My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it.. The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive. For more info: My Favorite Meme.
My favorite thing about summer is the weather. I love hot, sunny days. I like getting in the pool, working in the flowerbeds. I like tank tops and shorts and not having to wear sweaters all the time. And ice cream and watermelon. And baseball. I just wish we had more hot days this year. Overall, it’s been cool and rainy for summer in Ohio.
This contemporary crime story takes place over three weeks in November and unfolds against the multi-cultural backdrop of Soho, London. Branen had to leave the UK six years before to escape his complex clandestine history and the consequences of a crime that achieved worldwide notoriety. When his daughter is brutally murdered in Soho he believes that he could be the reason. He returns to his old hunting grounds to find the killer. His search brings him into conflict with the British Secret Service and Soho's underworld. He is forced to flee Soho again after a tragic meeting with his ex-wife. His past has caught up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted. Now forty years old Branen wants to stop running and to remove forever the continuing threat to his life. In an effort to get rid of his pursuers he is faced with the prospect that his only chance of survival could lead to his death.
Read a couple excerpts:
#1 Having just returned to Soho Costas has recommended a cheap hotel for Branen to stay in on his first night…
Hotel California had a small entrance in Tisbury Court, a paved alleyway between Wardour and Rupert Street.
The frosted glass door had a red glow behind it; the kind that brothels have. He mentally thanked Costas and tried the door, noticing it swung both ways, he suspected like some of the guests, and making it easier to eject unwanted customers.
The reception area was particularly attractive. On the right-hand side there was a desk, resembling a cheap pulpit. Behind it sat a tabloid newspaper which didn’t reveal its reader.
“I need a room,” he said. The newspaper seemed to be studiously ignoring him. “Have you got a room?”
The newspaper lowered revealing a shabby, unshaven man with a thick neck and the shoulders of a wrestler. Without looking up he pushed the register across the desk and the movement of his paper wafted fumes towards Branen; the man had been drinking and hadn’t been washing.
He examined Branen then looked past him. Branen followed his gaze and was met by an apparition in black leather sitting on an orange plastic sofa. She returned his stare and smiled from underneath her maquillage. She had a kind face, or was it desperation? The melamine table lamp had an orange shade and the walls needed another coat of maroon paint. He had no idea why red was considered sexy in this environment; it did nothing for her complexion or the view up her skirt.
He could have waited an hour for his answer.
Eventually the owner asked, “Fer ‘ow long?”
“A couple of weeks.”
“Fifty quid.. cash.. a day.”
Before Branen could answer he pulled back the register and returned to his newspaper.
#2 Branen returns to one of his old haunts after being away for eight years…
A few months into the new job, whilst he was back in London to photograph an anti-government demo, Branen decided to drop in on the Empire Room in Dean Street.
He was familiar with the club from his early days in Soho and he wanted to catch up with the owner, Ayo Wood.
“Look who we’ve got here, darlings…” said Ayo, as Branen hesitated in the doorway. “…My God man, come in… where have you been?”
There was the sharp smell of spirits mixed with stale cigarette smoke.
A punter sitting at the bar turned to look and fell off his stool.
Branen squeezed in and put his camera on the bar.
“What can I get you, Ben?” asked Ayo, who only knew him by his real name.
“Give me a whisky and water and get yourself a drink… how’s tricks?”
“Same as ever… same old faces, hiding from reality, not wanting to go home. I hate ’em and love ’em… and they pay the rent,” said Ayo, turning to the man who had struggled back onto his stool. “Time to face the real world, Nigel.”
“The real world is an illusion… reality is here in the bottom of my glass…” said Nigel as he tried to stand up. “…Fuck the real world…” He smashed his glass down onto the bar. “…I want love.”
Ayo showed him the door. “I don’t want you kissing my customers again… be careful on your way down the stairs.”
Nigel descended the stairs one by one swearing revenge at every step.
About A.W. Rock
Based in London AW.Rock has been a regular on the Soho scene since the 1960’s working in various sectors of the entertainment industry.
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.
Step into a wintry forest where seven iconic fairy tales unfold, retold with keen insight and touches of humor.
There once was a frozen forest so cold, you could feel it through the soles of your boots. It was a strange place where some kisses broke enchantments and others began them. Many said witches lived there -- some with cold hearts, others with hot ovens and ugly appetites -- and also dwarves in tiny houses made of stones. In this icy wood, a stepmother might eat a girl's heart to restore her own beauty, while a woodcutter might become stupid with grief at the death of his donkey. Here a princess with too many dresses grows spiteful out of loneliness, while a mistreated girl who is kind to a crone finds pearls dropping from her mouth whenever she speaks. With empathy and an ear for emotion, Emily Jenkins retells seven fairy tales in contemporary language that reveals both the pathos and humor of some of our most beloved stories. Charming illustrations by Rohan Daniel Eason add whimsical details that enhance every new reading.
I'm Lexi Carmichael, geek extraordinaire. I spend my days stopping computer hackers at the National Security Agency. My nights? Those I spend avoiding my mother and eating cereal for dinner. Even though I work for a top-secret agency, I've never been in an exciting car chase, sipped a stirred (not shaken) martini, or shot a poison dart from an umbrella.
Until today, that is, when two gun-toting thugs popped up in my life and my best friend disappeared. So, I've enlisted the help of the Zimmerman twins—the reclusive architects of America's most sensitive electronic networks—to help me navigate a bewildering maze of leads to find her.
Along the way, my path collides with a sexy government agent and a rich, handsome lawyer, both of whom seem to have the hots for me. Hacking, espionage, sexy spy-men—it's a geek girl's dream come true. If it weren't for those gun-toting thugs...