A Perception of Sin

A Perception of Sin is a dark tale of forbidden sex, loneliness and love.

The story begins in modern-day London with a suicide bomb attack aboard an underground train. During the subsequent forensic investigation DNA taken from one of the adult victims, Kasha Hughes, is flagged up as a match to a Cold Case blood sample, dating back 25 years.

The case is re-opened with chilling consequences.

Chapter 1

LONDON - March 3rd 2009

Chapter 1 - Kasha

Before the screaming starts, London wakes to its normal rhythm of commuter life. Commercial planes, setting courses on their global trajectories, soar in layered patterns across the London skies. Trains shunt in and out of stations while the M25 is clogged like a fat man’s calcified arteries.

Kasha Hughes is leaving for work. She grabs her white jacket, locks the door to the London flat and runs down the communal stairway. Turning the old brass catch on the heavy front door, she steps out and hears the familiar clunk behind her. A northeasterly wind bites into her clothing and catches at her hair, but Kasha is too happy to care. She is in love.

Smiling to herself, she walks swiftly to Shepherd’s Bush underground station and joins the slipstream of people on a downward escalator. Unconsciously adjusting her balance and spatial awareness, she thinks about Sam. A sudden surge of happiness sends a shiver down her spine as she once again thanks some kind of omnipotent being, she approximately classes as God, for their chance meeting.

The shuddering escalator rumbles in its endless motion and Kasha feels the heat of humankind trapped in the underground passages rise up to meet her. Stepping from the staircase she weaves her way through the tide of commuters and waits in her usual place on the platform. A high-pitched whine announces the arrival of the incoming train and she watches the blurred lines settle into a solid form as it slows to a stop. The doors slide open and she squeezes herself into the already full carriage. Touching is now unavoidable as the travellers are crammed in tight. No seats, no room, no dignity. Pressed against a dark green suit jacket she thinks about texting Sam, but knows she will have to wait for the crush to lessen before she can get her phone out. Seven stops on and Kasha can claim more space. Manoeuvring herself into the central aisle she pulls the phone from her handbag. The over-head light flickers, causing her to look up. Meeting another passenger’s eyes she smiles at him without thinking. The train jolts and she sways in unison with the other travellers as they enter another lit station. Focusing back on the phone she types,

Hello u.

Still on for tonite? Xxx

Pressing send she hears the doors rattle shut and feels the engine’s power shoot through her body.

“Next stop and a cup of coffee,” she thinks as the train gathers speed and thunders along the deep tunnel. Slipping the phone back into her handbag she glances up and sees the green suited man she’d been so intimately squashed against.

“He’s kinda sexy in an older-man sort of way,” she thinks. He looks up from his newspaper as if he has detected her thoughts and she sees his eyes widen, his body stiffen and his lips move. But she cannot hear what he is saying as the carriage is suddenly filled with an enormous, blinding noise. A noise that sucks the air from her lungs, like a vacuum-sealed bag.

He watches as part of the train seat, which only a moment before he had longed to sit in, flies with a menagerie of everyday items through the oval-shaped space. His grasp on time shifts. Each microsecond flattens into a stretched beat as the seat leisurely twists, presenting its sharp metal inserts towards the girl with the amazing hair. He desperately wants to look away but his eyes stay focused as slowly, oh so very slowly, the metal cleaves through her flesh, slicing her open with the accuracy of a dissecting butcher’s knife. He feels her hot blood splatter his face, followed almost immediately by more solid body parts as the contents of the girl’s torso hit him hard, driving out the last of his breath. It causes him to crumple. Gasping for air, he feels himself travelling with the mess that had once been human. Forward, back, up, down, he cannot judge. The disorientation is total. Then, quite suddenly, he slams hard into a rigid surface and drops to the floor. His mind splits, fragmenting between blind panic and logical reasoning, both parts demanding action with the same objective: survival.

Reaching out in an automatic reflex, in answer to his desperate terror, his fingers search for something or somebody, anything he can anchor his life to. He can’t see. He can’t hear. Then he can, he can hear too much as the sound of slaughter rises out of the darkness, hot, black and wet. Pushing himself up he feverishly checks his body, grasping his balls then madly patting down each leg to find his feet.

“FUCK. FUCK. FUCK,” he sobs frantically in time with the patting. Finding himself whole his fucks lessen in intensity. He catches movement off to his left, then a voice reaching out from the darkness. A voice full of reason that penetrates the cacophony of horror. A voice of hope that will set him free to breathe again, to feel the earth solid below his feet and the sun warm on his face. A voice repeating an instruction,

“Be calm, the rescue services will be with us soon.”

A voice that tells him he’s alive.

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An original and definitely one to watch

It's not that often that a book truly surprises me, but this maiden novel had me enthralled and kept me guessing until the very end. Its a delight to discover a new writer who has the courage to challenge the reader, doesn't waste time spoon-feeding us hints, expects us to use our intelligence to keep up with her pace and is willing to push all the emotional buttons and take us well and truly out of our comfort zone from time to time. Its also wonderful to get to the end of a book and not once have felt that you've read this plot before somewhere. An original and definitely one to watch. Can't wait for the next offering.

FB - East Anglia on 13 February 2018


Fantastically written, gripping story. What an imagination the author has. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and highly recommend this excellent read.

Mrs T Ismaili on 2 November 2017

***A must Read***

Highly recommended, I could not put this book down, very gripping read.

Princess82 on 21 October 2017


Heartbreaking and yet you can not stop turning the pages to find out what's going to happen next. Highly recommend

ms h c eades on 6 October 2017


Definitely didn't see the ending, well written
First time reading this author and would definitely read more of her works

Silverlady on 1 September 2017

Just brilliant

I read and read and just occasionally I read something that stays with me, this was one of those books. Just simply brilliant.

Elaine Taylor on 20 August 2017

Made me think

A brave and visceral book. Numerous characters and expansive breadth and plot development. I struggled sometimes to come back to it - mainly because of how busy I currently am I found it required effort from me to give both the stories and the characters the attention they deserved. It wasn't an 'easy' read. Some really, really tough stuff in here. But it made me think, particularly on issues of unconcious bias and societal mores. I intend buying the audio book, too, so I can listen to it without distraction. The immediacy of the present tense makes it gripping and real. This is an essay on morality in many ways. An uncomfortable read. But a valuable one.

Amazon Customer on 30 July 2017


I was thoroughly taken with this book, which seemed to be more concerned with minute dissection of the intricacies of human frailties, guilts, desires and worries than with traditional formulaic plotting, and made a very thought-provoking change. The only disappointment was the dramatic horror at the end, which seemed to belong to a different genre.

SuzM on 20 June 2017

A great read!

This is a riveting tale of lives spanning three generations, lives touched by tragedy, deception, denial, and greed. Cromwell has woven the lives and the sins of the characters with skill and talent.
This book gives us insight into human nature and human frailty. It is a tale of revenge and of karma for the characters'' misdeed. I am hard to surprise, but the ending surprised me. A great read!

Sandra Jeffs on 20 June 2017

Really moving

This story of people who come together through troubles and loves is moving. The threads join together and although there is sadness there is also a real reaching into the hearts and emotions of each. Difficult topics are repeatedly raised in a deeply understanding way and even the horrors are handled with care. A fantastic read with excellent writing style.

J. Clark on 1 May 2017

A fantastic book.

A brilliant story about a woman's overwhelming grief for her abducted daughter. Both moving and hard hitting i thought this was a great book and would thoroughly recommend it.

Brad n Stoke on 27 April 2017


This, wow!
It is not an easy read, it is web of stories intricately tied together so perfectly and as such it is a read you have to concentrate completely on but it is so worth every second of complete concentration. Seeing how the stories of individual characters pan out and combine was a pleasure, discovering the sins that were twisted in the web was heart breaking in places. So many small actions that impacted so dramatically on the lives of those involved. Perfection!

Sally on 17 April 2017

A brilliant and shocking story!

A moving literary piece, Juliette Cromwell’s A Perception of Sin takes the reader on a roller-coaster emotional ride.
A lovely and innocent young woman, who carries a secret that even she is unaware of, is brutally murdered and becomes the source of an outpouring of love and pain for so many of the lives she’s touched. The ordeal of two families is inextricably woven together when the girl’s DNA sample reveals an unbelievable detail from twenty-four years prior. From there, we begin a journey dating back from the D-day invasion of Normandy and the Nazi war camps to modern-day England.
Our characters are richly developed: a homely woman whose best companion is an equally homely dog; grandparents who have known lost love, longing, and the atrocities of war; a woman who selfishly only sees her own needs at the peril of others and ultimately herself; and a young, lost college student who experiences his own tragedy.
Cromwell carries us deep into the cesspool of sin and the effects and unexpected consequences of our characters’ weaknesses. She manages to clearly portray how basic human need and desire, driving us blindly, is often the undoing of otherwise well-meaning humans. Clamoring for what is not ours to the point that our behavior is beyond objectionable is so clearly defined in this masterfully written novel, that it causes us to pause for introspection and personal inventory.
A story that stays with you for days after completion, this wonderfully crafted work digs deeply into human emotion. Is it perfect? No, it isn’t, but it is still a wonderful read despite a few flaws. Mostly, and despite usually great prose, there were spots in this novel that were marred with poor editing and proofreading. Smooth writing for several chapters would abruptly turn to a smattering of typos and punctuation errors along with the usage of a few incorrect words. But in the end, I can’t help but to give this otherwise brilliantly crafted story a five-star rating! The plot, the characters, and the raw emotion they produced make it easy for this reader to overlook a few flaws! Bravo, Juliette Cromwell! I anxiously await your next story!

Amber Skye on 16 February 2017

Excellent book

Thoroughly enjoyed this thought provoking book. I'm a whimp so a bit scared in places but glad I stuck it out.

Amazon Customer on 1 February 2017

Captivating read

A captivating read by a talented author. I was impressed at how well written this was. The writing flowed easily from page to page.
I discovered this book on Twitter and the cover sold it to me.

All Things D on 23 January 2017

A book that makes you think!

A really gripping, intense story with such clever twists. A brilliant read..... looking forward to more.

Amazon Customer on 31 December 2016


An excellent read. The story grabs your attention from the start, and then gets into your head. An impressive feat for a first novel. I look forward to more from Juliet Cromwell.

Amazon Customer on 20 December 2016

An exceptional book!

What an amazing book! Cleverly linking the characters of several generations this is a portrayal of every kind of sin. It doesn’t assess or deem to categorise the immensity of the sin, it merely shows us and leaves the ‘perception’ of their severity to the reader. It is characterisation at its most perfect and demonstrates the author’s understanding of humanity. Exceptional! It is one of those books you cannot stop thinking about even when put down and making the dinner, your thoughts are perusing the complexities of the story. If this is the author’s first book it promises of more to come. Juliet Cromwell is an exceptional writer. Pat McDonald British Crime Author

Pat McDonald on 10 December 2016


I literally couldn't put it down. Amazing first book, I can't wait to read more. The characters had a depth that most writers never manage to convey. I cried with empathy, was uncomfortable when things took a bizarre twist, and ultimately feel like I've been on a journey through the characters lives, absolutely brilliant, well done

Kindle Customer on 15 October 2016

Captivating Read!!!!

Throughly enjoyed reading this book.
From start to finish I was hooked and could not put it down!
It has surprising twists and turns throughout which are definitely unexpected. This book is written so well that I found myself Immersed within the emotions of the story, the description of settings and characters made it so easy to visualise. Amazing book, would definitely recommend!!

Amazon Customer on 22 September 2016

Gripping read!

Juliet Cromwell`s debut novel had me gripped from the beginning! Her story features several characters who are intertwined with each other but not quite sure until we get to the end,then it all clicks in place. As a native of Essex it was wonderful to be able to relate to local places, including Suffolk! The story unravels slowly, each character lovingly introduced to us, even Lydia, had her appeal. If you enjoy books with depth, haunting love, quiet passion,great escapism from the mundane and a mother's love and grief that knows no limits.....this is for you! Enjoy the book! I look forward to her next one!

Redlotus on 4 September 2016

A Perception of Sin. Complex, Dark - Captured my interest.

I liked this book very much. The story explores the complex motivations behind peoples' actions, and I found myself drawn into the intertwined lives of the characters. I was amused by the honeymoon awkwardness of Mum and Dad, moved by poignancy of Edward's letter, and loved the stout loyalty of Neb. My heart was in my mouth as the book moved towards its conclusion, and would recommend it to everyone.

Amazon Customer on 30 August 2016


A brilliantly written pyschological patchwork of different people's lives and their effect on each other. Starting off in the 1930s and ending up in present day, this heart-breaking story grips you from the first page. I couldn't put it down! One of the best stories I've read this year. A well deserved five stars.

Kindle Customer on 29 August 2016

A thought-provoking read that made a lasting impression...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book- it took me a while to be pulled in and understand how the characters and their different situations were interwoven but I found myself engrossed and it made a lasting impression and has stayed with me as a good book should. An excellent holiday read that had me turning pages and empathising with many of the key characters in turn.
A Perception of Sin is an excellent title as the story has you questioning your own interpretation of 'sin' throughout. It is a deep exploration of loss, its far reaching impact on others and the ripple effect created by selfish actions. There were elements of every character I could identify with at times and as their stories unfolded the honesty of the writing challenged my own ideas about what I might do in the same situations.
Well worth persevering to 'get into' and gripping to the final chapter which adds depth and a further dimension to the story.
I look forward to another read as thought provoking!

Alice on 9 August 2016

So touching

A Perception of Sin spans 3 generations, the Second World War and 9/11· It follows the tumultuous events of 2 families linked by one deed; the repercussions of which has a long-lasting effect which takes us to a final conclusion.
Cromwell pours much of what makes us human into this novel and, at times, touches a very raw nerve. We think we know the characters well until they shock and surprise us with their actions.
A real page turner for those interested in the (sometimes hidden) History of Britain, and of the dynamics of families.

hi on 28 May 2016

A brilliant read.

Fantastic book.
What a masterpiece of rollercoaster emotions. It certainly makes you think and question your thoughts and instincts as the story unfolds.
The characters are incredibly well portrayed and the twists, left me wanting more.
A brilliant read.

Amazon Customer on 18 May 2016


Well... I wasn't sure what to expect from the book but got hooked really quickly and couldn't put it down. Brilliant read thank you... looking forward to the next book?!

Sharon Taylor on 11 May 2016

Fantastic, beautifully written, thought provoking story - highly recommended

wow what an amazing story. Juliet Cromwell is a beautiful writer, the time and research that must have gone into such a book to cover the generations of family, the history and to bring it right up to date to the current time and the difficult concerns we have to deal with on a daily basis. The story takes you on a roller coaster of emotions, at times I laughed at other time I had tears rolling down my face because of the sad parts. It covers so many areas but it was so easy to read because of the way it was written. The characters and storyline flowed so easily.
I would highly recommend this book it is a true masterpiece and I'm looking forward to the next book from This author.

Tracey Allen on 13 April 2016

Highly recommended

A gripping story with believable characters and some unexpected twists - really enjoyed it.

Shani on 31 March 2016

Generations of intrigue

I was surprised at how difficult this book was to put down. I would have preferred a printed book because of the desire to go back to check names and places. We follow generations through hard times, hard choices, strange desires and wrong turns. A fantastic tying up of all loose ends too.

Mrs Line Page on 1 February 2016

Such an intriguing title!

A Perception of Sin . . . as soon as I heard that intriguing title I knew I wanted to find out more. I have to say I was not disappointed. Juliet Cromwell leads us into a world so clearly and vividly described that it is hard not to feel that we are really there in the thick of it all. The characters are brought to life with clarity and once I started reading I knew that I didn’t want to stop. I highly recommend this book as an excellent read.

S J Levy on 20 January 2016

Read this clever story

I've just finished this clever story. You are not quite sure how all the strands are to come together to begin with but then the book deftly moves towards the main dark ending. Do read it!

Amazon Customer on 19 January 2016

A five star read!

Wow what a wonderful book....such clever writing keeps you so involved page after page! When is the next one available??

Linda Wallace on 16 December 2015

Superb read

An easy and very enjoyable book to read. Each chapter made you wanting to know more about the characters and their lives. Juliet Cromwell writes with considerable passion and you feel it through the whole book.

Amazon Customer on 1 December 2015

A brilliant book, well written and exciting to read!

I loved how the book portrayed each character's perception of sin without judgement, leaving me to make up my own mind about their morals - but throughout I did wonder what I would do in those situations.

Holly on 30 November 2015

Great book, quite dark and sinister at times

Great book, quite dark and sinister at times, a real page turner. I loved the development of characters and how you can empathise with all their different views. I would highly recommend this book as I could not put it down, five stars from me.

Mr A K Burford on 23 November 2015

Fantastic! Must read!

I was captivated by A Perception of Sin! I will without doubt share this book among Family and Friends. It is a fantastic reflection on the Author’s imagination and original ideas to create both characters and a fictional storyline, which is a must read! I adore Chapter 11 "Sausages" and urge the reader to watch out for Chapter's 49 and 50!

Amazon Customer on 22 November 2015