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Helen Black Books In Order

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Publication Order of Lilly Valentine Books

Publication Order of Liberty Chapman Books

Taking Liberties (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bang to Rights (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Playing Dirty (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hard as Nails (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Helen Black is an English poet from Pontefract, West Yorkshire. She is best known for the Lily Valentine series of novels and several standalone novels. In her childhood, she lived in an extended family where her father a miner and her mother a local shop attendant were the main providers. At 18 years of age, she went to Hull University, where she drank a lot of lager at campus-organized gigs. She graduated three years later with a law degree, a tattoo on her shoulder, and a hole-ridden Doc Martins. While she had trained as a commercial lawyer, she soon found out that high end lawyering was not for her as she lacked the natural disposition for it. Quitting her job, she set up shop for herself in a tiny windowless office in Peckham, South London where she made a name for herself, helping teenagers with legal advice and bus fares. From the tiny office, she became one of the most known figures in Bethnal Green, Deptford, and Brixton, and eventually ended up as a legal representative for children in the care system in Luton. Her work has been largely influenced by her varied legal experiences with underprivileged children. Her first novel Damaged Goods was a response to the question, what would you do if you came to know that a client you were representing is guilty. Would you still represent them? Helen Black likes to joke that she is married to a long-suffering lawyer whose only wish is to one day have his shirts ironed. The couple has twins who rule the Black household in a manner best described as Stalinist Russia reincarnated.

Helen Black has always lived in her imagination right from childhood but never got down to writing anything until 2005, when she started drafting Damaged Goods. Her love for the literary arts started in her childhood in which she voraciously consumed books that she still loves to this day. She is a lover of a variety of novel genres but thrillers are some of her favorites. The thriller novel The Secret History written by Donna Tart is one of her all-time favorites. She also read Karin Slaughter and Mark Billingham, and her biggest wish is to become Minette Walters when she grows up. Crime and Punishment, a novel that she used to read and reread with her father every year, holds a special place in her heart. To this day, she can picture the old miner dragging on an Embassy regal while taking in the delights of a long dead Russian literary giant. While she had a great love for books, she just stumbled into publishing and found success amazingly fast. Unlike other authors, she never had to go through numerous rejections as she got her first novel Damaged Goods published the first time of asking. She got her first agent from the Writers Handbook by scrolling through names starting with A. A few back and forth and one agent asserted that he loved Lilly Valentine the chief protagonist, even though he said her spelling was terrible and the punctuation even worse. Through the agent, she sold her first title to HC and has never looked back since.

The Lily Valentine series of novels by Helen Black are about Lily Valentine, a headstrong, stubborn, and go-getting lawyer that helps damaged teenagers with legal troubles. Black asserts that while the character has a lot in common with her being a feisty northerner with a love for cooking, much of the story is not autobiographical. Nonetheless, the novels deal with strong themes that draw a lot from Black’s emotions about the children she has dealt with. Introducing a range of characters in every new title, Black writes a good narrative with memorable characters. What makes the novels so great is that the teenagers are not simple victims of their horrifying existence but rather an avenue through which the author raises awareness about serious societal issues. Despite the serious themes and dark stuff that are fodder for the novels, Black incorporates a lot of humor in the novels. Even in writing about people such as Caz the homeless teenager or Barrows the pedophile, the working class northerner penchant for laughing at everything shines through the pages. Black’s standalone novels tackle issues such as political intrigues and international terrorism.

Helen Black burst into the scene with Damaged Goods a rollercoaster of a novel full of intrigue and hair-raising moments. 14-year-old Kelsey Brand is in a state of terror and hopelessness after her mother abandons her and her siblings. Now just another faceless child in the care system that no one takes notice of, Kelsey attempts to commit suicide, a horrific act that leaves her scarred and mute for a time. Barely a week later, Kelsey mother’s body turns up in Luton Council Estate – butchered by a yet unknown killer. It is not a surprising turn of events given that Grace is a well-known heroin addict and prostitute known to hang out with less savory characters. That being said, given her recent issues, Kelsey is the main suspect in the murder. It is now up to Lily Valentine the iron willed, tough talking attorney to get the teenager out of the huge mess. Lilly has left a lucrative career in the north and has chosen to work with vulnerable children that need help to survive the brutal care system. Determined to see Kelsey absolved of the crime, she wades into a world full of darkness where blackmail, pedophilia, and prostitution are the order of the day. She puts her life at risk to find a killer and save the life of a terrified child that cannot speak for herself.

A Place of Safety is the second novel of the Lily Valentine series of novel. Full of sympathy and humor it follows the story of a young asylum seeker, Anna who is raped in Bedfordshire. Lily gets one of the toughest cases of her career when Artan one of the girl’s few friends in the country asks for her help in finding justice for Anna. But the problem is the justice system may not be on their side, given that she has to prove the allegations of an asylum seeker over those of three English boys that have lived in privilege all their lives. Reluctant to get involved, Lily is forced into action when Anna and Artan turn up at the boys’ school with guns, determined to take revenge the only way they know how. Despite the objections of her boyfriend, Anna takes up the case, a decision that results in massive backlash from the community, the press, and local racist groups. Her family is not only the object of scorn, but also the target of racist groups. She is torn between defending Anna by following her conscience, or letting it go as it hits too close to home.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Helen Black

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