The Sin of Choice

Available in e-book and paperback versions on and

Part 1: Confession

Peter Thornton is a man in his early fifties with two problems: one professional and the other medical. He is a lawyer, and some of his clients are prominent members of the Manchester underworld. The diagnosis of a brain tumour turns his world upside down and forces him to confront matters from his past that he would rather have kept hidden.

His daughter has never liked what he does for a living, and she has always wanted to find out how much dirt is on his hands. She is surprised to find there is blood in the dirt, and that her father is only half to blame. His confession tempts her to search for the other party involved, which will lead her into the path of people who like to keep their business away from prying eyes. Peter has kept his professional and private lives separate for over twenty years, but now his daughter’s overconfidence will undo all that effort and force him to face his past, and thus acknowledge what fractured his family while he was too busy to notice.

Part 2: Discovery

Kate Thornton cannot resist the urge to dig deeper into her father’s past in her attempt to find the root of all her arguments with him over the years. She discovers as much about herself as she does about the dying man she has come to know again. As a working-class boy made good through hard work and a fortuitous marriage, Peter now gains a new perspective on the life he has attained in middle-class utopia. Once he accepts the finality of his illness, his lack of religious conviction and the memory of his father’s debilitating death convince him to end his life on his own terms when the time is right.

His son supports the idea of the right to die and agrees to ensure no loss of dignity will occur, even if Peter forgets his wish in the last stages of his decline. His wife’s moral convictions prevent her from agreeing to this. Her objections go beyond religious teaching and extend to the way her own father faced his final months with the help of palliative care in a hospice. She can accept that her husband will go down the same road, but she cannot accept that his life will be ended prematurely.

What would happen if Peter did forget? Would his son or wife prevail? Where would this leave his daughter, who has found a new man hidden inside the old? Throughout his life, he has made choices based on the sins of pride, avarice, and lust. This is the last choice in his life, but at the heart of it lies a sin he has never considered.

Part 3: Descent

When the descent begins, the time to talk is shortened.

Kate finds that the secrets of the present can be just as troubling as those of the past, and realises that male solidarity within her own family can place her in a more complicated trap than anyone in the criminal underworld can devise. At the heart of both these matters is her relationship with her father, if only they can both find the time to talk.

As the Thornton family tumble down a slide more precipitous than they expected, they need to talk together and find the truth hidden within the half-tales of their previous conversations. Kate is in the middle of everything, so she is the only one who can bring her family together, but time is against them all.