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Kirk Houghton

Author of The Dividing Lines and Bad Things to Good People

The Dividing Lines - Synopsis

Set in Peterborough, England, the story begins with Martin Reeves, whose rejection at the hands of a Croatian beauty leaves him with a void in his life. Throwing himself even further into the demands of his sales job, he flips out one day when one of his customers insults him over the phone. He teaches her a lesson by subjecting her to a brutal assault that’s successful, but garners no coverage in the press.

At the same time Ed Blevins, recovering from his mother’s death, fixates on a female Muslim convert. Lost in a tangle of fantasy and obsession, he meets a young woman who introduces him to a brand of Christianity that is unfamiliar and enticing. Is she the cure for his loneliness; or does the Muslim lady hold the key?

Both men are undergoing a crisis while the city’s Labour MP, Richard Farnworth, is mired in a sex scandal. A recent affair with a fifteen year old girl results in an arrest, but he’s released without charge due to lack of evidence. The Chief Whip sees no alternative but to engineer a resignation.

This leaves Peterborough with a By-Election when tensions are running high over immigration and unemployment. Into the fold steps Miranda Yilmaz, the aristocratic founder of the Association of British Muslim Converts (ABMC) and wife of a city trader. But her daily struggles with her son’s rare heart condition and doubts about her own religious integrity continue to plague her.

Martin Reeves learns that Labour are fielding a Muslim convert in the city’s By-Election not long after a disastrous attack on a gypsy and a violent sexual encounter with an older woman. Miranda Yilmaz is everything he detests about modern England, and he resolves to stop at nothing until he’s killed her. Conspiracy-theorist, Ed Blevins, think she’s MI5 and keeps notes on her movements.


But they’re not the only ones with designs on this woman. A personal attack on her in the press leaves Miranda bruised but a household name; no wonder the nation is shocked when she’s executed in cold blood outside her home. All the evidence leads the police to conclude the murderer is Ed Blevins, but Martin Reeves remains under the radar.

Although Ed Blevins is found not guilty of murder, his life is in tatters and his future complicated by unforeseen developments. Meanwhile, the Conservatives wrest the Peterborough seat away from Labour in the wake of Miranda’s death. But only the new MP’s husband and an MI5 operative know the fortuitous truth behind the Tory victory.


When Martin Reeves progresses to a final-stage interview at the Foreign Office, the Cambridgeshire Constabulary are still without a suspect and distracted by a Wikileaks scandal that diverts their attention away from the real killer.


The dividing lines are wider than ever in a polarised society...