Friday, 9 September 2016

Goodreads Giveaway!

It's a Giveaway!

In my perpetual search for people who love top notch thriller series, I've put another signed copy of the first John Rossett novel "The Darkest Hour" over on a Goodreads Giveaway!

Just follow the link below, sign up, sit back, and smile!

The Darkest Hour Goodreads Giveaway!

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Monday, 5 September 2016

Dennis Lehane: Live by Night

Live by Night (Coughlin, #2)Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love a bit of Lehane. I think he is one of the best there is at conjuring that era in America we know so well from all those Cagney movies we grew up with.
Thing is though, and I'm sorry to say this, in this book I kind of felt he was going through the motions a little bit. It felt like there had been some sort of "prohibition checklist" on his desk prior to sitting down to write, because all of the stock characters were here.
The dame: check.
The buddies who grew up on the mean streets: check.
The corrupt cop: check.
The evil mob boss: check.
The list goes on, and whilst they aren't bad characters, I felt like I'd met them all before. Lehane did manage to add a few new ingredients to spice things up though. A great Florida setting, Cuba in its "heyday", a cop on the edge and a US Navy ship being blown up, so I'll forgive him a little and look forward to his next book with anticipation.
The Darkest Hour (John Rossett, #1) by Tony Schumacher The British Lion (John Rossett, #2) by Tony Schumacher

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Friday, 2 September 2016

Book Video.

A lovely reader (readers are always lovely) sent me a question (I love questions) about one of my books, via my website . Sooner than just fire off an email to her, I thought I'd let you all in on the conversation by making a book video, and having a chat.

Don't forget, writers love to talk about their work, so say hello!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Third Man and Me.

     A short while back, when my first book The Darkest Hour came out, The Wall Street Journal compared my writing to the movie directors Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed.

     Now please, let me tell you this, I’ve been lucky enough to get some good reviews over the last few years, but being compared to those two guys was pretty much the best thing that has happened since I picked up a pen and decided to make a living with it.

     Why? Well aside from it being high praise from a respected newspaper; I’d dreamed of being those guys for the last thirty five years. 

     You see, when I was a kid I loved those old movies. I didn’t just like watching them though, I went much further than that. I used to round up my friends, and then get them to play games in which we acted them out. I’d be the “director” as well as the lead of those games. I’d make my poor pals hunt me down like I was Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart, fleeing for my life along back alleyways and through yards that looked like cornfields and cliff-faces in my minds eye.

     I’d always be one step in front with some snappy dialogue planned out in my head for when I’d let myself get caught. Invariably, after being pinned to a wall, I'd hit them with my smart line, break free, pull off a karate chop, and start running like crazy all over again.

     I think it is fair to say that I was a pretty weird kid.

     Now we all know Hitchcock, but how many of us remember the great Carol Reed?
A few I hope, especially because I believe he's the man who made the greatest film of all time:

     The Third Man.

     When I was a kid, British TV used to show old black and white movies of a Saturday afternoon. Now you have to remember that back then, in the UK we only had three channels of TV. So an old movie, be it a musical, war film, or western, it was often as good as it got. Especially if it was raining and I had run out of library books for the afternoon. I’ll be honest, even though I love old films, some of those afternoons I sat through some terrible movies.

     Then one day I heard Anton Karas’ famous zither tune, jangling away behind the scratchy gray credits of Reed’s “The Third Man." I was captivated, and then it got better as one of the finest first lines in screen writing drifted across the airwaves:

     “I never knew the old Vienna before the war, with its Strauss music, its glamor and its easy charm…”


     I was hooked, and we were off across the foggy skyline, and then down onto the rain slick streets. We were slipping and sliding across the worn cobbles in trench coats, with our collars pulled up and our hats pulled down.

     The whole film was sharp shadows, danger in the darkness, and people just managing to stay one step ahead of the bullet that was right behind them. It was magic, a window into another world, where the women were made of porcelain and steel, and the men made of granite and gunfire.

     I loved it, and I still do. All these years later, whenever I sit down to write, I’m still that kid trying to capture the atmosphere and thrills of those old films and share them with my friends.

     Want to play?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

My Pal Spadger by Bill Naughton, a book review.

My Pal SpadgerMy Pal Spadger by Bill Naughton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every week, back when I was just a boy, I'd be dragged down to the local shopping center by my mum. Now, this place was called Huyton Village, but I've got to be honest, it didn't much resemble a village in the truest sense of the word. It was more like something the Northern Koreans would throw up if they had a few tons of concrete left over after, after knocking up a statue of one of their Dear Leaders.

back then, my now long departed mother would drag me to various places to pay bills (this was long before the world had heard of standing orders.) I would tag along occasionally complaining and dragging my feet until finally, just before she headed into the supermarket, she would deposit me at the library and tell me I had forty five minutes to go pick three books.

My time.

The best time.

Book time.

Left alone in library, wandering the aisles and staring up at the shelves, so many books, so little time, it was heaven. I'd normally pick two "wordy" books (what I called novels (come on! I was only eleven or twelve!)) and one factual book. I'd take them over with my red face, to the nice young lady I was too shy to talk to beyond: "These please" and "Thank you."

Once I had the books I'd scuttle off and sit on the wall outside, and wait for my mum so we could head home, and I could dive into the other-worlds I had in my bag.

One day, something special happened. Something so special, that even now, nearly forty years later, it still makes me smile and tingle a tiny bit.

One day, I met Spadger.

Oh what a book! I read it in one Sunday sitting, and then I read it again over the next couple of days, taking my time and swilling the words and the tales of boyhood joy, like they were the finest of wines I wasn't yet allowed to taste.

My Pal Spadger changed my life.

I read it, and I wanted to become a writer.

It was as simple as that.

Okay, it took me thirty five years to finally become that writer, but Spadger put me on the road I'm on today. So to Bill Naughton I say thank you, and to you I say if you have got kids, read them this book, so that in thirty years, they'll thank you too.


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