Wednesday, 1 April 2015

City Of Criminals Paperback News. FREE review copies - and an Extract

Good news. After a solid three hour partially jetlagged transatlantic session with Green Wizard's cover designer, Dark Dawn Creations, we made massive progress with the paperback cover and it should be ready over the weekend. 

Thank you, Dawn :-D

The paperback version of Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminals should be ready for sale, therefore, on Thursday 9th April  

I will reveal the cover on this page tomorrow lunchtime if it is ready.

The usual suspects will receive a review copy from me but once again, I will have 25 copies to give away to NEW readers prepared to give me an HONEST review. 

Not everyone likes my stuff - my books are generally set in a Poundland-infested English city, not in London and/or LA, I don't follow 101 rules (in fact I take great pleasure in breaking them), some of my characters are pretty amoral people (and I focus on them for no apparent reason), I work on the margins of society most of the time and I have found that contrary to the music and arts scenes, Indie writing is VERY conservative - so if you do take a book and dislike it, I WANT TO KNOW.  


If you take a PB from me, I need you to review it on Amazon. It's only fair. You can of course review it anywhere. Your blog, Goodreads, the features section of the Oswestry Lettuce Journal, the letters page of Practical Pantomime Horse, Gold Coast Surfer, the Friends of North Dakota Society Magazine etc, but I need to boost my Amazon reviews as a priority and that.

Last week's blog contains loads of info on the book itself, so have a read and see whether you fancy it. Hope so. 

Ta! If you would like a copy, leave a comment below or mail me, if you know my address.

Extract: Here's an extract from City of Criminals. This is from possibly my favourite chapter in the whole book. It's called Omar Jelly. Three rascals negotiate a deal to buy contraband, difficult to obtain, prescription drugs. It takes place in Nottingham Market Square (just next to the tram above), and later, after much drinking, concludes in a crack den.

Pike is walking up toward the Starbucks and he has someone with him, a tall geezer with a goatee and a long white jacket, a thin white Arab duke I am pleased to see, the ostensible purpose of my visit to town. 
It’s Omar. He’s ambling along as if he owns the city, the Sheikh of Nottingham, Land of a Thousand Nights. Next to him, Pike is wearing a lemon yellow Adidas tracksuit, topped off by his Hackett cap. Ready as he ever is to steam into an imaginary posse of Swindon or Rochdale except those days are long gone and everyone who goes to Notts kisses and cuddles in the seats. 
It’s not the old days. Those days have long gone. You get more agro at the Panthers now, and Ice Hockey is a pastime for spectators with learning disabilities.

We shake hands in turn. Pike is upbeat. 
Gentlemen, rather than discuss our business in this monstrous atrocity of a British autumn day, he says, I suggest we disappear to the Magic Spoons for a swift pint. 
We agree, particularly as the pub is right next to us. I have no idea why Pike is talking like this, unless it is to impress Omar, whose swarthy, olive countenance is a picture of abundant health in comparison to our pallid complexions. 

The rain spits in our faces and I am glad to get inside, past the porch next to the patio dining area, past the old blokes in anoraks who smoke foul smelling roll-ups and stare at the passers-by going about their daily business. Even at ten past eleven, the place is jammed. Average age of the punters in there is fifty and with that I’m being charitable. I feel youthful. The gaff, like most Magic Spoons around the country, but particularly this one, stinks of ennui, misery, hopelessness, depression and despair. It smells of bacon too. My mouth is watering despite where I am. I've not eaten since yesterday afternoon. 

Pike knows I drink Thor’s Hammer when I am in town. Omar too joins in with the thick, amber-coloured West Country tipple. He leads us to a table right at the back next to an old couple who look a little like old time comic couple Arthur Mullard and Queenie Watts. They sit nursing pints of session bitter, arms folded, staring into some infinite point in space. 
How many times in their married life have they done this? A million times. A million times a million.
We three talk bollocks for a while – football, racing, gossip, news – and then Pike, impatient as ever cuts to the chase and addresses Omar.

Enough of this idle chat. Terry here can’t sleep and he’s in the market for some nice Rowntrees Jelly. Can you assist my very good friend in this matter?
Indeed, I can, he replies. I happen to have several strips in my top pocket right now. Don’t need them at the moment. I am in a delightful phase of my life, in the company of a nice local lady from West Bridgford.
Bread and Lard Island, Pike replies. Nice ladies do tend to come from Bread and Lard Island.
Yes they do, and my Cartier is helping me to sleep quite nicely, Mr Pike. I am a bad, bad sleeper usually.
Sorry, Pike says. What did you say her name was?
We look at him.
Cartier, Pike says. After the watch?
Are you guys taking the piss? Omar retorts, smiling.
Us? Pike says, gesturing. Heaven forbid!
That’s good. Cartier is a wonderful lady and we are in love. Anyway, one week in the summer, perhaps early July, I went three nights without a moments sleep and I started to believe everyone was out to get me. It caused considerable problems at the University. That was it. Went to the see the doctor the very next day. He couldn’t have been more understanding. Next night, I slept for fourteen hours. These sweeties do the trick.

Omar speaks English with an Arabic tinge, but it’s not completely Eastern. He’s spent the last few years much closer east in Bristol and you can select the soft, elongated vowels as much as you can detect the essence of Cairo.
Therefore, I don’t need my prescription at the moment, he continues. As you’ve discovered, Terry, unless you see an old family doctor who doesn’t care because he’s about to give up the medical caper for a life making galleons out of matchsticks, the average sawbones has tightened up on the distribution of jellies quite considerably.
You’re not kidding, I say. Where I live, safecracking is easier.
I understand why, Omar says. These can be lethal. Illegal in eight countries and restricted in fifty more.

He removes the two cartons from inside his jacket pocket. Long white boxes the size of a pen case with a light blue lid on each end. Temazepam written in plain black letters.
How much? I ask
To you, a pony a box.
F**k me. Pike says. Twenty five quid?
Fifty quid the pair. It’s the going rate. I’ve got an offer on them from a Libyan at the University. He’s all right but he’s always boring me with Quantum Mechanics this and Archimedes Screws that, because I made the fatal mistake of telling him I once studied engineering. Always talking about reconstructing Libya. Boring b****d! He wants me to go and work with him over there but no way will that ever happen. I hate Libyans. Camel s*****s! Fifty quid is the price, sir. I am but a humble student and my lady and I are off to Ascot.
Yeh, okay, I say. Fifty it is.

Omar offers me his hand and I take it. He wants me to haggle but after last night, I don’t need the stress. I simply want the jellies. I peel off two twenties from my roll and take a tenner from my wallet. I place the money on a stool and Omar takes it, leaving two long boxes in its wake. Standing, Omar tells us he’s going to buy more drinks. He disappears to the bar with his confident swagger. 

I know full well that Omar has told us a pack of lies.
There’s no insomnia issues. He has the inside track on a supply of contraband NHS medication from somewhere up North and he has had it for years. Every time you buy something from him, you get this Moroccan bazaar spiel and sometimes I think even he believes it. It certainly helps if the Filth pull him, not that he’s taking much of a risk. Six months suspended and a sizeable fine would be my best guess at the maximum penalty and that would be for theft rather than dealing. I have never heard if Omar deals in Doom or Horse or Base or Chang or anything like that, but for all I know, he may do, as I don’t know him that well. He’s more Pike’s friend and he’s said nothing. 
I have no idea whether he has a girlfriend called Cartier or not.



Interesting stuff about the book:

Terry Tyler's Quarterly RoundUp: Her Top Ten Books: 

Georgia Rose Interviews Me: (Quite frank for Indie!)

Brenda Perlin's Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles - Early Interview

Reviews of other work:

Amazing review of Carla by EL Lindley

Emily of Rosie Amber's Review Team Reviews The Night Porter

The Wizard's Cauldron:

This Week's Wizard's Cauldron with the wonderful Barb Taub


  1. i would to review your book on my blog great post

    1. Hi Tracy. Do we follow each other on Twitter? I assume so. Drop a postal address on Twitter DM and I shall post a PB towards the end of this week! Thanks for the interest! Mark

  2. Good news on the PB Mark and I'm looking forward to the cover reveal - every time I see an extract though makes me want to go and reread the book - just shows what a good one it is!! :-)