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When Sydney socialite Tottie Evans is found dead at a

house in Palm Beach, Detective Holly Sutton is called in to investigate. She immediately suspects the boyfriend,a millionaire property developer and ex-mercenary soldier, who refuses to cooperate with police.

Across the city, old-school reporter John Bailey – still

haunted by the death of his girlfriend, former cop

Sharon Dexter – gets a call about a break-in. It leads to the unearthing of an old case file on a murder at the men-only Sydney Club that Dexter had been pursuing a decade earlier. Her notes reveal a link between that murder and the killing of Tottie Evans.

Suddenly, John Bailey and Holly Sutton have the same mission. And for Bailey, this is a chance to finish a job for the woman who saved his life.

The only problem: a serial killer is already serving a life sentence for the Sydney Club murder.

Someone wants Russian millionaire Dmitry Lebedev dead. After years flying under the radar in Sydney, he’s just had a narrow escape when a sex worker is poisoned in his hotel room. In desperation he contacts his former CIA case officer, Ronnie Johnson, offering to expose a traitor inside the Australian government in return for protection.

John Bailey has spent decades risking his life to break news stories. Along the way he’s made some interesting friends, including Ronnie — who saved his life in Iraq — and Scarlett Merriman, whose night with Lebedev left her in a coma. And now they both need Bailey's help.

While Bailey investigates what happened to Scarlett,
Ronnie Johnson is calling in an old debt. Because the same people going after Lebedev have framed Ronnie for murder.

Shortlisted for the 2022 Danger Prize
Shortlisted for the 2022 Ned Kelly Award

Investigative journalist John Bailey is doing his best to turn his life around after losing the woman he loved. He has a new job. He’s given up the drink. He even has a dog.


But then Federal Police raid his home with a warrant granting them unprecedented powers to take anything they want, including all his electronic devices and passwords. When Bailey protests, they threaten to put him in a prison cell.

Someone wants to stop Bailey doing what he does best – exposing the truth. He has been investigating the rise of a global white supremacist group and suspects that a notorious neo-Nazi in the United States has been directing deadly racist attacks on Sydney’s streets.

When a body of one of his key sources washes up on a nearby beach, it’s clear Bailey and anyone helping him have become targets. Bailey reaches out to a ruthless old friend – CIA veteran, Ronnie Johnson – to lure the enemy from the shadows.

Battered war correspondent John Bailey has a history of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Finally he’s living something that resembles a normal life. But all that changes when a terrorist murders a woman in front of Bailey in London.


The mastermind behind the attack is Mustafa al-Baghdadi – the terrorist leader who kidnapped and tortured Bailey in Fallujah a decade ago.


Mustafa is plotting more attacks and back in Sydney, the people who matter most to Bailey have become targets.


Bailey turns to the only man who can help – ruthless CIA veteran Ronnie Johnson – to bring down the world’s most wanted terrorist.

When a sex worker is found murdered in a luxury Sydney apartment, John Bailey is ordered to cover the story by The Journal’s editor, who can’t trust anyone else.

The former war correspondent has barely worked in years. He’s been drinking himself to sleep to fight his nightmares of being kidnapped and tortured in Iraq.

One of the dead woman’s clients, an advisor to Australia’s Defence Minister, is chief suspect in her murder and he’s on the run. He contacts Bailey claiming that he has been set up to silence him over a conspiracy linked to China that could bring down the government.

To complicate matters, the investigating police detective is the woman Bailey walked out on a decade ago. When a ruthless CIA fixer turns up, followed by a murderous Chinese agent hot on his trail, Bailey realises he has stumbled onto the story of a lifetime – one that he might not live to tell.

What people are saying 

Ayliffe proves he is a master of the genre.
Sulari Gentill

Ayliffe knows his stuff... Killer Traitor Spy is a carefully crafted, propulsive thriller that sails uncomfortably close to the truth.
Michael Brissenden

This is a cracking read that blurs the line between fact and fiction. More please.
Michael Robotham

A cracking yarn told at breakneck speed. I couldn't put it down.
Chris Hammer

Sharp, gritty, sophisticated. Ayliffe's criminal world is terrifyingly real.
Candice Fox

A taut, compulsive mystery firmly grounded in real-world concerns from online misogyny to regional geopolitics … a gripping and relentless pursuit for truth and redemption.’
Dinuka McKenzie

A propulsive, sharply plotted spy thriller. Torn from the headlines and relentlessly paced.

Matthew Spencer

Sharp, incisive and scarily prescient, I was hooked from the first chapter to the final page.
Sara Foster

Bailey is charismatic, sarcastic and broken all rolled into one... a brilliantly written character starring in a cracking crime thriller.
Herald Sun

Utterly compelling and terrifyingly timely. I could not put it down.
Pip Drysdale

As a correspondent, I lived this world. Tim Ayliffe has written it. 
Stan Grant

Action packed scenes... as tight as any novel from the likes of David Baldacci or Lee Child.
Glam Adelaide

Ayliffe delivers a taut, nail-biting page-turner, stamping his mark on the modern day Australian thriller.
Better Reading

If Rake were a journalist, with a talent that equals his capacity for surviving being beaten up, Bailey would be him.
Julia Baird

Tim Ayliffe delivers a ripping yarn that wraps the struggle between world powers in the clothes of a crime thriller.
Chris Uhlmann

Tim Ayliffe weaves his deep knowledge of journalism and politics into a spellbinding thriller. You won’t be able to put it down.
Michael Rowland

Who needs Jason Bourne when you can have John Bailey? You won't be able to put it down.
Chris Bath

Where you can meet Tim


The Wrong Man book launch with Fran Kelly
Thurs July 4 7pm

Woollahra Hotel 116 Queen Street

Free event RSVP here


Wheelers Hill Library event with Michael Rowland

Thurs July 18 630pm

860 Ferntree Gully Road

Free event book here


Tues July 23 7pm

Speaking to Ben Hobson about Killer Traitor Spy and my thriller novels

Details here


The Book Cow Bookshop event with Barbie Robinson

Sun July 28 2pm

47 Jardine Street, Kingston

Free event book here

Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts (SMSA) w Catherine du Peloux Menage - Tues Aug 1 1230pm
280 Pitt Street, Sydney
Booking details here

Love, Crime & Wine @ Balaclava Community Library
Wed Aug 21 630pm
Free event book here

I'll also be at writers festivals later this year including Mudgee Readers Festival (Aug 17-18), BAD Sydney (Sept 12-14), Goulburn BookFest (Sept 13-14), Northern Beaches Readers Festival  (Sept 27-29.)

I'll update this page as more booking links open... so stay tuned!


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Jeanne Ryckmans @ KEY PEOPLE

Mob: +61 412 286 059


Simon & Schuster Australia

Tel: +61 2 9983 6617

Suite 19A, Level 1, Building C, 450 Miller St Cammeray NSW 2062 Australia

You can also email Tim directly below


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