John L Holmes

After trying various jobs, I settled on a career in insurance claims adjusting, principally with Lloyd’s of London, which gave me valuable insights into human nature, as well as an awareness of the vulnerability and unpredictability of supposedly safe, ordinary daily life.
In 2007, I graduated with the Open University, obtaining a degree (2:1) in Social Sciences with special reference to Psychology.


I have had various poems published, most recently in Peeking Cat magazine.
I have also written non-fiction, short stories, and four novels including two under the names Leslie
James and J.Rae respectively. Please also see my blog.

Mack Breaks the Case

Twenty years in the seaside town of Brighton, England, has given Paz Wheat the notion he’s seen it all as a private investigator. But that’s before young ‘wild spirit’ Alison (‘Mack’) tumbles bewildered and unannounced into his office. For the buttoned-up Anglo-American there’s nothing more unnerving than a touch of the random, but what does this enigmatic bohemian want? Surely not the job that hasn’t even been advertised yet? It’s a mystery and he dislikes mysteries until they’re solved, and then he loves them.

Thus begins a relationship that changes both: the solitary man wedded to his work and the firebrand living with her long-term girlfriend. Paramount to them are the cases they handle sometimes intricate, always intriguing, like The Chagall Lithograph, The Shadow Yacht, A Box Of Air, and The Everything Man. They investigate strange disappearances – missing persons, but also artworks – and grapple with the trickiest of fraudsters and chancers.

Lily Upshire is Winning

The latest release in paperback and e-book formats: Lily Upshire is Winning published in 2021.

A young teenager without parents or siblings, Lily Upshire, takes the world on her own terms. When she finds something wrong with her favourite drink, she just wants the big company that made it to say sorry to her. But the adults in her life have other ideas, seeing everything in terms of money

As the company makes ever more extravagant overtures to avoid apologising to her, she remains unmoved. She’s more concerned with what makes her life miserable: the school bullies, most of her teachers, and the scammers and catfish online. To gain self-confidence she begins boxing lessons. When she realizes her name is more important to the world than she is, she hits upon an idea that changes everything.
The once-solid walls of the behemoth corporation slowly begin to melt.
With elements of satire and surrealism, Lily Upshire Is Winning is a coming-of-age novel with a difference.

Legacy and a Gun

The novel Legacy And A Gun was published in 2019.

It concerns an exiled politician living under the constant threat of imported violence and tormented by an obsession with legacy – his own and that of his ancestors. The novel is available in both kindle and paperback. Quoted passages from it can be found on Twitter under JohnHolmes@NewickPea

That Someone Else Is You

A novel about a counterfeit life.

Short Stories: We Never Just Talk.

I also wrote a book of short stories: We Never Just Talk. I took these from a website and edited them slightly.

A Small Indiscretion

A novel set in the City of London.

When The War Is Over

I co-wrote, with my father, William Holmes, a well-respected non-fiction book When The War Is Over on Dunkirk and the German P.O.W. camps in World War Two.