Monday 15 July 2019

Bakerton by Phil Clinker @pegasuspublish #Bakerton #PhilClinker MY LIFE IN BOOKS

Nothing ever happens in Bakerton... until one of the country's richest bankers is brutally murdered in his mansion, along with some of his associates.

When Sheriff John Withers begins his investigation, he is horrified to learn that a federal agent has also been assigned to the case. But Withers intends to proceed in his own, somewhat unconventional manner - and the agent is just going to have to accept it!

Withers soon discovers that he is seeking two separate killers - one of whom has apparently been dead for four years. Each of them has a different agenda, and both are set on course for a final showdown... with Withers and his deputies in the line of fire.

But when a young girl goes missing as well, the stakes become unbearably high.

Bakerton by Phil Clinker was published in May by Pegasus Publishing. I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. He's talking about the books that are special to him in My Life in Books.

My Life in Books - Phil Clinker

The idea for Bakerton (and the next two novels I’m working on!) started in my head and I couldn’t get rid of it! I had written very sporadically for years, without penning anything serious. However, retirement seemed to ignite my artistic streak. It had always been on my “retirement list” (no, not bucket list) to learn to paint, which I now do with varying degrees of success. But last year, out of the blue, I got the urge to return to my first love: writing. The book took about eight months to write, and my association with Pegasus Publishers as a freelance proof-reader meant that they were the obvious first port of call. I was astounded when they offered me an immediate contract, with first option on my next three books. A dream come true!

As a proof-reader of over fifty years’ standing, books are naturally very dear to me.

My first choice, though, might be somewhat of a surprise. “THE CRICKET MATCH”, by Hugh de Selincourt, was published in 1924, and my personal copy dates from 1949. In August 1921, the fictional villages of Tillingfold and Raveley play a match set against the beautiful backdrop of the Downs.
When young Horace Cairie wakes on the designated day, he has two burning desires – that the weather will hold for the match, and that the team captain will pick him to play. The atmosphere and the period are evoked perfectly, and I make a point of re-reading this book at the start of every summer. “Play up, Tillingfold!”

Each and every book by HARLAN COBEN must go on my list. I have eagerly devoured all of them (over 30), and they have given me great pleasure, although the ones featuring the ex-basketball star Myron Bolitar and his avoid-at-all-costs associate Windsor “Win” Horne Lockwood III are particularly special.

For Father’s Day this year, one of my daughters gave me “THE SOLDIER WHO CAME BACK”, by Steve Foster and Alan Clark. The book describes a real-life war story where Foster’s father, Fred, and fellow PoW Antony Coulthard escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp in Poland during the Second World War; but, instead of setting out for the nearest border, as most “normal” people might do, they decided to head for Berlin!
Their audacity was incredible, and the book highlights some of the truly remarkable escapades that these two were involved in, not least of which was them looking for prostitutes in Berlin! It’s not for me to explain that one: you’ll have to read the book yourself!

“EENY MEENY”, by M. J. Arlidge, has a plot which I would have loved to have come up with! Take two people, lock them up in an escape-proof room with a gun containing one bullet, and then leave them there to starve. Eventually, it is likely that one of them is going to use the gun. When that happens, you just let the survivor go free … and do it all over again. In this first book featuring DI Helen Grace, it comes as a real shock as to whom the perpetrator really is.

Regarding “classic” books, my firm favourite is “THE CORAL ISLAND”, by R. M. Ballantyne. I read it as a boy, and much preferred it to “Robinson Crusoe”. The story of three boys shipwrecked on a Polynesian island, it describes how they survived and learnt to cope by using only their own resources and intelligence. Later, they almost fall foul of cannibalistic natives and then a crew of cut-throat pirates. Real “Boy’s Own” stuff!

Finally, I have to give an honourable mention to P. G. Wodehouse. His Jeeves and Wooster stories are superb, but I particularly like his character Psmith, who appears in several books (for example, “LEAVE IT TO PSMITH”). Rupert Psmith (the ‘p’ is silent, he informs us, rather like the ‘p’ in ‘pshrimp’) is a dandy who was expelled from Eton and, as well as being a witty and wonderful speaker, also belongs to the Drones Club. He added the ’p’ to distinguish himself from other Smiths. The books recount how Psmith gaily goes through life totally unruffled, despite his amazing adventures. Comic genius.

Phil Clinker - July 2019 

After almost fifty years in the printing industry, twenty-seven of them running his own company, Phil embraced retirement by taking up painting and returning to his first love, writing. 

Bakerton is his first novel. 

He lives with his wife, Olive, beside the sea in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.

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