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Tim Ayliffe’s latest novel is a sharp and brilliantly crafted thriller that wouldn’t be out of place among recent headlines. The Enemy Within is the third to feature John Bailey - investigative journalist and former war correspondent - as he risks everything to get to the truth – and expose a deadly enemy. We asked Tim how his own background as a journalist informs his writing, other writers he admires and more.

Can you tell us a little about your protagonist, former war correspondent John Bailey?

TA: John Bailey is an old school investigative journalist with a dry sense of humour and a healthy distrust of authority. He’s good at breaking stories which often leads him to get under the skin of powerful and dangerous people. As a recovering alcoholic, Bailey spent years trying to drink away the trauma that still keeps him awake at night. But he’s determined not to be that guy anymore. Chasing news stories and the daily early morning walks he takes with the dog his daughter bought him for company are helping Bailey lead a more normal life.


The Enemy Within is the third book in the John Bailey series, but can you read this as a standalone?

TA: All of my books are written as standalones. I blend just enough of Bailey’s backstory into The Enemy Within so readers don’t need to worry about reading them in order.


How does your background as a journalist feed into your novels?

TA: I’m lucky that my day job is like research for the crime thrillers I write. I meet a lot of interesting people and sometimes get told things I probably shouldn’t know.

Rave reviews for Tim Ayliffe's new John Bailey thriller, The Enemy Within


How close to the truth do the themes and stories in your book get?

TA: The Enemy Within is probably the closest thing to reality I’ve written. John Bailey is investigating the growing threat of white supremacist groups when his house is raided by federal police chasing the source for one of his stories. The warrant used by the AFP to raid the ABC in 2019 granted police the extraordinary power to ‘add, copy, delete or alter’ our files. In The Enemy Within, I explore how power like that can be abused.


Chris Hammer, Stan Grant and Candice Fox are fans of your work. Who are some of the writers that you admire?

TA: There are so many! The three writers you’ve mentioned, for a start. I think the best crime thriller books are the ones that tell us hard truths about our world. I’ve got plenty of books by Michael Connelly and Peter Temple on the shelf and I also really enjoy David Ignatius’s spy thrillers.


The Enemy Within by Tim Ayliffe is available in store and online now.

The Enemy Within
Tim Ayliffe

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