Chris McGillion

I write crime novels to weave my interests in history, politics, philosophy, and anthropology into stories that unlock unique locations.
I live and write in the world-heritage listed Blue Mountains west of Sydney

About Me

After careers in journalism and academia, I began writing crime novels to weave my interests in history, politics, philosophy, and anthropology into stories that unlock unique locations to members of the general public. My particular interest in Timor Leste (East Timor) stems from regular visits to the country since 2010. Over the years I have been involved in various activities including media development, agricultural communication, and nutritional initiatives.

The East Timor Crime Series pits modern policing methods against traditional beliefs in demons, witchcraft, ancestral spirits, and animal totems that are still strongly held today in different parts of the country.

Photo: President Jose Ramos Horta of Timor-Leste receives copies of The Crocodile’s Kill and The Sand Digger’s Skull.

Some places have a special way of capturing your imagination on several different levels. Timor-Leste (East Timor) does that to me.

Recent non-fiction

US Policy Toward Chile in the 1970s

Frustrated Ambitions, (co-authored), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2019

Reagan and Pinochet

The struggle over U.S. policy toward Chile, (co-authored), Cambridge University Press, New York, 2015.


The Catholic Church and Child Sexual Abuse, (co-authored), ATF, Adelaide, 2014.

Recent books

Coming in April, 2024

Timorese police investigator Vincintino Cordero is assigned the case of two youths, rival gang members, found a week apart with their throats slit and a betel quid placed in their mouths. The case distracts him from spending time with FBI Agent Sara Carter before she completes her INTERPOL assignment and heads home to Arizona. But … Read more

The Sand Digger’s Skull

Second book in the East Timor Crime Series comes out in April, 2023. You can pre-order on any online book retail site or direct from Coffeetown Press (US). An agnostic Catholic priest and an old woman believed to be a witch become key to FBI Agent Sara Carter and her Timorese police colleague, Vincintino Cordero, … Read more

The Crocodile’s Kill

Babies are being abducted from their homes in the mountains along East Timor’s southern border with Indonesia. Local villagers believe the babies are sacrificed in order to appease ancestral spirits disturbed by development projects encroaching on traditional land. FBI Agent Sara Carter, on secondment to INTERPOL, is assigned to investigate the case which is suspected … Read more

Recent writing tips

Descriptive Writing

At its best, descriptive writing is thoroughly enriching; at its worst, it’s a flight of fancy that gratifies the writer but bores – and perhaps annoys – the reader. Good descriptive writing is a discipline. It requires close observation and careful word choice. It must always serve its essential purpose which is to take the … Read more


Tension – or ‘keeping the pages turning’ Tension in novels is usually constructed from the way characters – big and small – confront situations. Let’s focus for a second on two of those words: ‘constructed’ and ‘small’. By ‘constructed’ I mean that each element of tension needs to be carefully thought through so that it … Read more

Characters and Plots

I bet you’d remember at least some of these ‘people’ and probably three or four: They’re all characters in books – characters. The plots of the books that feature those characters are harder to recall. Why? Because readers tend to remember characters more than they remember plots and that, in turn, is because people relate … Read more