Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will's notebook and will do anything to get it. As Will's memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?Fighting for survival with the help of MI5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.
Sleeper by J D Fennell was published by Dome Press on 28 April 2017 and is the author's debut novel. I'm really pleased to host the Blog Tour for Sleeper here on Random Things today.
The author, J D Fennell joins me to talk about the books that are special to him and have left a lasting impression on his life in his own My Life In Books.
My Life In Books ~ J D Fennell
When I visited the library, my heart would skip a beat when I saw Herge’s Tintin books on display. They were larger than regular books with mesmerizing covers promising adventure in far off lands such as Egypt, America, South America, Morocco, Tibet, even the moon! Anywhere was possible. With his dog Snowy, and the surly Captain Haddock by his side, I would be with them all the way as they chased down thieves, murderers and solved mysteries. Tintin was my hero; he was the boy I wanted to be.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was my first Roald Dahl book. I loved it, and despite finding Willy Wonka and his factory slight terrifying, I so wanted to have a golden ticket and be Charlie. Reading it was a joy. I lapped up Dahl’s quirky humour and Quentin Blake’s kooky illustrations over and over again and could not wait to read his other books.
It is hard to look past the many parodies of Enid Blyton’s meddling five do-gooders without sniggering, however, I loved these books. They stoked my imagination and made me believe that adventure could be found in the open fields and mountains close to where I was brought up.
The Teenage Years
Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror dominated my teenage years. I had a thirst for stories that would transport me to another world and stories that would terrify me. Stephen King was my favourite author. I must have read everything he had written at that time.
King has so many amazing books. I loved Salem’s Lot, Carrie, The Stand, etc, however, The Shining is just so perfect. It is pacey, clever, terrifying and worthy of reading over and over again. Jack Torrance is such a great character dealing with his own demons and those inhabiting the Overlook Hotel. I read it again recently and am delighted to report it is still amazing.
The second of my standout novels read during my teens is Tolkien’s epic fantasy. I read these books over and over again and always found something new that I had missed. I could not get enough of Middle Earth and its fantastic range of characters, locations and stories. LOTR has almost every plot and if you are familiar with Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots you will know what I mean.
Richard Matheson’s post-apocalyptic thriller about the last man on an earth populated with vampires is a classic sci-fi novel that spawned four different movie versions and was the inspiration for many zombie films. At it’s core it is the story of Robert Neville dealing with loneliness and fighting for survival against a violent new race of people who will not leave him alone. Some are his neighbours risen from the dead! I found it both terrifying and moving. There is also a terrific twist at the end and great final line. No spoilers. Although I expect everyone has seen one or more of the movies.
I think I was in my thirties when I read Wuthering Heights. A late age (I know!) to pick up one of the greatest novels ever. And it really is. I did not know what to expect when I started it and was instantly drawn into the unforgiving world of Heathcliff and those around him. It ignited a lot of emotions: anger, pity, sorrow, disgust, happiness. It has it all. One of my favourite books of all time.
Thomas Harris is one of my favourite authors and this book is such a perfect thriller. His writing is so precise and so in-the-moment that you cannot help but keep turning the pages as junior FBI agent, Clarice Starling, investigates a series of serial murders with the help of Hannibal Lecter, one of fiction’s most satisfyingly dark villains.
The North Water is a recent novel (Jan 2016). It is disturbing, fast paced tale of an ill-fated Yorkshire whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. It is the story of Patrick Summer, an ex-army doctor with a broken reputation, and the brutal and bloodthirsty, Henry Drax. The story builds to a gripping confrontation between the two main characters against the backdrop of a bleak Arctic landscape. Full of surprises, and wonderfully written. I loved it.
I don’t usually read historical novels, however, my partner has been pushing me to read this for some time. When I picked it up, I could not put it down. Follet hooks you into the world of Aliena, Jack and Philip and makes it very difficult for you to leave it.
His story telling is precise, engaging, moving and horrifying. His characters are wonderfully drawn and I could not stop myself falling in love with them. Brilliant!
J D Fennell ~ May 2017
J D was born in Belfast at the start of the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help understand the madness unfolding around him.
A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books - his early influences including Fleming, Tolkien, Shakespeare and The Brontes.
He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in writing for the software industry.
These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two dogs.
Find his Author page on Facebook
Follow him on Twitter @jd_fennell