Stranger Than Fiction: Mike Craven

In the run up to Mike Craven‘s next publication in the DI Avison Fluke series, I thought it would be fun to post a feature I was allowed to do via my job as a Senior Probation Officer!  The original post can be found on the website: or read in full below! I am arranging a blog tour in May for the second in the series, Body Breaker – so any interested bloggers, feel free to drop me an email at 

Stranger than fiction?

Originally Posted: 7th July, 2015
Noelle Holten, Senior Probation Officer for SWM CRC in Tamworth, is an avid reviewer of crime fiction via her blog,

Her latest rave review is for an author who also works in the world of probation. Noelle explains:

“I have read and reviewed a novella and then the debut book of Mike Craven who is an Assistant Chief Officer for Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation Company. Both books were fantastic to read and have been reviewed on my blog. A link to both reviews is at the end of this article.

The books are crime thrillers/police procedurals and there is a few references in his latest release, Born In A Burial Gown, to …probation! So what follows is a little biography on the man himself and what you can expect:

“In the army since he was sixteen, Mike left in 1996 and studied social work at the University of Northumbria, qualifying in 1999. He joined Cumbria Probation Service later that year as a Probation Officer working out of the Whitehaven Office in what was known then as the community supervision team. Four years later he was promoted to SPO although he only able to do the job for three days before being diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, an aggressive cancer of the lymph nodes. Seven months later, and minus a few organs, he returned to manage the Whitehaven Office for four years. Next he was AP manager at the Bowling Green Approved Premises (which he still says is the best job he’s had so far…) and from there he moved into senior management as divisional manager then ACO. He opted to join Cumbria and Lancashire CRC and is now the ACO leading the Cumbria LDU with strategic responsibility for Unpaid Work, IOM, Veterans and Families.

Mike has been writing for years but it was only when the side-effects of his chemotherapy meant he could no longer cycle, play golf or cricket that he decided to take it a bit more seriously. He was shortlisted for the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger in 2013 for Born in a Burial Gown and signed a contract with Caffeine Nights Publishing in 2014. Born in a Burial Gown was released on June 11th 2015 and has been one of the best books I have read this year…and I read A LOT of books! His protagonist, Detective Inspector Avison Fluke is returning to work after…can you guess… Burkitt’s Lyhphoma! The nature of his side-effects, puts DI Fluke in a difficult position and means he has to hide them from HR or risk losing the job he loves. Mike draws heavily from his probation experience – and this is particularly evident during a visit to HMP Durham when Fluke teaches his team the difference between facts, opinions and guesses. Sound familiar? Born In A Burial Gown is not overly gruesome but rather a gripping read- and the end result is a gritty and authentic crime story set in the north of England.

You can read my reviews of both his novella and debut novel below. I hope to also be interviewing Mike for my Blog  in the not so distant future and really look forward to what the next book from this Probation Senior Manager turned Crime Writer holds!”

Born In A Burial Gown:

I would urge anyone interested in Mike’s debut novel above to read this selection of short stories first though, as it gives you a real insight into the Force Major Incident Team which DI Avison Fluke manages:

Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody, Challenge Everything:

Body Breaker is due for publication on May 25th 2017 from Caffeine Nights Publishing! I had the pleasure of reading this book last year and can tell you that is bloody amazing!  Here is the synopsis, just to give you a wee taste of what you have in store!

Investigating a severed hand found on the 3rd green of a Cumbrian golf course was not how Detective Inspector Avison Fluke had planned to spend his Saturday. So when a secretive unit from London swoop in quoting national security, he’s secretly pleased. But trouble is never far away. A young woman arrives at his lakeside cabin with a cryptic message: a code known to only a handful of people and it forces Fluke back into the investigation he’s just been barred from. In a case that will change his life forever, Fluke immerses himself in a world of new age travellers, corrupt cops and domestic extremists. Before long he’s alienated his entire team, made a pact with the devil and been arrested under the terrorism act. But Fluke is only getting started. A voice has called out to him from beyond the grave and he has no intention of ignoring it.

Woohoo!  Cannot wait to get the blog tour going and let DI Avison Fluke loose once more! Body Breaker is available for pre order (paperback only at the moment) and the rest of the series can be read in the run up to publication!  Just click on the books in this post and get started! ?