A former Met Police officer has turned his experience in the force into a gripping crime thriller in his new book.

After 27 years working in the Criminal Investigation Department, Stratford-based Russ Dunlop is embarking on a new journey as an author in his retirement.

“Apart from sitting in the garden and drinking Sauvignon Blanc, I thought I’d be better employed sitting at my laptop putting pieces into play," he told this newspaper. "Then The Conrad Press arrived on the scene and said we’d like to publish it."

Fightback is set in east London and tells the story of Albert Oxford and his three neighbours fighting against rampant crime in the neighbourhood.

The book is loosely based on Russ’ career as a Met officer, he says.

Newham Recorder: The cover of FightbackThe cover of Fightback (Image: Russ Dunlop)

“I worked on murder squads in the police force, mainly as an exhibits officer, so that provided an insight."

He continued: “I also had knowledge from my general experience in the CID. I knew about crime, criminals and living in east London for the past 40 years. There’s everything here; it can be quite exciting and dangerous.

"And I thought 'there’s a story here somewhere'.”

After seeing an ad from The Conrad Press for prospective novel ideas, Russ submitted an excerpt of Fightback, which was accepted

“I didn’t realise how much of a feather in my cap it was going to be," said Russ. "Now, we’ve got to the stage where I’m a published author. That’s grandiose, but here we are."

However, if you search for a published author named Russ Dunlop, you will come up empty as he uses a pen name - Thomas Chaplin.

“The pseudonym that I’ve used is my father’s name and my mother’s maiden name. It’s a little thing for them more than anything else,” he explained.

“The storyline moves very quickly, and a friend of mine said he couldn’t put the book down, which means he must have read 14 hours a day. I took that as a compliment.

"I think ‘fast-moving page turner’ sums up the book perfectly,” said Russ.

Russ is currently writing his second novel, which takes place in the same universe as Fightback, which is available on Amazon and in bookshops.