Expat sets novel in old home town

A TOWN expat has put pen to paper on a new crime novel set in Hartlepool.

Despite travelling all over the world, and currently living in Tasmania, in Australia, Nic Pratchek, 49, says he will never forget his roots and decided to set his new "very scary supernatural crime thriller" in the town.

The Zimmerman Cypher is the second novel Nic has based in Hartlepool, and even though he left the UK in 2006, he said he is still in contact with a number of his old friends.

Nic, who grew up in Arncliffe Gardens, left Hartlepool when he started serving for the army after he had finished university.

He said: "Around five years ago I retired from the army to be a full-time author, but I ended up moving to Australia to become a human resource manager for the Australian Government.

"But even though I live at the other side of the world, I still try to stay in contact with friends in Hartlepool.

"I visited last September and couldn't believe how much the place has changed, the new docks are fantastic.

"I also managed a trip to Camerons, you can't get a pint of Ruby Red over here unfortunately!

"I still follow Hartlepool United every week on the internet and I enjoy telling the locals here in Tasmania about the story of the monkey – that always raises an eyebrow."

Nic, who went to Lister Street Infant School and Elwick Road Junior School, said he used his trips back to town to do some research for the new book.

He added: "I think the fact it is based in Hartlepool and County Durham makes it so much more authentic to local North- East readers.

"Places such as the Steetley factory and the Rovers rugby club are included in the book."

The book is based around an Albanian gang who are trying to take over the criminal world in the North-East.

But Nic said potential detectives will also have their hands full with a number of hidden codes he has included relating to an American White

House conspiracy.

"I wrote the book after a high demand, from people mostly in America, for another book after my first one.

"I really enjoyed it and I'm glad it's out on the shelves."

The book is available in bookshops in the UK.

It can also be bought online by visiting www.amazon.com or Nic's own website, www.ndscott.com.