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Saturday 31 March 2018

Floreskand - a very cultivated creation

Morton Faulkner's FLORESKAND Fantasy novels – REVIEWS

1: WINGSfour new reviews; now totalling 7 x 5-stars

This book took a few chapters to get in to but in the end provided a gripping read with a lot of interesting twists. Well worth reading and certainly the next series to be added to my bookshelf.

A great fantasy adventure with an amazing imagination. You get totally involved in the story from beginning to end. Highly recommend. I have also bought Volume 2 King.

A great fantasy/adventure read and a real page turner. You get so involved with the characters I caught myself holding my breath more than once!

Brilliant read, looking forward to more in this series!


2: KINGthree new reviews; now totalling 4 x 5-stars and 1 x 4-star

A great read again getting you more involved in the story of Floreskand with many more interesting characters. Another page turner full of anticipation and adventure. Can't wait for the next volume. Well done to the authors for creating a wonderful story.

Great follow up to volume one. Fantastic adventure with myriad twists and turns to the plot. I am eagerly awaiting the next volume of this gripping series.

Excellent follow up to "Wings", thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.
Our thanks to all our reviewers! - Morton Faulkner

In its final phases prior to publication in April: 


Coming later this year:




Tuesday 27 March 2018

Guest interview

Author Jane Risdon has very generously asked me to be her guest on her blog - all this week.


Thank you, Jane! 

Monday 26 March 2018

Book review - The Song is You

Megan Abbott’s second noir novel, The Song is You (2007), though set in 1950s Hollywood, is topical in light of the #MeToo furore. 

Based on the real-life disappearance of actress Jean Spangler, this novel peels off some of the gloss from Tinseltown. Spin doctor Gil ‘Hop’ Hopkins, former reporter, is tasked with running interference for the movie stars, ensuring that no mud sticks, that scandal stays buried. He’s pretty good at what he does, turning a blind eye to debauchery and traumatised starlets.

There are a number of appropriate name-drops from that period.

On the night when Jean went missing, Hop had been among the crowd she was with, and now he has to retrace the steps of a male double act in order to muddy the water and inter memories. Drugs, sex, and violence – it’s all here, though not too graphic. The few clues from the real case are inserted in the story, with convincing explanations. The real mobster Dave Ogul of the time also features.

While covering tracks, Hop becomes entangled with girl reporter Frannie Adair who’s also on the case. ‘She had been easy for Hop to spot, the sole pair of heels and the only ass worth a glance in the sweeping room full of sweat-stained unshaven ginks. … all ginger curls and round cheeks, like three months off the farm, until she spoke. Twitching her freckled nose, she shot back at him, “What’s it like going over to enemy lines, turning stooge for the plastic factory?”

She didn’t take prisoners, it seems: “I hear you’ve done more white-washing than Tom Sawyer.” (p47)

Besides wit and one-liners, Abbott delivers an atmospheric hard-boiled tale. Despite his less than savoury character, you’re drawn to Hop, a flawed man who wanted to be good, but that didn’t pay enough. We’re with him as he turns over stones and sees what crawls out from under; even when he stumbles upon a corpse, ‘Hop felt his body rise out of his skin, hover there a second, and then thud back down to earth.’

If noir fiction is your thing, then The Song is You is worth your while.

In the real world, the case of Jean Spangler remained unsolved; in the novel Hop gets to a solution.

Editorial comment

The sparse number of chapter headings seems odd.

Over-use of the word ‘something’. On pages 190-191 it appears 7 times; it crops up a lot elsewhere, too. Something to think about, anyway.

Saturday 24 March 2018

A Dance to the Music of Time (2 of 12)

Anthony Powell’s second novel in the dozen-volume sequence, A Buyer’s Market was published in 1952.  It’s set in the late 1920s and is again narrated by Nick Jenkins, who stumbles upon some of the work of the artist Mr Deacon in an auction showroom for sale. Deacon was a family acquaintance. Powell’s description of the assorted oddments up for sale is highly visual.

Nick is working in London for a publisher and attends various debutante balls with Barbara Goring. ‘This affair with Barbara, although taking up less than a year, seemed already to have occupied a substantial proportion of my life; because nothing establishes the timelessness of Time like those episodes of early experience seen, on re-examination at a later period, to have been crowded together with such unbelievable closeness in the course of a few years; yet equally giving the illusion of being so infinitely extended during the months when actually taking place.’ (p28)

Barbara never ‘touched strong drink, in spite of behaviour that often suggested the contrary.’ (p73) This is evinced at one outing when she pours the contents of a sugar dispenser over Widmerpool!

As Nick is very much a cypher, it’s not surprising he says ‘… for love of that sort – the sort where the sensual element has been reduced to a minimum – must after all, largely if not entirely, resolve itself to the exercise of power: a fact of which Barbara was, of course, more aware than I.’ (p29)

We are not privy in any depth to Nick’s inner feelings regarding any women in his life and any sexual encounter he might endure is not seen but inferred, if at all, behind closed doors.

Nick again encounters Widmerpool: ‘… while he retained that curiously piscine cast of countenance, projecting the impression that he swam, rather than walked, through the rooms he haunted.’ (p34)

Powell has plenty of telling moments: ‘Across the road the coffee-stall came into sight, a spot of light round which the scarlet tunics and white equipment of one or two Guardsmen still flickered like the bright wings of moths attracted from nocturnal shadows by a flame.’ (p97) Though the reader might question why ‘one or two’ – couldn’t Nick count them? Was it one or was it two?

Stringham also makes an appearance: ‘… you know parents – especially step-parents – are sometimes a bit of a disappointment to their children,’ (p110) he says of his mother’s current husband, Buster. Stringham seemed in some way entangled with a Mrs Andriadis, who gave popular parties. At her party is Mr Deacon, the artist, and Gypsy Jones, who has a strange attraction for both Nick and Widmerpool. By now, we appreciate that we’re going to see certain characters often as the narrative progresses over several books: ‘… was sufficient to draw attention once again to that extraordinary process that causes certain figures to appear and reappear in the performance of one or another sequence of a ritual dance.’ (p183)

Nick spent weekends in the country and lunched at Stourwater, home of magnate Sir Magnus Donners, where he again met Jean Templer; she was now married; his earlier feelings for her have dematerialised. Widmerpool, employed by Donners, make an amusing appearance during a tour of the Stourwater dungeons, though he wasn’t a captive, as Nick briefly surmised. Nick later managed to wreck one of his master's ornamental urns with his car (after it is rejuvenated following a flat battery). In the autumn Stringham eschewed the company of Mrs Andriadis and married Lady Peggy Stepney; the artist Mr Deacon died after his birthday party, and Nick apparently had his wicked way with Gypsy after Deacon's funeral in the back room of a shop, though the emotional and physical content leaves a lot to be desired, no pun intended: ‘The lack of demur on her part seemed quite in accordance with the almost somnambulistic force that had brought me into that place… such protests as she put forward were of so formal and artificial an order that they increased, rather than diminished, the impression that a long-established rite was to be enacted, among Staffordshire figures and papier-maché trays, with the compelling, detached formality of nightmare…’ (p268)

Several characters who appear here we will meet again in the next book, among them J.G. Quiggin and the author St. John Clarke…

Not a lot happens that is dramatic or pertains to the real life of the majority of the denizens of Great Britain; perhaps it’s because we’re viewing a microcosm, a certain bohemian section of upper-class English society, entirely bereft of emotion and sentiment. Yet there’s a fascination with the characters, their descriptions and their interactions that compels me to read on.

Note: The cover art for the series (1980s) by Mark Boxer caricatures individuals from the books. This one (on the left) is Sillery, who we met in the first book and appears here hobnobbing with names he can later drop into a conversation; he has a passing resemblance to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan!

Next: 3: The Acceptance World

Editorial comment

Again, there’s a dearth of chapters; four only. While I’m getting used to the lengthy paragraphs and long complex paragraphs, they really could have been improved by an editor.

In more than one book Powell uses the expression ‘Once in a way’ when he probably means ‘once in a while’. I can live with it.

He describes the car’s flat battery thus: ‘It was clear that the battery had run out.’ Maybe it’s typical of that time, but it’s odd.

Sunday 18 March 2018

'A must read for all mystery/thriller readers...'


A 5-star review on Amazon UK from Eileen M. Thornton:
Sister Rose runs a hostel for the homeless in London. One day, returning from an engagement, she is horrified to find the body of Angela, someone she had helped in the past, outside the hostel. The girl had been murdered; the sign of the cross carved into her chest. Inside the hostel she finds two other bodies, both brutally murdered. The police are called and an investigation into the deaths begins.

As the story unfolds, we learn that Sister Rose had been a policewoman in Newcastle upon Tyne, where she had been attacked while working on a case...  So traumatized by the events, she spent some time in a convent to help her forget the horror she had been through. It was during her stay at the convent that she turned to God.

... Sister Rose soon begins to help the DCI investigate the murders. But, she also finds herself being drawn to the man himself.

I really enjoyed this novel. There are several twists and turns as it slowly leads the reader to a nail-biting climax. 

A must read for all mystery/thriller readers.

Thank you, Eileen! 

Available as a paperback and e-book here

Thursday 8 March 2018

International Women's Day - strong females!

It's International Women's Day today. 

Why they have to have a special day for it is beyond me. 

We should be celebrating women every day.

A number of my published novels feature strong female protagonists; all of which are available on Amazon.

Chill of the Shadow
Tagline: In her search for truth she found love – with a vampire!
Paperback and e-book available here

A modern romantic thriller set in present-day Malta, involving black magic, vampirism, Knights of Malta and, perhaps topically, corrupt Maltese politicians. Malta and Gozo are colourful photogenic islands, steeped in history... 

The Bread of Tears
Tagline: When she was a cop, she made their life hell. Now she’s a nun, God help them!
Paperback and e-book available here

The Tana Standish psychic spy series (Cold War faction)
Before Salt. Before Atomic Blonde. Before Red Sparrow. There was Tana Standish, psychic spy! Although ‘historical’, these adventures will still resonate as the Cold War has definitely returned.

Mission: Prague
Czechoslovakia, 1975.
Tagline: Orphaned in the Warsaw ghetto, she became a spy. And she’s psychic, which gives her an edge!
 Paperback and e-book available here

Mission: Tehran
Iran, 1978.
Tagline: She’s an assassin and has no regrets about killing evil men.
 Paperback and e-book available here

Mission: Khyber
Afghanistan, 1979.
Tagline: Psychic against psychic as the Soviets invade Afghanistan!
  Paperback and e-book available here

The Avenging Cat crime series
Tagline: Catherine Vibrissae. Orphan. Chemist. Model. Avenging Cat.
Catalyst – set in England and Spain

Paperback and e-book available here

Catacomb – set in France and Morocco

Paperback and e-book available here
Cataclysm – set in Tenerife and China 

Paperback and e-book available here