Murder In Oakhurst

Yesterday I finished typing up the first draft of Where There’s A Will, instead of taking a nice break from writing before I get to work on the second draft, I’ve signed up to the #justwriteit challenge on Wattpad – 10,000 words in 30 days.

Since I already have Murder In Oakhurst on paper and I just need to type the first draft up, I’ve amended the challenge accordingly, I want to get at least 50,000 words done in the 30 days, so that’s an average of 1,700 words a day. I reckon I can do it, but the real challenge will be doing it alongside sorting the second draft of Where There’s A Will and working on a short I’ve been doing.

Ah well, I was never one for being idle.

Murder In Oakhurst is a mystery/thriller about a serial killer.

murder-in-oakhurst-coverOakhurst is a peaceful place to live, a veritable sleepy little village, but all that is about to change.
When a young girl goes missing and another is discovered, murdered, the village finds itself in the grip of a serial killer who is targeting its daughters. With no detective in the village, it falls to Sergeant Mitchell and Constable Rawlings to investigate and catch the killer.
Suspicion quickly falls on Zack Wild, the village’s newest resident and a writer who specialises in grisly murders, both real and fictional. He maintains his innocence, but the coincidences keep mounting, and he has a history of violence.

You can check out my progress here and let me know what you think. (The cover is only a basic thing I knocked up quickly to avoid using a placeholder on Wattpad, when I’m closer to release I’ll get a professional cover organised)

The Client

The Client

John Grisham


While sneaking a cigarette, 11 year old Mark Sway has the misfortune to get mixed up in the suicide of Jerome Clifford, a lawyer who is connected to the murder of a US senator. The police, the press, the public, all are interested in what Clifford might have told Mark before he killed himself, and so is The Mob, who were behind the murder; Mark’s only hope of protection lies in Reggie Love, the lawyer he hires, but she has never handled a case like this.

This is my favourite Grisham book by a mile, the characters are brought to life through the the_clientwonderfully descriptive writing, to the point that whenever I re-read the book I picture them easily and feel as though I’m right there at their shoulder, seeing everything they see.

Mark Sway and Reggie Love are the main characters, and the best, but no matter how minor a character is they get the level of description they deserve, as do all the scenes. Such is the job done by Grisham that you get caught up in Mark Sway’s swings from confidence to fear.

In some books the descriptiveness can overpower the plot and keep the story from flowing comfortably, that isn’t the case here. The technical side of things, in terms of helping the rear to understand the legal aspects of what is going on, which is so important in a Grisham novel, is neither invasive nor distracting, as is sometimes the case in his books.

If you haven’t tried a Grisham novel before, and you’re tempted, this is a good one to start with.



its-party-timeAfter 89,000 words in 18 days, only a little under 5,000 words a day, I have finished typing up the first draft of Where There’s A Will, woohoo! I thought it would take longer, so I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to do it so quickly. Now it’s time for me to take a few days away it – I’d like to think that I’ll take a brief holiday from writing, but I won’t, I know me – before I get on with the second draft.

Keep an eye on Wattpad everyone, because the remaining first draft chapters will be up in the next day or so so you can read the full book.

Rain On The Dead

Rain On The Dead

Jack Higgins


When the an attempt to assassinate former US President Jake Cazalet is prevented by the timely arrival of Sean Dillon and Captain Sarah Gideon of the British Security Services, they find themselves in the middle of the latest attempt by Al Qaeda to disrupt the West and cause as much chaos as possible.

The war is being fought around the world, in London, Paris, Ireland and the US in this book alone, and now it involves people from both Sean’s and Sarah’s pasts, on both sides of the conflict.

9780007585885It’s been a while since I last read a book by Jack Higgins, but I remember him being a better writer than this. I’m not sure if the problem is because this is not the first book in the series, I don’t think so, however. There are some reasonable characters in this, and I accept that I’ve jumped into this series well after the beginning so I’ve probably missed a lot of character development, but they still seem to lack any real depth, which is a shame because I like what I see of them here.

The writing lets the book down as well, and it could so easily have been a cracker. The plot is not a bad one, it certainly has potential, but there are so many coincidences and convenient connections between the good guys and the bad that it isn’t long before they become unbelievable.

Further letting things does is the action sequences, which are all over with too quickly to provide any real sense of drama or danger; this is especially true of the ending, which left me feeling more than a little disappointed and cheated.

If you’re after a quick read that doesn’t need much concentration then go for it, otherwise, I’d advise finding something better.

Begging for food


This is what happens when Mollie, my mum’s Yorkie, sees you’ve got food, you get her best begging eyes, and she won’t give up until she receives a titbit. It doesn’t even matter what it is, if she sees you with food she wants someone, tonight was takeaway night and I didn’t get to enjoy it in peace.

Playing with Gimp

As you know I have been putting the first draft of my debut novel up on Wattpad; so far there has been no cover for this book, only the bog standard image that Wattpad provides, which isn’t going to appeal to too many people, and today it irritated me to the point of needing to do something about it.

I loaded up Gimp and made a quick search for some images that might be suitable, this is what I came up with –


This is only a temporary cover, so I can promote the Wattpad version of the book, when the final version is ready for release to Kindle it will have a more professionally designed cover that looks better, but I’d like to hear what you guys think of this – is it suitable for the interim?

Family history

The things you find and learn when you’re clearing out the belongings of deceased relatives can be quite amazing. Just this morning I discovered that my grandfather, as unassuming a gent as you could meet, once saved a life while going about his job as a gas meter reader all the way back in 1972.

According to the letters he was checking meters down the road when he heard cries and discovered that a year old girl had drowned in a pond – he performed mouth-to-mouth and revived her before the ambulance arrived. Both the mother and the ambulance crew wrote to the gas company to praise my grandfather’s actions, which was the first the company knew of what he had done; he was commended by everyone, including the company, for what he did but he refused any publicity. That’s exactly the man I remember, the sort who just got on with things and didn’t want constant acknowledgment.

Thank you gan-gan for being who you were; you might be gone but you’re not forgotten.


Today’s review is for Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey. This is the story of how humans came to the planet of Pern and how the dragons that protect them came to be.


Anne McCaffrey


A group of humans, desperate to escape the technological and technocratic society they live in, not to mention a recent war that ravaged their planets, travel to the planet Pern on the edge of known space to make a new start and build a civilization that relies less on technology and more on humanity.

tumblr_inline_nmzltnatvj1rylcqa_250To begin with everything goes well, with only minor hiccups along the way to them achieving their goal, but several years after landing and starting their colony disaster strikes; without warning they are subjected to a mysterious rain, a rain that eats everything carbon based it touches, a rain that falls again and again.

There is no escape, the ships that brought them can’t take them away again, they must stay and defend themselves, and so begins a project to alter the native flying lizards and develop a self-reproducing means of surviving – the dragons of Pern.

This is a great novel with some wonderful characters, people I really care about. It doesn’t go into as much detail as it could about the mechanics of establishing a colony on a far off planet, but that’s good because it focuses instead on the characters, how they interact with one another and their new home, the joy of discovery and the pleasure of living a better life. In the second half the story changes as the colony has to fight for survival.

Anne McCaffrey does a great job of bringing out the best and worst of people as they react to the threat, and I can’t help thinking that what she describes must have been influenced in part by the way Great Britain faced the blitz during WW2.

Overall the best thing I can say about this book is that even after repeated readings I still tear up at the death of one of the main characters. To me that’s the sign of a great writer.

Oliver Twist – The Book

I’m not sure I really need to give a precis of Oliver Twist, I’d guess that nearly all of you already know what it’s about, but I will for the sake of those few who don’t.

Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens


Oliver Twist is a young orphan, barely into double figures, who runs away after suffering the tyranny of Mr Bumble the beadle and assorted others for too long. He makes his way to London, where he hopes to find a better life, and falls in with Fagin, The Artful Dodger and their gang of petty criminals and gets into trouble with the law.

oliver-twistHe is rescued from that trouble by Mr Brownlow, a kindly old gentleman who takes an interest in him, before long though, Oliver is dragged back into the company of Fagin and the others, who wish to make him a criminal, for reasons you learn later on, and his friends must rescue him.

There’s a reason this book is still popular more than a century and a quarter after it was first released; the writing might be a little convoluted for this modern era, authors, myself included, tend to be a little more direct with their language now, but the characters are all so richly described that it’s a pleasure to read about even the bad guys. The dialogue is exceptional as well, whenever I want a reminder of how dialogue should be written, I take out my Dickens, he is, in my opinion, one  of the greatest – if not the greatest – English authors of all time.

I don’t think I can say a bad word about this novel, it’s only my perverse nature that keeps me from giving it the full five stars, although if I’m honest there are one or two instances where I feel as though Oliver’s encounters with certain people are a little too coincidental.

Overall I can only recommend this book to absolutely everyone who has ever learned to read, even if they only read it the once, so they can see how artful a novel can be.

Just writing this review makes me want to pick up the nearest copy so I can rejoin Oliver, Fagin, The Artful Dodger and even Bill Sykes and Nancy.