A YEAR ago, Liz Mistry was nervously awaiting the response to her debut novel.

Now the Bradford author is carving a niche for herself in the crime writing world, after being offered a three-book deal.

Following the publication of her first novel, Unquiet Souls, and the follow-up, Uncoiled Lies, Liz was offered the deal with Bloodhound Books. Her new novel, Untainted Blood, is the first of her next three books.

“It’s still a bit scary to realise that last July I was sitting on tenterhooks waiting for the response to Unquiet Souls and now, barely a year later, I’m waiting for book three to be released,” says Liz. “I’ve worked hard over the last year and am taking advantage of the chance I’ve been given. I suppose you could say I’m making up for lost time after being so badly incapacitated with my mental health.”

Liz found that working for an MA in creative writing helped her deal with crippling depression, and it led her to create DI Gus McGuire, the police chief who sets out to crack the cases in her books. As part of the MA course Liz started to write a gritty thriller about a child-trafficking ring investigated by Bradford’s Major Incident Team, headed by McGuire.

The book, Unquiet Souls, led to a deal with Bloodhound. Applauded by critics, it was awarded three Kindle all-stars within three months and sold more than 5,000 copies in its first month.

“Both Unquiet Souls and Uncoiled Lies have had Amazon gold stars for being in the top 100-selling police procedural Kindle books, and Unquiet Souls is currently Number 1 in the free Kindle charts,” says Liz, who was on a Yorkshire crime writing panel at this year’s Bradford Literature festival and has run crime fiction creative writing workshops with Bradford Libraries, which she is continuing this month.

Untainted Blood see the stakes raised for DI McGuire when his team is called in to investigate a series of killings.

Set in Bradford, the novel opens against a volatile backdrop. Tensions are mounting after an MP is discredited, leaving the door open for extreme right-wing candidate Graeme Weston to stand in the subsequent by-election. However, Graeme Weston is not what he appears to be, and with secrets jeopardising his political career, he must tread carefully.

Meanwhile, a serial killer is targeting Asian men who lead alternative lifestyles, and delivering his own form of torture.

As McGuire’s team closes in, the deranged killer begins to unravel - and there’s an unexpected twist. Are the murders linked to the political scandals or is there another motive?

Liz will launch Untainted Blood at Waterstones in Bradford on Tuesday, September 5, from 6.30pm. The evening, compered by author Martyn Bedford, will include readings, a short Q&A, book signings and refreshments, with proceeds going to MIND Bradford.

Liz will also be appearing at an Ilkley Literature Festival event, called Crime In Your Backyard, on October 15.

Untainted Blood is available at Waterstones and from Amazon.