Books


1.    Thou shalt create an intelligent hero specializing in some arcane academic subject.

2.    Thou shalt provide thy hero with a helpmate in the form of an attractive and somewhat younger heroine, also intelligent, usually possessed of wisdom in a complimentary field that she may assist thy hero without duplicating his skills.

3.    Thou shalt begin thy story with a violent death, usually of a good person, who may be associated with the hero, but dost not have to be.

4.    Thou shalt include in thy story a secretive organization, usually one that has been around for donkey’s years and has links to history and may also have had famous people as members.

5.    Thy hero shalt progress through a maze of mysteries and puzzles and must solve the immediate step in the puzzle before he be allowed to progress to the next stage in thy story.

6.    Thou shalt put obstacles in the path of thy hero in the form of a strong and dastardly villain that art trying to stop thy hero and foil his efforts.  Thy dastardly villain shall be willing to resort to committing the most heinous of crimes in pursuit of his nefarious agenda.  However, thy dastardly villain shall not act on his own initiative or in his own interests but rather shall he be subservient to shadowy figures in the background of thy story.

7.    The masters of thy dastardly villain shall be a powerful organization (see 4th Commandment) that hath a vested interest in foiling the hero because he doth threaten their interests or the established order.

8.    Thou shalt set thy story in an exotic location, or series of locations, that playeth a major part in thy story or in the historical background to thy story.

9.    Towards the end of thy story, it shall finally dawn upon thy hero (as it surely hath already on most of thy readers) that the hero is being betrayed by one who is close to him (but not the female lead) and that the traitor be associated with the very organization that hath been trying to stop thy hero all along.

10.    Notwithstanding thy hero’s sense of righteous indignation at the betrayal, he shall surely solve the final step in the mystery and successfully overcome the obstacles, without the aid of the Almighty, but with some help from the heroine, with whom he shall end up with in a state of transient connubial bliss (albeit outside the bonds of holy matrimony).

 

The next book in the Dov Shamir Adventures is now available. In Checkmate at the Beauty Pageant (The Dov Shamir Adventures) top Israeli intelligence officer Dov Shamir is called in to locate and rescue a bunch of 32 beauty queens kidnapped by eccentric computer software entrepreneur Lee Chadwick and taken to a secret island somewhere in the Caribbean.

Chadwick threatens to kill the girls unless former American and world chess champion Billy Segal is persuaded to come out of retirement and play against a super-powerful computer chess program that runs on the internet. But Segal has lost his nerve…

Follow the link to get the book – and for a few days it is available FREE!!!!

 

 

Hurry!!!!! Ethan and the Devious Doctor for the Amazon Kindle is available free until December 30. So get your skates on and click on the link to go to Amazon and get the book FREE – now… while you still can…
  

 

As the headline suggests, the Kindle version of this book is now available.  To buy it, just click on the link above and it will take you straigjht to Amazon where you can a copy for only 86p.  Remember this book was originally published by Hodder in hardback for £17.99 and then by Coronet in paperback for £6.99.  So you’re getting a real bargain here – a great thriller at an unbelievable price.

And if you still aren’t sure, you can download a sample and check out the first sixteen pages.

 

When Mossad operative Dov Shamir kills an al-Quaida terrorist in London, his face is captured on a webcam, turning a routine elimination into a nightmare.

Branded a “rogue operative” and abandoned by his own people, Dov takes refuge in the home of the one man he can count on to help him – a Palestinian intellectual who was his professor and mentor at the School of Oriental and African Studies where he did his PhD. Though Dov and Rahman are divided by politics, Rahman is a man of immense personal loyalty and a staunch opponent of anything that will bring the Palestinian cause into disrepute (as well as being Dov’s former SCUBA diving partner).

But it becomes particularly important to help when Dov reveals the terrorists’ plan to blow up the sunken wreckage of an old World War II munitions ship packed with high explosives. And when the terrorists ambush them, Dov has to form an uneasy alliance with Salima – Rahman’s feisty and distrustful 24-year-old daughter.

Unable to convince the skeptical authorities that the attack on the ship is anything other than a desperate fabrication by Dov, their only hope is a junior police officer. But he has motives of his own. And with the net closing in on the fleeing Israeli operative, Dov and Salima find themselves caught in a race against time to stop the attack before hundreds of innocent people are killed.

I have to confess that I had reservations about Hidden Menace, because on re-reading, it does seem to stereotype Arabs somewhat. I say “stereotype” rather than “demonize” because the book does have some “good” Arabs too – i.e. those who oppose terrorism. But I still can’t escape the feeling that I have created stereotypes and effectively sold my soul to the realms of Hackdom, as it were.

This is not what I am about – normally. I like to think that I possess a modicum of literary sophistication. To this end, I try to avoid stereotypes in my characterization, just as in my use of language I avoid cliches like the plague. On the other hand, controversy sells. Look at good ol’ Jeremy Clarkson raising hell by suggesting that public sector workers who go on strike against unilateral attempts to breach the pension provisions of their contracts should be shot. A silly off-the-cuff comment that is quintessentially Jeremy Clarkson. In other words, the kind of low-brow, man-in-the-pub macho talk upon which Clarkson has built his stag-party reputation.

And guess what? All of a sudden, everyone’s talking about Jeremy Clarkson just when his star was fading. It seems that just as being outrageous can buy the untalented their proverbial 15 minutes, it can also breathe a new lease of life into the talented but erratic.

And while we’re on the subject of talented but erratic, let’s get back to talking about me! My new book may not be a literary masterpiece. As with cars that’s my other book. But it is what I would call an excellent Velvet Underground piece – in other words, a Loo Read.

And as for that cheap shot at publicity…. well here’s my contribution to the debate: Jeremy Clarkson should be shot! Now would somebody kindly report me to the Director of Public Prosecutions – PLEASE!!!!!!

 

The prices of the Kindle editions of Mercy and No Way Out have been reduced to £0.99 – making them some of the most attractive bargains for summer reading. You can get to them by clicking on the links above. But they will only be held at this price for one month. In September they will go up to £1.99 – still a bargain, but why wait?

Just a brief recap on what they are about. Mercy introduces the lawyer Alex Sedaka, and his faithful sidekick Juanita, in a race against time to save a client on Death Row who is due to be executed in fifteen hours time! No Way Out has Alex pulling all the stops to defend a black man on a rape charge in a racially sensitive case in which nothing is quite as it seems.

 


 

The price of the eBook edition of The Moses Legacy has been slashed to £1.99 to welcome in the forthcoming summer holidays.

So if you’re looking for something interesting to read on your Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology, Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology or iBook reader, you can now get it for under two quid.

For a great summer read – look no further.

 

 

The more astute readers of The Moses Legacy may have noticed an error.  On page 161 I stated that Daniel Klein got his PhD from Cambridge.  But on page 257, I wrote that he got it from SOAS.  I don’t know whether to blame the copy editor or the proofreader.

 

The Moses Legacy is selling quite well.  2,696 in its first week – which wasn’t even a full week – was enough to put it into position five on the Heatseeker chart.  3,767 in its second week took it to position 3. Then last week it sold 3,137, so it will be interesting to see where it stands on the Heatseeker chart.  I decided to look up the two books above it on the Heatseeker list.

The one that was is an American book that has 220 reviews on Amazon.com, 12 on amazon.co.uk and is  in position 625 in the amazon.co.uk chart (paperback edition).

The book that is second has 63 customer reviews in Amazon.co.uk and is in position 172 in ther sales chart, but more importantly it has 26 press reviews including in the Times, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Mail on Sunday, Independent on Sunday, USA Today, Washington Post, Marie Claire, Time Out, Bookseller and Red – as well as endorsements from Stephen King, Jeffrey Deaver and Sara Paretsky.  I must admit that I am a bit miffed at this as Jeffrey Deaver told me that he didn’t have time to read books – even published books.  And Sara Paretsky ignored my eMail altogether.

But that’s life.  We must keep on trying.

 

I have noticed, every time I log on to YouTube to listen to my favourite music from the sixties through the eighties, that there is invariably some disparaging comment, contrasting the music of Justin Bieber with the great music of the sixties to eighties. I have seen this on YouTube videos of everyone from The Seekers to Jethro Tull to Melanie Safka, from Abba to Jim Croce to Dire Straits, from the Alan Parsons Project to Ace of Base. Whilst I certainly prefer all those acts – and many more – to anything that Justin Bieber has done thus far, I think those critics are being unfair to him – on a number of counts.

First of all, let us not forget that Justin Bieber is very young, barely seventeen, and has not really had the time to develop genuine musical sophistication. In spite of this, he managed to teach himself to play the guitar (left-handed), piano, trumpet and drums – and all by the time he was fourteen. To learn to play even one musical instrument is hard. To teach oneself to play four takes a degree of dedication that your average X-factor contestant, or even winner, simply does not have. It is for that reason that I suspect Justin Bieber has the kind of staying power in the music industry to avoid being a here-today-gone tomorrow supernova, as well as the self-discipline to avoid the all-too-familiar burnout that plagues the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

But what implication does this have for his music? To answer that question we must look at older musical talent that has stayed the course. They may differ from each in many respects but the one thing they have in common is a tendency to change their styles as they mature, to experiment with different forms and develop new and changing interests in all aspects of music. I am not talking about Madonna reinventing herself every few years, although that is an aspect of the same phenomenon – and she is certain a role model when it comes to an almost Spartan regime of self-discipline. I am talking about people like Tom Jones trying his hand – and vocal chords – at religious music, Bob Dylan risking the wrath of the hippie crowd by picking up an electric guitar or Ricky Nelson moving away from fifties rock-and -oll to become Rick Nelson.

Not every transformation is equally good in the eyes of everyone. I still prefer the old BeeGees in melodious sixties “Run to Me” style than their pseudo-macho “Staying Alive” era. And I don’t like it when sixties artists re-record their hits at half the tempo, whether it be “Both Sides Now” or “Hello World.” But my personal preferences are not the point. It is the capacity to change ones style whilst living by the doctrine “above all to thine own self be true,” – as much as Alice Cooper’s dictum about separating ones public from by ones private persona – that enables some to stay the course while others fall by the wayside.

And this is the lesson that the old fogies of pop and rock can teach Justin Bieber. As he matures and grows musically, it is inevitable that he will vary his style and experiment with different forms. If he can also avoid the pitfalls that come with being surrounded by yes-men then we can be sure that he will stay the course and enrich the world with his music for many years to come.

NB The picture that goes with this posting is intended as humorous and should not be taken as implying that Justin Bieber has really read – much less endorses – The Moses Legacy or its content.