I’ve written since I was a boy growing up in Leeds. It all really began with a three-paragraph school essay telling a tale of bomb disposal when I was 11. Like a lightbulb switching on, it brought the revelation that I enjoyed telling stories. Along the way came  diversions into teenage poetry, and my other great love, music, as both a bassist and then a singer-songwriter-guitarist.

At 21, I moved to the US, and spent the next 30 years there, returning to England in 2005, and finally full circle to Leeds. I’ve made a living as a writer since 1994, initially as a music journalist, specialising in world and roots music. These days there’s far less of that, but I still produce a few articles and several reviews a year. I authored The NPR Casual Listener’s Guide to World Music, a volume that’s now long out of date.

My first novel, The Broken Token, came out in 2010, featuring Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds in the 1730s (there was a real Richard Nottingham, and that was his post, although it was probably largely ceremonial). There have been five more books in the series, and a six, Free From All Danger, will appear in October 2017. Cold Cruel Winter was named one of the Best Mysteries of the Year by Library Journal. The audio version of The Broken Token was one of the Independent on Sunday’s Audiobooks on the Year.

Emerald City and West Seattle Blues, the first two books featuring Seattle music journalist Laura Benton, are available on ebook and audiobook.

The Crooked Spire is set in Chesterfield in 1361. The other two in the series are The Saltergate Psalter and The Holywell Dead.

My Victorian series is set in Leeds in the 1890s and features Detective Inspector Tom Harper. Gods of Gold is the first volume, followed by Two Bronze Pennies, Skin Like Silver, The Iron Water, and On Copper Street. The Tin God is set to appear in May 2018.

Dark Briggate Blues is a 1950s noir, with enquiry agent Dan Markham, also takes place in Leeds, as does The New Eastgate Swing, the second volume to feature Markham.

I’m also the author of Solid Air – The Life of John Martyn, a biography of a man whose music I’ve loved since the 1970s.

12 thoughts on “About

  1. Becky

    I loved listening to The Broken Token. It’s a shame I cannot listen to the rest. Please don’t tempt the visual challenged with such a wonderful mystery and then pull the plug on our listening pleasure,

    1. Becky, thanks and I’m so glad you liked it. Unfortunately, The Broken Token is the only book in the series where I have the audio rights. The rest sit with the publisher. They’ve had an offer from Audible, but it would mean me giving up the rights for 10 years and I’d have no choice over the reader, no input as to how well it’s done. Much as I’d love to have the rest out on audio, without real quality control I just can’t let it happen. These books are my lifeblood. I do have a very, very different book out on audio, though, Emerald City. Doesn’t help, I know, I’m sorry. I realise it seems as if I’m the one pulling the plug. The company that did The Broken Token would gladly do more, but the publisher won’t agree.

  2. Pingback: Book of the week – Gods of Gold by @ChrisNickson2 | Leeds Reads

  3. I loved the audio version of The Broken Token, I love audio books as I work on the farm. I didn’t understand the complexity of audio publishing. Keep writing your great books set in Leeds. I grew up in Bramley before eventually settling in Canada. Leeds has been fertile ground for producing good writers.

  4. Pingback: Skin Like Silver by Chris Nickson – W O R D — G U R G L E

  5. Jane Collins

    Hi Chris
    Just read “Dark Briggate Blues” and loved it. It’s the first book by you I have read. I liked it for the characters, pace of story and 1950s Leeds setting and atmosphere. I’m not a native, but have lived in Leeds since 1974 so recognise the places mentioned and can imagine what they were like in the 50s. Where do you research for this period and the settings for earlier period novels?

    1. Hi Jane,
      Thank you so much, I’m so pleased to liked the book. After 45 years I’m sure you know the place very well indeed. Most of the research is from reading. I was born in 1954, but obviously I didn’t remember anything of that time. However, it hadn’t changed that much by the 1960s. For earlier periods it’s read, read, read, and walk, feel the place. Not foolproof, but it’s something…And thank you again, I hope you’ll try some of the others (I’m proud of them).

  6. Sue Child

    Chris I was thrilled by your Leeds books
    I am a native of Leeds and have researched my family far back to the 1700s in Leeds.
    I once fancied writing about my Grandad’s GT.grandfather who was Edward Cooke one of the first Registrar’s for Kirkgate and East Leeds. His house is still standing in Richmond hill. Edward was also a musician and a parish clerk for Mill Hill Chapel he also manufactured organs and had a music shop where Clinton’s Cards is at the junction of Albion Street.
    Interestingly Sedgwick is one of my ancestors too.
    Best wishes. Sue

    1. You managed further back in Leeds than me, that’s great. If I were you, I’d write about Edward Cooke. After all, of you don’t who will, and the knowledge and your discoveries might well get lost. Is the Sedgwick in your family tree the one who’s commemorated in Holy Trinity church.
      And thank you, I’m so pleased you like the books. Chris

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