Monday 31 May 2021

The Draftsman by Laurel Lindström BLOG TOUR @LAURELLindstr @unbounders @RandomTTours #Extract


Martin Cox is a brilliant but untrained draftsman in his early twenties. He is rich, damaged, obsessive, binary.

Shadowhurst Hall, remote, desolate and forgotten, exerts a peculiar pull. The country landscape, a world of shades and shadows, both confuses and beguiles Martin, a man more comfortable in black and white, with facts and numbers.

As he explores the house, the landscape and its history it leads him on a journey back in time to two world wars, and forwards, unexpectedly, towards a healing. A novel of memory and history, and of the scars left by unacknowledged damage and how they can shape us, The Draftsman is also a story of renewal.

The Draftsman by Laurel Lindström was published by Unbound on 21 January 2021. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

An extract from The Draftsman by Laurel Lindström

Above the heavy wheeze of his battered lungs Martin was aware that ahead could hear someone talking loudly, a monologue with no other voices. Occasionally there was laugher and sudden bellowing shouts. As he walked slowly forward he was passing through less dense undergrowth and under a lighter canopy, and could see that he was coming in at an angle to the footpath. On his bottom sat a man dressed in smart tweeds, slightly dishevelled and decorated much as Martin was with mud splashes, dust, twigs, leaf and bramble fragments. His binoculars, festooned with members enclosures tags from multiple racecourses, hung from a strap around his neck and stood to attention on the curve of a round belly. The belly was upholstered with large checks, the waistcoat partly unbuttoned and stained with what might once have been red wine, or some anonymous gravy. The bowler hat that lay upside down on the ground beside him was slightly tattered at the rim, its grosgrain band faded and worn, the pale green satin lining creased and variously patterned with a miscellany of sweaty traces. A long history. He was drinking from a battered silver flask and eating crisps from a bag torn open on the ground, within easy reach of his slender long fingered right hand. He was smiling. His handsome face was pink and shining and lined with pleasures long since enjoyed. They were deeply etched around his eyes and mouth, from which a slow dribble of spit was slowly ebbing.

As Martin scrambled out onto the path with his precious cargo, the man raised his flask in a polite salute “Welcome my friend, welcome to the celebration”. Martin hot and puffing and still in a state of mild distress, stared silently at this jovial greeting. The man continued humming his little song, suffered a momentary gurgle of indigestion and continued to work on his crisps and the remnants of the flask. Martin matched what he saw before him as best he could with the similar scenes he had seen in London on his walks to and from the 93 bus stop and elsewhere. But this was not some homeless outcast with just enough money to get pissed. The probabilities were all wrong and no people were on hand to provide money, nor were there shops to spend it in. Martin stood trying to reconcile the incongruities of the scene and failing, eventually said “cheers” rather awkwardly back.

The man lolled comfortably against his tree, nestling into its bumpy curve, the outstretched buttress roots offering a cosy embrace that helped to prevent him falling over sideways. Through half closed eyes and with immense dignity he said “I’mmos dreaflee sorry”. He coughed a small ahem in order to gather his thoughts and prepare the next few words, which he hoped would have spaces in between: “but it’s completely impossible … at this prissizetime”. Another small pause to regroup his syllables and to wipe carefully at the crisp crumbs peppering his cheeks, but adding more in the process “…for me to welcome you proply because I abslootly cannot stand”. A long sigh masked an intense effort not to drift off into a doze. “Up”, he said. At this point he raised his face to look squarely and decisively in what he estimated must be Martin’s direction and with immense effort and concentration finished with “And even if I could, which is not even remoeleelikely, I would not be able to stop myself fa falling back down again.” At this point the effort of conversation overcame him and the man passed out completely, letting his flask fall to the side, tumbling the upright binoculars almost into the crisps but for the strap around his neck. The coloured tags fluttered gaily and he snored a little snore. “Rrrrrrf” he said and “rrrrrerf” in reply.

Martin stood still watching this extraordinary performance and crouched down beside his fellow traveller to give his shoulder a gentle push. As suddenly as he had dozed off the man woke up and spluttered “m fine, m fine”, before scrabbling around frantically for his flask, sending crisp crumbs and edges swirling. 487 Martin noted as they fell, plus four for the neatly opened pack. Martin still crouching, watched him as he took a pointless swig from the long emptied flask. “Don’t I know you from somewhere” Martin said aware of a curious familiarity. With a mock bow conducted with immense dignity from the chin to the collarbone the man said “Julian Nettlesby esquire, at your service.” “What not John Nettlesby?” “No. Juleeean. Brothnsober, ’cept for pint or two on Sattidy nights at Swan. Me” with a thump at his chest “altogether diff kettle of” And he dropped his head into his chest and once again fell asleep.

Standing there in the woods alone with a possibly dead old man sprinkled with crisp crumbs was a new experience for Martin and it took a moment for him to work out what should happen next. He looked at his phone and realised that he had no idea how to call an ambulance, but noted that it was getting late and cold under the rising wind. Darkness was beginning to squint through the trees and Martin’s assessment was that this was probably not a good combination for Julian Nettlesby esquire. They were surrounded by woods, but they were on a path. A start. Running along the track Martin could hear the sound of a machine droning tunelessly in the distance. As he burst out of the wood onto the open grass he could see Simon on the sit-on mower topping the edge of the field. That was what that bill for a new Kubota tractor was for, Martin thought watching the machine’s slow progress as it travelled ponderously along.

Laurel Lindström has had a long and rewarding career as a technical writer and journalist. Under 
the name of Laurel Brunner she specialises in digital prepress, printing and publishing technologies and her work has been published all over the world.
Laurel’s career began in the 1980s when she got caught up in the digital publishing revolution in California, during her studies at UCLA. A degree in Linguistics & English has been largely useless in her career, however it has helped Laurel to develop writing and analytical skills that have assisted her in both technology analyses and a diverse range of consulting projects. Laurel is a regular speaker at industry events in North and South America, Europe and Asia, a Visiting Professor at Shenzen Technical University in China and one of a small cohort of Women of Distinction selected by US publishers Output Links. She works with the International Standards Organisation and convenes a group responsible for standards relating to the environmental impact of graphics technology, including print media. Agfa Graphics has awarded her its Sustainability Award for her work in sustainability and the Indonesian printing industry association, ATGMI, has also recognised her.

Laurel is married to Paul and together they have three grown up children, Hannah, Morgan and Matilda. Laurel’s work as a novelist, put on hold during the UCLA years, has now begun.

Friday 28 May 2021

Nearest Thing To Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes @lizzieforbes BLOG TOUR @RandomTTours #NearestThingToCrazy #BookReview


Cassandra and a group of her friends enjoy Sunday lunch together on a perfect summer’s day. They’re pleased to welcome their glamorous new neighbour and novelist, Ellie, who has rented a house in the village to work on her book. She likes to place herself in the centre of her plots, she says, although it’s hard to see what she’ll find to write about in this quiet country backwater. As Ellie slots effortlessly into the village social scene, Cass begins to feel increasingly alienated from her friends and isolated from her family but, for the life of her, she can’t fathom out why . . .

Nearest Thing To Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes was originally published by Cutting Edge Press in 2013. I reviewed it on Random Things all those years ago and to this day, it remains one of my favourite books. It is chillingly excellent, with a plot line that will stay with the reader for years, as it has for me.

The book was re-published independently in February this year and I'm delighted to re-share my original review as part of this Random Things Tours blog tour.

Sometimes a book comes along that totally blows the mind.   Nearest Thing To Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes has done just that, my head is spinning, my heart has been beating so fast that I thought it was going to burst out of my chest.  I've been so angry with the characters that I've actually shouted at them - out loud.

There were times when I was actually a little bit scared of turning over the page, this is a mind-bending psychological head-fuck of the highest order.  I loved it!

Set in a small Worcestershire village - a group of middle-class families are happy to welcome novelist Ellie into their tight-knit group.  Glamorous Ellie fits nicely into their glossy lives, with their fancy houses, smart cars and perfect gardens.  She tells them that she is here to write her next book, she's rented a cottage for a few months and is looking forward to getting some inspiration for her story.

Cass and Dan have been married for years, their only child Laura has gone off to university and Cass is happy to potter around the garden, growing vegetables, collecting eggs and making chutney.   Everyone seems to love Ellie - except Cass, she is the only one who feels uncomfortable around her.  And for very good reason.     Slowly and gradually, Cass sees her life unravel - her past insecurities come back to haunt her, but nobody else can see that this is all because of Ellie.   First her husband, then her friends and finally her daughter - all of them - beginning to doubt her, believing in Ellie, slowly driving her mad.

Elizabeth Forbes is an excellent author who has written a story that has twists and turns on every page, not once did I guess how this was going to end.  The suspense builds until at times, it is almost unbearable.  Cleverly weaved into the main story of Cass is Ellie's point of view - who do you believe?

Gripping, clever, tense and thrilling.  This really is a fantastic read that I could hardly bear to put down and the story is going to haunt me for quite a while.

Elizabeth Forbes was born and raised on the Isle of Wight and now lives in Herefordshire with her
husband, two dogs and two hens. 

She published three romantic thrillers under the name Elizabeth Harrington: The Corporate Wife, Making Up and Daddy Darling. 

She then took a break from writing and enrolled with the Open University to study for a degree in Literature. She completed her BA with First Class Honours, and also achieved the OU's Diploma in Creative Writing. 

Her first psychological suspense novel, Nearest Thing to Crazy, was published by Cutting Edge Press in 2013. BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and the Mail Online featured the novel because of its gaslighting subject matter. It was a bestseller in Amazon UK's psychological thriller charts. 

Her second novel published by Cutting Edge Press in 2014 was Who Are You? which is a dark and twisty tale focussing on the stormy marriage of two people affected by PTSD and childhood trauma. Elizabeth has recently re-published these novels independently with Amazon KDP, and plans to publish a new novel in the summer of 2021.

Twitter @lizzieforbes

Thursday 27 May 2021

The Final Round by Bernard O Keeffe @BernardOKeeffe1@MuswellPress @Brownlee_Donald #TheFinalRound #BookReview #DIGaribaldi


On the morning after Boat Race Day, a man's body is found in a nature reserve beside the Thames. He has been viciously stabbed, his tongue cut out, and an Oxford college scarf stuffed in his mouth. The body is identified as that of Nick Bellamy, last seen at the charity quiz organised by his Oxford contemporary, the popular newsreader Melissa Matthews. Enter DI Garibaldi, whose first task is to look into Bellamy's contemporaries from Balfour College. In particular, the surprise 'final round' of questions at this year's charity quiz in which guests were invited to guess whether allegations about Melissa Matthews and her Oxford friends are true. These allegations range from plagiarism and shoplifting to sextortion and murder...

The Final Round by Bernard O Keeffe is published in paperback on 27 May 2021 by Muswell Press. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I have read a couple of books by this author in the past and enjoyed them. This is his debut crime novel and the first in the planned DI Garibaldi series. Crime fiction fans are in for such a treat, this first instalment is a terrific read and I think the author has set us up for a fabulous continuing series.

The two main themes in The Final Round are the actual crime case, and the detective in charge of solving it. Both are done so very well, the reader learns about Garibaldi as the investigations take place, yet the focus is never taken away from the actual crime.

The title of the novel is excellent, for this murder took place not long after a group of ex Oxford students took place in their annual charity quiz night, and it was the questions posed during the final round of the quiz that caused an uproar. Whilst most of this group have gone on to be successful in their chosen careers and some are extremely wealthy,  one of them; Nick Bellamy, was clearly the odd man out. He'd missed many quizzes over the years, and his life appeared to be chaotic with tattered relationships and issues with drink and drugs mentioned. When Nick is found, brutally murdered with his tongue cut out and an Oxford scarf stuffed into his mouth, it appears that some of questions in the quiz may have been closer to the truth that any of the others would like. 

Set in and around Barnes in London, the author does a great job of creating an area of large houses filled with wealthy, if not so nice people. In fact, none of the ex Oxford students appear to be very pleasant at all, and I had my suspicions about all of them during the novel. 

Garibaldi, on the other hand, is a fabulous character. One of a kind, although he does have that baggage that all lead cops in series seem to carry around with them. He doesn't drive, which gives the author the opportunity to introduce his sidekick DS Milly Gardner too. Garibaldi is well-read, likes country music and is tentatively approaching a new relationship after the break down of his marriage. There's more too, things from his past, things that lurk on the surface, but haven't yet been fully explored. I look forward to getting to know more about him.

I really enjoyed this police procedural. I thought the plot was tight, well structured and kept me guessing, right through to the final pages.  I'm excited to read more in this series. 

Bernard O’Keeffe worked in advertising before becoming an English teacher, most recently at St
Paul’s School in Barnes, where he currently lives with his wife and two children. 

He has previously written two Young Adult titles.

Twitter @BernardOKeeffe1

Wednesday 26 May 2021

The Skylight by Louise Candlish #Skylight @louise_candlish #QuickReads @readingagency @midaspr


Discover the joy of reading with Quick Reads. Short books and great stories by bestselling authors!

The need
1 in 6 adults in the UK struggle with reading and 1 in 3 adults do not regularly read for pleasure. England ranks 23rd out of 23 OECD nations for literacy level amongst 16-19 year olds. In addition, studies have shown that those who do read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations.

The programme
Quick Reads provide a route into reading that prioritises great story telling and adult-focused content while ensuring the books are written in an accessible and easy to read style. The books are written by some of the most popular authors in the UK - including Andy McNab, Jojo Moyes, Anne Cleeves, Ian Rankin and Benjamin Zephaniah - so they can be a brilliant entry point to new genres, authors as well as the spark to reignite or build up the joy of reading.

The Quick Reads programme has collaborated with over 30 publishers to produce a total of 135 titles since 2006 (many still available to borrow from your public library or buy from The Reading Agency's bookshop) with over 5 million copies distributed and over 5.7 million library loans. Each  year, The Reading Agency work with bestselling authors to produce six new titles. See the full back catalogue.

The programme is in the final year of funding received through a generous donation from best-selling author Jojo Moyes who has funded the programme for three years.

The 2021 series

A new set of six titles will be published on 27 May 2021.

The titles include: The Baby is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Atlantic); The Skylight by Louise Candlish (Simon & Schuster); Saving the Day by Katie Fforde (Arrow); Wish You Were Dead by Peter James (Macmillan); How to Be a Woman, abridged by Caitlin Moran (Ebury); The Motive by Khurrum Rahman (HQ).

Find out more about the books and buy them for a little as £1 from The Reading Agency's bookshop on, Hive, Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith. You can also borrow the titles from your public library. The titles are available in paperback and eBook.

Quick Reads are an extremely valuable tool for boosting reading skills, confidence and engagement in learning. They can act as an entry point to different authors' work in diverse genres, and have led to thousands of adults reading, completing and enjoying a book for the first time. Our long-term goal is to build a nation of readers by getting Quick Reads into every home in the UK!

How to take part
Quick Reads are available to purchase for a little as £1 from The Reading Agency's bookshop on, retailers such as Hive, Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith and bookshops across the country. They can be borrowed from your local library.

We work with public libraries, prisons, colleges, hospitals and adult learning organisations to ensure these books are accessed by those who may find reading difficult as they are a perfect entry point to reading for pleasure.

Quick Reads are perfect for supporting the Reading Ahead programme either as reading material or to use as rewards and incentives. Find out more about Reading Ahead.

Get involved
Order Quick Reads and support The Reading Agency through our bookshop.

Find out more about the 2021 titles.

Take a look at our other reading programmes for adults, such as Reading Ahead and World Book Night.

Contact with any questions.

They can’t see her, but she can see them…

Simone has a secret. She likes to stand at her bathroom window and spy on the couple downstairs through their kitchen skylight. She knows what they eat for breakfast and who they’ve got over for dinner. She knows what mood they’re in before they even step out the door. There’s nothing wrong with looking, is there?

Until one day Simone sees something through the skylight she is not expecting. Something that upsets her so much she begins to plot a terrible crime…

From the author of Our House, the British Book Awards Crime & Thriller of the Year

 I was delighted to get the chance to read The Skylight, the Quick Reads book by Louise Candlish. I'm a fan of her writing and her psychological thrillers are always really well done.

The Skylight is 89 pages of utter tension. I'm in awe of any author who can create such a compelling story in such a few pages. The reader becomes part of Simone's world in an instant, and it's a strange and quite distressing place to be.

Simone is an odd character. She lives on the top floor of a large house and from her bathroom window she can look down on the glass skylight that the young couple who live downstairs have fitted in their kitchen ceiling. Nobody knows that Simone can see out because the glass in her window appears to be frosted, but it isn't, and she knows everything about the daily routine of the couple downstairs.

Sometimes it's best to keep your nose of out of other people's business. It certainly would have been best for Simone. She sees something that angers and upsets her and she is determined that she will not be taken for a fool.

Simone has a history .... she may be quiet and blend into the background, but she's capable of a lot.

What a thriller this is! I zoomed through this in an hour, hardly moving as I watched Simone become more desperate and just a little bit crazy.

An excellent story with a sting in the tale. I loved it! 

Louise Candlish is the Sunday Times bestselling author of fourteen novels. 

Our House, a #1 bestseller, won the Crime & Thriller Book of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards, was longlisted for the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award. 

It is soon to be a major ITV drama made by Death in Paradise producers Red Planet Pictures. 

Louise lives in London with her husband and daughter. 

Visit her at or connect with her on Twitter @Louise_Candlish.

Monday 24 May 2021

Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins BLOG TOUR @MorganJerkins #CaulBaby @Harper360UK @RandomTTours #BookReview


Laila desperately wants to become a mother, but each of her previous pregnancies has ended in heartbreak. This time has to be different, so she turns to the Melancons, an old and powerful Harlem family known for their caul, a precious layer of skin that is the secret source of their healing power.

When a deal for Laila to acquire a piece of caul falls through, she is heartbroken, but when the child is stillborn, she is overcome with grief and rage. What she doesn’t know is that a baby will soon be delivered in her family—by her niece, Amara, an ambitious college student—and delivered to the Melancons to raise as one of their own. Hallow is special: she’s born with a caul, and their matriarch, Maman, predicts the girl will restore the family’s prosperity.

Growing up, Hallow feels that something in her life is not right. Did Josephine, the woman she calls mother, really bring her into the world? Why does her cousin Helena get to go to school and roam the streets of New York freely while she’s confined to the family’s decrepit brownstone?

As the Melancons’ thirst to maintain their status grows, Amara, now a successful lawyer running for district attorney, looks for a way to avenge her longstanding grudge against the family. When mother and daughter cross paths, Hallow will be forced to decide where she truly belongs. 

Engrossing, unique, and page-turning, Caul Baby illuminates the search for familial connection, the enduring power of tradition, and the dark corners of the human heart.

Caul Baby by Morgen Jerkins was published in the UK by Harper 360 on 29 April 2021. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour. 

I spent the two days that it took me to read Caul Baby in a state of utter enchantment. For me, there is nothing better than reading a book that takes me to places that I've never been before and teaches me things that I knew nothing about. Caul Baby is one of those books, it's an exquisitely woven story that deals with issues that are intriguing and fascinating. It is also packed with incredibly crafted characters who are colourful and flawed and oh so human. 

Laila lives in Harlem and wants nothing more than to be a mother. She has suffered the devastating loss of miscarriage many times and for this current pregnancy she is determined that she will do everything she can to ensure that her baby survives.

The Melancon family have lived in their crumbling mansion in the district for many years. The family are both feared and revered in the neighbourhood. Their women are caul-bearing, and legend says that a piece of their caul; a protective layer of skin that covers most of their bodies, can protect an unborn child, along with preventing and curing many illnesses. 

However, the Melancons refuse to do business with Laila, and she loses yet another baby. This tragedy is the final turning point for Laila and she sinks ever further into despair as her life crumbles around her; her marriage ends and she loses her home.

Meanwhile, Laila's own niece Amara, is pregnant with a child she doesn't want. Secretly, she gives birth and her daughter, who she calls Hallow is taken into the Melancon home, to be raised as one of their own. Hallow is special, she too has a caul, and will be the source of great income for the family.

What a wonderful premise this is and it is beautifully written too. Jerkins has captured this community so well, thrusting the reader into the age-old traditions and religious beliefs that are held. The onset of gentrification is apparent though, and it is clear that the Melancons are more concerned with hard cash than with helping their own, leading to further mistrust from the existing community. 

The women characters are the stars of this novel. Each one is beautifully portrayed; from matriarch Maman to the deeply disturbed Laila, they almost jump from the pages with such clarity and vision. 

It's a complex and intricately woven story with hints of magical realism that reminded me at times of Alice Hoffman's work. At the heart though, it's a story of community, deceit and deception. There are themes of greed and illicit love and most of all, of the power of belief and how money can destroy family. 

A wonderful story, one that will stay with me for a long time. Highly recommended. 

Morgan Jerkins is the author of Wandering in Strange Lands and the New York Times bestseller This Will Be My Undoing and a Senior Editor at ZORA. 

A visiting professor at Columbia University and a Forbes 30 under 30 Leader in Media, Jerkins's short form work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, ELLE, Esquire, and The Guardian, among many others. 

She is based in Harlem.

Twitter @MorganJerkins

Sunday 23 May 2021

Love and Care by Shaun Deeney BLOG TOUR @shaun_deeney #LoveAndCare @RandomTTours @Octopus_Books #Giveaway #Win #Prize #Competition


Shaun is determined to put the past behind him. No longer brooding on his divorce, and with his two daughters grown up, he is making a fresh start in a new country. And hoping to find love one more time. Until the sudden death of his father changes everything.

With his mother in a care home, Shaun knows he has to make a choice: leave his mother there, or give up his new-found freedom to look after her himself in the home she once shared with his father.

Love and Care charts his first year caring for his mother who has Parkinson's dementia; a woman he loves deeply but realises he hardly knows as he tries to connect with her through music, food and everyday joys. Can he face the challenges and prove the doubters wrong? And what will the decision mean for his chances of finding love?

Writing with raw honesty and humour, Shaun reflects on his own relationships - as a son, a father, and as a man. He explores our ability to keep hope alive, to forgive and be forgiven. Along the way he learns that letting go may just be the most valuable lesson in love.

Framed by the changing seasons, Love and Care is a story of redemption, and a celebration of our capacity to love, in all its forms.

Love and Care by Shaun Deeney was published on 20 May 2021 by Endeavour / Octopus Books.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I'm delighted to offer one hardback copy as a giveaway.
Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget in this blog post. UK entries only.


'An honest and thoughtful memoir about what it means to be a carer - particularly what it means to be a man who cares. Moving but, ultimately, full of hope. Beautiful.' KATE MOSSE

'A beautiful, intimate story of love and understanding - candid and funny. This is a lyrical memoir of hope and forgiveness.' RAYNOR WINN, author of The Salt Path

'A heart-warming, heart-wrenching, and beautifully humane account of loving and caring.' NICCI GERRARD, novelist and author of What Dementia Teaches Us About Love

One Hardback copy of Love and Care by Shaun Deeney

Shaun Deeney is a former journalist and Emmy award-winning film and TV producer. 

He has made current affairs programmes for ITV on social issues, including care. 

He is also the creator of a podcast on caring for his mother called 'Love and Care'. 

Shaun has a degree in English and American Literature from Kent at Canterbury. 

He has two daughters and loves listening to Frank Sinatra. 

For more information visit

Twitter: @shaun_deeney


Friday 21 May 2021

The Sadness of The King George by Shaun Hand BLOG TOUR @ShaunHandAuthor #SadnessOfTheKingGeoge @BADPRESSiNK @RandomTTours


Welcome to The King George.

You know it. Your old local. Back in the day.

The stink of beer and piss, sticky carpets, nicotine stains on the ceiling, soggy bar towels, and the chance of a punch-up on a Saturday night – or anytime for that matter.

And in amongst it all an awkward 20-year-old, trapped behind the bar, with nothing to do but pull pints and wait for the next fag break.

Until he finds Amy. And life. And an escape – if he dares.

From West Midlands writer Shaun Hand comes a comedy novel set in a Birmingham pub, well Sutton Coldfield to be precise. Funny, poignant and unflinchingly honest, The Sadness of The King George captures the moment when the easy idealism of youth collides with the hard realities of conservative suburbia.

The Sadness of the King George by Shaun Hand was published on 6 January 2021 by BAD PRESS iNK.
I'm delighted to share an extract from the book today as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour. 

An Extract from The Sadness of The King George

Focch aff!

No, you fuck off.

Loocch jus ge’me a focchn pint.

No, you’ve had y’ticket I dunno how many times.

No foccher gev me no ticcher, I barred meself cchosa tha ccchont.

Donsher wha me ye—

Not this time. Not with this hangover. I came out from behind the bar and went to open the door. Eddie must’ve thought I was going for him cos he backed up and took himself out. I followed, trying to keep my distance so I didn’t have to smell him. Outside, he stood in the middle of the street, hands fumbling for his tobacco tin but eyes, unfocused, in my direction. I leant on the doorframe, trying to look casual.

Focchn tell youse sumert, y’little cchont. I wz focchn drinch’n’ere foreyuzborn.

Really, yeh?

Focchn chhnt uva landlord fchn rhunedafcchinpub n’fcchnnWHUUU!

He was interrupted by a dirty blue transit van bipping its horn, bumper inches from him. He span round towards it, throwing two fingers up at the windscreen.


The driver’s door flew open. Eddie’s raised hand turned into a limp shield against the red mist about to engulf him. It was Kronenbourg Kev. Eddie was fucked.

S-s-sorry, s-s-ssohr, s-sohr, dint rearlyse twuz yo’zz— sohrr—

He reeled backwards to the far side of the road, tripped on the kerb and went flat on his arse. Kev loomed over him, arm raised, fist clenched.




S-sor I—


Kev’s fist unclenched, and he span round to walk away. Just as sharp, he doubled back and booted Eddie in the bollocks. As he completed the full 360, he caught my eye.


My macho adrenaline turned to burning fear, my gaze straight to the floor. As I dared to look back up, he was jumping in his van. Slamming the door, he flew off with a stamp on the accelerator, leaving the cars behind to trundle warily in his wake. Once they’d passed, I saw Eddie fumbling round for his tobacco tin, the contents now scattered in the gutter. With a wince, he stumbled to his feet and shambled off across the car park opposite the pub, probably to nurse his pride and bruised balls in Wetherspoons. They served anyone over there.

About the author

You know that feeling you get when you’re stood freezing on t
he Welsh moors, wrapped in a cloak you got cheap off eBay, your singer miming backwards in a bathtub as you make video for your band’s song that’s been used in an American teen drama and become the unofficial theme tune to a podcast aboutSasquatch?

Shaun Hand, an author and musician from the West Midlands, 
knows all about it. 
Things weren’t always that strange for our intrepid late-starter. 
After drifting into various dead-ends, Shaun began studyingEnglish at night school aged 22 – to get a night off from the pub he was working at six days a week as much as anything else. 
After going to university in Wolverhampton and graduating with a First in CreativeWriting, he promptly continued to work in local pubs and bars, using his spare time to procrastinate, make music and hang around on the Welsh moors with his band FABRIK and, eventually, begin writing books.
His literary career kicked off with Pop
Art Poems: The Music of The Jam, widely regarded as one of the best books ever written about the group.
Now a full-time freelance writer, he currently lives in Wolverhampton with his wife, daughter, cat, and record collection.

Twitter @ShaunHandAuthor