The Heroes and Antagonists of Ian's Thrillers

James Winter (Eavesdrop)

James Winter, hero from the thriller Eavesdrop

I'm a Customs Investigation Office working out of London, UK. Although my career started at MI5, I grew to hate the managerial attitudes and their assumption that lies and violence were the norm. Customs Investigation is more "me" - it can still be very exciting, and I love the challenge of puzzling out what's going on and the thrill of the chase. Breaking a smuggling ring and seeing the key players in jail for what they do is very rewarding.

The paperwork isn't always great, mind: our legal boys are hassling me for paperwork from my last case ready for court, but it's piled on my desk while I concentrate on the current investigation.

I'm sufficiently old that I'm not really ambitious anymore.I was once, but now I reckon it's doing a good job that's what matters. Young Kathleen Fry is ambitious, though, but she's got a lot to learn about management style: her tongue's too sharp and she puts too many backs up. She works in my team and I try to give her opportunities to develop towards promotion. I just wish she was a bit friendlier to everyone.

Kathleen Fry (Eavesdrop)

Kathleen Fry from the thriller Eavesdrop

I work in James' team. He's quite a good boss and I admit I like him, but he's very reckless: he should never have gone down to Rye by himself after that tip-off we had, for instance. That sort of thing will be his downfall one day.

I enjoy my job and reckon I'm good at it and very efficient.  If James retires early or gets booted out, I reckon I'm well placed to lead the team instead. There's no-one else around in such a good position.

Lynne Douglas (Eavesdrop)

Lynne Douglas from the thriller Eavesdrop

I'm head of security at a small defence electronics company called Milcomm. I was one of the founders with two friends I knew from university. We do okay but I have to confess that cash flow is problematic - we've maxed out loads and won't get any more. Fortunately, it looks like we're about to secure a big deal with the Saudi government that will put us back where we ought to be. It's a nervous time, though: I borrowed heavily to put my share into the business and I'll lose my house as well as my livelihood if we go under.

The problem with the equipment we supplied the UK Customs team is really worrying. It would totally screw the Saudi deal and if that happens the whole company's done for.

Ray Burrows (Eavesdrop)

Diamond smuggler from the thriller Eavesdrop

I'm not going to tell you where I work nor what I do. I will say my boss is a right bastard, though. I've known him since we was growing up together in Balham (that's in London) and I worked in his shop down the high street flogging tellies. He was always bent and vicious with it.

Perhaps people might say the same about me. I don't take no nonsense, that's true, and I don't mind pulping someone's head if I have to.

One day I'll set up by myself and leave my boss to do stuff himself. He totally relies on me - I do all the planning and make everything run smooth in his operation. Without me, he'll fail in months.  If there's one more time when he treats me like dirt and I'll walk... and I'm taking all our contacts with me.

Right now, though, I reckon he's got some big project on. He's been acting all secretive recently and has just flown out to Antwerp all excited. He's due back this evening and he wants me right here for the second he gets back. Something's going on. I'll tell you that much.