret these islands had failed to keep.

She ran her tongue over her dry lips and they tasted of sea salt. She hoisted the hood of her yellow raincoat over her head with her free hand, and with the other she adjusted the focus on her binoculars until the blobs in the field of view grew limbs. She had grinned when Tom had suggested buying bird-watching binoculars from the tacky gift shop at John O’Groats on the journey up here, but she had to admit they were coming in handy.

‘What if we hear a corncrake while we’re out walking Luna?’ he’d said. ‘Or what if … what if we spot a pod of whales off the coast? I’m telling you, we’ll be gutted we didn’t buy these when we could.’

Dark Island by Daniel Aubrey. Published 25 April 2024 by HarperNorth.


Purchase Link



About the Book

Midwinter in Orkney.

Six hours of daylight.

A race against time to catch a killer.


Reporter Freya Sinclair has always known she was different. While waiting on the outcome of an autism assessment, Freya uproots her life in Glasgow, quitting her job at one of Scotland’s top broadsheets and taking a local beat in her childhood home of Orkney. But her plans for a quiet life are shattered when human remains are exhumed by a winter storm on Orkney’s wild Atlantic coast.

The identity of the bones opens old wounds in the islands, and sheds light on a darker truth nobody wants to accept. As the nights draw in, Freya’s obsessive hunt for answers turns into a cat-and-mouse game, with each secret she unearths threatening her job, compromising her family, and exposing new victims to a killer who’s watching from the shadows…


About the Author

Daniel is a former journalist whose previous jobs included writing for a local paper in Spain and working as a sub-editor at an international press agency in Hong Kong. Now living in Scotland, he has written his debut novel, Dark Island – a crime thriller about neurodivergent reporter, Freya Sinclair, who uncovers a disturbing conspiracy following the discovery of human remains on Orkney’s wild Atlantic coast.

His obsession with all things Orcadian led him to take up an MLitt in Orkney and Shetland Studies at the Institute of Northern Studies in Kirkwall. Learning about the history, archaeology, and dialect of Scotland’s second most northern county, along with his repeated trips to the islands, influenced his decision to make Dark Island the first in a series of books set there. Daniel’s experience of being diagnosed as autistic and ADHD in his early forties also inspired the journey Freya goes on throughout the series.

Before starting work on this novel Daniel completed the Riff Raff mentorship programme and helped start the Virtual Writing Group on Twitter (@virtwriting). When he’s not writing or studying he’s either reading, travelling (most likely to Orkney), playing guitar, or walking in the local hills with his dogs, Dylan and Maggie.


Social Media Links

Instagram: @DanielAubrey13

Twitter: @SpacemanDan13


Please click this link to read my review of Dark Island: My Book Reviews for April 2024 (Part Two) – Rachel Sargeant


I hope you enjoyed reading Front Page Fridays Week-14. Please come back next time when I’ll be featuring a different author and the first page of their book.

And please take a look at books already featured on Front Page Fridays:

Blood Ribbons by Lin Le Versha –

Fatal Blow by Brian Price –

Can I Trust You? by Rob Gittins – Front Page Fridays Week-3 – Rachel Sargeant

The Last Bird of Paradise by AJ Aberford – Front Page Fridays Week-4 – Rachel Sargeant

Never Forgive You by Hilly Barmby –  Front Page Fridays Week-5 – Rachel Sargeant

The Mists of Pencarrack Moor by Terri Nixon – Front Page Fridays Week-6 – Rachel Sargeant

The Thief of Joy by Stacey Murray – Front Page Fridays Week-7 – Rachel Sargeant

Edge of the Land by Malcolm Hollingdrake – Front Page Fridays Week-8 – Rachel Sargeant

The Mind of a Murderer by Michael Wood –

The Midnight Man by Julie Anderson – Front Page Fridays Week-10 – Rachel Sargeant

Dark Road Home by Sheila Bugler – Front Page Fridays Week-11 – Rachel Sargeant

Her Charming Man by Rachel Sargeant – Front Page Fridays Week-12 – Rachel Sargeant

Wedding Bells at the Lakeside Hotel by Linda Huber – Front Page Fridays Week-13 – Rachel Sargeant

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. She writes the Gloucestershire Crime Series, published by Hobeck Books. The first title is Her Deadly Friend, and the second is Her Charming Man. Her titles with HarperCollins are: The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university during freshers' week; The Good Teacher, a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams, and The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Rachel studied at Aberystwyth University, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

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