Blog Tour: Read an Extract from Black Moss by @Nolanwriter @fahrenheitpress @lovebooksgroup


In April 1990, as rioters took over Strangeways prison in Manchester, someone killed a little boy at Black Moss.

And no one cared. 

No one except Danny Johnston, an inexperienced radio reporter trying to make a name for himself.

More than a quarter of a century later, Danny returns to his home city to revisit the murder that's always haunted him. 

If Danny can find out what really happened to the boy, maybe he can cure the emptiness he's felt inside since he too was a child.

But finding out the truth might just be the worst idea Danny Johnston has ever had.


An Extract from Black Moss:

The main backdrop to the book is the Strangeways riot, the longest prison disturbance in British penal history. I covered the riot at the time – it was a surreal experience.

The carnival was in full swing when Danny arrived at Strangeways. He turned off Bury New Road, finding a parking spot alongside a clothing wholesaler, whose window was full of garishly coloured gear aimed at the current Madchester market. Counterfeit thought Danny. Every last stitch of it. No one seems to care though. Criminality that they turn a blind eye to, right outside a prison.

Music drifted across the road as Danny locked his car, an aging blue Ford Escort. Then he double checked he’d locked it properly. The song was ‘Ghetto Heaven’ by Family Stand. There were scores – no, hundreds – of people milling about in the side roads and wasteland that surrounded the jail. Many were drinking from tins of beer – there was a man selling them from a makeshift stall made from what looked like a decorators table. An additional boozy waft was provided by the Boddington’s brewery next door to the jail. It only added to the party atmosphere – as did a heavy smell of weed in the air.

Danny spotted a kid of about 12, selling t-shirts. He had a swathe of them across one arm and he waved one in the air with his free hand. Danny looked at the design as the boy passed him: it was a silhouette drawing of the jail and the words Strangeways Breakout 1990 written underneath. Must get one of those, thought Danny, as he weaved through the crowd, looking for the Manchester Radio outside broadcast car that had been parked outside the jail since the start of the riot on Sunday.

On top of the main roof area of the prison – to the left of the jail’s distinctive red brick central rotunda and tower – figures could be seen scurrying about. The hole they had punched through the roof could be clearly seen to the left. One inmate – wearing what looked like a prison officer’s uniform – was waving a hand-made sign that said: ‘TOLD WE WILL DIE’. A prisoner next to him was shouting into a makeshift megaphone fashioned from an orange and white traffic cone. What he was saying was a mystery, because every time he tried to shout, ‘Mr Blue Sky’ by ELO would blare out from within the prison compound. Danny had heard that the prison authorities had been using music to keep the rioters awake and to stop them relaying messages to the outside world. It was clearly true; what’s more, it was apparent that the Home Office’s taste in music was as suspect as their riot containment techniques.


About Author David Nolan:

David is a multi award-winning author, television producer and crime reporter. He has written a dozen books including Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil, the true story of the largest historic abuse case ever mounted by Greater Manchester Police. He presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary based on the book called The Abuse Trial. It won both the Rose D’Or and the New York International radio awards in 2016. Officers involved in the case helped David with the police procedures featured in Black Moss, particularly the way the system deals with missing children. 

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