DEAD GONE - A Number One Bestseller

What readers are saying:

“Crying. This book is terrific. Going through the ins and outs of the case was engrossing. I'm crying because of Tom’s situation at the end. It takes a good book to pull you in so deeply. I am a new fan of T.J. Brearton.”

“This is the first book I have read by this author and I couldn't put it down. I loved the characters and the setting. I live in Florida so a lot of streets, cities etc were familiar to me. A really good read.”

“A well-researched mystery, good until the very end!”




Also by T.J. Brearton:

Dark Web

“Brearton is new to me but already on my top 10 recommended list. His characters are so incredibly flawed, so human you'll be angry at them but love them at the same time. The multiple twists and turns in the story are breathtaking. You won't want to put the book down! Excellent story by an excellent writer.”

“You just really didn't know what was going to happen next. Riveting, exciting and convoluted. The very BEST of a good read.”

“Fantastic author weaves a great story full of twists and turns and emotional characters.”


Habit (Titan Trilogy Book 1)

“This was a five star read in my opinion due to the story coming from a refreshing change. Just going to begin the second in the series and have a feeling nothing else will be getting done at my house.”

“This was a very good story with many twists and turns. It kept me thinking and studying the whole time. The actual murderer surprised me as well.”

“Fast-paced shoot-em-up with a flawed hero that I grew to love. And now I am moving on to the second book in the trilogy - Survivors! Worth the read!”



Daybreak Audio Book

Now all three books in the Titan trilogy (Habit, Survivors, Daybreak) are available on Audio!

Daybreak is available as an  Audible download  or an  Audio CD set .

Daybreak is available as an Audible download or an Audio CD set.

The Titan trilogy:


Rookie detective Brendan Healy is on his first murder case. A young woman in a remote farmhouse has called 911 on an intruder and is killed. Who did it?


Healy learns about the death of an old friend and comes out of hiding to privately investigate. His friend’s death was not accidental, but connected to dark forces in high places.


Healy hunts for Leah Heilshorn, the daughter of Rebecca, the murdered woman from HABIT. Meanwhile, Justice Department Agent Jennifer Aiken must navigate a complex underworld to find the truth behind the company called Titan and its real relationship to the country.


10 Questions for Charlie Gallagher: The Masked Writer

Charlie Gallagher is a UK-based writer. He is also a police officer. His new book, BODILY HARM, has just been released and is part of a new crime series.

Charlie shares a publisher with me – the amazing Joffe Books. Like me, he is married and has two little girls.

But Charlie is not his real name.

I’ve been emailing with “Charlie” over the past four months while he's been working on edits of the Langthorne books with our publisher. And I started pestering him with questions.


TJB: You have a secret identity...will you ever let the world know who you *really* are?

CG: I really don’t know. It’s a strange one, that one. The reason is simple - I don’t want to get fired from the day job. I don’t like the idea of being ‘known’ either, I actually think I’m a more confident in the stuff I put out and a lot less bothered by reactions to my work because it doesn’t carry my face! Although writing in the face mask and cape is starting to become a little uncomfortable.


TJB: What do you write about?

CG: I write about what interests me and as a cop I will daily come into contact with people who are having their own ‘story.’ I’ll step off a road busy with people going about their business into of an ordinary looking terraced house where a man has overdosed on heroin and maybe his family are already on scene, already going through the pain and realisation. It's massive to them but just another call to me. That's what fascinated me most when I started the job, having your eyes opened just a little bit to what is really going on all around us. To those relatives, in that house it's a massive day - one they will never forget, to me and the other agencies involved it's another hopeless addict succumbing to his lifestyle and no longer a drain on our resources. That contrast really appeals to me and my creative side. 

I try and write drama and I think that contrast is the lifeblood of drama - good and evil, old and young, the worst day in a mother's life compared to the ordinary cop who's waiting for his lunch. I see life as a series of small stories and they can all be fascinating in their own ways.


How long does it take you to write a book?

6 years to write the three books in the series. But it would be an interesting (for me at least) graph. Four years for the first one, 6 months for the second and just over a year for the third. I take long gaps, do it in clumps. The fourth is the first one where I've felt the pressure to do it when I haven't really had the time or energy, but after signing with Joffe Books I wanted to get the series completed as soon as possible so I could concentrate on working with Joffe to make it as good as it can be. It will be interesting for me to see if the fourth book has suffered or benefited from a little pressure - in other areas of my life I seem to work better under pressure but forcing stories is a bit different. That said, for me writing is very much about momentum, I suit writing every day and once I stop doing that and I lose momentum I can fall very quickly back into watching Only Fools And Horses and Topgear re-runs on the tele box!


Sub-question: How much time do you spend on a rough draft, how much time revising, how many drafts, to what extent do you or don’t you outline?

I don't outline at all. Usually I'll be out walking my spaniel with some decent guitar music on and I'll suddenly picture a scene and I think, how cool would that be as an ending! Then I sort of write towards it. It's like being a very amateur captain of a big ship, you point it at a destination, go off course loads, abandon parts of it along the way but end up getting where you want and it looks a bit similar to what you thought you saw from a distance.

This method of sort of moving along from one scene to the next with a general direction in mind means that I revise as I go. I’ll get to a significant point and stop and edit it until it’s as good as I can get it and then take a break, think about where I want to go next - I’ll walk the spaniel with some guitar music - and then when I’ve got a clearer sense of direction I get back to it. I know authors who smash out a first draft in its entirety and then go back over it from the start. I couldn’t do that, editing for any length of time is soul destroying for me, I want to get back to steering the ship sort-of-loosely-forwards!


When do you write?

Whenever I can. I work shifts, have two little girls and a wife who needs some attention at least, so it's tough to find time. You have to love it, I definitely do so I make time. I've seen all the Only Fools reruns a thousand times anyway. 

I do try and write something every day now though. Even if it’s just a couple of hundred words of dialogue that will be central to the next part when written in full. It’s that momentum thing again.


Why do you write?

As above. I love it. Personally I start with an idea - maybe an end scene (which often moves to the middle) and move towards it using the characters to kinda evolve with it and push the story along. Or [I’ll have] the opening scene in my mind and then moved away from it. I genuinely find out what's happening as I go. I killed someone and fired another completely accidentally in one of the books - this was as much a surprise to me as it would be to a reader, but the scene was going on and I suddenly realised I had been building towards these outcomes the whole time. I should say, the ‘accidental death’ scene stopped me writing completely for a good month whilst I rejigged the ship's path in my head but it worked out really well. I think at least. And the spaniel got a lot of exercise.


Where do you write? As in, where do you physically arrange yourself to peck at the keys?

My favourite question! Mainly because this gave the opportunity to read it out to my wife and watch her roll her eyes!

I moved into the spare room once and converted it lovingly my office. My two girls were together in bunk beds in the larger bedroom (because they said they wanted to be). It lasted for less than a week and I lost the space, the little one move back in. Then I had a section of the utility room. This now belongs to the dog. Then I had visions of a cabin at the end of the garden. Now there’s a shed painted pink where the girls play in the summer.

So I type this sat on a corner desk in the dining room, facing the wall. Like some odd take on the end of the Blair Witch project.

When I can I like to work in cafes, libraries and public places. I find I’m a lot more productive. I think there’s a lot to be said for getting away from the house.


How has family life mixed with (or not mixed with) your writing life?

I could refer you to the question about writing space! The girls have taken over my life and in every sense. This isn’t something I have resisted and I absolutely love it. I tend to try and work when they’re in bed or at school/nursery. I know the wife gets frustrated at times, she wasn’t at all supportive to start with (by her own admission) but when you’ve got a new born kid mewing in your face, you’ve barely slept in days and your husband is sat at a computer because he 'wants to make his daughters proud’, I can understand her being miffed. She’s much more supportive now. We don’t get much time together - some days we get in bed with a cup of tea at 10pm and that’s our only conversation!


Do you feel competitive with other writers? If we’re being honest, do you ever envy the success of others? 

I hate J K Rowling. Everyone loves her, she should share some of her success out evenly right!!? In all seriousness I’ve never read a Harry Potter or seen a movie. I’m not sure if that’s jealousy - it probably is right?

I literally couldn’t be any earlier in a writing career as right now. I definitely envy those who write full time, that’s part of the dream for me. It might be that I can tread the same path but right now I'm working 40 hour weeks as a cop and whatever’s left as a writer. It's an interesting question for me - would I write better stuff if I was able to do it 8 hours a day as a job or am I better because I suck up an experience from work then hurriedly write the basics of what happened in a notebook I take into the toilet!? (Don't you judge! Maybe it was a scary experience!)


Would you agree that digital media (i.e. Kindle, tablets) have ‘democratized’ publishing? If so, what, in your eyes, are the pros and cons of such a publishing revolution?

Yes I would agree. I think it's great, a new author may not be able to get shelf space next to Stephen King or Lee Childs but people buying those books may be more likely to try less established authors based on price, good marketing and a hook. I just want to be read, to get feedback and to improve - the changes in publishing mean that anyone can do that. I was self-publishing before Joffe books came along and I was beginning to see how that could work too. It’s hard work from a standing start but I think the most positive summary I can give of publishing right now is that if you’re stuff’s good and you’re willing to put the work into the marketing side of things - you can get read. That wasn’t the case before the digital revolution - the big publishers are no longer able to decide what’s ‘good’ and what isn’t. For any type of art that has to be right.


In other words, what do you think it means to be a writer today? Are chances better at getting published (i.e. less cost prohibitive and so a lower barrier for entry)? 

Maybe the chances aren't better. There are probably more people giving it a go now, the fact anyone can publish themselves has its problems, of course. A good book with the right feedback and support can be made great and then released to a well-deserved positive response but on the other side of the bat a good book self-published straight off the first draft will sink and that author’s aspirations and reputation may go with it. 

I do think there's less emphasis on getting published - I wasn’t actively trying, I was committing more and more to the self-publishing route, it’s hard work but I’m confident I would have made an impression. That said, I am happy to be where I am now, where I can let Joffe Books do all the bits I’m not good at, I can learn off them and at the same time concentrate on writing stories.


Neil Postman said we're “amusing ourselves to death.” The typographic era became the era of television, and now it is the internet age. Where does reading fit in? What do you see in store for writers and readers in the future? 

One of my blogs is a frustration about social media and people choosing to take their phones to the toilet rather than me. I mean TAKE ME TO THE TOILET PEOPLE! 

There is still the demand for stories and there always will be. I read books on my phone too so you can see how the Internet age is providing us with choice but also with options to access great literature. I try not to think too much about spending a year writing a book which is then sold for less than a good coffee or an ‘ app' that swaps your face with that of your family pet. I mean who would pay for that? I looked ridiculous as a spaniel.






For more, see Charlie at

BLACK SOUL Now Available for Pre-order

What happened to Brendan and Jennifer after the Titan trilogy?

Some stories aren't yet finished...

Living under the names William Chase and Hanna Becket, the ex-cop and and ex-lawyer fled the U.S. and have been working with anti-traffickers around the world.

The work is taking a toll on their relationship, and on William's sanity.

When they're called to investigate the disappearance of a girl in Roatan, Honduras, William and Hanna soon find themselves in the dark underbelly of paradise. William discovers startling evidence of human traffickers and begins down a path to try and rescue all the victims he can...

...No matter the cost.

Or, what it might do to his soul.



Visit the Black Soul Book Page on this site

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Random Morning Thoughts #1

Ultimatums and Breakfast

Often, I’ll give the kids an ultimatum when they’re complaining about their options and I’ll say, “You want this, or do you want nothing?” They might be trying to get two cookies, or three, and I’ll say, “You want one? Or none?” (They almost always go for 'one.')

Today my five-year-old was trying to give her two-year-old sister that same ultimatum over some cereal the younger wasn’t eating, but she wasn't getting the math quite right.

“Sabine – do you want zero, or none?”

She kept repeating it in a stern voice. “Zero? Or None??”

I thought, what a great name for a company“Zero or None Productions.”

I also imagined a satirical skit where some mobster is laying down the law for a bunch of lackeys. “Hey, fellas…youze guys got two options. Zero? Or None?”

One guy yells out, “Zero!”

And another nudges him in the ribs, muttering, “You idiot.” Then he calls out, “None!”

And so on.


In other news at the breakfast table this morning, I was alternately spoon-feeding my youngest her Kix cereal while I was shielding my orange slices she was trying to steal (she’d already eaten a whole orange and half of mine). It struck me that eating at the table with my kids is a cross between being at a prison and a nursing home.  On the one hand you’re protecting your shit from being jacked, on the other hand, you’re spoon-feeding the reluctant mouths of people who have a habit of pooping in their pants.



On Writing 'Dead Gone'

I’m not sure why I’m about to say all this. Maybe it’s because when you write what are mostly e-books, the release of one isn’t some big, splashy affair. It’s a quiet thing.

This thing you’ve worked on for months, maybe years, greets the world for the first time and it’s like any other day.

I’m not complaining. I’ve made a conscious effort to keep my life manageable, and to me that means quiet and simple, with plenty of time at home with my family.

Still, I’m only human, and so compelled to share a little of the drama now that my latest book has finally squeezed out the publishing canal and is squalling away with all the other books in the nursery, just trying to get some love and attention.

I started writing Dead Gone sometime back in late February or early March. First I called it Rivergate, because a woman had been found on the roof of a hotel called Rivergate. I’d gotten the idea while watching an episode of Mr. Robot – in it, a dead woman is found on a roof the morning after a party attended by the affluent. I thought, what a great premise that is, to have twenty or thirty rich people (and maybe a bartender or janitor thrown in) all as potential suspects.

So I started writing, as I usually do, charging ahead after the scent of something, anxious to see where it led.

It led to trouble. Juggling twenty or thirty suspects (I of course immediately reduced it to about fifteen) was a logistical nightmare. It may have been the premise for a classic, closed-room whodunit, by why would I want to subject a reader to that many characters? Too many names to remember.

I’d come about twenty thousand words and decided to start over.

There was a short story I’d written once that took place in Florida, and in it a body turns up in Rookery Bay, which is a lush estuary preserved by the state. I decided I’d crib from my own unpublished work. A new story was born, one I now called The Bay. Same rookie detective, same unidentified female victim, but that was it.

Shortly after switching things around like this, my wife and our three kids took our annual trip to Florida to visit my father. I kept working while I was there, which became kind of a disaster. My kids are young, and since I was in the throes of a rough draft, sometimes it took me more than a couple hours to complete the day’s work. My poor wife had a lot on her hands.

I also met with a sergeant in Collier County’s vice and narcotics bureau, Smitty, who took me on a walk and filled my head with all kinds of glorious police details and stories.

Really driving me on this book, you see, was the desire to make it as authentic as anything I’d written yet. Also, I didn’t want to write anything about politics or government conspiracies, which I’d been doing quite a lot of. But to the hammer, the world is full of nails, and I soon ferreted out some juicy conspiracies in the stories Smitty told. Nothing major, but just enough to keep me hungry while writing, to see how it all worked out.

Also driving me was the possibility of a solid crime series with a recurring character. My first published book, Habit, had a good character in Brendan Healy, but at the time I wasn’t interested in taking a protagonist through one case after another. I was wide-eyed with ideas about big business and governments colluding, sex scandals and the military-industrial complex all entwining in a sinister way. And while I’ll never regret writing the Titan trilogy, it’s just a fact that a series of standalone books with the same protagonist do better than a trilogy, and I have kids to feed.

In the midst of all of this thinking about what to write, trying to be sensible about it, is the writing itself. Today, I’m convinced that writing is a path which never ends. And along the way, you realize certain things you held as esteemed truths are not necessarily true, that there is really no standard of writing which crosses genres, no real pinning down the alchemy. Something either just works, or it doesn’t. All you can do in the meantime as you practice your craft is listen, and try things. So for years I’d been listening to my publisher / editor, and other writers, and trying things, and this new book was going to showcase my best effort at tight, stripped-down writing.

Finally, my publisher has been growing in size and success, and so their standard of books has been rising. So getting Dead Gone through the edits and publication prep took longer than any of my previous books. It grew frustrating, because there’s that part of me which wondered – shouldn’t this be getting easier? But it doesn’t seem to be the way. You journey on, the ascent steepens, the responsibility increases. I think Nietzsche said something to that effect.

So now here we are. The book is out, the reviews are starting to come in. It’s no longer mine, it belongs to the world.

I’m always comparing writing to pregnancy and parenting, and this is no exception. This part – the release of the book – I imagine to be what it’s like to drop your grown child off at college. Yes, it’s like birth, too – I know I’m mixing metaphors – but this moment really feels like watching your child walk off onto the campus.

This thing you spent so much time with, gave everything you had to, went through all manner of emotions with, and now there they go. Just like that. No parades, no one to place a medal around your neck (or theirs), just another day, another soul gone into the fold.


But, it’s good! The journey continues, there are more stories to raise up and send off into the world. And I thank you for being with me.

new book / Dead Gone

Updated Dec 28 2016 -- My newest crime thriller, Dead Gone, has released!

A woman’s body is found floating in a sultry Florida mangrove. She has no ID and there is no indication of cause of death.

Who is she? Why was she murdered?

Rookie detective Tom Lange couldn’t have gotten a more difficult first case. The only thing he’s got to go on is the woman’s butterfly tattoo. His boss, Lauren Blythe, piles the pressure on and the medical examiner won’t tell him what he needs to know.

Meanwhile Tom’s neighbor Alicia has an abusive boyfriend who Tom clashes with in a way that will have far-reaching consequences.

The body leads Tom on a trail of seedy clubs, narcotics, and danger which is close to home.

In a tumultuous ending with a massive twist, Tom’s world is turned upside down...



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Daybreak is the third book in the Titan Trilogy, following Habit and Survivors.

It is my highest rated book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Latest review:

So awesome! What a super wrap up to a trilogy!! Unbelievable characters and in depth plots. I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know if I even breathed in the last three hours!!
— Trish J.

Daybreak is also available in the omnibus, A Woman Found Dead in a Farmhouse, which contains all three books in one.

"Scary tale with scarier possibilities"

"Up there with the best...a page-turner"

"Loved seeing what finally happened to Brendan and Jennifer"

“It is the third of three books, but can be read as stand alone. I read it while home with the flu. As I came to the end, the "Panama Papers" broke on the news. For a minute, I couldn't separate the news from the story. The story is one that can really shake up one's world and highlight how vulnerable we are. It has real substance (meat on the bone). Most books lately have been like junk food. This story is detailed, intense, very informative. Don't expect an easy read…Take your time. Give the trilogy the time and focus it deserves. You will actually find these books are gold.”




The Bay - Coming Soon!

Just finished reviewing the edited copy of The Bay. I'm excited about this book, which should be coming out in the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted!

It's Tom Lange's first day with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. A body is discovered floating in Rookery Bay, a beautiful state preserve. Early on, police link the murder with regional drug trafficking, but Tom has his own line of inquiry. If he pursues it, he could lose not only his job, but everyone he loves.

Books in Order

The Titan Series (aka Brendan Healy Series):




Black Soul


Crime Thrillers / Police Prodecurals:

These can be read in any order. This is the order in which they were published (or will be):

Dark Web

Dark Kills


Buried Secrets (August 2017)

Run (November 2017)

A Moment of Violence (February 2018)


Tom Lange Series (aka Southwest Florida Crime Series):

Dead Gone

The Protector (coming soon)



High Water [paranormal crime]

Gunplay [short story collection]

7 Best Decisions of My Life

Today is my birthday, a day of reflection. So I put together a list of the 7 best decisions I’ve made in my life. Cheers.


1.       Get sober

2.       Have a child

3.       Have two children

4.       Marry my wife

5.       Get published

6.       Have three children

7.       Hire a housekeeper


(Note: decision 7 not yet implemented.)

"Ed Strip"

From my high school days somewhere into my late twenties I drew this character called Ed Strip.    I would say he's a cross between Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Fritz the Cat.


This is me with my family a few months ago when I told them I was working on a new website for my books... AGAIN