Book Review – And I Love Her: A Phil Allman P.I. Novel by Brett Wallach

March 23, 2017

This is the second novel in the Phil Allman series but the reader need not worry if he or she has missed reading the first as it stands well on its own in its own right.

In this story Private Investigator, Phil Allman, is hired to find a missing eleven year old girl while at the same time battling with his ex-wife over the custody of his own eleven year old daughter and the nine year old girl he adopted at the end of the first book.  His investigations are met with various twists and turns during which he encounters some very shady characters and several murders.  We find out more about the psychology of the central character and the story becomes very dark as he attempts to resolve the tasks before him.  The characters are exceptionally well described and Allman’s fondness for quoting lines from English and American popular music adds to his personal appeal.

I have already reviewed Book 1 of Allman’s story (see below) and I thoroughly recommend that it be read even if you have read this story first.  In this tale we find out more about Allman’s personality and the unravelling of the truth behind what motivates him makes this a fascinating read.

Keith Jahans

And I love her is published by SynergEbooks
and is available as a pdf for $4.88



Book Review – JESSE GARON: A Phil Allman P.I. Novel by Brett Wallach

March 17, 2017

Phil Allman is a gumshoe in the Raymond Chandler tradition.  He is contracted to find the missing twin brother of Elvis Presley who was mistakenly believed to have been stillborn when the legendary King of Rock and Roll was born in 1933.

At first I thought the plot implausible, but Presley did in fact have a twin named Jesse Garon Presley who did not survive when their mother gave birth so it is conceivable as he was born into an impoverished family he could have been given away at birth.

The story starts slowly with the detective narrator explaining that he was an Elvis fan and why the star’s twin was adopted and registered as stillborn.  Then as the tale progresses the characters take over and it becomes more interesting.  Private Investigator, narrator and protagonist, Phil Allman, is well rounded, likable and struggling to come to terms with the separation from his wife and to maintain contact with his eleven year old daughter while at the same time unravelling the mystery surrounding Elvis’s twin.  Characters are expertly introduced and neatly described with amusing asides from Allman.  His search for Jesse Garon is intriguing and is complicated by some murders he encounters along the way.

The novel is well crafted and absorbing and, because of my concern for the wellbeing of the central character, I was compelled to read on to the end.  The author is a talented storyteller.  His skill in this genre is clearly evident and he should be congratulated.  I can thoroughly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Keith Jahans

Jesse Garon is published by SynergEbooks and available as a pdf for $4.88


Celebrating the Short Story

September 20, 2016

In August 2011 I published a blog about the rebirth of the short story (see  Now it seems that this form of fiction writing is going from strength to strength.  The BBC is once more running its annual competition for its National Short Story Award and all this week the short listed stories are being broadcasted on BBC Radio 4 until Friday 23 September (

In addition  the BBC Readings Unit have chosen some of their favourite Radio 4 short stories to listen to again (

Not to be outdone Peatmore Press has launched my Kindle ebook short story collection, “New Beginnings” as a free download for 5 days beginning today.


Go to or to grab your copy.

Keith Jahans

Book Review – Never Pretend by Julie C Round

August 24, 2016

Julie Round is an expert at describing the stresses and strains of family life.  In spite of difficult challenges put in front of them her characters find a way through and this is the great strength of all of her narratives.  In this story, the husband suffers a breakdown and commits a crime for which he is punished but manages to achieve atonement.  The way this affects the family is beautifully described and illustrates how strong family bonds are important in overcoming adversity.  The book is not quite up there with her earlier “Lane Trilogy” as I would have liked a more through introductory description of some of the subsidiary characters such as Lisa.  But the novel is a good read all the same and is highly recommend it.

Keith Jahans

Never pretend Cover
Never Pretend is published by Oldstick Books
and is available in paperback for £5.99


Book Review – A Brief History of Indonesia by Tim Hannigan

June 28, 2016

This is a well researched and well told fascinating story of Southeast Asia’s Largest Nation.  The Author has obviously done an enormous amount of research to uncover the facts, myths and legends behind the history of this remarkable country.  The book makes an ideal companion to his earlier work, “Raffles and The British Invasion of Java”, which I reviewed in March 2015 and is also well worth the read.  Although, Raffles is briefly mentioned in this account, the book deals with the rise of Indonesia from prehistoric to modern times.  It is an ideal buy for anyone wishing to visit Indonesia and I highly recommend this as a must read for anyone wishing to understand how colonial powers engage dominance over the countries they rule.

I bought a signed paperback copy from the author last July which I gave to my daughter before she returned to where she has been living in Indonesia in April and purchased a Kindle copy for myself.  Of the two I prefer the paperback as the layout makes it easier to flick between the photographs at the centre of the book and the rest of the text.

A brief History of Indonesia Book Jacket copy

A Brief History of Indonesia is published by Tuttle Publishing

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Travels in Middle England – 12 February 2016

May 17, 2016

Leicester is a wonderful place to visit.  The people there are extremely friendly and helpful.  The discovery of Richard III’s body has put the city on the international tourist map and now the city’s football team has won the English Premier League.  Some have put it down to the good fortune bestowed on the city following the King’s reburial.  I visited the city on 12th February this year when the football team, comprised of home grown players, football league rejects and lowly priced players, topped the Premiership but no one expected them to remain there.  I meant to write this blog then but somehow never got around it but perhaps my subconscious knew that it was not quite the right time.  Now I feel that my timing is almost perfect.

Finding a car park near Leicester’s city centre is difficult, this in a city which in 2014 became famous for one particular car park which contained the remains of King Richard.  I had already visited the site of the battle of Bosworth in 2014 where the King met his end and now that he had been recently buried decided to see for myself the place where his remains had been put to rest.  I booked into a hotel in Market Bosworth a few days earlier and set my car Sat. Nav. to find the Cathedral, where King Richard lies buried.  My car circumnavigated an island on which lay a nearby multi-storey car park three times before I eventually found an entrance and was able to park at what I was later to find out to be an exorbitant price (£8.00).

The cathedral lacks the grandeur of similar structures in other British cities, but it is a beautiful building nonetheless.  Richard’s stone tomb lies inside and has a section to itself.  It was free to enter and I was allowed to take photographs, but not to use flash.  I asked the lady steward at the door where the famous car park was.  I was told that it was a short distance away across the road and I should look for a plaque on the wall.  I was in the process of photographing the plaque by an entrance to a space in which cars were parked when a man passing by remarked, “If you are looking for the place where Richard III’s body was found that’s not it.  The actual car park is further along the road and around the corner.  I’ll show you where it is if you like.”  I thanked him and he led me a few hundred yards to a red bricked courtyard, the entrance to which was blocked by a barred iron gate.  “The bones were found there in the far corner,” he said pointing through the bars.  I duly pointed my camera lens through a gap in the metal in the direction he indicated and took my photograph.  “After they discovered them, they dug the whole area up and removed it to the visitor centre opposite the church.  There is a walled off centre in the courtyard which signifies the car park, but the actual car park is here.  If you want to see the removed area you must visit the visitor centre and pay the expensive entrance fee.”  I thanked him for his help and for taking the time to guide me to this spot.  His reply was that he was delighted to help someone who was interested in understanding the history of the city where he now lived.  I thanked him again and we parted company.

I did visit the visitor centre and paid the £7.00 entrance fee.  Inside, I was treated to a photographic display and videos showing the archaeological excavations that took place when the remains were discovered.  I also saw and was able to photograph the removed part of the car park which was now under glass.  Afterwards, I visited the timber framed Guildhall, built in the 14th century, which was next to the Cathedral and free to enter.

The city and its football team deserve their good fortune despite the high price charged by its car parks.  Yesterday a crowd of over one hundred thousand turned out to cheer the team as it paraded through the streets in open top buses.  Leicester’s citizens and footballers have inspired those of other cities worldwide.  Long may this continue.

Keith Jahans
17th May 2016

King Richard's Car ParkKing Richard III’s Car Park

King Richard's Statue in front of CathedralStatue of King Richard outside Leicester Cathedral

King Richard's TombKing Richard’s Tomb

For information about Leicester City Football Club
go to

Book Review – Gun Baby Gun by Iain Overton

February 8, 2016

This is a book that all gun owners and politicians should read. Iain Overton gives a frightening account about the use of guns in modern times. The book is full of chilling statistics and at the same time it is a rattling good read. The author describes a worldwide odyssey during which he sought to uncover the story behind each statistic.

I came across Iain Overton at the The Folkestone Book Festival in November when I heard him described his journey into the dark world of the gun (see ) and bought a signed copy from his own hand. I spoke to him briefly about my astonishment that a gun factory in the United States called Kalashnikov USA had just been established in 2015. A fact I discovered while researching the novel I am currently writing. I should not have been surprised because despite the many accounts of mass shootings of civilians in the USA the influence of the pro gun lobby prevails. Unfortunately, lack of time prevented me talking with him longer but the information contained in this extremely well crafted book more than makes up for that.

It is a work that is well worth the read and I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to know more about the lethal weapons used by loan or small groups of mass killers.

Gun Baby Gun
Gun Baby Gun: A Bloody Journey into the World of the Gun
by Iain Overton is published by Canongate Books; Main edition
in hardcover, paperback and as an ebook

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press