The Tissue Trail Conspiracy – Garth Gunston


– Chris Holifield

January 2019 – Amazon Kindle Edition Review
The book was well-plotted with good characterisation, building to an exciting conclusion. Would recommend it. It would also make a good film!

June 2018 – Amazon Paperback Review
I loved this book and could not put it down. 5 stars from me.’

The Tissue Trail Conspiracy

Edward Thurston is a medical researcher and amateur photographer who is inexplicably detained by Nepalese authorities, and interrogated after taking footage of a high-altitude salt caravan on the Nepal Tibet border. Puzzled and bewildered, he tries to understand why.

Five female backpackers unknowingly carry heroin into Singapore, discovered in the souvenirs of their Tissue Trail trek from Nepal. Facing certain execution and terrified of what will happen to them, they fear their situation as hopeless, until a medical researcher accidentally exposes a politically explosive global conspiracy, one that the women may be pawns in.

Can he survive the numerous attempts on his life?

Will any glimpse of hope in his attempts to prove their innocence be thwarted by the conspiratorial framework chasing him?

This faced paced political thriller gets you unwittingly tangled up in the drug smuggling trade, and a gang’s plot to undermine countries bidding to host the Olympic Games. Nepal and Singapore serve as the perfect backdrop to the book’s descriptive narrative that explore conspiracy in believable detail.

Well-researched, entirely consuming, and kicked off with it’s dramatic opening chapter, the author incorporates the flavour of the region within the formidable injustices of the pharmaceuticals trade. A testament to fantastic writing and story-telling.

Available on Amazon:
Paperback edition: £9.85 – $15.95
Kindle edition: £2.95 – $3.95




In all normal circumstances, twenty-four-year-old Scot, Catherine Miller, would have been scheduled to hang on Friday, 6th July. Hanging day at Singapore’s Changi Women’s Prison was always Friday. But the level of protest in Catherine’s case, and that of four other young female western backpackers, had reached such extremes that at the last minute and with no public announcement, the Singapore Government had brought forward the executions to six p.m., Thursday the 5th, in an attempt to wrong-foot the mass protest planned for dawn on the Friday.

Catherine had been on death row since the beginning of June after being found guilty of the capital offense of importing heroin into Singapore despite being unaware of having done so. In the time since her trial and sentence, she had lived through the sounds of the hanging procedure and the hours preceding it on four separate occasions.

Each time she had laid on her bunk in the darkness of her cell, awake for most of the night, the heavy silence broken by gentle whimpering or sobbing and occasional agonised cries. Few, if any, of the women slept after two or three in the morning, all waiting for the sound which heralded the start of the hanging ritual: a distant heavy prison door closing with an echoing metallic thud. A few seconds later they would hear the distant footfalls of the approaching execution party gradually become louder, then stop and wait for an electronically controlled door to allow access to death row. There would be a further short silence before the hum of four electric motors opened four cell doors; followed by the sound of muffled voices as the condemned women were told it was time. And it was always “women” plural. Such was the frequency of executions in Singapore, even of women, that the execution chamber was designed to hang four simultaneously, with an elongated drop plate and a line of four black nooses.

Familiarity with the procedure after four weeks did not make it any easier. Little could soften the horror of women being led or dragged or carried away either screaming with terror, or crying out for mercy, or shouting defiant abuse, or quietly whimpering. Or even making no sound at all. In the chamber, the condemned women would have their wrists bound behind them, felt hoods placed over their heads, the nooses lowered electronically and adjusted to lie round the base of the neck. Then, when the prison clock struck the hour, the elongated drop plate would be released. There would be a resounding crash as the metal plate smashed into the walls of the concrete pit below. The echo would reverberate around the prison’s stone walls, then gradually fade as life faded from the four twitching and writhing bodies.

A factor which had helped in Catherine’s case was the deep catatonic depression she had descended into since the shock of her arrest and incarceration some three months earlier. It had served to dull her senses and effectively surround her with a protective mental cocoon. But on the next occasion it would be of little help. On the next occasion the execution party would stop at her door.

Two days earlier, in the British tradition, Catherine had been taken down to the chamber to be weighed and measured, and the wire supporting the noose had been electronically adjusted so that the noose could be pressed into the required position, fitting evenly around the base of her neck. Even then she had felt little reaction, just a shiver as the cold black oiled plastic rope touched her warm skin.

On Wednesday, 4th July, her lawyer Philip Lee had made an unexpected visit and her spirits had risen as she knew every effort was still being made to stop her execution, but the look on Lee’s face had been enough. He had not come to tell her there was going to be a last-minute pardon or granting of clemency or commuting of the sentence. On the contrary, he had to tell her that the time of the execution was being brought forward by twelve hours to six p.m. on Thursday, 5th July.


‘His medical connections provided contact with the National Criminal Investigation Service Drugs Division in London and the Central Criminal Court Singapore. But it was his involvement with international PR in the ‘drugs business’ which underpinned his first novel which initially appeared to be a heroin smuggling thriller but turned out to be a politically motivated, nail biting, edge of your seat wild ride with a beyond memorable white-knuckle climax’’.
(Professional review).

About the Author

“I’ve always been in writing – and drugs! First writing for my pharmacy college student newspaper then as head of health care communications in the UK for US ad agency BBDO/Omnicom, and now as a novelist!”

Garth is from the north of England, born and raised in Derbyshire where he first acquired the taste of the open country and fell in love with it. Garth met his wife, Jacky, at pharmacy school and have been together ever since, birthing three daughters.

Professionally his career in medical pharmaceutical marketing and communications led to him enacting that passion all across the globe, with some envious locations including: the Nepal Himalaya, Patagonian glaciers, sailing the Arctic and Caribbean, experiencing royal trains in India and Africa, white water in the Grand Canyon and to top it off, coming face to face with some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls in Venezuela, Uganda and Brazil.

Post leaving the pharmaceutical industry, Garth has owned residential and commercial property in the UK, Switzerland, and the British Virgin Islands.

Garth evokes such enthusiasm from his experience in aerobatic flying, which additionally helped in researching flights through the world’s deepest gorge in Nepal in The Tissue Trail Conspiracy (three times the depth of the Grand Canyon). He even manages to work a love, respect and appreciation for fine wine into the plot. Sold.

Garth has lived a varied and exciting working and private life, but potently still, there are two reviews for his first book that have given him an unrivalled sense of achievement:

“The first book to beat my dyslexia since having my three children. It restored my faith in reading.”

“The best book I’ve read in a decade, perhaps the best ever”. – Engineer

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Look out for Garth’s second novel, The Red Nile Conspiracy, which will feature again the management and manipulation of ‘the front pages’ that has the same quality of drive and tension that The Tissue Trail has experienced such success with.