Canelo acquires a gripping new action thriller series from brother-and-sister collaboration Alison Belsham and Nick Higgins.

September 15, 2021

Commissioning Editor Craig Lye has acquired WEL rights to a new series by brother-and-sister writing collaboration Alison Belsham and Nick Higgins, from Jenny Brown of Jenny Brown Associates, in a two-book deal.

The series, starting with Death in Kabul and followed by Death in Helmand, will follow the adventures of ex-Met DI Alastair ‘Mac’ MacKenzie, a private military contractor working in Afghanistan in 2003 following the overthrow of the Taliban by a NATO-led coalition. Kabul became a frontier city with a Wild West feel, as Western soldiers and contractors rubbed shoulders with the city’s inhabitants, and crime and corruption threatened the fledgling democracy.

When Mac is called in to assist the Kabul police with their investigation into the murder of a British soldier in Kabul’s tank graveyard, he worries they may never find the killer. Without modern forensic facilities, and with an unco-operative contact within the Army’s Military Police, the case seems unsolvable. But when clues lead them to the black market smuggling of Afghanistan’s priceless historical artefacts, Mac realises the dead soldier had been in way over his head…

Alison Belsham is the author of the internationally-acclaimed Tattoo Thief trilogy, which has been translated into 15 languages and was a No.1 bestseller in Italy. She is a co-founder of the Edinburgh Writers’ Forum, providing professional development and networking for writers.

Nick Higgins worked in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2007 as a security advisor on a variety of projects encompassing the UN, private military companies, the US Embassy and others. He has lived in or visited all the locations mentioned in the series, including Lashkar Gah City in Helmand Province, nearly three months in a guest house in downtown Kandahar City, Herat City and Kabul.

Craig Lye says: ‘It is an absolute delight to be working with Alison and Nick on this exciting new series. I have admired Alison’s writing for years, and combining that with Nick’s amazing stories from his time in Afghanistan has created an incredible novel that captures the spirit of Kabul at an intriguing time in the city’s history.’

Alison Belsham and Nick Higgins say: ‘In writing about Kabul and Afghanistan during the time that Nick spent there, we hoped to create an authentic and exciting story that will carry the reader beyond the trauma of the newspaper headlines to provide a richly detailed picture of this fascinating and beautiful country. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have found a home for it with Canelo, and we’re delighted to be working with Craig on the next book in the series.’

Death in Kabul will be published in March 2022 in paperback and ebook. The second novel, Death in Helmand will follow in 2022. For more information please contact