David Lavelle

The Alice Flack Adventures

An ongoing series of Kindle novellas by BBC Radio Norfolk producer Paul Hayes.


2. Voices in the Dark by Paul Hayes, Kindle cover illustration, 2016

Hot on the heels of ‘The Ruined Heart’ (see below), Paul asked me to illustrate the sequel. By this stage I’d refined my technique, and felt a bit more adventurous with the composition. I was really pleased with this one. I love the mysterious pilot, and the arrangement with the phone works very nicely. The spitfires add some helpful drama too.

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The cover blurb: October 1946. The war is over, but will the dead stay dead? As Britain approaches what will become one of its coldest winters, a series of women receive strange, unnerving telephone calls. Why are the voices of their late husbands calling them in the darkness? And what will become of them if they give in to the demands of those who are bringing those voices to them? Alice Flack is reluctantly called back to work for an organisation whose staff believe she betrayed them during the war, to try and find out what is happening and why. But will she be in time to prevent a tragedy?


1. The Ruined Heart by Paul Hayes, Kindle cover illustration, 2015

This was my first pen and ink illustration in over twenty years. Paul and I share a love of the illustrator Chris Achilleos, whose Doctor Who book jackets we grew up with. Discussing ideas about a style to adopt for these covers, Achilleos’s was top of both our lists. Digital illustration tends to dominate the market these days, so it’s great to revive an old analogue technique which uses traditional ink on board and looks pin sharp on screen. The materials I used for this were pretty much the same as I’d used decades earlier: Rotring Rapidograph pens (0.1mm nibs) and high quality illustration board. On this occasion I used Crescent Cold Press board, which was the only suitable board I could find. In the 80s and early 90s I used CS10 line board, which was smooth, rigid, and would take a lot of detailed working. The company who produced it went bust when digital illustration took over, and I wish it was still available. I also designed the cover layout, retaining the white space and simple typography of the period setting.

Buy the book through Amazon’s Kindle bookstore.

The cover blurb: The summer of 1946 – the war is over, and lives are gradually being pieced back together, including that of former secret agent Alice Flack. Staying with friends in a small village in the Sussex countryside, Alice gradually becomes aware of a secret at the heart of the community, a wrong dating back to the end of the previous century. Can she right it? Or will the darkness in some of the village’s most trusted figures remain buried in its soil? The Ruined Heart is a short novella introducing the character of Alice Flack – a former secret agent with her own difficult past.