A former director for the City of York Council has published his debut crime fiction novel which is hitting the shelves this week.

Bill Hodson was the director of housing and adult social services at the council until 2010, and since then, he has been developing his skills as a fiction writer.

Following his previous success producing his original plays in York, his debut novel, Tracking Back, will be available on Friday, July 28.

The crime-mystery is set in Bolton, where Bill grew up, and tells the story of a young lawyer, Sarah Curtis, who returns to the city from London to shut down her late father’s law practice, but finds herself embroiled in the disappearance of her father’s friend and former Bolton Wanderers’ footballer, Gerry Bradshaw.

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Gerry’s wife Eileen turns to Sarah for help as someone is threatening to burn his house down if he isn’t found.

Mr Hodson, who has lived in York for the last 30 years, said that although it is not a story about football, he has used football as a vehicle of expression, and the emotional ties fans feel towards the team they support.

He explained: “I’ve had the plot idea for a long time. In 1997, I remember being at the community stadium and watching Wanderers beat Charlton and winning the First Division, and feeling the emotional highs and lows that everyone felt.

“I really enjoyed working at the council and was sad to see my job go, but it did bring the opportunity of a new chapter in my life, and I’ve now been writing full time for three years.

“I started writing classes in York and began writing short stories. I had no idea what sort of writer I’d be as it can take some time to find your own voice.”

Bill went on to write two plays which were shown in York – The Tasker’s Trails which was about a family in poverty who turned to crime, which was shown at Friargate Theatre, and a play about a refugee which was shown at the York Mystery Plays festival.

He explained: “Then when lockdown came, I turned to writing novels, and this one flowed easily and I got obsessed with writing it. I wrote every day and finished it in a year.

“Sarah Curtis becomes reluctantly involved in the mystery, and much deeper than she should! She’s emotionally intelligent, charming, and larger than life.

“I felt compelled to write about Bolton, I had a dream that I should set it in Bolton. It's where I grew up, so the story has a strong sense of place – and readers notice if you write about a place that you don’t know very well.

“It’s an entertaining and slightly different story, it has some serious elements to it, some excitement, humour, and danger.

“I’ve dreamt of publishing a novel since I was a teenager, and I’ve now seized it.”