New novel draws on the dark side

Mary-Jane Riley, of Mellis, author of The Bad Things. Submitted photo. ANL-150309-113658001

Mary-Jane Riley, of Mellis, author of The Bad Things. Submitted photo. ANL-150309-113658001

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“Darker” news stories - two about serial killers in particular - were something of a speciality for BBC radio presenter Mary-Jane Cullen.

And she drew on that professional experience as she was writing her first novel, The Bad Things, which was published on Thursday.

Mary-Jane, who lives in Mellis, is married to BBC Look East reporter Kim Riley and writes under her married name.

The Bad Things is set against the background of some of her favourite places in Norfolk and Suffolk. “But of course there’s a darker side and I hope it is a real page-turner. Some of the early reviews have been amazingly positive but it is still nerve-racking to hear what readers think,” she said.

Husband Kim - who was under orders to come home with champagne on publication day - said: “I am extremely proud of Mary-Jane. I’ve seen odd bits of the manuscript but always said I wouldn’t read it until it was published. And I really didn’t want to know about the twists and turns.”

The Bad Things, published by Harper Collins is now available as an e-book and the paperback release is on October 8. It is also out in Germany where three publishers were competing for the title. “They love British crime writers there,” Mary-Jane explained.

She is already halfway through her next novel, which will feature one of the main characters from The Bad Things.