Erin Kelly

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Erin Kelly headshot (c) John Godwin


Working with: Eli Keren

Film, TV & Theatre

Assistant: Lili Davies


Erin Kelly is the author of five novels. Her most recent novel, Sunday Times bestseller HE SAID/SHE SAID, was shorlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards, was shortlisted for Crime and Thriller Book of the Year, was a Simon Mayo Radio 2 Book Club pick and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick.

Her debut novel, The Poison Tree, which was a major ITV drama, a Richard and Judy Bestseller and longlisted for the John Creasy Dagger Award, and in 2013 Erin was chosen to write the official novel of the Bafta-winning Broadchurch.

Her work has been translated into seventeen languages.

Erin has been a freelance journalist since 1998, and also teaches creative writing.

She lives in London with her family.

For film, theatre and TV enquiries, please contact Yasmin McDonald at United Agents.


Current publication:


You can’t keep the secret.

You can’t tell the truth.

You can’t escape the past

Marianne was seventeen when she fled her home, her family, her boyfriend Jesse and the body they buried. Now, forced to return, she can feel the past closing around her. And Jesse, who never forgave her for leaving, is finally threatening to expose the truth. Marianne will do anything to protect the life she’s built; the husband and daughter who must never know. Even if it means turning to her worst enemy…

But Marianne may not know the whole story – and she isn’t the only one with secrets they’d kill to keep. Moving back through time to reveal twists you’ll never see coming, STONE MOTHERS is the gripping new suspense novel from the bestselling author of HE SAID/SHE SAID.

Early praise for STONE MOTHERS:

·  A beautifully dark, Gothic story of characters haunted by their past: poignant and tragic, full of unexpected shifts and twists, addictively scary and thrillingly audacious. - Nicci French

·  The incomparable Erin Kelly has written another captivating, cleverly constructed contemporary novel. - Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

·  The plot is so CLEVER, the characterisation weep-makingly wise, and the writing is perfection. It is great. - Marian Keyes, author of The Break

·  A great read... another twisty, layered, nuanced story, filled with complexity and shadows. - Ruth Ware, author of The Death of Mrs Westaway

·  A wonderful page-turner full of dark secrets - atmospheric and intense with a gripping plot. Beautifully and cleverly written, STONE MOTHERS tells the tale of the Nazareth Mental Hospital, its impact on a community and the consequences one incident has on the lives of the characters involved. I loved it. - Jenny Quintana

·  Atmospheric, compelling and worryingly apposite. This is powerful storytelling for the times we're in. - Tammy Cohen

·  STONE MOTHERS is a pitch-perfect, beautifully-written, literary crime novel. I pressed my copy into the hands of a friend as soon as I'd finished it. - Paula Daly

·  What a storyteller Erin Kelly is. The women in this story and the ways in which their lives are entwined, the echoes of the past, the weight of secrets, the fear and the intimacy - it's all here. Simply spectacular. - Sarah Hilary

·  An atmospheric tale of buried truths and the devastating consequences, I was fascinated and horrified in equal measure. Another triumph from Erin Kelly. - SJI Holliday, author of The Lingering

·  Chilling, spine-tingling with a pace that leaves you breathless. STONE MOTHERS is a beautifully written puzzle, a thriller with heart that had me racing through the pages to find out what happens. - Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat

·  STONE MOTHERS... is a complex, suspenseful and moving story about motherhood and vulnerability. I loved the way Erin Kelly switched competing narratives to make us question our own perspectives on such a fraught subject as how we provide care for the mentally ill. - Isabelle Grey, author of the DI Grace Fisher series

·  A treat for anyone who loves their suspense gothic and poignant. The chilling Nazareth Mental Hospital haunts the lives of all who come there, reserving its coldest touch for those women who dare have ambition. - Lucie Whitehouse

·  A plot to die for, with characters so real you can hear them breathing. Let Erin Kelly's STONE MOTHERS take you by the hand and hold on tightly for the ride. A truly exceptional read. - Lucy Dawson, author of White Lies

·  Holy hell, Erin Kelly gets better and better! STONE MOTHERS made me weep, smile and tremble all at once. Prose so razor sharp I wanted to savour it but a plot so pacy I couldn't help racing through it. Brilliantly moving. - Holly Seddon

·  Full of sentences that are so good I want to write them down and pin them to the wall. - Mark Edwards, author of In Her Shadow

·  Kelly is a masterful storyteller. The twists and turns keep you gripped until the very last page... This is a brilliant, beautiful book - and an important one. - Paul Burston

·  From the opening, pulse-raising first line, STONE MOTHERS is absolutely riveting and so beautifully written. This is Erin Kelly at the top of her game - and that's saying something after HE SAID/SHE SAID. - Michelle Davies, author of False Witness

·  STONE MOTHERS is a beautifully dark and chilling story and I was gripped from start to finish. I am in awe of Erin Kelly's superb writing. - Heidi Perks, author of Now You See Her

·  Loved STONE MOTHERS by the genius that is Erin Kelly. Gripping, moving, impossible to put down and fiendishly readable, fascinating but wears its meticulous research so lightly, just awesome. She's done it again. - Laura Marshall, author of Friend Request

·  I loved STONE MOTHERS... Manages brilliantly to be at once sharp and gentle, cruel and compassionate. Kelly really does just keep getting better and better. - Julia Crouch, author of Her Husband's Lover

·  It is rare when exquisite plotting and damn fine writing come together, but Erin does it every time, seamlessly. STONE MOTHERS is an absorbing, humane and intriguing story that will have readers enthralled. - Liz Nugent, author of Skin Deep

·  Brilliantly written and so ambitious in terms of plotting and atmosphere... the perfect storm of a crime novel. - Caz Frear, author of Sweet Little Lies

·  Absolutely brilliant! Well crafted, twisty and beautifully written. - Jenny Blackhurst

·  Kelly's ingenious, smart, engrossing books fill me with joy. Her twisted understanding of human nature is second to none. - Alex Marwood, author of The Darkest Secret

·  Erin Kelly is on sparkling storytelling form in a tale as dark and labyrinthine as the corridors of the crumbling Victorian asylum at its heart. As well as a creepy mystery she creates a razor-sharp evocation of growing up in small town 1980s Suffolk - and how you can never escape the past. - Anya Lipska

·  Dickensian in scope and atmosphere, superbly researched and absolutely gripping. - Sinead Crowley


Previous publication:


In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden... something she never could have guessed.

Praise for HE SAID/SHE SAID:

A tour de force - a gripping, twisting, furiously clever read that asks all the right questions and keeps you guessing until the very end. I loved it. (Ruth Ware, author of The Woman in Cabin 10)

I'm calling it: THIS is the book I wish I'd written (Clare Mackintosh, author of I See You)

It's magnificent. Stunningly twisty plot and weep-makingly brilliant writing (Marian Keyes, author of The Woman Who Stole My Life)

It's SO good...I was carrying it around the house I was so gripped (Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent)

Not just a tense psychological drama but a meditation on the complex view. Kelly brilliantly uses the eclipse as metaphor, exploring the fact that though we long for black and white, the partial view is all we ever get. Dive in. (Susie Steiner, author of Missing, Presumed)

Twisted, atmospheric and perfectly plotted. Her best yet. (Jenny Blackhurst, author of How I Lost You)

Deliciously tense and twisty. (Sharon Bolton, author of Daisy in Chains)

Erin Kelly keeps you guessing to the very last page, she cleverly reminds us of our own fallibility and gullibility (Adele Parks, author of The Stranger in My Home)

A taut, cleverly constructed novel about what we see, know and understand - and how they are not always the same thing. Prepare to step into the darkness... (Linda Green, author of While My Eyes Were Closed)

Superbly twisty and readable thriller; pure enjoyment (Jenny Colgan, author of The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After)

superbly dark and complex psychological thriller from a really exceptional author. Kelly' s beautiful and atmospheric writing pulls you in from the first page. I read right into the night. (Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat)

I devoured it...weaves such a delicate line between everyone's version of the truth, it was impossible to stop reading. (Holly Seddon, author of Try Not to Breathe)

Kelly is a beautiful writer who can conjure an atmosphere with exceptional skill...a fantastic psychological thriller replete with mystery and misdirection (Alex Marwood, author of The Darkest Secret)

Multi-layered and stylish, with characters you feel you know, dilemmas you can imagine grappling with, and a hurtling plot that's unpatronising and clever to the last page. My admiration for Erin Kelly has just gone up another notch. (Helen Fitzgerald, author of Viral)

Erin Kelly speaks the language of tension fluently. HE SAID/SHE SAID will make you question everything you know and suspect everyone you think you can trust. My first response was to read it all over again, to see where the traps were set. (Janet Ellis, author of The Butcher's Hook)

Deeply immersive... an ingeniously constructed and thrilling novel about the many different forms of betrayal (Claire Kendal, author of The Book of You)

It has a twist, and a stunning one at that but there is much more to this superbly written psychological drama...Intelligent, thought provoking and utterly compelling, this book held me spell bound until the very last page. (Sinéad Crowley, author of Are You Watching Me?)

Tense, beautifully written and with a real gut-punch of a twist (Claire McGowan, author of The Lost)

Fantastic... a real tour de force, with characters I won't forget any time soon (Kate Rhodes, author of Crossbones Yard)

Kelly proves herself (once again) a mistress of the dark arts of psychological thriller writing with sinuous storytelling that beguiles and entraps the reader. Lingers in the mind long after the final page. Set to be the psych thriller of 2017 (Anya Lipska, author of Where the Devil Can’t Go)

I loved this book...Exceptionally clever. (Julia Crouch, author of Cuckoo)

HE SAID/SHE SAID tantalisingly exposes the lives of beautifully drawn characters, holding them under a magnifying glass as the consequences of one terrifying moment during an eclipse ripple out over the years. With all the anticipation and tension of an actual eclipse - mysterious, breathtaking, powerful - Erin Kelly captures the essence of the 'unputdownable novel' by combining fear, breathtaking twists and turns, as well as her trademark bewitching prose. (Samantha Hayes, author of Until You're Mine)

A masterclass in drip-fed suspense, beautifully written and astutely observed. This book left me extremely tense throughout - in a good way! (SJI Holliday, author of Willow Walk)

An addictive read. The mystery and majesty of the total solar eclipses lends an eerie inevitability to the doomed and twisted attempts of Erin Kelly's all-too-human characters to control their lives. (Isabelle Grey, author of The Bad Mother)

haunting and beautifully twisted tale of desire and deceit. Erin Kelly is the kind of writer whose work you read and instantly wish it were your own. (Colette McBeth, author of The Life I Left Behind)

HE SAID/SHE SAID is simply won't be able to look away. Erin Kelly is a class act on top form. (Lucy Dawson, author of You Sent Me a Letter)

Kept me guessing, kept me gripped and kept me thinking (T.R. Richmond, author of What She Left)

I loved HE SAID/SHE SAID. Beautifully written, gripping and as twisty and dangerous as a 400-page-long rattlesnake, this is Erin Kelly at the absolute top of her game, and everyone else's too (William Ryan, author of The Constant Soldier)

Love and its twisted opposite, truth and lies that shade from little white to pitch-dark. Here be images to haunt you and characters to make you doubt your own judgement. (Lucie Whitehouse, author of Keep You Close)

From the very first sentence, HE SAID/SHE SAID casts a shadow - how to undo what is done. The ending is as inevitable as it is dark; it swept me away and I enjoyed every minute of it. (Alexandra Burt, author of Little Girl Gone)

Brilliant. A masterclass in how to write a gripping psychological thriller. (Louise Millar)

Thought-provoking and sensitively handled (Stylist)

clever, compulsive read, which sinks its claws into you and won't let go (Red magazine)


Praise for Erin Kelly:
"Another tension-filled mystery filled with compelling characters and plot twists." Bella
"Prepare to be gripped." Fabulous Magazine
"An elegantly plotted, convincing and beautifully written thriller." Sunday Mirror
"One of the most gripping new reads around - perfect for getting lost in on the morning commute." Grazia
"A gripping story of revenge, brought to life by obsessive, intriguing, true-to-life characters." Irish Tatler
"Kelly moves from the brilliant claustrophobia of her earlier novels to this intelligent and gripping thriller about the past and the way it shapes us. Highly recommended." Catholic Herald
"Erin Kelly's psychological insight and taut plot create a highly satisfying thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat." Daily Record
"This is a tightly written thriller that keeps the pressure full on to the end." Buzz
"Erin Kelly's fourth novel sees her develop her already impressive crime writing skills as she moves away from the domestic thriller to a tale of thuggery in Sixties Brighton... Full of well-drawn characters and heart-stopping moments, Kelly's book is deeply satisfying." Sunday Express
"Flitting between present and past, the story is particularly affecting in its atmospheric re-creation of Brighton's historical criminal underworld... Equally gripping is the paranoid Luke's slide into moral relativism, as he increasingly aligns himself with malign forces..." The Irish Times
"Erin Kelly weaves a masterful web of intrigue, lies and divided loyalties to create a highly satisfying thriller. Rating: 9/10" Daily Post North Wales

“Erin Kelly is a seriously good writer, and this gripping novel is her best yet. I really loved it - couldn't put it down!” Sophie Hannah

"[Kelly] has proved herself – with three books – to be among the most accomplished and pin-sharp of writers working in the crime genre." Barry Forshaw, Independent

"Kelly has hit her stride in this third outing, a classic dark thriller combining suspense with gorgeous, evocative prose... With writing so seductive and multiple voices that are pitch-perfect for the characters she’s created, Kelly shows that she is a writer who doesn't need to keep repeating herself to stay in the game." Kirkus

"The Burning Air is a clever, creepy exploration of the deceit hidden even within the most apparently loving of families and the very fine line between justice and revenge. Erin Kelly is brilliant at showing the relentlessness of obsession and the evil that can be done in the name of love." Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner

“In a strong field, Kelly is among the strongest. Her formidable control of plot twist and character keep you gripped, unsure of the outcome, until the bitter end.” Alex Marwood, author of Wicked Girls

“An author in total command of the tensions within dysfunctional families… Gripping all the way” Marcel Berlins, The Times

"The Burning Air is a classic of the psychological thriller genre and puts Kelly firmly in the same league as Ruth Rendell writing under her Barbara Vine pseudonym; both women showing a great gift for characterisation and a mastery of understanding human nature’s twisted desires… I loved it ... Erin Kelly puts a satisfying contemporary spin on her genre, showing a sympathy for all her characters, even the supposed ‘baddies’, and a love of a moral dilemma which could happen to any one of us. It is this realism, a hand-grenade thrown into uneventful and supposedly comfortable lives, which makes The Burning Air such an involving read."  Sunday Express                 

"Expect dark secrets and a killer twist. So thrilling, this book will have you sleeping with the lights on." Company

"Another ah-maz-ing book by Erin Kelly. She’s one of the best psychological thriller writers out there just now… The Burning Air is nothing short of brilliant… a genuinely gripping read and at the end, you still don’t quite know who to trust. You’ll be thinking about it for weeks." Cosmopolitan 

“Erin Kelly has produced another excellent psychological thriller in The Burning Air. Dark, chilling and with nail biting twists, I read deep into the night, unable to put it down. From start to finish, I was gripped by the story of the MacBride family and their mysterious stalker. A must read for all fans of the psychological thriller.” New Books Magazine

"Heart-pounding and page-turning … You won’t be able to get anything else done until you’ve finished it… completely compelling: just take the phone off the hook and cancel any plans you might have"  Heat (5 stars)

"Erin Kelly masterminds her most psychological thriller yet… has a twist so shocking you’ll need a lie down" Grazia

"Suspenseful and clever . . . her best so far" Literary Review

"Kelly excels at thrillers set in middle-England idylls, that sidestep the clichéd and the cosy to go for the jugular. [The Burning Air] sees her reach another level." Independent on Sunday 

"Everything you want from a psychological thriller – elegant writing, clever plotting, shocking twists and a looming sense of menace… Erin Kelly just gets better and better with every book!" Good Housekeeping

"Her creepiest and classiest yet" Elle

"An atmospheric setting and an absolutely genius twist… Nothing is as it seems in this tense domestic drama, as fresh revelations uncover a maze of interconnected secrets" Marie Claire

"You’ll be transfixed as you uncover the truth in this unputdownable novel" Easy Living 

"It’s not often I read a book where the twist is so surprising, I have to go back and work out how I missed it, but that’s what  happened here… Brilliant and heart-stopping"  Woman

"Her new book is every bit as dark and intriguing as her previous novels" Bella

"Full of can’t-bear-to-look intensity, this is a great, taut read" Red

"Brilliant" InStyle

"If you were glued to ITV’s recent psychological drama The Poison Tree, get your nose in the author’s latest spine-chiller, pronto… Family politics mixed with revenge make for a super-spooky read" Look

"Extremely clever… The writing is exemplary… If this was a film, it would be an Alfred Hitchcock great."

"A skilfully woven web of revelations, showing how past mistakes come back to haunt the future… a chilling, atmospheric book that is almost impossible to put down. There is no-let up in the tension as we hurtle towards the shocking conclusion" Press Association

"Compelling: a macabre tale of motherhood and vengeance"  Woman’s Weekly

"Kelly’s most accomplished book to date… a gripping tale of secrets, revenge and obsession, masterfully done."  Guardian

"A masterfully plotted dark tale of how a small injustice can have devastating consequences. I devoured it in one sitting" Irish Independent

"Written with empathy, psychological insight and a real feel for the menace and conflict at the heart of families, it’s a superior example of its genre" Big Issue

"Very cleverly written and full of unexpected twists as the tension keeps being ratcheted up another notch before the big reveal at the end…. Deeply enjoyable but deeply unsettling: the perfect mixture for a psychological thriller!" The Sun - Fabulous blog  

"Her narrative choreographs a succession of hints, twists and revelations with elegance and precision.  The novel is beautifully written and the characters have a dreadful plausibility about them that engulfs you in their untidy lives. Like all the best psychological thrillers, this one leaves the reader feeling mildly traumatised – and hungry for the author’s next book." Spectator

"'The Burning Air once again highlights the originality of Erin Kelly’s plot lines and her ability to build anticipation that, in my opinion, is rarely matched by other thriller/suspense writers. Her ability of taking something everyday and warping it into something dark and twisted, whilst effortlessly weaving sequences from all parts of the characters’ lives is not something everyone can do… This book is a definite page turner that once picked up cannot be put down, with an inventive plot and characters that grab you and hold on tight whilst steering you through the subtle complexities." 


Publication DetailsNotes

Hodder & Stoughton

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden... something she never could have guessed.


Hodder & Stoughton

THE TIES THAT BIND is the fourth novel from Erin Kelly, the author of THE POISON TREE and THE BURNING AIR. Gripping, twisty and compelling, it confirms her as a mistress of psychological suspense.


Hodder & Stoughton

"Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late." The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time. The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on - but when they leave her looking after Sophie's baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest . . .


Hodder & Stoughton

'You kept my secret. I know yours now. That makes us even.'
Paul has been led into a life of crime by his schoolyard protector, Daniel - but one night what started as petty theft escalates fatally. Now, at nineteen, Paul must bear witness against his friend to avoid imprisonment.

Louisa has her own dark secrets. Having fled from them many years ago she now spends her days steeped in history, renovating the grounds of a crumbling Elizabethan mansion. But the her fragile peace is shattered when she meets Paul; he's the image of the one person she never thought she'd see again.

A relationship develops between them, and Louisa starts to believe she can experience the happiness she had given up on; but it soon becomes apparent that neither of them can outrun their violent past . . .


Hodder & Stoughton

THE POISON TREE, Erin Kelly's debut novel, is set in the sweltering summer of 1997. Karen, a straight-laced, straight-A university student, meets the impossibly glamorous Biba, a bohemian orphan who lives in a crumbling old mansion in Highgate with her enigmatic brother Rex. She is soon drawn into their world – but from the present-day passages, we know that something terrible will happen. We just don’t know who will end up dead..

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2x60' Starring Matthew Goode, MyAnna Buring and Ophelia Lovibond