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M.J. Ford Books In Order

Publication Order of DS Josie Masters Books

Keep Her Close (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hold My Hand (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Watch Over You (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

MJ Ford is a British mystery author from the North of England that is best known for his series of novels featuring Detective Jo Masters. Ford was born in 1980 and as a teenager, he went to Oxford University from where he studied English and the Classics. Over the years, he has worked at several editorial jobs. As Michael Ford, he is the author of more than eighty children’s fiction novels. “Hold My Hand” his first psychological crime thriller that introduced Detective Jo Master was first published in 2018. He has since written two more follow up novels in the series. Ford currently lives with his wife and children in the Peak District.

Ford attended Worcester College in 1998 where he enrolled for a course in Classic and English. Upon graduating from Oxford, most of his friends went into banking or law but he was not yet decided on what he wanted to do with his life. He moved to Greece and became an English as a Foreign Language teacher and it was at this time that he began thinking of becoming a writer. However, since he did not have much knowledge let alone skill in the area, and he decided to find a job and earn a living while he decided what to do. By his mid-twenties, Ford was writing nonfiction works about Greece but over the years he started writing children’s fiction. He now has more than fifty kid’s works that range from teen fantasy trilogies to 10,000-word chapter books. For the most part, he always writes his works on a contract basis as he never wanted to write something that would never sell. This habit got his agent to start calling him a hack. However, he thinks of himself as a professional since he has also ghostwritten novels for celebrities with much success. It was perhaps his hack reputation that made Avon Books approach him with a proposal for “Hold My Hand.” It was a few lines of the plot showing the beginning and ending but it grabbed his attention from the get-go and signed the contract. His debut fiction novel was published in 2018.

While it does look as if MJ Ford had quite an easy route to becoming a successful published author, the real story could not be any more different. Straight out of university with his Classics and English degree, he became an editor for children’s nonfiction. He was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to write about the Ancient Greek Olympic Games and given his academic background, he aced the assignment. His successful completion of the assignment gave him a taste of the possibilities. His next job was when he came into his own as he became an editor for “Working Partners,” a book packager where he got most of his training for becoming an author. He was a very good story liner and from his work, as an editor, he learned how to create characters, put together a commercial story, and structure it to create maximum drama. During this time, he worked on non-fiction and fiction works for readers of all ages from sci-fi to crime to romance from ages six to adults and just about any combination of genres. Eventually, the creative impulse grew so much that he became a freelance writer for Working Partners and wrote several books for them.

“Hold My Hand” by MJ Ford is a novel set in a small village of Yorkshire named Yarnton in the summer of 1987. Josie Master is an eight-year-old who alongside her fifteen-year-old brother Paul are attending the traveling circus. Deciding to go off on her own, she sees something interesting on the football stall where there is a freckly and ginger-haired lad who is wearing the latest Liverpool jersey. She loves the shirt and follows the boy who she sees holding hands with a clown. The two soon walk away into the distance and Josie learns that Dylan Jones the seven-year-old with the Liverpool shirt was never seen again. She had tried to alert the adults around about the child that was seemingly being kidnapped by a clown but no one was interested at the time. With Dylan lost forever and what happened to him remains a mystery, Josie feels a lingering sense of responsibility and a feeling of guilt for not being forceful enough. From the time the child disappeared in mysterious circumstances, the story jumps forward three decades to when we meet Josie in an entirely different context.

MJ Ford’s “Keep Me Close” is the second novel of the series involving Detective Sergeant Josie Masters. The novel is set six months from the end of the “Hold My Hand” the first of the series. Josie and her family are still reeling from the events of the past few months. Josie is back at work when she is called to look into the case of a girl named Malin Sigurdssin that had gone missing. She is working alongside DS Jack Pryce her new detective partner. When they get to the missing girl’s apartment, they find her bathroom all bloody and they are concerned for her safety. Could she be dead or had she been tortured and injured? When another student goes missing and a female member of the college staff is found dead, the whole mystery of what has now become a triple homicide gets even more interesting. When they get back to the station, her superior tries to reassigning the case but she is having none of it as she starts down the path of investigation. It is a great mystery thriller with turns and twists that culminates in a shocking ending.

“Watch Over You” by MJ Ford opens to Josie back at work from maternity leave. She had been out of commission for six months taking care of Theo her newborn son. On the first day back at work, she is given a homicide case and thinks the address looks familiar. It turns out that it is the address of Harry, her good friend and former colleague who had been killed in a burglary that had gone wrong. With the investigation gaining momentum, she learns that Harry had been living with a young woman which is very unusual given that she knows the man has been a loner for the longest time. Since Josie had been friends with Harry, she is determined to resolve the case. But as they start their investigations, they find even more bodies. Josie is the most impacted among her colleagues and her colleagues believe she may have come back too soon. Being a new mother and a single mother at that and then having to deal with the death of a close friend may be too much for her.

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