Their Days – Believing Sight Unseen – May #1

Their beginning redrafted, the writing tightened – Sam and Erin, and Amy – their May to September, their story… two of them from three.

…..

May

 It started on a Sunday, early May in England.

Sam sits, eyes shaded, hands clasped behind his head. Sweat beads on his chest, bared to blend with weathered arms and neck. Beads merge, abs define their line down to his faded combats.

A vibration, his left hand goes to his pocket. He grips his mobile, oddly, between thumb and unoccupied ring-finger. A message, base instinct, he needs to go inside to read. Effortlessly he rises; her eyes half open, her senses tune to the rhythm of his flip-flop walk to and beyond the kitchen door.

Sam opens the message to read a single line:

I’m here, you’re here, what are we waiting for?

He takes in a thumbnail photo, a young woman, coyly posed, stunningly attractive. “Why would a woman who looks like that message me? Why is she on a site like this at all? She could get any man she wants,” he lip syncs as if to a song. He looks at her in disbelief, her natural smile and easy style radiating almost innocence.

Sam fires off a reply:

Sites like this are not my thing, yet somehow you’ve captivated me, by chance, by fate I wouldn’t know. What I do know is I have to say hello, I’m Sam and spell-bound by your smile.

Exhilarated, he feels he’s been indoors for ages, yet the oven clock shows just three minutes.

Back in his garden, she’s where he left her, her eyes closed, her breathing deep. He kneels, and as their shadows merge he strokes her upturned palm. Her heart-line traced, she jolts, grips his fingers, earths them on her exposed thigh. Her wild eyes within a blink, re-adjust to her familiar composure. His fingers lift, his prints fade; her daydream moistness lingers.

Sam sits back on his heels. “Sorry, Amy, a message I had to deal with.” That smile, that face of his, magnetic, pulling at her core, his touch confusing her as always. “That’s okay, Sam, I should be going anyway.”

Without words, they stand, Sam walks Amy to her car. They kiss cheeks, their lips untouched as ever.

She says, “Good to see you.”

He says, “I’ll call you.”

Amy drives away, not looking back,  before her eyes betray her.

Sam looks up the road, till all sight and sound of her has gone, one hand holds air, the other in his pocket; he shakes his head. So many things unsaid.

The evening sun goes down; there’s a slight chill, he slips a polo shirt on. Womanbought, a well-worn shade of pink, as is his sun-touched skin beneath. He sits, restless, in the chair that held her. His fingers caress its wooden arms; he feels a prick… a splinter. Standing, he squeezes the shard free. A single drop of blood falls, smears, as his still muted phone gyrates across the glass-topped table. A second line from her:

Oh my goodness, do you mean that? I’m Erin by the way.

Their days, their lines, begin.

Roots of Corruption – planted!

mde

I’ve just received my signed copy of Laura Laakso’s ‘Roots of Corruption’ ahead of its official publication next month, on the 26th March. My thanks to Louise of Louise Walters Books, and for the individual touches she brings to everything ‘books’ – there was a fragment of what I take to be a spiders web on the back of one of the ivy leaves tied in place around my copy – it has to mean something – it’s the way author Laura Laakso’s mind works; mind you it might just be me!

This is the third book of the ‘Wilde Investigations’ series – and though I’ve not read a word of it yet I know it will be magic – I’ve read the other two!  Once you read these books, walking (and getting lost) in London will take on a different feel, as if breathing in a different atmosphere.

The back cover blurb, as with the other two titles, finds that balance of drawing in, enticing, giving the savour of anticipation, without spoiling  –  ah, yes, the ivy leaves, their presence now understood.

By the way, all three books, the trilogy, are available as a money saving box set  – my review of ‘Fallible Justice’ can be found here; and for ‘Echo Murders’, here. My review for ‘Roots of Corruption’ – seeds sown, germination, a week or two ahead …

 

EDC Review: Footsteps of the Templar by Lucy Brazier

Russians digging up ‘his garden’. The Bursar’s doing. No wonder The Dean a little cranky, that is a little more than usual! Footsteps of the Templar, the fourth of the PorterGirl novels, brings once more together; strange Fellows, Porters of all levels, the Heads of much put upon Kitchen and Laundry, the Police, one mounted, one an accomplice to a Wedding, and, the French a new dimension – and did I mention cats, I think I’d better. Yes, Old College as we know it, or think we do, well does anyone, and what do the French have to do with such an English institution? The plot, well stitched, no loose ends, no holes other than, that is, The Bursar’s. Third person narration, we see inside the minds of all, beyond Deputy Head Porter’s perception good as that has always been; we now know what Head Porter is thinking, a certain Headmistress, I didn’t know he had it in him! Lucy Brazier writes with a light, engaging touch; mischievous, at times eccentric, with humour and sensitivity, all beautifully balanced. A class act this author, she’ll have you smiling, beginning to the end, and wanting to read again.

 

 

EDC Review: Echo Murder by Laura Laakso

 

Echo Murder (Wilde Investigations Book 2) by [Laakso, Laura]

Back Cover Blurb

Yannia Wilde returns to the Wild Folk conclave where she grew up, and to the deathbed of her father, the conclave’s Elderman. She is soon drawn back into the Wild Folk way of life and into a turbulent relationship with Dearon, to whom she is betrothed. Back in London, unassuming office worker Tim Wedgebury is surprised when police appear on his doorstep with a story about how he was stabbed in the West End. His body disappeared before the paramedics’ eyes. Given that Tim is alive and well, the police chalk the first death up to a Mage prank. But when Tim “dies” a second time, Detective Inspector Jamie Manning calls Yannia and, torn between returning to the life she has built in Old London and remaining loyal to the conclave and to Dearon, she strikes a compromise with the Elderman that allows her to return temporarily to the city. There she sets about solving the mystery of Tim’s many deaths with the help of her apprentice, Karrion. They come to realise that with every death, more of the echo becomes reality, and Yannia and Karrion find themselves in increasing danger as they try to save Tim. Who is the echo murderer? What sinister game are they playing? And what do they truly want?

EDC Review

Spring 2019 sees the publication of Echo Murder, the second book in the Wilde Investigations series; the first, Fallible Justice, published in autumn 2018. Each investigation is a complete stand-alone story, yet, there is so much more to these novels than the crimes; a world of paranormal races in coexistence with humans so imaginatively, so deftly explored you’ll want to read both books to experience the full magic of author, Laura Laakso’s mind.

In time frame, Echo Murder takes place over 10 days; the ‘first’ murder happening (albeit unknown then) on the day before Fallible Justice ends – a neat touch, one of many that you’ll find. As with Fallible Justice, Echo Murder is set out by days, with indicative chapter headings which further entice and intrigue as you read. The beauty of these books are the core characters and location – Private Investigator, Yannia of the Wild Folk, her apprentice, Karrrion, a Bird Shaman and Detective Inspector Jamie Manning of the Metropolitan Police – operating in Old London, an oasis of magic in a London we know.

In Echo Murder, their interplay, their dependence on each other deepens and grows; with further telling cameos from Lady Bergamon and Wishearth, scene stealers whenever they appear. Overall, a complex plot, a good story, well told; the read not quite as compelling as ‘Fallible Justice’ but that’s simply because it took a while to get back to Old London where, for me, the Wilde Investigations live and breathe.

EDC Review: The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson by Helen Kitson

This is the second book review I’ve posted this year. both are debut novels published by Louise Walters Books.  The first was by Laura Laakso.

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Book Blurb … Once upon a time Gabrielle Price wrote and published an extraordinary novel. But twenty years on her literary star has dimmed, her “work of genius” is all but forgotten, and no further novels have materialized. She now lives an unremarkable life: middle-aged, living alone in the sleepy village she grew up in, and working as a housekeeper for the local vicar. Her lonely existence is dominated by memories of her best friend Madeleine, who died young, in tragic and mysterious circumstances. Gabrielle’s quiet world is turned upside down when she meets and befriends Simon – young, attractive, a would-be writer, and enthusiastic fan of the astonishing novel that Gabrielle published all those years ago. Charmed and flattered, she recklessly invites him into her home and her heart. But Simon is mysterious and manipulative, and it’s not long before he forces Gabrielle to confront the demons in her past. Gabrielle’s obsession begins to destroy her carefully cultivated life, and she comes to feel increasingly threatened by Simon’s presence. Who is he? Why did he seek her out? And what does he really want?

EDC Review  … I received an advanced reading copy of ‘The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson’ from Louise Walters at Louise Walters Books without obligation – this review is how I read it. The back cover blurb sets the story up well; it is accurate, enticing and doesn’t spoil in any way. The front cover I found intriguing and on reading the book its relevance sank in. From the start, it was obvious the author, Helen Kitson, is an accomplished writer. Her style a balance between literary and psychological fiction; with a well judged tilt towards good story telling. Balance is the key word for me; of pace and description, of past and present, of what thought and said, of living with memory and irrational desire – and as the reader, taking in the moment and not thinking too far ahead.  I got a real sense of the author writing the book she wanted to read; and her publisher too – another balance well made. I’ve been trying to think of a book, a writing style this reminds me of, I can’t–it’s a book by Helen Kitson – enjoy.

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EDC Review: Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso

For me, reading Fallible Justice was a sensory experience. The front cover an eye catching work of art that captures the essence of the story; the back cover blurb an accurate, enticing summary – which rightly stops short of giving too much of the story away – there is no need to repeat, or spoil, by saying more here. Yes, this is a crime investigation story, yet the like of which I’d not read. The first paragraph enthrals, the first chapter fires your mind with beyond human imagery – then sets the scene of the story, contemporary England, London, familiar, yet not; the paranormal co-existing with the normal, autonomy within reason, within limits of human acceptability.  The story plays out over just a few days, Sunday to Friday, each chapter titled, a nice touch, though no enticement needed as I found the pace, the characters, their interactions, the locations, the sense of familiarity, all so absorbing, so well handled, so balanced, that each chapter end merely cause for momentary pause, the writing, it’s style, the imagery, the tension compelling me to read on.  Fallible Justice is author, Laura Laakso’s debut, the first book of the Wilde Investigations series – I’m spellbound, and sure to read the next book, Echo Murder,  to be published in June 2019.

[this review has been posted on Amazon and Goodreads]

EDC Review: Sinister Dexter by Lucy Brazier

 

PorterGirl: Sinister Dexter by [Brazier, Lucy]

‘Sinister Dexter’ the third of the Porter Girl novels is an immensely enjoyable read ; all the more so having read the two that came before – ‘First Lady of the Keys’ and ‘The Vanishing Lord’.  Author Lucy Brazier sets all eyes upon Deputy Head Porter as she strives to uphold the honour of Old College – despite the machinations of The Bursar – jeopardising her position and even more alarming her need of tea.  Two young bodies found at the bottom of the Old College garden, quite disturbing, unsettling the students, the staff, to a degree, not least the ever present Dean – though in his case tempered by having to yet again indulge the police. Deputy Head Porter finds herself the go-between (and all too often the go-without when it comes to tea and sausages) – the link of reason (all things are relative) – dealing with the ‘never wrong, yet not quite right’ Dean, the ‘all seeing, all hearing’ Detective Chief Inspector Thompson, and the’ distracted, not always there’ Head Porter – to name a few! And therein lies the beauty of this story – the interplay of characters, the creation of images, the deft balance of sensitivities, emotions, humour and the bizarre – all sublime – and best of all exposure to what goes on in Deputy Head Porter’s mind! I’ve a mind to read again and will.