Dorothy Hood: Book One in the Series

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Four men.

Three agendas.

Two enemies.

Together on one boat.

Tom, a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Fred is often confused and losing his memory.

Yorky, a heavy-drinking, aggressive womaniser.

Not forgetting Kevin, an unexpected, mysterious rookie.

These are the crew of the Scarborough fishing trawler, Dorothy Hood, as she prepares to set sail on her final fishing trip of 1973.

Owner and Skipper, Tom, is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. After a year of poor catches and expensive engine repair bills, he is deeply in debt. So much so, that he has had to remortgage his house. 

Recently separated from his wife, Debbie, his sadness was magnified tenfold by the death of his beloved mother, Dorothy, four months previously. His main concern now is for his father, and fellow crewman, Fred. Fred`s memory lapses and episodes of confusion are now growing with increased regularity; just like the breakdowns of the Dorothy Hood`s ageing diesel engine.

Dorothy Hood isn`t just a story about four men on a sixty-foot trawler in the depths of a North Sea winter, battling against all the elements nature can throw at them. It’s also a story about true friendship, jealousy, revenge and forgiveness. But more than that, it`s a story about the unbreakable bond between a father and his son. 

Dorothy Hood

The Reunion

Book Two in the Series

It`s Skipper Tom`s birthday. And it’s nearly Christmas. That’s two good reasons to celebrate. All seems well in The Newcastle Packet as the crew of the Scarborough trawler, Dorothy Hood, gather for a drink before sailing on their final trip of 1974. Spirits are high; they’ve had a good year. All the debts from the previous year have now been paid off. There’s even a little left over for a few luxuries. 

Tom reflects on the events of the past twelve months.

For a start, he is now reconciled with his wife, Debbie. 

But her insatiable appetite for buying expensive things, and her sometimes offhand and ungracious attitude to his father, Fred, is already causing unease in their fragile relationship.

Fred`s deteriorating memory loss is now such a cause for concern, that Tom has had to reluctantly accept that this final trip of the year will also be Fred’s last, before taking up the permanent job of shoreman.

He is also constantly struggling to keep the peace between his wife and his best friend, Yorky, whose intense dislike for each other goes back many years.

On top of all this, he is still coming to terms with the loss of his mother, Dorothy, sixteen months previously.

Whilst the unexpected appearance of an old friend solves one big problem for Tom, it also creates an even bigger, deadlier one. This isn’t just a story about the survival of a marriage, a friendship, or the relationship between a father and his son. It’s also about survival from the most dangerous enemy of them all. The sea.

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Dorothy Hood MBE

The Secret Tapes

Book Three in the Series

Two secret tapes from the attic

One painful confession from the grave

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It’s Friday 17th December 1976.

Two long years have now passed since the sinking of his fishing boat, Dorothy Hood.

For Skipper Tom, it’s been two difficult years of great personal upheaval, earning very little money as he made plans for his future. To say he is broke would be an understatement. 

But thanks to the insurance money, an EEC grant and a huge bank loan, he has just taken delivery of his brand new, £180,000 state-of-the-art trawler, Dorothy Hood MBE.

Tom is under immense financial pressure to pay off the massive loan, therefore it is imperative that he sets sail within the next thirty-six hours to squeeze in a trip before Christmas, and start paying off his mountain of debt.

But before he can go fishing he has to get the boat and her crew shipshape.

Then there’s the small matter of the informal get-together with a few friends and well-wishers, in his local pub tonight. A celebratory welcome-home party for his new vessel.

In his mind just a couple of beers with a few peanuts and crisps.

Unfortunately, his wife, Debbie, has other plans. Expensive plans.

This, however, is the very least of his worries. Other far more serious problems are looming on the horizon. 

A broken radar, the loss of one crewman, another sustaining nasty injuries requiring hospital treatment, not to mention Debbie`s increasingly confrontational behaviour, and his ever-present concern about Fred`s mental health are plunging Tom into the depths of despair.

As if all this isn`t enough to contend with, the accidental discovery of two old reel-to-reel tapes from the past turns his and his father`s worlds upside down.

What dark, hidden secrets do the tapes reveal?

Can Tom and Fred come to terms and deal with the devastating revelations now thrust upon them?

With stormy winter weather never very far away, and Tom once again heading for a nervous breakdown, can he find the strength within to overcome all the obstacles in his path?

Will the Dorothy Hood MBE finally set sail on her maiden voyage?

This isn’t just a story about new beginnings for a skipper, his crew, their families and his boat.

Or about the challenges they face in an uncertain future.

It’s also about acceptance and moving on. Coming to terms with and embracing the past.

His name: Commander Mike Mansfield

His ship: HMS Devonport

His mission: To win back The Falkland Islands


At the age of thirty-three, Commander Mike Mansfield is the youngest ever `Captain` in the Royal Navy. His first command is the type 42 destroyer, HMS Devonport. The weight of responsibility rests heavily on his shoulders. He is relentlessly tormented in a constant battle to prove he is up to the job, not only to his crew but also to himself.

Does he have what it takes to overcome the doubts and fears of the two hundred and fifty-two officers and men under his command?

Can he gain their respect?

His estranged wife Gill, a QARNNS nursing officer, is the one true love of his life. After many years in the Service together, she would now like them both to leave The Royal Navy. Navy life is all they have ever known, and she would now like them both to make a fresh start in `Civvy Street.` Maybe even start a family.

As if he doesn`t have enough problems, his old enemy from his days as a sixteen-year-old Junior Seaman is never far away.

Gordon Bates has only one real pleasure in life; to inflict pain, misery and hurt into the lives of others, especially Mike. Luckily, his best friend Petty Officer Andy Hitchen is usually on hand to help and support him. Their unbreakable bond of friendship was born from the time they joined up together back in 1966.

After an unfortunate maritime incident occurs whilst on a NATO exercise, Mike finds himself now facing a court-martial.

The Captain`s Story

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Will he lose his Commission and be dishonourably discharged from the Navy, or will justice prevail?

With his career in tatters and his marriage on the rocks, it seems things can`t get much worse.

Then, another fight appears on the horizon. The ruthless ruling Military Junta in Argentina invade The Falkland Islands. HMS Devonport is sent to the South Atlantic as part of a British Task Force, to reclaim them back for Britain.

Can Mike rise to the challenges ahead?

Does he have the courage within himself to equal the bravery of his crew?

Is he prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to win back The Falkland Islands?

Does he have what it takes to help win The Falklands War, and bring his ship and her crew back home safely?

Could this be his true destiny?






Pirates, Witches and Wellies

THIS BOOK IS DUE FOR PUBLICATION SOON!

Roger...The Determined Dreamer

Woody...The Intelligent Daredevil

Malcolm...The Sleepy-Headed Sourpuss

It`s 1966. Three thirteen-year-old boys are up to their usual high jinx knocking on the people’s doors, then running away before getting caught. However, they were soon distracted when a strange `pirate` ship docked in the dead of night. Intrigued, they sneaked onboard and soon found out that the `pirates` they were expecting to find weren’t quite what they thought.

It was in fact, a pirate radio ship.

When Radio 333 DJ, Mickey Silver made the very first broadcast, it was a revelation for dreamer, Roger. He decided there and then that when he left school, he was going to be a Disc Jockey. But first, he had to meet his idol, Mickey.

Of course, he wasn’t to know that in the course of doing so, he would discover things about his family that would take him and his two friends, Woody and Malcolm on a thrilling, and sometimes dangerous journey across the country. On their way, they would come face to face with more pirates and a real-life witch. Whilst trying to solve the mysterious death of a loved one they would rub shoulders with a government minister; get involved in one of the greatest crimes of the twentieth century and search for hidden treasure. Roger, the determined dreamer, Woody, the intelligent daredevil, and Malcolm, who never took his wellies off.

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Written by me under my pen name of Ray J Cowling

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