Tim Ayliffe on Using Fiction to Shine a Light in Dark Places

Tim Ayliffe on Using Fiction to Shine a Light in Dark Places

Sometimes fiction is the best way to get to the truth.

The truth was exactly where I started from when I sat down to write The Enemy Within.

On the 5th of June, 2019, I was at my desk at ABC TV News Channel in Sydney when a colleague rushed over to tell me the Australian Federal Police were raiding the building.

The AFP were chasing the source of a story that had been written two years earlier by ABC journalists, Sam Clark and Dan Oakes, about alleged human rights violations committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

The warrant that was used to raid the ABC granted the AFP a power that still disturbs me today. Officers were permitted to “add, copy, delete or alter” the ABC’s files. It was written in black and white. The police could dive in and delete materials in the ABC’s computers.

So disturbed by what was happening that day, my colleague – Head of Investigations, John Lyons – sat in the room and live tweeted everything he saw. Within hours, global media in the US, UK and elsewhere had picked up the story and questions were being asked about the freedom of the press in a democratic country like Australia.

At the time, I had been researching white supremacism and far-right nationalism because I wanted to set my next John Bailey thriller novel in these murky worlds that were growing more powerful by the day. And then I got a call from my publisher, Fiona Henderson. “Those AFP raids would make a great plot line,” she said.

The extraordinary power within the warrant used to raid the ABC was disturbing enough, but I thought to myself: what if that power got into the wrong hands?

Fiona was right, police raids on a journalist would make a great plotline.

Bailey would soon find himself not only investigating white supremacists but also fighting back against a federal police officer who wanted to take him down.

In my crime thriller novels, I like shining lights in dark places to explore some of the harder truths about our world.

In The Enemy Within I got so close to the truth that even I was disturbed by what I saw.

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                Publisher details

                The Enemy Within
                Author
                Tim Ayliffe
                Publisher
                Simon and Schuster
                Genre
                Fiction
                Released
                28 July, 2021
                ISBN
                9781925640977

                Synopsis

                Like Michael Connelly’s Bosch, former war correspondent John Bailey will risk everything to get to the truth – and expose a deadly enemy. He heard a voice, someone calling out in the distance, followed by a loud fluttering of birds. Bailey looked up just in time to see a body falling from the sky. Investigative journalist John Bailey is doing his best to turn his life around after losing the woman he loved. He has a new job. He’s given up the drink. He even has a dog. But then Federal Police raid his home with a warrant granting them unprecedented powers to take anything they want, including all his electronic devices and passwords. When Bailey protests, they threaten to put him in a prison cell. Someone wants to stop Bailey doing what he does best – exposing the truth. He has been investigating the rise of a global white supremacist group and suspects that a notorious neo-Nazi in the United States has been directing deadly racist attacks on Sydney’s streets. When the body of one of his key sources washes up on a nearby beach, it’s clear Bailey and anyone helping him have become targets. Bailey reaches out to a ruthless old friend – CIA veteran, Ronnie Johnson – to lure the enemy from the shadows.
                Tim Ayliffe
                About the author

                Tim Ayliffe

                Tim Ayliffe has been a journalist for almost 20 years and is the Managing Editor of Television and Video for ABC News. He has also worked as TV News Editor for ABC News and the Executive Producer of ABC News Breakfast. Before joining the ABC in 2006, Tim worked in London for Sky News as a digital and television journalist. The Greater Good is the first book in a three-book series featuring John Bailey. When he's not writing or chasing news stories Tim rides bikes and surfs. He lives in Sydney with his wife, Justine Dougherty, and their two children, Penelope and Arthur.

                Books by Tim Ayliffe

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