AJ West at Truman Books

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
AJ West
AJ West. Image supplied by Leeds Inspired

An evening with thriller writer AJ West at Truman Books, Leeds 22 July 2024 Tickets from £8.00 — Book now

Bestselling author AJ West’s latest historical thriller The Betrayal of Thomas True has been described by Stephen Fry as “really very good” and Farsley independent Truman Books is giving you the chance to hear more.

Set in the hidden world of Georgian London’s gay scene and molly houses, The Betrayal of Thomas True is described as “a brutal and devastating thriller”. Playwright Jonathan Harvey says it’s “fierce, funny and fabulous”, while three-time winner of the August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel Catriona Ward calls it “ heartbreaking, beautiful, lyrical” and says: “I’ve rarely been so transported, moved and gripped by a story from the first page. You won’t want to put it down.”

Here’s the blurb: It is the year 1715, and Thomas True has arrived on old London Bridge with a dangerous secret. One night, lost amongst the squalor of London’s hidden back streets, he finds himself drawn into the outrageous underworld of the molly houses. Meanwhile, carpenter Gabriel Griffin struggles to hide his double life as Lotty, the molly’s silent guard. When the queen of all ‘he-harlots’, Mother Clap, confides in him about a deadly threat, he realises his friends are facing imminent execution. To the horror of all mollies, there is a rat amongst them, betraying their secrets to a pair of murderous Justices, hell-bent on punishing sinners with the noose. Can Gabriel unmask the traitor before it’s too late? Can he save hapless Thomas from peril, and their own impossible love?

The Betrayal of Thomas True is the follow-up to AJ West’s debut novel The Spirit Engineer, which won the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown Award, gaining international praise for its telling of a long-forgotten true story. Published in October 2021 by Duckworth Books, it has sold over 17,000 copies and .

Originally from Buckinghamshire, and now living in London with his husband, AJ West studied English Literature at university in Preston before becoming a radio and television producer, news presenter and journalist at the BBC in London and Northern Ireland. He has written for national newspapers and magazines, and has appeared on programmes including BBC BreakfastGood Morning BritainThis Morning and the legendary reality television show, Big Brother – as a contestant! A passionate historical researcher, he regularly appears on network television discussing his writing and the historical context of contemporary events, and writes at The London Library and museum archives around the world.

Find out more about literary places in Leeds here.

An evening with thriller writer AJ West at Truman Books, Leeds 22 July 2024 Tickets from £8.00 Book now

Where to go near AJ West at Truman Books

Sunny Bank Mills Gallery
Sunny Bank Mills Gallery

Sunny Bank Mills Gallery is a light and airy art gallery inside a former cloth warehouse, in the heart of Farsley village.

Event venue
The Old Woollen

A 500-capacity venue in Farsley, presenting the finest music, comedy and performance. Run by Trouble at Mill Events and Sunny Bank Mills, twinned with Farsley Constitutional.

The Constitutional
Event venue
The Constitutional

A club for working persons, presenting the finest comedy, theatre, spoken-word, music, quizzes and craft ales.

pudsey market
Pudsey Market

Pudsey Market is a traditional style market in Pudsey, just outside the centre of Leeds.

Bradford Industrial Museum

Bradford’s Industrial Museum transports you back to the cities former incarnation, as a powerhouse of the north. See working machinery, the living spaces of mill owners and workers as well as contemporary responses to the archive.

Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds
Tourist Attraction
Kirkstall Abbey

Founded in 1152, Kirkstall Abbey on the bank of the River Aire is one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian monastery in Britain.

Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds
Abbey House Museum

If your children struggle to imagine life without tablets, iPhone games or a PlayStation, then a trip to Abbey House Museum should prove an eye-opening experience.


Rajshahi has been serving up authentic Indian food, packed with soul and flavour, for decades, winning over the hearts and bellies of the locals.

Cona Restaurant
Cona Restaurant

Stylish and modern Halal steak restaurant that specialises in high-quality cuts of beef.

Bradford Playhouse

Bradford Playhouse is a beautiful Art Deco theatre with a vintage bar situated in the heart of Little Germany, Bradford’s cultural quarter.

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