Monday, 29 November 2010

"NO CRY FOR HELP" - Review

A few weeks back I blogged about Grant McKenzie's book 'SWITCH' - well, now his second book is on release: 'No Cry For Help' - and once again, it's a goodie!

A finely woven tale, it leads the reader on a 'bread-crumb trail' through a forest of unanswered questions - until you find yourself so caught up with the twists and turns that the story MUST be pursued to discover the fate of the main character, Wallace Carver!

In his previous story, 'Switch', Grant McKenzie posed the question: to what lengths would an 'average Joe' go in order to rescue his family? With 'No Cry For Help' he again puts the reader in that unenviable position, as a family trip across the Canadian border turns to disaster.

Wallace Carver begins to worry when his wife and two children fail to meet him at a shopping mall. As the minutes tick away his anxiety grows and as the shops begin to close, all the possible scenarios for their tardiness that he has had running through his mind begin to evaporate.

Finally, after persuading the shopping mall security guards that something may be very wrong, the local police begin to question Carver and following the discovery that his vehicle bears no signs of luggage for anyone else, assume that his story of a missing family is a work of fiction.

Trying to maintain his account of events, Carver finds his story is disputed further when the police discover that photos taken at the border, of traffic crossing from Canada into the US, do indeed reveal Carver's vehicle - with himself as the sole occupant!

Initially suspecting foul play, but then with all trace of his so-called family's existance erased, the police have Carver expelled back across the border to his home territory of Canada.

Now, Carver has to fight to find out how to get his family back.

Who who has taken them? And why?

'No Cry For Help' is, like it's predecessor 'Switch', a roller-coaster ride of action and emotion which Grant McKenzie handles so deftly. The reader instantly identifies with Carver's feelings of bewilderment and helplessness in the face of bureuocracy, and as he has to grow 'street-smart' and leave behind his former life as a law-abiding citizen there is a sense of driven desperation as he seeks his wife and children - whatever the cost.

The twists and turns of Grant McKenzie's tight plotting keeps the reader on his (or her) toes and seemingly loose ends are expertly woven in as the story kicks on with unrelenting pace!

'Switch' burst onto the literary scene just over a year ago and now it's joined by this excellent follow-up novel!

Now, Mr McKenzie - don't keep us waiting too long for No.3!!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Short Story Challenge

Knowing how some of the people who visit my 'umble little blog love to write - here's a challenge for which I'm happy to drum up trade!

My friend Yvette has a truly wonderous blog which, as well as being a treasure trove of literary wonders, is also something of an Aladdin's Cave - festooned with things upon which to feast one's eyes (I can spend ages wandering through her blog.....)

Anyway, a few days ago she posted a link that suggested a great mystery.

So, spurred on with her own suppositions she has declared a challenge to write a short story based on a possible explanation. There's plenty of time - you have until Feb 14th, 2011.

Alas, there is no stash of cash up for grabs, or a publishing contract in the offing, but the winner will receive the very first annual award Icon to display on their blog!!

So,what will YOU come up with, hmmmm?

Go check out her site, anyway, but take a cuppa with you - you may be gone for some time..... ;- )

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Sentinal - Lily's Friday Prediction

Every week, without fail, Lily Childs, hosts a 100-word flashfiction challenge. Why not drop by, take a look, oh - and have a go yourself, perhaps?

This week's words up for grabs were:

[the Archangel]

Sailing very close to the wind, with just a few hours of the challenge left, I scraped together a story (of sorts!) - not one of my usual genres but, hey - first time for everthing!

Here 'tis:

The Sentinel

Uriel’s reflected light shone on the rich tapestries in the bedchamber, picking out fine gold threads in the weave.

His presence disturbed the kestrel, tied to its perch, head shielded in a tiny hood. Though unseen, it sensed the emissary sent from the Most High.

Not so, the woman in repose, fever blighting her slumber in the canopied bed. Uriel leaned against one of the posts, watching. Her beauty stirred him, but only to praise her Creator.

Charged with her protection, he glowed brightly, defying the demons that encroached upon her.

Tonight, they would have to feast on other flesh.

Friday, 5 November 2010

In Memorium

Every Friday, Lily Childs launches a weekly prediction. Using the three words she selects at random, participants are invited to create prose or poetry up to a wordcount of 100.

This week, the word-prompts were:


Perhaps it was the noise of fireworks outside but the word 'percussion' conjured up a sense of gunfire and inspired my entry for this week's challenge, as we (in the UK) pause for thought for fallen heroes.



Admonished by those who thought themselves their betters.

Seeking a last breath of freedom from their squalid trench they rose,

Sacrificing themselves to shrill whistles and cries

And then the staccato percussion that charted their rapid demise as over the top they went,

Pouring like ants from a nest,

Seeing a new horizon, briefly, before lead and shrapnel marked their bodies,
In daubs of crimson.

Now, here, in fields to which only the valiant can belong,
Remain those daubs of poppy-red
Fluttering in the breeze.

Remembrances to the long-ago dead.