Four American Tales is available free as an ebook: follow the link.
Nadine stole a white Plymouth Roadrunner early Friday evening. She took it from an airport parking lot, which bought her the weekend before it was missed – a couple of weeks if she was lucky. Earle had shown her how and when to take an automobile. ‘Stay calm and act natural. Once they’re on the plane, there’s nothing they can do. You’re the new owner. Remember that.’
Four English Tales is available free as an ebook: follow the link.
Four Engish Tales is a slim volume of evocative and ghostly short stories written to send a tiny shiver down your spine. Long Distance is about a marriage regretted; Dead Letter is a deepening nightmare; After the Trouble Came looks at the end days; The Appointment concerns a chance encounter with an injured man. Life can be very strange, as you will discover.
‘All at once, Lucy remembered Trevor and began to weep. He would never grow old as she had grown old. His youthful face remained unchanged and unwearied, preserved forever in her faithful memory. She did not love him – did not know if she had ever loved him – yet there he was. Was he still alive? She tried to think of Gerald, dead Gerald, dull, oblivious, bullying Gerald, but his face had turned bland and bloated with the years, like a blurred photograph of an undistinguished stranger.’ ‘Long Distance’, a free short story
‘This book is ingenious. It is a page-turning, suspense-filled detective story that includes a sharp sense of humour AND it has a hero who fulfils his detective role with an intellectual slant, giving us a sceptical view of the world as filled with corruption, literary references, irony, and relatives we’d rather not see.
There is a wonderful dead-pan attitude of the hero that makes the reader eager to hear more. Here is the hero’s reaction when he is woken in the night by his unwanted house guest who is also his brother: “‘Shouldn’t you be in bed?’ I asked, after I’d had enough and put on a robe. I checked the time: three o’clock. A bad time. The hour of the demon. Shovel-faced men with pitiless eyes knock at doors at three o’clock in the morning.”
The hero’s troubled and hysterical interaction with women he’s attracted to is akin to Peter Sellers’ experiences in the Pink Panther movies:
‘There is nothing wrong with your teeth, Howard. In fact, I have noticed how well you look after them. They are very even – so even that I thought they might be dentures. Delphine says she is almost certain they are genuine.’
‘They are genuine.’
Celeste approached and manipulated my upper lip with her thumb. She examined my teeth. I could see them reflected in her eyes. They looked blue today – her eyes, that is. She tugged at my lower lip and pulled it around. It was curiously unsettling to have a beautiful lawyer examining my mouth in that way. I could hear people passing on the street outside her window. I wondered what they would think if they could see through the blinds.
Here’s an example of the irresistible style and humour of the story when the character is struggling to deal with the hot weather and his professional and sleuthing dilemmas:
Deeply unhappy, I wandered to the balcony in search of perspective, to feel the elements against my skin. The cloudless sky pressed against my best intentions; the sun battered at my humble ambitions. The city couldn’t take much more of this. People had fainted in the streets; an elderly man had died of sunstroke; the president had removed his jacket.
The novel’s humour is corny and fresh at the same time. This trait mixed with a reluctant, under-dog detective makes this tale a highly diverting read. To top it off, this detective who sees no hope in this world ends up giving us just that! I highly recommend this book! (Amazon UK review)