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Overview, Reviews & BUY: SANDMAN

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Lazing through hot summer days at their beach hut, life seems just about perfect for the Vincent family—until their peace is shattered by murder. An incident between Paul Vincent and Stevie Clarke—an unbalanced beachcomber known by some as 'The Sandman'—leads Paul to inform the police he believes Clarke is the murderer. This provokes frightening and prolonged reprisals against the family from Clarke. Matters deteriorate further when Leah, Paul’s teenage daughter, unwittingly reveals evidence to the police that implicates her own father. This gripping psychological thriller places turbulent emotions in stark contrast to beautiful surroundings, testimony to the fragile nature of tranquility.


'SANDMAN' is a modern atmospheric psychological thriller set in real locations in the South of England — supported, on this website, by information about the settings. It is character-driven fiction framed by an essential plot. 'Popular Fiction' or 'Contemporary Ficton' are possible assignation of genre. It does not sacrifice character for intensity, nor is plot missing to focus on character. Because there is always an underlying tension and threat, the novel is perhaps best described as a 'psychological thriller' or 'mystery thriller'.

I used real locations in Dorset, England, in order to add reality and presence; this includes Christchurch Harbour, Mudeford Sandbank, Hengistbury Head, Christchurch itself and other nearby locations. If they are familiar, you should be able to imagine yourself there; if they are not, you may just want to discover the inherent beauty to be found in many of them. Hopefully this shines through since the plot is intimately interwoven with the scenery. Check out the supporting pages for SANDMAN to find more information on the setting.

The principal characters are protagonist Paul Vincent, an architect, his beautiful wife Sasha, their strong-minded teenage daughter Leah, and the strange and potentially dangerous antagonist, Stevie Clarke, who soon becomes the bane of their life. Point-of-view switches mainly between these characters, showing how interpretation can vary so much according to point-of-view. I do hope you enjoy sharing their happiness.. and fears. There must, of course, be fears — when there is a murderer on the loose.

Video Trailer

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Media Reviews

'A gripping psychological read with characters that reach out and grab you. A real

—SOPHIE KING (bestselling author of The Wedding Party and other novels)

Sandman is Ian Kingsley’s first fiction novel. Published this year by New Generation Publishing, Sandman is about two very different men who encounter each other in a setting that is both liberating and stifling for both men at one point or another. It’s about murder and misunderstanding as soon as their paths cross, but most of all, this story is about people, their desires and what they would do to fulfill them. Kingsley has said himself:

'What interests me most is exploring how unusual circumstances throw ordinary people into extraordinary situations.'

And that is exactly what you’re going to get in Sandman. If you enjoy a good whodunnit then Sandman is an easy and enjoyable read set in a picturesque harbour area of England close to Bournemouth. But this mystery is different from other crime novels for it has a very character driven element that is often not as well developed as in Sandman. This is what gives Sandman that psychological thriller element because it deals with real people who are faced with emotions and experiences that we can all very easily identify with like jealousy, guilt, fear, rage, and yet also empathy, love, and responsibility to family. But it’s not just the two main characters that are well developed, there’s a cast of characters that are all so real, who all contribute to the story in a unique and unpredictable way. This is the one aspect of Sandman which I most enjoyed – the characters – full and fleshy, they are difficult not to follow and even more difficult not to identify with.

Another aspect of this novel which cannot be overlooked is the power of the setting. Kingsley notes in the beginning that the novel’s setting is inspired by the beautiful (and real) Mudeford Sandbank, Christchurch town and Christchurch Harbour, Hengistbury Head and Wick village, near Bournemouth, England. Obviously, there are bits and pieces which are fictional, specifically buildings like beach huts, houses, etc. I found the beautiful beach setting to be a wonderful contrast to the events of the novel as well as the state of mind of some of the characters. The setting is well described and fresh – a treat for anyone whether you’re from England or not. This skill is probably owed to the travel articles Kingsley publishes for his travel website

Take a look at the map of the novel’s setting. (Click the map for an enlargement.)

Click for an enlarged view of this map

I read this novel in one afternoon, it is a good read well worth your time. Kingsley is currently working on his second fiction project. This second project is described by Kingsley:

'If Sandman is a novel to make you scared or cry at times, this will be a novel to make you think at times.'

Apparently this novel will be set in various locations around the world with its base setting being Bath, England. I can hardly wait.

For other writers, Kingsley intends on publishing articles to aid you in the writing process so keep an eye out for that. You can find all this information and more on the author’s official website

Lilolia Book Reviews

The Vincent family is set to enjoy some downtime at their Mudeford Sandbank beach hut, near Christchurch Harbour in Dorset, England. It doesn’t take long for a shocking, brutal murder to disturb this tranquil setting in Sandman by author Ian Kingsley.

We meet Paul Vincent, his wife, Sasha, and their 13-year-old daughter, Leah, at a windsurfing lesson. We quickly learn how Sasha’s flirting brings out the worst in Paul. Paul finds himself apologising for a jealous outburst directed at the windsurf instructor. The point-of-view switches to actress Carol Davis recalling her horrifying rape on the beach not far from the Vincent’s hut by a man wearing a balaclava. This two-pronged opening with a peaceful beach scene and a violent assault in the opening chapter hooked me instantly.

It has been said that good fiction must have conflict. Kingsley has included enough conflict here for two novels. An incident on the beach puts Paul at odds with a young disturbed loner, a man named Stevie Clarke. Clarke, known by the locals as “the sandman”, doesn’t do well with confrontation. His resentment boils; he produces a large knife and aggressively warns Paul, “I’ll kill you the next time you cross me.” A short time after a jogger is killed, Paul informs the police that he believes Clarke is the killer. Clarke is desperate to get even with Paul for putting the police on him and he begins to stalk Leah relentlessly.

The police appear inept in their effort to catch the killer despite an obvious connection to the previous rape on the beach. Carol Davis contacts Paul and soon the pair are working together to prove to the police Stevie Clark is the killer/rapist. Leah’s attempt to help with the investigation only serves to muddy her father’s work when she hands over evidence that implicates Paul as the murderer to the detectives.

Sandman touches our primary emotions: jealousy, love, fear, hatred, and grief. As a father, I related to Paul’s unwavering commitment to keep his family safe. I also understood his discomfort with his wife’s tendency to flirt openly with men. Kingsley has written an intriguing mystery/psychological thriller with interesting, believable and well-developed characters. There are twists, turns, red herrings, and a healthy dose of hair-raising fear and suspense to keep even the most fickle reader captivated. The dialogue is authentic, and, along with the scene-painting narrative, you’ll feel like you’re on the beach witnessing the unfolding action.

Just when you think you have it all sorted out, the author changes directions — successfully keeping you guessing until the final pages. When you begin Sandman make sure you set aside a good bit of time, for you won’t stop reading until the last page is savoured. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy a great mystery!

—WILLIAM POTTER (Reader’s Choice Reviews -)

Kingsley knows how to draw an array of appealing characters, inject suspense, and paint scenes
Norman Goldman, Editor of
also an '
Top 500 Reviewer'

Note: Extracts from the following review have been removed because they include 'plot spoilers'...

When Paul Vincent became embroiled with a young unbalanced lad, Stevie Clark over a nearly dangerous accident concerning his young fourteen-year old daughter Leah, he hasn't a clue what the future would hold for him and his family...

In Psychology there is recognition of a kind of behavior known as cognitive bias which is used to describe many distortions in the human mind that can lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, or even illogical interpretation. It is with this in mind that Ian Kingsley hooks us in with his debut winner 'Sandman' — an author who knows how to draw an array of appealing characters, inject suspense, and paint scenes with the skill of a seasoned travel writer. In fact, Kingsley is the webmaster of his own travel website.

With the yarn gathering force, readers can't help turn the pages compulsively, as we are seduced with small details and quick punchy dialogue... We are to discover, and a concept that underlies all good mysteries, nothing is as it seems...

What is intriguing about 'Sandman' is that reading it made me think I was watching a movie focusing on several characters that all are subtly interwoven into the threads of each others' lives... Moreover, it is a novel that you may want to re-read, once for the sheer thrill of the story and again to fully absorb its implications.

Reader Reviews

May I take the opportunity of thanking readers for the kind reviews they have posted on Amazon and other sites. It is greatly appreciated.

Some Amazon Reader Reviews

Note that reviewers are in the United States and reviewers in the UK.

Thrilling read
Sheila Perry —

I was drawn to this novel as I am familiar with the setting at Mudeford, Hengisbury Head and Christchurch, and know a little of the way of life of the beach hut owners. I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. The characters were all totally believable and there were many twists and turns to the plot. Just when I thought I had it all figured out everything changed. So many facets of human nature are explored and exposed. This is a page turning thriller, the author's first fiction but I sincerely hope more will follow soon.

Did the Sandman do it?
Michele Tater for The Couch Tater Review —

Paul Vincent, an architect, is married to Sasha, a stunning beautiful woman, and father to their fourteen year old daughter whom thankfully took after her mom in the looks department. As their dream home is having its finishing touch done, they decide to take a much needed time off at a beach hut at Mudeford Sandbank in Dorset, England. What could be better than toes in the sand, fresh sea air to inhale and hearing the breaking of waves. As they lazily enjoy their holiday, they are not aware of trouble brewing in a nearby area.

The meeting of the "Sandman" aka Stevie Clarke, and the Vincent's on the beach is anything but friendly. Stevie seems to be unable to communicate without a knife in his hand. Could he be behind the recent unbelievable violent attack on an aspiring actress, Carol Davis?

During a party hosted by the Vincent's, Paul has to come face-to-face to the realization of what his wife's constant flirting has resulted in. This momentous occurrence starts a series of events that has Paul questioning his marriage, Stevie accused of crimes that he insists he has not committed and a family forever changed.

That is just a small taste of the story line in Ian Kingsley's "Sandman". I am giving only a sampling of it so not to ruin the main courses available for the reader to savor. This book is, a no-brainier really, a day at the beach or pool side read, but I think reading it in the dead of winter can give a reader reason for warmth. You are able to relate to the Vincent family and are able to sympathize with them as well. Although you may think you have this book all figured out, trust me you don't, wait until the end.

Must read book
JJ —

I didn't know how this book would end until the last few pages. There were lots of twists. Just couldn't put the book down and read it in 24 hours.

A very exciting gripping read
Mel H —

I loved this book. Couldn't put it down, very engrossing and kept you thinking right to the end. Would definitely recommend this book.

Let this book entertain your guests
J Cormier (New England) —

It's time for a Saturday night curl up your toes and cuddle in the corner thriller chiller mystery. What starts out so right ends up so wrong on this vacation trip for the Vincent family. For appetizers, a murder and for entrees pick one since there is enough to choose from as the tales unfold throughout the book. 'The Sandman' is a local person, Stevie Clarke, and handles himself like any person who despises or dislikes people or for that matter anyone who gets in his face — and that is, with a weapon. A murder occurs and who could have done it? They want it to be Clarke and, of course, that would be too easy. The author, Ian Kingsley, strings you along until the end. What a great story! It is the memories of the characters that bring in half the fright and add the tension to the night. Read this one with a friend and share the couch. Then, when you are done, you can leave it on the bureau for an overnight guest. Then you will not have to worry about entertaining them... let the "Sandman" do it.

A Psychological Thriller
Theresa Hurley (USA)—

Note: Extracts from the following review have been removed because they include 'plot spoilers'...

If you love a mystery that will keep you captivated from the very beginning, then "Sandman" by Ian Kingsley is for you. A psychological thriller, you travel along the journey that Kingsley masterfully unfolds and you never know what is awaiting you around the next turn. On a family vacation at the beach on the south coast of England, Paul Vincent, his wife Sasha and their daughter Leah face a family's worst nightmare, [a] brutal murder... All signs point to Stevie Clark, called 'The Sandman' by the locals, a somewhat unbalanced loner. But is this a case of things are not as they seem?

I totally enjoyed reading this book. The author skillfully portrayed the characters and they are beautifully interwoven. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a mystery that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

Very good read
emmie (Dorset, UK) —

This book kept me enthralled right to the end. In fact I couldn't put it down. It had lots of twists and turns and kept me guessing right to the end. I hope the author writes more psychological thrillers. The area he chose in the book is a beautiful place and well worth a visit.

A real page turner
Book-lover —

Readers beware... you will not be able to put this book down! That being said let me explain why. This book is a perfect mystery novel because the author leads readers down a wild [goose] chase only to end up with something else entirely. This book will grip readers and will not let go until the last page.

Ian Kingsley provides very believable, well-developed characters, but nothing is as it seems. Every character has motive and each motive can be traced back to the murder; it's a perfect crime novel. It keeps readers guessing, thinking that they have the right murderer in mind only to find out that at the end that it is not so. It's funny how the author is able to play with our basic instinct, which is we tend to judge a person's character well before we even get a chance to know him/her. If you like mystery and crime, this book will not disappoint you.

Sandman by Ian Kingsley
Ray (local to the setting) —

This was an excellent read and very hard to put down. The book is extremely thought provoking with lots of twists and turns. Local interest is a good addition aiding imagination with the main characters being very real, making this book a pleasure to read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it, especially to locals and visitors, who are familiar to the area. I hope this novel will be Ian Kingsley's first of many.

A mystery of your dreams
M. Stanhope (Chesapeake, VA) —

It was what we all remembered as a child. We never wanted to close our eyes or look under the bed for fear of the thrills and chills we knew had us holding our eyes closed shut tight until the morning. You've got a page turner on this one and it will not disappoint. Will the family rise about it or will it take its toll and tear everyone apart? How strong would your family be in the same situation? This book has it all with its jealousy, fighting and frightening memories.

Love is overheated and protected by all until the end. Threats are made but are they carried out? You know there will always be two sides to every story but in this case no matter what side you are reading it makes you turn the page to get back to the other side. If you want your thriller and mystery then 'Sandman' by Ian Kingsley will meet your needs. This is one to give out to your friends and to keep on the shelf for that late rainy night.

A very addictive psychological thriller
Alison Cole —

Set in lovely scenery this book is really enjoyable and gripping. It's very hard to put down once you start reading it and will keep you guessing right to the end. Highly recommended.

A thrilling ride from start to finish
G. Reba (Panama City, FL) —

"Sandman" by Ian Kingsley presents the perfect case of "you can't judge a book by it's cover" as the most likely person to suspect is not always the person that committed the crime.

At books opening, the author lulls you in with a safe harbor of words as the scene shows a family seeking solace and time together away from the crazy world. Then, he violently thrashes the surrounding waters almost upending your craft as he introduces the reason this family should find that calm unsettling. The two stories intertwine when a brutal murder occurs creating havoc among the small community, but mostly for the father figure, Paul, and a local, Clarke, known as "The Sandman". It seems both had reason enough to commit the crime... the real question is... who did it?

An emotional thriller with just enough twists to keep the ending undistubed by the reader's attempts as guessing... perfect for that weekend escape to the beach, just don't let your imagination run away with you.

A real page turner
GR —

"Sandman" by Ian Kingsley is a book that begs to be read. From page one, you are drawn into the story created and you won't want to put it down. The thrills and chills normally associated with mystery/thriller novels are all there in bright and shiny color just waiting for an idle afternoon needing a kick start. There's the seemingly perfect family, complete with a slightly overly flirtatious wife and daughter in training... or at least that's the way it seems through the eyes of the father, the overly protective father, whom it turns out had fairly good reasons to worry, a murder, a mystery, and a whole lot more. Watch as the story is revealed before your eyes from the comfort of your own home, or favorite reading locale. If you're a fan of this genre, this is one you won't want to miss.

Holiday turns into a nightmare in this thrilling page turner
bookworm (Durham, NC) —

"Sandman" by Ian Kingsley is an extraordinary thriller that tells the tale of a family's vacation turning into a nightmare through murder, rape and most of all lack of trust and wrong accusations leveled against the innocent.

Ian Kingsley has written a phenomenal mystery story that has all the elements of a murder mystery combined with the suspense of a thriller, resulting in a book that keeps the reader guessing at the next developments, while making the reader continue to read to determine how this story can be untwisted to reach a conclusion.

A family is having a nice holiday, father, mother and daughter spending some family time at the beach. But then things go wrong, from an unusual character "Sandman" whose appearance is the beginning of things to come. In a number of twists and turns that threaten to tear the family apart, the characters have to work with and at the same time against the police to claim their innocence while determining who committed murder. Family loyalties are tested and surprising twists keep the reader guessing throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book to any fan of a good mystery or thriller. It really keeps the reader guessing with all the twists and turns.

This Sandman will not help you sleep!
kratzy (USA) —

"Sandman" is a modern thriller by Ian Kingsley that keeps the reader captured in the twists of a story with many underpinnings. From a rather inept police force trying to solve a murder and rape, which may or may not be connected, to the suspicions that threaten to tear a family apart, this story has everything that makes a good mystery story. Suspense and interesting plot twists, as well as a series of well developed characters that add to the unique storyline, Ian Kingsley has written a thrilling mystery that the reader will not be able to put down, once started.

The story starts off innocently enough with a well intended family vacation, but encounters with some of the local characters, most prominently an odd loaner caller Sandman, lead to murder, kidnapping and expose how an inept policy force can almost destroy the lives of the innocent. Some well intended actions backfire and the family at the center of the story pays a price that almost threatens to tear them apart, just when they need to support each other.
This book is perfect for vacation reading, but will also definitely please everyone that is a fan of serious mystery books.

CThwaite —

I found this a gripping book that was hard to put down. The characterisations and dialogue are very realistic and good. All in all a very enjoyable read. I'll be keeping an eye out for any future Ian Kingsley fiction.

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There is much more information about this novel on Shelfari


Have you the time to review or tag SANDMAN?

If you enjoy reading SANDMAN I would be most grateful for your reader review on Amazon or Smashwords.

Another simple way you could help to promote SANDMAN is to go to its Amazon page and just click to confirm the tags in the section way down the page. That ensures searches using the tag phrases include this book; the more confirmations the higher it is on the list.

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Either way, very many thanks for buying the book and any time you can give in this way!

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Releated Book Club notes
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PRINT COPY List Price £7.99
Published by:
New Generation Publishing

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in the best bookshop

Bookends Bookshop and
Art Centre

67 High Street, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1AU.
Tel. 01202-479059

Demand frequently exceeds the shelf stock at Bookends. If SANDMAN is not on the shelf, ask to order a copy. To avoid a wasted visit, order by phone and be notified when they get your copy in.

Want to read another Christchurch/Bournemouth novel?

This novel is set in and around Christchurch in the UK. If you live in the Bournemouth or Christchurch area, or know it, and would like to read another of my novels set there, please check-out my mystery thriller: The Grave Concerns of Jennifer Lloyd!

Read an author interview

get beyond the
covers here!

If you enjoyed reading SANDMAN, please consider posting a reader review on or Thank you so much! Ian.

If you have already read 'SANDMAN'...

you are invited to join the author commentary and get behind the covers — but please don't spoil things for yourself by entering here until you have read the entire book. To enter this page you need to correctly answer the following question:

What is the first name of Stevie's next-door neighbour?

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P4 Characterisation Tool

Prior to writing SANDMAN, Ian Kingsley undertook extensive research into the psychology of personality types. He discovered the perfect characterisation model, comprising 16 'normal' and 16 associated 'disorder' types. In order to make these more accessible he created the 'P4 Personality Mapping Tool' with an intuitive graphical interface that shows the interaction of types and allows rapid access to detailed personality profiles from quick type analysis.

P4 is a tremendously powerful tool for novelists wishing to create believable characters. It also offers great insight for anyone who wants to better understand family, friends, colleagues or clients.

Learn which buttons to press to achieve total co-operation from anyone you know! A tutorial is included.

Click here for full details of P4


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