Liberty Gibbens

Paranormal Crime Novels


The only novel I have so far completed (though only to first draft and some editing) is Past Sins, which was shortisted for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger Award (before the first draft was completed) in 2003. There may eventually be other paranormal novels starring different characters, but for now, my stories all revolve around a heroine named Liberty Gibbens, known to her friends as Libby.

Past Sins synopsis

Liberty Gibbens is a loner, drifting almost friendless in a hostile world.  The reason – she has a psychic talent is now fully developed after years coming to terms with her visions and spirit connections, moving on regularly in her work as an osteo-archaeologist.

Working on a family graveyard whose occupants must be relocated to make way for a housing development, she meets Adam, a fellow archaeologist.  When Adam convinces her to contact the spirit of the deceased Mary Westerleagh, she makes a shocking discovery – the grave also contains the remains and harbours the spirit of a murdered man.  Through a series of dreams and conversations with Mary, as well as tantalising extracts from family documents, she begins to piece together a 200-year-old murder mystery.

Her investigation is made more poignant when her mother’s sudden death leaves her a property nearby, which she finds she must share with her estranged sister.

Only Adam offers Libby some chance of sanity in a suddenly difficult world.  But he has his own troubles.  After losing his wife two years ago, Adam is now wary of close relationships.  And bringing up his son alone is no easy task, nor a burden to share lightly with another.

When Libby’s only friend, Viv Morton, hears of the death, she comes looking for Libby.  Finding the sisters in a state of high emotion, she begins chivvying them into sorting out their lives.

But she can only provide an anchor for her friend as the stresses pile up.  As Libby struggles with the nightmare revelation of her own mother’s murder, using her unique talents to help solve this mystery, she also reveals the 18th century story of French aristocrat Marie-Claudine who, fleeing the Revolution, took refuge at the scene of the present-day dig.

Who was he?  How did he die?  Was he, as Marie-Claudine believed, a Napoleonic spy?

Libby’s exploration of her mother’s death takes another twist as she discovers that her mother took many secrets to her.  As the revelations unfold, Libby has to come to terms with some hard truths about herself and her family – including that of her own parentage – if she is to learn why her mother was murdered.

Perhaps the killer is someone she already knows.  When Libby herself is threatened, her contemporary investigation becomes intertwined with that of the past sins being uncovered in the graveyard.

Click here for the first chapter of Past Sins.

I have a number of ideas for sequels, most of which are still very sketchy. The only I have started properly, and even written a synopsis for, is Grave Mistakes, which I intend to be a sequel to Past Sins.

Grave Mistakes Synopsis

Liberty Gibbens is dealing with solicitors in respect of her late mother’s estate, when she becomes the victim of poltergeist activity.  Being a clairvoyant medium, she offers to help discover the reason behind this problem, and see if she can solve it.  Discussions with staff reveal a legend of chilling ghostly activity in the house.

Then a dog finds a bone in the front garden , dug out of the planting hole for a memorial tree, and the partners ask Libby to find out who it belongs to, and whether it should be reported to the police.

She discovers that he was a manslaughter victim in the early Victorian era, killed in a violent argument with the owner of the house (a prominent railway tycoon) and secretly buried in his garden.  His spirit refused to leave, becoming increasingly malicious in his attempts to exact revenge.

The owner, driven into insanity, committed a further heinous crime.  However, having convinced himself of the enormity of his sin, the spirit of the unfortunate man refused to pass over, believing that he would be judged and sent to Hell for all eternity.

However, Libby learns that this is not the only effect of the man’s unhappy deeds, and a further bewildered spirit has been added to the dangerous mixture of killer and victims, and must be assisted to pass over.  In working to discover the identity of a modern-day killer, Libby encounters danger and potential death at the hands of someone who is determined that their deed shall not be punished.  At the same time, she has her work cut out to persuade the spirit to relinquish his hold over his victims, and allow them all to depart in peace.

Learning of the useful qualities of crystals, and their efficacy in helping deal with difficult issues, Libby uses gridding of Reiki-enhanced crystal points to help in calming the spirits of the deceased, making it easier to communicate with them and to work towards eventually releasing them back to the Light.  Making an unlikely ally may prove to be her salvation; as the final chapter unfolds, can she save herself from joining the growing list of trapped souls doomed to hang around in the vicinity of the old house?

Here is the beginning of the story – not even a full chapter yet!