Long before I started writing for newspapers, I was obsessed by the mystical emptiness of the Australian Outback, by the indigenous people who had lived there undisturbed for thousands of years, and the fascinating settlers who moved to desolate one-street towns in the Northern Territory. This was the catalyst for my decision to hitchhike around most of the continent as a naive 18-year-old. I came away from the experience mostly unscathed, realising only years later that I picked up rides on the very route, and at the same time, as serial hitchhiker killer Ivan Milan was on the prowl. Following a second hitchhiking trip around Australia a decade later, with my future wife, I wrote a book about it, which you can buy here:
The book was shortlisted for the UK Travel Book of the Year, one of the writing achievements I am most proud of.
Having been dispatched to Lake Annecy in September 2012, following the horrific, and seemingly inexplicable murders of a British family in the mountains above, I remained focused on the story. Like many others, I was intrigued by the circumstances, and felt incredibly sorry for the two daughters made orphans by a gunman who could not be traced, due in part to apparent failures in the initial investigation. Against this background, I wrote a book in 2015 called The Perfect Crime. It was the first detailed account of the murders, examining each of the potential theories in turn, and including new interviews with some of the people damaged so badly by what happened.