Images show author AJ Aberford and the cover of his book The Last Bird of Paradise

Front Page Fridays Week-4

Front Page Fridays Week-4

Welcome to Front Page Fridays Week-4. Every Friday I highlight a recently published book by showcasing the first page.

My Front Page Fridays Week-4 guest is AJ Aberford and The Last Bird of Paradise, book 5 in his bestselling Detective George Zammit Series.

Here’s the first page:


Assistant Commissioner Gerald Camilleri

                                                    Malta Pulizija Headquarters                  

The sign on his door, at the end of a corridor on the third floor of police headquarters at Floriana, gateway to Malta’s capital, Valletta, read, ‘Assistant Commissioner Gerald Camilleri’. In reality, he was so much more. Many said he secretly ran the island and that his connections went right to the heart of government. Certainly, he took no orders from the Police Commissioner, a political puppet, and barely exchanged a word with the Minister for Justice, a here-today-gone-tomorrow politician. His immediate superior, Deputy Commissioner Malia, he rightly considered an indolent clown.

Camilleri had long ago accepted that Malta would always have more than its fair share of criminal enterprises. The small island’s constant need to generate revenue meant that successive governments had encouraged businesses run by the wrong type of person, and the cash that flowed through its banks was all too often of uncertain origin. Its controversial ‘passports for sale’ scheme had allowed a host of dubious business types, from the margins of Europe and Asia, access to the red EU passport, enabling them to wander at will around Europe’s Schengen Area.

But if the government wanted to create this type of economy, who was Camilleri to interfere? If politicians were content to rob the public purse, so be it. Everybody knew what went on and, if the electorate and those responsible for good governance tolerated such behaviour, that was simply the way it was. He was never one to swim against the tide. It was not that he was a man without morals; far from it. He was draconian with anyone who profited from trading drugs, or trafficked people, or who used the country’s lax banking regime to fund terrorism. Anyone who created trouble for the islanders, or disturbed the tourists on the sun-baked summer streets, soon felt his hand upon their collar. He had his red lines and Corradino, the hellhole of a Victorian prison, was full of people who had ignored fair warning and crossed them.

His subordinate, Superintendent George Zammit of the Organised and Financial Crime section, was a different sort altogether. He was by nature a quiet man but had, over the years, experienced his fair share of excitement and adventures, not of his making, all around the Mediterrean.

As a policeman, George did his best to be honest. He was not thought of as being lazy and was very cautious if horribly prone to becoming the victim of circumstance. Those circumstances usually originated with a summons to Gerald Camilleri’s office, and it was outside the assistant commissioner’s door that, once again, he stood waiting nervously.


The Last Bird of Paradise by AJ Aberford. Published by Hobeck Books in November 2023.

Purchase Link: The Last Bird of Paradise (The Inspector George Zammit Series Book 5) eBook : Aberford, AJ: Kindle Store


About the Book 

The Last Bird of Paradise

An act of sacrifice

A young boy starts his journey in the refugee camps of war-torn Syria, only to find himself excited on the terraces of a football stadium in London. How did he get there and what does Uncle want him to do to? Who can set the Birds of Paradise free?

One more mission

George Zammit’s quest for a quiet life, as a Maltese policeman and soon-to-be grandfather, is disrupted once again with orders to travel to Syria, on behalf of the EU, to gather evidence of potential fraud in the refugee camps.  Accompanied by his son, Police Sergeant Denzel Zammit, a seemingly simple mission quickly unravels, as George encounters a deadly former foe and discovers the secrets of The Birds of Paradise. As always, George finds himself at the centre of world events and in a perilous predicament not of his making.

One enemy too many

Natasha Bonnici, the ruthless Maltese aristocrat, has risen to the top of one of Europe’s most powerful crime groups. Rich beyond imagining, she is also increasingly isolated and under attack for her past deeds. Who can she trust when there is treachery all around her? Can she escape her fate? As George Zammit knows, all paths cross in Malta and what can he do to ensure justice is done, when the odds are stacked against him.

The Last Bird of Paradise is the fifth brilliant thriller in A J Aberford’s bestselling George Zammit series.


About the Author

Tony Gartland (writing as AJ Aberford) has enjoyed a varied career, having been both a corporate and banking lawyer, owning and running a private investment company, and founding a leading Yorkshire craft brewery. Changing direction again, he is now a debut author of the Inspector George Zammit crime and thriller series. The Last Bird of Paradise is the fifth book in the series, which has been a hit in Malta, with all the books appearing in the top ten best sellers fiction list.

Tony still keeps his house in Yorkshire, but lives primarily in Malta, which is the inspiration for the Inspector George Zammit series. Upon moving there, he soon became enthralled by the culture and history of the island that acts as a bridge between Europe and North Africa

Malta’s position at the sharp end of the migrant crisis, as well as the rapid growth of its commercial and offshore-financial sectors, provide a rich backdrop for his writing. The culture, politics and geography of the southern Mediterranean continually throw up surprises in this fascinating part of the world, nothing is ever what it seems, with the lines between right and wrong often blurred and twisted.

Tony lives with his wife, Janet, and has two grown-up sons, as well as grandchildren. He is a keen cook, an adventurous traveller, a cyclist and is currently writing the sixth book in the Inspector George Zammit series.

 Website and Social Media

Twitter/X: @AJAberford

Facebook: AJAberford


I hope you enjoyed Front Page Fridays Week-4. Come along next time for another post.

And please take a look previous posts in the Front Page Fridays series:

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


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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