December 11, 2020
This book had been on my radar for some time now. Then I saw that there was a new film out about Salinger which I wanted to see but I felt I should get on and read his most celebrated work first.
I had thought that given its title the narrative should be set in the countryside, rather like Cider With Rosie, which I have not read but have seen a film adaptation, but I was very much mistaken. The title comes from a misquoted poem by Robert Burns and the story is set initially in the narrator’s private school then in New York where he navigates himself around this his home city.
He writes in a very adolescent style, reflecting the age of his protagonist and describes his attitude towards the people he meets on his journey and what he perceives is their attitude towards him. But it is towards the end of the book that the meaning of the title becomes apparent and the reader can decide who the catcher is.
It is a compelling read and on the surface nothing much seems to happen but when I finished reading and gave it some thought I felt the content provided a fascinating commentary on the human condition. I recommend that book lovers read it and work out any hidden meanings for themselves.
Published by Penguin in hardback,
paperback and as an ebook
November 18, 2020
Violent scenes have more impact when they come as a surprise. I am not talking about those in horror stories where the suspense leading up to the action is often more effective than the violence itself. Battle scenes tend to be ongoing and have violence surrounding them but a sudden violent act amongst the turmoil can have a devastating effect. A good example of this can be found in the book, “Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray,” which I reviewed recently. Here the author expertly describes battles between primitive peoples but in the last battle the impact of a sudden violent act against an individual comes as a shock.
My novel “Magic Bullets,” opens in a prologue with violence perpetrated by a single terrorist. This is not referred to again until well into the story but I hope has the reader wondering how this event effects the narrative. I feel that placing such violence in a novel without any lead up to it can be much like what happens in life. The real effect is in the aftermath and comes when the characters in the story deal with it. Post traumatic stress is an occurrence which happens to many people who experience violence, including professional soldiers. The skill of the writer is to examine how these effect the characters in the story.
Published by Peatmore Press
as a paperback and an ebook
October 7, 2020
Writing sex scenes is a special skill which I do not have. I have used such scenes sparingly in two of my novels and only when I felt they fit with the plot and when added they clarified the motivations behind some characters. But sex sells. One only has to look at the success of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the popularity of erotic films and porn sites on the internet. I must admit marketing was partly behind the decision I made when adding them to my novel “Victim of Compromise” but I still maintain that the scenes played a greater part in making the central characters more rounded.
The sales of DH Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” sky rocketed during a famous court case to overturn its ban and, more especially, after it became legal to buy in the UK. On reading it I feel it would be a much lesser book if the explicit sex scenes and the language used to describe them were omitted. Now that the Lady Chatterley milestone judgement has passed there are many contemporary writers who excel in the genre of modern erotic fiction. One such author is Harmony Kent whose novel “Back Stage” I reviewed in my last blog. I confess that, despite my past endeavours, I am not one of them.
June 10, 2020
I am fortunate in that, as well as a writer, I am an independent publisher which means I do not have to set targets for my writing. I write when and where I want to. I had had enough having to keep to targets set by my bosses in my day job in the years before I retired. This means that I can go for days without writing a single word, which is often the case as I am lazy. But it also means that I have time to enjoy it.
I like to tell stories and periodically find myself compelled to write them down. Sometimes I write several hundred words a day and on the odd occasion this rises to over a thousand. But more often than not I struggle for words, so my output can be just a few sentences. My first drafts contain all sorts of mistakes of continuity, spelling and grammar. The plot can invariably not make much sense. This is where the editing comes in where content gets changed, thrown out or even added.
I am slightly dyslexic and, fortunately, there are aids on line and in the writing community to help me. Before the age of computers and word processors, I began writing my stories by hand, but this was a slow process as it made for much crossing out and rewriting. I graduated to a portable typewriter and, as I was very much a novice typist, the process became even slower. But then came PCs, the internet, online spellcheckers and grammar aids and I was away on my journey. This technology, though brilliant, is not nearly enough, but the help I receive from the trusted readers I first show my work to is invaluable.
May 14, 2019
This book is technically flawed in that the narrative constantly jumps point of view so that I had to re-read some passages twice in order to understand which character was describing the piece I was reading. But having said that the story worked well and I really enjoyed reading it.
There was a great deal of description on what the characters were wearing, but this was never boring as it was evident that they were obsessed with appearance. The characters themselves were well described and showed that the author had a good understanding about those she wrote and what motivated them. The central narrative centred around Harriet (or Harry as she was mostly referred to) and her chauffeur driving company employing attractive female drivers. Most of the story centred on her and a group of friends who were holidaying in an attractive villa next door to one rented by a famous pop group.
The interaction between the sexy males surrounding the pop group and the gorgeous Harry and her girlfriends was well described. There were several twists in the story which kept me reading to the end.
Published by Nielsen and available
as a paperback and ebook
October 13, 2018
Absent-mindedly, he stuffed his right hand in his jacket pocket and felt the jar. He drew it out, looked through the glass at the white lumps of organic matter inside and said aloud to himself, “Magic I don’t think so.” He tossed it in the metal waste bin then, as the clanging sound his action had caused resonated around the room, he had another thought and looked in the bin. The jar was still intact. He retrieved it, put it down on the laboratory bench, discarded his jacket and put on his labcoat. What followed next led to the discovery of Floracillin.