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Alison Morton

on Tour

October 12-November 12


Double Identity


Double Identity


 Release date: 1/7/2021
338 pages
Pulcheria Press



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Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder.

It’s three days since dual national Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gérard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare in London when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her.
Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gérard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken.
But as she unpicks her fiancé’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self.
Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her?
A stunning new thriller from the author of the award-winning Roma Nova series, fans of Daniel Silva, Stella Rimington and Chris Pavone will love Double Identity

Q & A

Alison Morton tells us some intriguing background about Double Identity, the French military and working undercover

You are the author of a successful alternate history series of thrillers, the Roma Nova series. Your espionage thriller Double Identity is your first contemporary release. What prompted/inspired the shift?

Ha! I put most of it down to historical fiction writer Conn Iggulden when he was reading INSURRECTIO for me. He gave me a lovely endorsement, but also commented, ‘You clearly have the knack for fast plotting tension. I kept coming back to see what happened next.’ He suggested I recast one of my alternative Roma Novan heroines as an agent for a contemporary European organisation in the ‘real world’ (whatever that is) and run the story as a crime thriller. Who could resist such a challenge? Double Identity is the result.

But I also wanted to write a character with strong roots in France where I live. Making my heroine a dual national brings additional layers of interest and internal conflict.

The best part? Getting to know and write about new, complex characters, throwing conflict and obstacles at them then watching them develop!

Your female protagonist, Mel des Pittones, is an intelligence analyst with the French special forces. You did six years’ military service in the UK and that background shows in how well Mel is portrayed. What elements of your experience would you like/are able to share that you brought to the character? How do you think military service is different for women?

My time in uniform was some time ago, but even though parts were hard personally and professionally – the North German plain is a very cold place in winter – the camaraderie and sense of joint purpose outweigh hardships. Yes, you train hard, you become exhausted; military life can be very demanding. But the social life is something to treasure. The biggest lesson? You learn to become self-reliant and at the same time a ‘giver’ rather than a ‘taker’.

Things have changed since my time. I worked in a mixed unit where both men and women were weapons-trained and armed. Although there was sexism, women did give it back. These days, it’s a great deal more equal, but as in my time the only measure is your competence to do the job. However, in such a high testosterone environment, some unfortunate attitudes do linger.

Let’s talk about research. Is there anything you found that was of particular interest that you did not include in the novel?

The key to research is knowing that you have to know. Writing on blithely leads to errors. Do you really know how somebody is taken into custody in different countries? In DOUBLE IDENTITY, the thriller, military and location research presented no real problems. The French Army basically has the same mission – the defence of the nation and protection of the country’s interests – and that sense of camaraderie.  However, the internal training and organisation is different such as possible direct entry as a non-commissioned officer. An interesting factoid: their uniform was designed by Pierre Balmain!

Being deep undercover and assuming another identity must, in real life, be incredibly challenging. What do you think makes for a good espionage agent? How big is the mismatch between the public perception of spying and the reality?

Haha! The key is compartmentalising. In your real life you are Person A; undercover, you are Person B. Of course, keeping as close to the reality of Person A’s life in personal habits is a good idea as there is less room to make mistakes. However, that’s not always possible. The stress of such divergence comes out later, but one way of dealing with it is to always look forwards, never back. I’d say a sharp eye, enquiring mind, ability to make connections in the jigsaw of an investigation, good people skills and the ability to persist are key qualities.

A lot of ‘spying’ is quite boring and mundane; surveillance, analysing reports, gathering intelligence by hard slog, watching CCTV until your eyes bleed, preparing situation papers and developing investigation strategies. Validating and testing intelligence from multiple sources often starts with time at the desk. Sometimes, you go out in the field, but it’s not all running around all day like James Bond.

What’s next for Mel des Pittones? What’s next for Alison Morton?

In the next book, Double Pursuit, Mel is pursuing a lead in Rome, but she’s backfooted as there are so many loose ends to her investigation. Pursuing them takes her on a dangerous journey into her own past, threatening her future happiness, and to the beautiful, fierce and unyielding Sahel region of Africa where she swore she’d never return. Double Pursuit is out on 19 October 2021.

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Double Identity_Alison MortonAlison Morton
writes award-winning thrillers
featuring tough but compassionate heroines.
Her nine-book Roma Nova series
is set in an imaginary European country
where a remnant of the ancient Roman Empire
has survived into the 21st century
and is ruled by women who face conspiracy,
revolution and heartache but with a sharp line in dialogue.

She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service
and a life of reading crime, historical and thriller fiction.
On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history. 

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of the heroine of her latest two contemporary thrillers, Double Identityand Double Pursuit. Oh, and she’s writing the next Roma Nova story.

To find our more,
Connect with Alison on her thriller site.
or on her writing blog
Visit her on Facebook author page
Twitter  @alison_morton

Alison’s Amazon page
And sign up to her Newsletter

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