“I’m currently writing the third novel and if all goes well will be in Ukraine on Thursday to write on location,” explains crime writer Alex Shaw. This is how Shaw writes: gritty, realistic crime novels with an overseas backdrop, and he uses his vast knowledge of both to create award-winning books.
Shaw, B.A. (Honors), P.G.C.E., directed the Drama Department at Kyiv’s Pechersk School International in the Ukraine. He moved on to start his own consulting business dealing with the markets of the former USSR. Later, he was employed for Siemens as a business developer in the former USSR, Africa, and the Middle East. As he worked, he wrote fiction novels about Agent Aidan Snow, his main character who appears in his first two novels, “Hetman” and “Cold Black.” Shaw resides in Kyiv and also has a home in England.
“Hetman” took twelve years to write. It drew praise and awards, such as the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and shot to the #1 slot on UK Kindle Bestseller’s list.
“Cold Black” was the follow-up. Though not a sequel, many of the same characters appear again, and the action remains non-stop. It was recognized in 2011 by Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards and joined its mate on Kindle’s Bestseller list.
Critics are taking note. “A strong aspect of HETMAN is Shaw’s knowledge of Ukraine and Special Forces operations. HETMAN appeals to those who love spy adventures,” raved the Kyiv Post. Of “Cold Black,” a reader noted, “This is a timely topic for a suspense novel, with the world in financial turmoil and the Middle East aflame. Thrillers really aren’t my cup of tea…but I loved this!!!” (source).
Perhaps his success is due to where he writes, and his background. Shaw “sometimes write in longhand … I try, whenever possible, to write on location. Much of ‘Hetman’ was written in Ukraine. I wrote ‘Cold Black’ on a beach in Dubai and on a bench in Moscow’s Gorky Park.” While not strictly biographical, “I did work as a teacher in Pechersk School International, I did have ‘friends’ at the British Embassy and in Ukraine law enforcement. However,” adds Shaw, “I was not a member of the SAS.”
Shaw follows former SAS Trooper Aidan Snow through his international dealings; “Snow is left one step ahead of the authorities with no one to watch his back.” Snow’s adversaries include the Ukrainian Security Service, assassins, Al-Qaeda, and the British Secret Intelligence. Snow is often caught between his past and the present, finding himself involved in international events and conspiracies not difficult to image as real.
Both books are available on Kindle and in paperback. The third book promises to be as exciting and interesting. Readers of Alex Shaw will be asking for it!
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