Independent Book review

The Hillingdon Files
by Paul A. Cooper

book review by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW

“Dazed, left flat on my back, but very conscious of the overriding smell of butane gas, burning wood, and brick dust, I tried to get a hold on my senses and establish whether I was damaged.”

In this international tale regarding kidnapping and ransoms, murder, money laundering, and a syndicate consisting of very dangerous people, the author takes readers through the experiences of DCI Greg Richards, who is attempting to save his police partner and her sister from impending death. His partner, Aleysha, and her sister Maya have been kidnapped. Richards and Kevin (a cousin of the women) chase them around the world, trying to find and save them while they are all working on the case of Hillingdon, an IT worker, who discovered a dangerous computer file that left him in the hospital. Finally finding the two women in Latvia, the men and various police and government agencies try to rescue them and put a drug-running enterprise to death. As the plot thickens, so does the intrigue.

A well-written saga, the book features a complex storyline and offers much intrigue. It is very detailed, and one must pay significant attention to follow everyone and everything that is happening in the novel. In fact, it almost feels at times like one needs a scorecard to keep track of all the different characters and the numerous threads of the tale. However, the book is well-edited, and Cooper’s novel grabs the reader’s attention with its quick action and compelling storyline. From the very beginning, during an explosion at a house owned by Aleysha, Richards must not only save his life but put it in more danger by working to bring the women home to safety while trying to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Overall, the author’s book is nicely done.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

This weeks taster – The Hillingdon Files

The Pepper Saint Ontiod had an outside space with tables and benches
facing onto Millwall Inner Dock. They were both smoking, and the
atmosphere between Anni and Janek was intense when Bryant arrived.
And what he brought to the party only made it worse.
Three beers, which Anni had ordered earlier, were brought out by a
After a discussion that went on for some time, Janek got up and said,
‘This isn’t something I can handle on my own, Bry, which is going to
make it costly.’
‘I realize that,’ Bryant said, handing him a slip of paper from his pocket
with a number scrawled on it.
‘What’s this?’
‘It’s a contact. They have all the details of what can and what can’t be
done, and the resources to carry it off.’
‘So why are you involving me?’
‘Because if the “can’t be done” becomes an issue, I can rely on you to
tidy up.’
As they left, Anni grabbed Janek by the hand. ‘I’ve transferred twenty
grand from the offshore account. Be careful.’
They held on to each other for a little too long, Bryant thought, as they
all took different paths out across the Isle of Dogs.

Pacific Book Review

This month ‘The Hillingdon Files’ will appear in the Pacific Book Review:

Pacific Book Review

Title: The Hillingdon Files: a thrilling crime novel: Featuring kidnap, money laundering and fraud
Author: Paul A Cooper Publisher:
AuthorHouseUK ISBN: 978-
Pages: 282
Genre: Fiction / Crime / Thriller
Reviewed by: Jake Bishop

In this, his debut novel, author Paul A Cooper has constructed both an entertaining and informative look into the
workings of law enforcement practices not only in Britain, where the story begins but also in Eastern Europe as the
plot escalates. More than simply a police procedural, however, Cooper’s tale is packed with characters’ emotional
connections, intellectual maneuvers, mounting suspense, and physical action as well.
It all begins when Greg, a police detective, gets an urgent call from his partner, Aleysha. She needs him immediately.
But he can’t find her anywhere. In his attempt to locate her, he becomes the injured, but a surviving victim of an unexplained explosion at a country cottage she’s connected to. Tensions rise as it becomes apparent that not only Aleysha, but also her sister have been forcibly taken and spirited away.
Cooper has chosen to have Greg tell his story in first-person voice. Simultaneously, the author details a potentially related case in third person. He’s also elected to move back and forth in time as each of these plotlines plays out. This technique of melding the two cases increases the reader’s curiosity quotient as both narratives are developed.
The second plot, which is eventually tied to the first, involves financial skullduggery going on within a huge international corporation. Computer files detailing money laundering schemes are seen by people who shouldn’t see them, and those involved will do whatever is necessary—murder included—to silence suspected witnesses. Hillingdon, of the title, is one who becomes the victim of a hit-and-run assassination attempt made to appear accidental.
As both stories progress, they begin to interlock. Soon the main protagonist, Greg, is racing across the continent to rescue Aleysha and her sister. He’s joined and more than ably assisted by their cousin, Kevin, whose financial capabilities make it possible to give chase from one end of Europe to the other.
Cooper does a particularly good job of detailing the various procedural elements involved. Local police are eventually joined by Britain’s MI5 and MI6, plus international forces as far away as Latvia. Both detail and tension mount as Greg and Kevin eventually go rogue and discard formal methods when they see an opportunity to rescue the women before villains dispose of them.
Before novel’s end, the author has introduced and made credible multiple characters. Some on the right side of the law, some on the wrong. But all come across as flesh and blood people, not merely prototypical types from central casting. That includes Greg’s dog, Jet, who may be the strongest of the lot.
All things considered, this is a stand-out effort from author Cooper who even leaves a door open at the end of the story for perhaps more to come. Let’s hope so.

This weeks taster

Puerto Tenerife at Sata Cruz:

By the time they were heading back to the yacht, nothing really had been resolved, but there was a better understanding of their position, and more importantly, their limited options, which Pru was slowly coming to terms with.

Back on the Magna, Nick met them as they came on board.

‘We have picked up a message from the Moroccan coastal authority that a vessel, El Condor, has been destroyed in an explosion outside Casablanca harbor.’

‘Was that the boat you dropped the bug on?’ Brian asks.

‘Fairly sure it was, I never got a look at the name but there was an image of a bird on the mainsail.’

‘Any mention of casualties.’

‘No’ Nick said

‘Okay, well keep an ear open. It could be good news for us.’

Pru had a different viewpoint as she pushed past them both. ‘Innocent people may well have died on our account!’ she said as she stomped up the corridor, slammed, and locked her cabin door.

‘She could well be right, that doesn’t sit well’ Brian said to Nick ‘We’ll stay here for a day or so.’

Publishers Weekly

The Hillingdon Files will appear in the US magazine, ‘Publishers weekly’, January 3rd, 2022.

With luck, this might bring it to the attention of such outlets as W.H.Smiths and Waterstones. Who knows!! fingers crossed.

Efic Hoffer Book Award

The Hillingdon Files has been entered into the Eric Hoffer Book Award. While I’m not expecting anything, at least a few other people will actually read the book.

The Eric Hoffer Award is a grassroots effort to promote independent books. The contest closes on January 21st of each award year, and entrants will be notified of winners during May. To discover more information about the Hoffer Award, visit their website, and also the Eric Hoffer Project –

Follow award progress on Facebook and Twitter. Links to these social media points are accessible from the website front page listed below. You will also find testimonies of many Hoffer Award success stories.

The US Review of Books will carry full coverage of the Eric Hoffer Award results.

This weeks taster of ‘The Hillingdon files’

Pam, still in shock, had at least stopped shaking and was able, and seemed to prefer, to walk without Jeremy’s assistance. Looking up at the Magna as Gary appeared on the walkway, she turned to Jeremy.

‘Seriously?’ Jeremy took her hand, which she reluctantly allowed, and walked up the gangplank to Gary and introduced her.

She nodded, and Gary led the way across the aft deck, down the right-hand corridor, past the bedrooms, and into the extensive lounge.

‘Drinks?’ Gary asked.

Jeremy looked at Pam. ‘Gin and tonic?’


Gary opened the well-stocked drinks cabinet, where all the bottles and glasses had their own specific green cushioned pouches.

Gary’s accent was south of Newcastle but still very northern, though clipped by the four years skippering well-heeled clients. ‘Hendrick’s, Plymouth, or Bombay?’

‘Hendricks,’ Jeremy said.


The name took a moment to engage. ‘Oh, same. Lots of tonic.’

They all sat on separate, luxurious loungers around a coffee table of glass and dark oak.

Jeremy took a deep draught of his gin.

‘We have a slight change of plan,’ he said to Harry. ‘I have to go back to see Khalid tomorrow afternoon.’

‘No problem. We can anchor offshore overnight, and I’ll take the dinghy in. What time?’

‘He’ll call me and let me know,’ Jeremy said. ‘Do you mind? I would rather not be seen in and around Bournemouth if possible.

‘No problem, I’ll get the plan changed.’ Gary got up and went up the flight of stairs off the lounge to the control room.

‘You okay?’ Jeremy said to Pam.

‘I have no idea,’ she said. ‘So is this home from now on?’

‘If you want it to be?’

Visit to Bournemouth

As the book is based in Bournemouth we thought we would take a few days to take in some of the sites that the characters came across, and maybe visit the local book shops. The latter was a fail as most of them are either, Christian, secondhand, or featured non-fiction.

Anyway, we had a great time, the weather was brilliant and we met some lovely people.

The Smart Phone shop where the Mensabins helped Pam and Jeremy arrange false documents
Coffee Reef, where they were shot at