Category Archives: Spotlight

Clink Street Blogival: Soho Honey by A. W. Rock

by

Clink Street Blogival: Soho Honey by A. W. Rock Soho Honey by A.W. Rock
Published by Clink Street Publishing on May 5, 2016
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 356
Add on Goodreads

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.

“How much?”

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.

Spotlight: Tell on You by Freda Hansburg

by

Spotlight: Tell on You by Freda Hansburg

Spotlight: Tell on You by Freda Hansburg Tell on You by Freda Hansburg
Published by Micro Publishing Media on May 1, 2017
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 248
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

Tell on You is a psychological suspense novel that best fits within the Gone Girl-inspired niche genre of “grip lit.” Jeremy Barrett’s obsessive love equals that of Jay Gatsby for Daisy Buchanan, as life imitates art in his private school English class. But his angst-driven infatuation brings dire consequences as he is drawn into the machinations of his disturbed 16-year-old student Nikki Jordan, whose bad intentions rival those of her teacher. A fast-paced, drama-filled tale, Tell on You reminds readers about the wildness and trauma of adolescence—and the self-defeating behaviors to which adults resort in times of stress. From gaslighting to vicious bullying, poisonous family privilege to the loss of a parent—Freda Hansburg draws on her experience as a clinical psychologist to explore the depths of each dark situation in Tell on You.

Read an excerpt:

“Oww!!” eight-year old Brandon Jordan screeched as his sister Nikki twisted his arm in an Indian burn. “Nikki, stop!”

His cries brought Mom crashing into Nikki’s room. “Nikki, I won’t have you bullying your brother again. Let him go this instant.”

“But I caught him in here messing with my stuff!” Nikki gave Brandon’s arm a final wrench before releasing him. Pouting, he scurried from her room.

“I don’t care what he did. I told you, keep your hands to yourself.” Her mother turned away, judgment delivered.

Probably in a hurry to get back to her vodka and reality TV. “At least when Dad was here, somebody stuck up for me,” Nikki called after her.

Mom’s angry face reappeared. “Stuck up for you?” A bitter laugh. “Stuck it to you, and all of us, is more like it.”

“Wasn’t me he left,” Nikki said.

“Really? When’s the last time he even phoned you?” Her mother walked off with that parting shot.

“Like you’d know, bitch.” Nikki said it under her breath, but not under enough.

“Who do you think you’re talking to?” Mom stormed back into the room, got right up in Nikki’s face, breath boozy. “You’re grounded for the next three days, kiddo. Give me your car keys, right now.”

“Maa!” Nikki protested. “How will I get to school?”

Her mother held out her hand for the keys. “Get up an hour early and I’ll drop you on the way to work.”

“No way!” Nikki fished the keys from her bag and dropped them into her mother’s open palm.

“Then walk.” Her mom headed out of the room, turning back for one last jab. “Or call your father.”

This time Nikki closed the bedroom door before cursing her out. Walking to school sucked, and tomorrow’s weather forecast called for cold. Call your father. Very funny. Dad lived in Austin now. But it gave her an idea.

Nikki picked up her phone to make the call, rehearsing the pitch in her mind. I’m so lonely, Mr. B. I’m taking care of my brother again because my mom went out. And she forgot we were supposed to take my car in for a new battery. And I was wishing…I know I shouldn’t ask you…but if you met me and gave me a ride to school tomorrow, I’d get to see you. You wouldn’t have to take me right to school, just drop me nearby.

She’d sell it to him. And after that, she’d see about getting even with her mother and brother. Maybe steal Brandon’s Game Boy batteries and hide them. And see how much distilled white vinegar she could add to Mom’s vodka bottle before the bitch actually noticed. Nobody, but nobody, got to score the winning point against Nikki Jordan.

About Freda Hansburg

Freda Hansburg is a psychologist and Tell On You is her debut trade thriller. She self-published the suspense novel Shrink Rapt and co-authored two self-help books, PeopleSmart – a best-seller translated into ten languages – and Working PeopleSmart. Freda lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where she is working on her next novel and her Pickleball game.

Spotlight on Beethoven in Love; Opus 139 by Howard Jay Smith

by

Spotlight on Beethoven in Love; Opus 139 by Howard Jay Smith

Spotlight on Beethoven in Love; Opus 139 by Howard Jay SmithBeethoven in Love; Opus 139 by Howard Jay Smith
Published by SYQ Books on January 11, 2016
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 385
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

At the moment of his death, Ludwig van Beethoven pleads with Providence to grant him a final wish—one day, just a single day of pure joy. But first he must confront the many failings in his life, so the great composer and exceedingly complex man begins an odyssey into the netherworld of his past life led by a spirit guide who certainly seems to be Napoleon, who died six years before. This ghost of the former emperor, whom the historical Beethoven both revered and despised, struggles to compel the composer to confront the ugliness as well as the beauty and accomplishments of his past.


As Beethoven ultimately faces the realities of his just-ended life, we encounter the women who loved and inspired him. In their own voices, we discover their Beethoven—a lover with whom they savor the profound beauty and passion of his creations. And it’s in the arms of his beloveds that he comes to terms with the meaning of his life and experiences the moment of true joy he has always sought.

Book Excerpt:

Prologue:

The Death of Beethoven

Vienna, 5:00 pm, March 26, 1827

Outside Beethoven’s rooms at the Schwarzspanierhaus, a fresh measure of snow from a late season thunderstorm muffles the chimes of St. Stephens Cathedral as they ring out the hours for the old city.

Ein, Zwei, Drei, Vier… Funf Uhr. Five O’clock.

Beethoven, three months past his fifty-sixth birthday, lies in a coma, as he has now for two nights, his body bound by the betrayal of an illness whose only virtue was that it proved incurable and would, thankfully, be his last. Though his chest muscles and his lungs wrestle like giants against the approaching blackness, his breathing is so labored that the death rattle can be heard over the grumblings of the heavens throughout his apartment.

Muss es sein? Must it be? Ja, es muss sein. Beethoven is dying. From on high, the Gods vent their grief at his imminent passing and hurl a spear of lightening at Vienna.

Their jagged bolt of electricity explodes outside the frost covered windows of the Schwarzspanierhaus with a clap of thunder so violent it startles the composer to consciousness.

Beethoven’s eyes open, glassy, unfocused. He looks upward – only the Gods know what he sees, if anything. He raises his right hand, a hand that has graced a thousand sonatas, and clenches his fist for perhaps the last time. His arm trembles as if railing against the heavens. Tears flood his eyes.

His arm falls back to the bed… His eyelids close… And then he is gone …

About Howard Jay Smith

Howard Jay Smith is an award-winning writer from Santa Barbara, California. A former Washington, D.C. Commission for the Arts Fellow, & Bread Loaf Writers Conference Scholar, he taught for many years in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has lectured nationally. His short stories, articles and photographs have appeared in the Washington Post, Horizon Magazine, the Journal of the Writers Guild of America, the Ojai Quarterly, and numerous literary and trade publications. While an executive at ABC Television, Embassy TV, and Academy Home Entertainment, he worked on numerous film, television, radio, and commercial projects. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Symphony – “The Best Small City Symphony in America” – and is a member of the American Beethoven Society.

%d bloggers like this: