Set in the grimy, poverty-stricken, north-eastern wasteland of Sunderland, a place of derelict industry, charity shops, and people riding ‘benefit chariots’ – a town that is ironically currently bidding for the title European City of Culture – comes this YA novel of drugs, dreams and dead-end families.
Mickey Hall is a bright, friendly fifteen year-old from a chaotic family background – a feckless single-parent mother, a drug-addicted sister and a series of waster ‘dads’ – who realises that his life would become so much easier if he simply embraced a life of crime himself.
Having decided on this course of action he assembles a group of like-minded schoolfriends, and adopts a huge fighting dog called Maximus and, being both charming and very ruthless he sets out to become the number one drug dealer in town.
He also begins a relationship with the prettiest, coolest girl in school.
Things are going well until one afternoon he is abducted by a car full of adult gangsters who take him to a disused warehouse where he thinks they are going to murder him but instead he is introduced to the leader of the gang – his own father, a powerful, influential and affluent figure in the criminal underworld. He is quickly seduced deep into a life of crime by his new-found father’s wealth and power.
Eventually though, Mickey finds himself in a situation where he must choose between saving his family and betraying his father, forced to choose between old loyalties and his new found wealth and security.
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The Portrait Artist
Steven Vaughn is thirty-nine years old, emotionally self-contained and financially self-sufficient. He works part time as a lecturer, drives an old Peugeot mini-van, sub-lets a room in the house left to him by his mother, and eats food grown in a small vegetable plot at the bottom of his garden. This minimal but viable lifestyle allows him to pursue his vocation as a portrait painter – something for which he has a subtle and enduring gift.
One evening, as he tidies away at the end of a lecture, a teenage girl introduces herself to him – she is Stella, the daughter he abandoned fifteen years earlier. Ignoring the protestations of Steven, and to the dismay of her mother, Stella inserts herself into his life and his art, demands answers to questions he isn’t ready to face, and begins to dismantle the barriers of paint and canvas that he has erected between himself and the world.
First draft completed…
How should a psycho-killer’s ex-girlfriend react when he turns up ten years after she helped him kill a whole bunch of people?
What has he been doing for the past decade, and why has he returned?
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Sid Beckett’s War
Sid Beckett is a bloody good soldier, but he’s also a wastrel and a thief, and only the fact that the British are running out of tank crews is keeping him out of Colchester Army Prison. Because after almost five years of fighting Sid’s come to the conclusion that the entire German army is hell-bent set on killing him. And he’s not about to let that happen.
Sid’s decided that, whatever the allied High Command might say to the contrary, his primary mission is to survive the war and get back home to his mum, safely and in one piece. So when Sid and his misfit crew are given a suicide mission that somehow involves repatriating a horde of stolen Nazi gold, drinking a cellar full of vintage wine and rescuing a Mother Superior who’s been hiding a gaggle of refugee children, he’s more determined than ever to survive.
And if that means taking on the Wehrmacht’s top Tiger Tank ace, defying explicit orders from Field Marshall Montgomery, helping effect a mid-battle repair to Rommel’s staff car, and calling down the fury of the Roman Catholic church, then he’s up for a fight.
Sid Beckett’s War is a rollicking wartime tall-tale of men, machines and misfits doing whatever it takes to survive.