In Northern Ireland, July is the holiday month, but I can't say I've had anything in the way of a holiday as yet. Maybe soon.
A few days ago, I read from Belfast Girls, at the Market Place Theatre in beautiful Armagh City, at the John Hewitt International Summer School, a prestigious literary week, as a fringe event. It was lovely to be asked, but I don't think I've ever been so nervous about a reading from Belfast Girls before. For at least a week in advance I couldn't settle to anything else - and it's taken me a couple of days, now it's over, to recover.
I'm glad to say it went well. The crowd was a pretty reasonable size, they were enthusiastic, and they wanted to buy the book. In addition, I was excellently supported by two musicians, both members of my family. Raymond, my husband, of Celtic Roots Radio, sang, to loud applause and at my request, the song he wrote a few years ago to celebrate the ceasefires, 'Place You Were Born.' This is a song about Belfast, and seemed particularly appropriate to the book, which of course is mostly set there. My son Dave - formerly the lead singer in the very popular Belfast group, The Debonaires - sang two songs, one of them his own marvellous 'All These Battles,' again very appropriate, and brought the house down. I guess he's made a few more fans! (And they seemed to enjoy my readings, too.)
If, like my audience, you'd like to buy Belfast Girls, here are the Kindle links - it's also in paperback.
My second excuse is that over the last few weeks, when not trembling with terror about the forthcoming reading, I've been trying to finish my next book, 'Danger Danger.' It's not quite done, but near enough that I feel I can take a short time off to write this long overdue blog.
So, getting to the point at last.
This blog features a mixture of books I've loved for years, and books I've discovered recently. Pinpoint, by Sheila Mary Taylor, is one of the recent discoveries.
Over a year ago, when I was on Authonomy and reading furiously, it became clear to me that of the 6,000 books (then!), of which I read parts of over 2,000, a few stood out as professional work, the sort of thing I would expect if I picked up an unknown author in the library or in a bookshop. Most of the books, while in many cases obviously having a lot of potential, needed work. Pinpoint, right from the first virtual page I read, was clearly in a different class.
A legal thriller, with an attractive female protagonist and an intricate story which I would hate to spoil for you, Pinpoint takes off without a second's hesitation. Julia, the solicitor at the centre of the story, goes to visit a new client, and immediately feels something telling her that this so-called Sam Smith is her twin brother, dead for twenty-six years. The introductory chapter ends:
But let's get on with it and start the job - it's going to be a long haul, and he's got a lot to do to beat the charge. Murder. Horrible, cold-blooded, psychopathic, sexually motivated sadism.
And I think I know him.'
Then we are straight into the court scene eight months later, with the jury about to pronounce its verdict, amid some nail-biting tension.
The book is written in a sharp, smooth style, polished and professional. The characters are real, interesting. The plot is gripping and page turning. And this becomes less surprising when one realises that Sheila Mary Taylor has previously been responsible for the editing and re-publication of several books written by her mother. We are not dealing with a novice writer here.
Pinpoint moved up the Amazon Kindle thriller rankings with remarkable speed. As I write, it now sits in the overall bestseller ranking somewhere between 200 and 300, and it's clearly marked for the top. The only real question is, how soon?
I'm an avid reader of detective stories. I bought this one for my Kindle App. as soon as it appeared, and I'm looking forward to a regular dose from this writer to feed my addiction. When's the next one, Sheila?
You can buy it on Amazon, both Kindle and paperback, at both .com and .co.uk, and unless you really dislike thrillers, I'm convinced you should. It's only 86p/ $1.30 at the moment. No wonder it's flying upwards. Long live eBooks!
Here are the links:
Sometime I'm going to find out how to show the book cover as well.
See you soon, from your technologically incompetent writing friend, Gerry. (We creative people are better with the right hand side of the brain, so they tell me.)