Radio interview re American Doll

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I will be interviewed by Teresa Quinn about my latest novel American Doll on Liffey Sound 11am 15/1/17 http://liffeysoundfm.ie/schedual/ Rpeated the following Wednesday at 7 pm.

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Noise & Sound Reflections in Portuguese

The translation of “Noise & Sound Reflections” into Portuguese has been published to Google Play https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781507118436&c=booksrudio_Portuguese_front

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The Cutest Book of the Month: The Adventures of Jo Jo

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The Cutest Book of the Month!!! An amazing *****

This was fabulous.

I’m falling for Jo Jo.

She is the new generation character to replace Snow White, Cinderella and many more.

Her sense of humour, curiosity, innocence, smartness and intelligent conversation are the qualities I want to see in my kids.

I’m reading this collection of stories to my kids to enhance their imagination for sure.

I’ve got my childhood back with these stories.

It is a must read for kids and for the adults who want to find their innocence back.

Go for this one and your day will get perfect!

Review by Ritu of Goodreads

In paperback and Kindle https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventures-Jo-James-Lawless/dp/1502924420/ref=la_B001JOXD96_1_36_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483787053&sr=1-36

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THE NEW YEAR OF ANNA ZWEIG

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When prerecorded bells ring in the New Year Anna and Guido find themselves forced into a human chain to sing Auld Lang Syne. Balloons and coloured streamers descend from the ceiling. People are jumping about and laughing.
But as for Guido, things are happening too fast. He keeps smiling for Anna’s sake, only for Anna, he keeps up the show, being tossed around this way and that thinking (trying to catch the thoughts as they fly away from him) of all that has happened in the space of an hour, and his father, he never finished the story; perhaps he never will, but Anna has a right to know now and his words, the words he wrote, the words that were printed on his father’s press, what have they become? A superficial foottapper instead of a clarion call to revolution. What was Philippe up to?
He is silent, sitting across from her sipping red wine.
‘Is something wrong?’ she says, taking hold of his hand.
‘Nothing’s wrong.’
‘It’s the song, isn’t it?’
‘It doesn’t matter.’
A slow number starts to play. ‘Come on,’ she says, pulling him to the floor.
They dance, or rather move trancelike to the slow music, clinging to each other, Anna’s head resting on Guido’s shoulder trying to ooze the knotted thoughts out of his tormented soul. She knows it. She looks up into his eyes. Some secret, something deep, some sorrow there – her mother had noticed, not normally wrong in that area. Violins are playing somewhere in the middle of the song making her all misty-eyed. Orchestral backing to heighten the emotions of a banal tune.
He feels her softness closing into him. ‘It’s after the chimes,’ he says. She reaches to his ear whispering, ‘I love you,’ barely audible, yet the frisson of the words, the little breeze of their sound. They kiss coming to a standstill in the middle of the floor. The music continues to play its slow sensuous notes. He’s about to say something to her, to tell her too. She’s waiting, willing him to say the words…
Suddenly there’s a commotion at the entrance.
‘Cops,’ someone shouts. The music stops. Some of the ‘dancers’ – former immovable objects – take life and scarper.

In an office, a backroom of the nightclub, Jeremiah Delahyde is sitting on a fuchsine upholstered chair, a half empty brandy bottle on the desk. The prostitute, Madeleine is kneeling in front of him. Jeremiah dangles a cannabis sachet in front of Madeleine’s face, tormenting her, pulling it away each time she reaches for it.
‘Please sir,’ she says
‘Not till you do what you’re supposed to do.’
Madeleine goes down on all fours.
‘Please sir, now.’
‘Not yet,’ says Delahyde, ‘you know you haven’t earned it yet.’
‘Again?’
‘Again.’
Bartholomew Smythe knocks on the office door. ‘It’s the cops, Jeremiah.’
Delahyde, quickly pulling up his trousers, rushes to the window where he lodges the sachets on the outside sill.
Bartholomew, walking into the room, looks at Madeleine as she moans and props her back against a wall.
How many times have I told you, Jeremy?’ he says angrily
Jeremiah, standing unsteadily, lifts Bartholomew’s face up by the chin and throws a glazed look into the eyes of his friend. ‘You worry too much, Barth. Remember cops are lackeys, our lackeys, Barth.’
Two uniformed officers come into the room with a young plain clothes man who flashes his ID card. They search about the place opening the drawers. The plain clothes man sniffs. ‘The window,’ he says, ‘check the window.’
The two police officers return with the sachets of cocaine.
The judge holds onto the back of a chair to steady himself. ‘A despicable pusher,’ he says, pointing to Madeleine ‘Barged in here trying to sell it to me.’
The plain clothes man glances down at the dazed girl, her head swinging a blond curl back and forth.
‘If that is the case,’ says the plan clothes man coolly, ‘then why was it hidden?’
‘You know who I am?’ says Delahyde.’
‘Yes, your lordship.’
‘Can I have it now?’ says Madeleine.
‘Your name?’ says the judge to the plain clothes man, ignoring the girl on the floor. His tone soberly imperious now.
‘Mulrooney, your lordship.’
‘Mulrooney. You were on my end line?’
‘Yes, your lordship.’
‘I called you out once?’
‘You did. You thought there were burglars.’
‘I thought..?’
‘It was a hoax.’
‘What age are you, Mulrooney?’
‘Twenty five, your lordship.’
‘Twenty five and already a detective.’
‘Detective sergeant.’
‘That’s good Mulrooney. Shows ambition.’
‘Thank you, your lordship.’
The judge, swaying slightly, takes a pen and paper from Smythe’s desk. ‘The epaulet numbers?’
‘Pardon?’
‘Of your officers?’
The detective hesitates, and embarrassedly reads the numbers on the epaulets of his bemused officers, while Madeleine slumps on the floor.
‘You have a family, Mulrooney?’
‘A boy and a girl. Really, your lordship I mean…’
‘Ages?’
‘Four and three … respectively.’
The judge writes or pretends to write. ‘You’re a good policeman,’ he says, ‘efficient, conscientious, I like that.’ He laughs. ‘But they are not qualities that will take you far. Are they, minister?’ Smythe is standing silently impressed by the judge’s performance. ‘I think we should show some appreciation, don’t you minister?’
‘I want to talk to you,’ says Smythe to the detective, taking his cue from his friend. ‘If you wouldn’t mind asking your officers to wait outside for a moment.’
Mulrooney nods to the two officers who, in total confusion now as to what is happening, go outside the door.
‘The New Year,’ says Smythe.
‘Yes sir.’
‘I want you to take something for your kids. What are their names?’
‘Really, sir.’
Smythe offers him a manila envelope which he takes from inside his jacket pocket, already sealed and bulging as if already prepared, something routine.
‘I want you to take this for four and three.’
‘Four and three?’
‘Your kids. For their future, capisce?’
‘I can’t take that, sir.’
‘You do love your children?’
‘Of course.’
‘And you want the best for them?’
‘Of course, but…’
‘So, don’t be afraid. It’s not a bribe. Far be it from me to attempt something like that in front of a judge, eh.’ He laughs. The judge laughs, balancing against the chair.
‘I’d prefer not to.’
‘I’ll put in a good word for you.’
‘Happy New Year,’ says Delahyde.
‘And you, your lordship.’ The detective takes the envelope, his action apparently expedited by the authoritative and dismissive tone of the judge.

‘The party’s over,’ says Smythe, ‘time to go.’ The runin with the police had unnerved him in contrast to his friend Jeremiah, who insisted on having another drink to celebrate the New Year and more drinks again to toast his cleverness in outwitting the police. The minister is annoyed with his friend, not only for refusing to heed his advice about prostitutes, but for having the gall to bring one back to his own premises. Bartholomew hadn’t paid too much attention to Jeremiah going into the office – he was busy paying off that band, the Third World. How did they get through the nets singing anarchist stuff like that? wonders Bartholomew. Could bring the tone down in his nightclub. If the Party got wind of it… must vet what that MC allows in in future. Can’t rely on anyone. Worries, worries, he has enough of them now without this, and he looks at Jeremiah, this big fool, when it comes to the opposite sex. He thought perhaps he was with one of the waitresses, but not that Madeleine junky of all people, known all over Potence, drawing attention to him and the position he’s in. His reputation. In future Jeremy can conduct his business elsewhere and be damned with him. Can’t keep bribing the police. Someone’s bound to squeal eventually. He looks at his friend opening another bottle. Jeremiah has become a liability. Sober thinking is called for – something he always prided himself on, and the priority is to get the judge home as inconspicuously as possible.
‘These young Turks, Barth,’ the judge is saying, slurring the words, ‘they need to be kept in their place.’ They hear a groan and they both look down at the semicomatose Madeleine sprawled on the floor. ‘Now, your lordship?’ she half mutters, and Jeremy laughs, and to the consternation of his friend, drinks one more time to toast their winning ways with women.
Delahyde leans on Smythe as he staggers out the door of the office. The music has stopped. The nightclub is closing. The last of the clubbers are departing.
‘We have outlasted them,’ says Jeremiah, ‘weakfleshed youths.’
‘Easy,’ says Bartholomew, brushing aside an offer of help from one of his argument assistants as Jeremiah misses the step leading out of the night club.
They stumble along the dark street through a misty rain. ‘I’ll drive,’ says Smythe as they approach the judge’s car.
‘No, no,’ says the judge. ‘I can manage.’
‘Jeremy, you’re in no condition,’ says Smythe, steadying him.
Jeremiah laughs. ‘Get in, Barth.’
Bartholomew, perhaps remembering his friend’s stubbornness from the past and hoping for a quick end to an unpleasant night, resignedly sits into the passenger seat of the Merc with its blackened windows, the judge at the wheel laughing still. No sooner is the politician seated and, even before he has the opportunity to close the door, the judge is revving hard and screeching forward, and just misses bumping into a group of young revellers who scurry for refuge to the footpath.
‘Young fools,’ exclaims the judge, but still laughing, delighting in the near miss of the collision. ‘Walking on the road, what do they expect?’
The judge slumps down in the driving seat. The car swerves.
‘Easy, Jeremy.’
They approach traffic lights which have turned amber. There is a young couple waiting to cross the road, waiting for the lights to change.
‘The lights, Jeremy. Slow down,’ shouts Smythe, alarmed by the speed of the car.
‘We can make it,’ says the judge, accelerating.
The lights change to red and the green pedestrian light comes on and the couple proceed to cross the road, arms around each other, she on the side of the approaching vehicle, and both of them so taken up with each other that they fail to notice the car’s rapid advance.
‘Watch out,’ shouts Smythe. ‘There are people crossing.’
The judge jams on the brakes but it is too late. He is too near them and the car ploughs into the pedestrians, striking the young woman, knocking her down while simultaneously catapulting the young man across the road.
‘Don’t stop,’ says Smythe.
The car is thrown sideways to the road by the impact of the collision. The judge opens the door and looks behind. ‘Close the fucking door,’ admonishes the politician. ‘Are you crazy?’ The judge reverses the car and revs hard again driving over the left leg of the girl. ‘Oh fuck,’ says Smythe as they disappear into the night.

Guido – for it is he and Anna who were crossing the road – is relatively unscathed except for a sprained hand which broke his fall and a cut on his forehead. He raises himself up as the car departs, seeing the face only in shadow (so like… but couldn’t be sure) all happening in a split second, but he manages to memorise the number plate. He rushes over to where Anna lies. She is unconscious but breathing. A panic seizes him. He doesn’t know what to do? He kisses her and holds her and whispers encouraging words into her ear. ‘Anna, Anna, you’ll be all right, Anna. Just hang in there.’
A passing motorist, on seeing the couple on the road, stops but the driver does not pull down his window or speak to Guido. Instead he takes out a mobile phone which Guido can make out under the street light. He gives a little beep to Guido on his car horn before driving off.
Anna is lying on her back, gently moaning, breathing in low sobs, her chest hardly rising. He sees the tyre marks – the car’s DNA – clearly visible, the intricate undulations of rubber, the anti-slippage designs indented into her left leg. He takes off his parka and covers her leg, as if not wanting the world to see what has been done to her. He looks down the dark street, afraid to leave her.
He hears the ambulance. How long was he waiting? Not long. A matter of minutes. An eternity.
‘Don’t move her, whatever you do,’ the ambulance man says, gently pushing Guido aside. ‘That’s the common mistake, lifting the patient after a crash.’ The ambulance man with long silver hair streaking down from under his cap is too knowing for Guido’s liking. He has seen it all before. He could still feel sympathy. Does he have to be so cocky? They lift Anna onto a stretcher. ‘Jesus, her leg’s in bits,’ says the ambulance man. ‘Was she run over by a juggernaut?’ ‘A car ran over her twice,’ says Guido. ‘Twice? You mean a deliberate hit?’ ‘I don’t know.’ The ambulance man gives a low whistle. ‘You get into the ambulance now, sonny,’ he says. ‘You’ve got a few cuts yourself that need seeing to.’

In the hospital, Guido watches as she is speedily wheeled past him, like time, like a clock’s hand. He sees the gurney whiz past with its iron bars (why are they so prison-like?), and Anna lying there, lifeless with tubes coming out of her as if she is some sort of alien, not his Anna, not his vibrant Anna. If only he had been on the nearside instead of her. ‘Anna, not this, not this,’ he shouts.
A nurse tries to calm him and restrains him from going after the gurney which is followed by surgeons and theatre nurses half dressed in gowns and masks, with strings untied, all moving at great speed as it swishes down the polished linoleum corridor and bursts through flapping doors into a room called THEATRE.
Another nurse gives him two tablets for shock, and a black doctor puts two stitches over his left eye which he says must have struck a stone or some sharp object when he landed.
He sits down on a plastic chair in the emergency waiting room. There are a number of people sitting around, all on grey chairs. He looks down the corridor at the red light over the THEATRE door and he thinks of the red traffic light and the human scream and the screech of brakes, and the whole lurid drama reenacts itself in his mind.
‘I’ll take her details now,’ calls a nurse from a hole which opens in the wall. For a terrifying moment Guido realises that he has no formal connection with Anna at all. She commences to enter Anna’s details on a computer. ‘Date of birth?’ ‘I’m not sure,’ says Guido. ‘Religion?’ ‘Hard to say.’ The nurse stops flicking the computer keys and looks at Guido. ‘You are a relative?’
‘No… Well yes I’m her… fiancé.’
Fiancé? Could he say the word? Yes he could say the word and, having given details to the best of his ability to the nurse, he finds himself sitting down again, this time beside a man in a sling. ‘You know what I’m in for?’ says the man looking like someone who wants to unload his life story. A prison sentence, thinks Guido. He can only half listen, so taken up is he with Anna – the shock and suddenness of what has happened not fully sunk in – as the man, a glassblower, commences on his woes, how he burnt his hand in the molten parison in the glass factory. ‘Penetrated the hole in my glove. The bastards never issued us the new ones. The skin came away when I tried to remove them.’
The words are fading. Is all this real? Is she really lying in that THEATRE? The wrong theatre. That’s it. It’s a mistake. They stopped off at the wrong theatre. He is waiting, the man is saying. How many hours to go for a skin graft? He wants to tell the man to shut up, but he keeps rattling on.
‘They don’t see those things,’ the man says disconsolately.
‘What things?’ asks Guido.
The man sighs. ‘The hidden costs.’
A fellow with a yuppie Potence accent is sitting some seats away laughing with a girl who rests her head on his shoulder. ‘See him,’ says the man with the sling. ‘Cracking jokes to make the hours move faster.’
Time passes, but not fast any more, the clock hand on the wall scarcely moving. The joker runs out of jokes. The room takes on a gloomy silence.
A woman bearing a dazed look – drugs, drink? in a tiny mini skirt half way up her bottom – is part pushed, part carried into the casualty ward by two whitecoated attendants and positioned in a seat opposite Guido. Guido, lost in his thoughts about Anna, pays her little attention. One of the attendants places a plastic bag with her personal things on the floor beside her. She slumps forward in the seat, her arms supporting herself on her thighs. She slumps forward and further forward until she falls on the ground head down at Guido’s feet, forcing him to look up.
Madeleine.
A flustered nurse appears, holding a bandage and a scissors. ‘Oh not you, Madeleine, not again,’ she exclaims despairingly. She retreats behind the casualty door and after a moment reappears, this time pushing a wheelchair. ‘Now, Madeleine,’ she says, trying to rouse her. ‘Now, Madeleine,’ and Madeleine’s eyes open glazed. ‘Please, your lordship,’ she says in garbled speech, ‘can I have it now.’ ‘You’re going to help us now, Madeleine, aren’t you?’ says the nurse as the attendants struggle to lift her into the wheelchair.

New Year’s Eve gives way to New Year’s morning. He waits, sits for a while, his forehead taut with a smarting from the stitches, staring at a blank white wall, drinks tasteless coffee from a vending machine, paces up and down a small space. Afraid to telephone anyone, her mother, Philippe. Loti, yes Loti, he had only told her. Loti never liked those types of problems, personal, familial, that was not her scene. When he hurt his arm once as a kid (some bully twisted it up his back in the school yard) and he came home crying, she brushed him aside (gently of course), had no time; he had to fight his own corner, that’s what she was saying but not in words. Inconveniences in the grand plan of things (she was totalitarian), her Great Design, a little boy, an accident, not just his arm, his whole self. But she was not unkind – she fed him when he cried – in her own way she fitted him anonymously into the twilight times, all the protests, all the revolutions that never were, as far as Guido could now ascertain, he was a little cog in the wheel. He was okay, but no more and no less than that of a pet hamster or maybe a bird in a cage that could be looked at and fed from time to time. Encourage, but let me not be deterred, that was Loti, his mother. Never told anyone in all the years until Anna came along. Even from Philippe he kept his secret and he was so like her, more like a son than himself could ever be. He knew she liked him always, had time for him, gave him the run of the café. Like her, he had little time for the personal, got carried away with the ideology. Their attitude towards Anna showed that – two of a kind. And his father, how he was summoned from the deep well and his printing press still in use, his legacy, but the dark side, never allowed to surface. Loti wanted all memory of him banished, insisted that it be banished. In the whirr of all her activities there was no room for that type of slowing down: an engine of darkness. Activists, but he’s not an activist; Anna said it has to come from someone else, what you are. A contemplative perhaps (how can one go through life without thinking what it is we are going through, it baffles him). But why are all these thoughts crashing into his head now? Anna. He must think of her. He is afraid to move from the building, just as he was afraid to move from the scene of the crash earlier (how long is it now?) for fear she will call out for him. How would it be if he weren’t there? What would she think of him? She said she loved him that night. Is love diminished by its articulation? Are these feelings better not expressed? Safer like shells in a basket, not allowed to fall. Her expression of love has led to this, he concludes. She had wanted to bring him to that nightclub to express her love for him. We would all be better off without it, without those highs and lows. All lows now like weather depressions coming in from the sea. Like his father. Glad he didn’t tell her about him. Not now. And yet when he told her about his mother, she got confused. But it was his insistence that brought them to the nightclub. They could have skipped it.
It is well into the morning when a surgeon appears. An exceedingly tall tanned man with fair wavy hair. ‘You are the fiancé?’ he says, untying the strings of his mask. ‘I’m Mr Kemp.’
‘Van Thool.’
They shake hands.
‘She’s going to be okay, Mr van Thool, but the left leg… it was too badly damaged, too many small pieces, all the bones crushed into tiny fragments…we had to… she would’ve died otherwise, you understand.’
‘Wait a minute,’ says Guido, ‘you’re not telling me you cut off her leg?’
‘I’m sorry, Mr van…’
‘Thool.’
‘There was no alternative. The gastrocnemius was beyond repair.’
‘The what?’
‘The muscle that gives one mobility. She would never have been able to move it even if it were stitched, and there would also have been, indeed there still is, the danger of circulatory problems.’
‘Hold on now, please just hold on,’ says Guido breathlessly, ‘am I hearing you right?’
‘I’m sorry. One has to act fast you understand in cases like this. But with prosthesis, you know, nowadays…’
‘Jesus.’
‘I am sorry.’
Guido wrings his hands, looks around the room at the walls and the ceiling as if they are closing in on him.
‘Just like that. You cut off a person’s leg just like that.’
‘It was to save her life.’
‘Did you ask her permission before you… before you butchered her?’
‘There’s no need for that,’ says the surgeon taking umbrage.
‘When can I see her?’
‘Not for a few hours. Not till she comes out of the anaesthetic. You must be brave for her, Mr van Thool.’
‘Fuck, fuck, fuck,’ shouts Guido.
‘Mr van Thool.’ His voice is stern. ‘She will need you to help her through this.’
‘And what if she can’t get through this? She was a ballerina, do you realise that?’
‘I’m sorry. I truly am.’
‘She won’t thank you, you know that? She won’t thank you for saving her life.’ He is sobbing. ‘What’ll I tell her mother? She’s an invalid. She lived for her daughter, for her dancing. We all did. All of us who knew her. All of us who loved her.’
‘I can arrange counselling,’ the surgeon is saying.
‘Counselling?’
‘Yes, but for the moment try and get some sleep.’

Guido can’t bring himself to phone Mrs Zweig. He can’t tell her over the phone what has happened to her daughter. Yet he knows he must contact her. He established from one of the nurses that Anna would be several hours under the anaesthetic, so, no matter how reluctant he feels, he knows he is of no use to her for the moment (if ever). Even guardian angels need… oh shut up, he says to his thoughts. So rather than wait several hours for Anna to wake up from the anaesthetic – under no circumstances would he be allowed to see her before that – and seeking some physical outlet for the anguish he feels, he decides to run all the way to Mrs Zweig’s apartment. Ignoring the lift, he runs down the stairs of the hospital, the night porter eyeing him suspiciously – everyone on the alert since the anarchists went on the rampage; who knows where they will strike next? and out the main door. He keeps running past bus stops and the high glass buildings, past the traffic jams and people jams with their morning queues: cleaners and night porters from the glass works, grave looking in the early light. He runs nonstop until he arrives winded at the door of her apartment.
He is surprised to see how stoically she accepts what he has to tell her. ‘The cards,’ she says, showing no emotion. She rotates the wheelchair around, turning her back on him as he speaks, and she stares out the window, a vacuous place of release for her. A grey foreboding sky. Nowhere for her to run. Only in her whitening knuckles does he discern the tension in her as they press tightly on the steel wheels of her chair.
‘So, she’s going to be like me now. She’s going to be worse than me. At least I have a leg to scratch.’
‘If I had only been on the nearside,’ says Guido.
‘The nearside?’
‘Of the car. I’m sorry. But if it’s any consolation I’ll find out who…’
For Love of Anna by James Lawless is one of the finest 5 star pieces of writing I have read in recent years.’ Deepak Menon, Amazon review. She sighs. ‘Don’t say any more Guido van Thool.’ She looks around the maroon walls of her apartment, at photographs of her daughter at various ages in poses from different ballets. ‘They’ll have to go,’ she says, ‘before she comes home.’ She heaves. ‘One thing one must never do is go around saying what one used to be.’ Her hands shaking, she takes out her deck of cards from under her rug. She shuffles them, fans them out. ‘Pick a card,’ she says to Guido. Guido hesitates. ‘Mrs Zweig I’m…’ ‘Svetlana.’ ‘Svetlana I’m not really…’ ‘Pick one,’ she insists, pushing the cards into Guido’s chest. Guido picks a card. Mrs Zweig looks at the card and looks at Guido. She moans. ‘Always the same.’ She puts the cards back under her rug and starts to rock in her chair. She moans and rocks to and fro, to and fro and her left foot begins to tap on the steel footrest.

From For Love of Anna by James Lawless. In paperback and Kindle.

HTTPS://WWW.AMAZON.CO.UK/LOVE-ANNA-JAMES-LAWLESS-X/DP/1849237662/REF=SR_1_9_TWI_PAP_2?IE=UTF8&QID=1483358559&SR=8-9&KEYWORDS=JAMES+LAWLESS

‘For Love of Anna by James Lawless is one of the finest 5 star pieces of writing I have read in recent years.’ Deepak Menon, Amazon review.

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Glowing New Review of Knowing Women

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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
By Archit Ojha on December 26, 2016
Format: Paperback

Knowing Women by James Lawless is an addiction! I’m serious!

A perfect kind of classic novel I was looking for!

Laurence J Benbo, a graphic designer by profession, a protagonist who would stay with you for the rest of your life, is someone you should definitely be involved with.

His reserved mannerism when it comes to women, is to leave you enticed. His

Time changes and it changes very quickly.

For him, it all began when he saw an interesting girl smiling at him. His curiosity got over him and he figured out that this girl is a lap dancer and learning English.

He makes his innocent moves. (The way he works is adorable!) and he interacts with her.

One day, he wins a lottery. All of a sudden, his jealous brother and his family knocks at his doors.
Later, they blackmail him severely to hand over the money to them. For that, they could go to any extent.

A story of betrayal, greed and morality over the edge of loneliness and grief.

You will not realize when and how you yourself were in the skin of Laurence J Benbo, being the melancholic him, the cheerful and hopeful him.

There is no way one can prevent themselves from falling for these characters.
The elegant and refined writing style won my mind over and over.

If you’re wondering which genre this book falls under!

It’s Accessible Literary Fiction, there you go!

The author’s work is commendable and thought provoking. I remember when I was reading The Avenue, I was left contemplating about various notions in my head.

Same thing happened while I was reading this one.

My favorite scene was when Jadwiga, the Russian lap dancer says that she wants to change her yob.
Laurence corrects her that it’s not yob, it’s job!

I was cracking at this. Who would not?

This shows that the dialog and characters’ portrayal has been done superbly. They make you stick to it completely.

The author’s interview at the starting, not only provided nourishment to the story but also held my attention amply. I was musing to myself, ‘Why in the world didn’t I read this before!’

The author demonstrates his writing abilities in most cheerful, poised, tasteful, pensive and glittering manner. At the same time and with a different perspective, the story is sorrowful.

The blurb leaves you hanging in the middle.

As I was reading the story, I would again go to the back of the cover, read the blurb again and think to myself ‘ Now, this part has happened, this is the next!’ and until that point arrives, I would hold my breath, when it will pass, my amusement would keep repeating this process.

Clearly, the book is to touch the skies and go beyond it. You have my high recommendation for this one!

To end a year with a book like Knowing Women, was a terrific step.

Verdict: James Lawless is a Rockstar!

Try not becoming his fan after reading this book, you will certainly fail to do so.

Published in Goodreads and Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Knowing-Women-James-Lawless-ebook/dp/B00DUWCZSU/ref=la_B001JOXD96_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482856388&sr=1-12

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Knowing-Women-James-Lawless/1481979388/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1482858063&sr=8-9&keywords=james+lawless

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A Christmas Story

As a kid I kept thinking the insurance man was my father. Not that I knew him mind (I only met him the once), but I heard him often enough. I can remember my mother’s voice pleading with him. Was it over money? We weren’t poor, although my father – my real father that is – was dead. He had been a diplomat, so he didn’t exactly leave us destitute. But I got it into my head that my mother hadn’t the money to pay the insurance man and he sought payment in other ways. I should say at this stage that my mother was an uncommonly beautiful woman. Everyone’s mother is beautiful I know in the eyes of her offspring, but Mam’s beauty was universally acknowledged. When in her prime, her bright blue eyes and svelte figure attracted many suitors which, apart from the insurance man, included medical students, members of the corps diplomatique and even an IRA man…
I can recall now the first time I heard the insurance man remonstrating with my mother. It was late one Christmas Eve. I was six or seven at the time, waiting in bed for Santa, pressing tightly on my eyes, trying desperately to sleep for fear he would not leave me anything if he caught me awake. The song fading on the wireless below I remember had a relevant poignancy:
‘I feel sorry for the laddie;
he hasn’t got a daddy;
he’s the little boy that Santa Claus forgot.’

Mr Counihan’s querulous tone rose through waves of drowsiness and my mother’s sobbing.
But when I asked her about it the next day – Christmas Day – all she said was,
‘What a dreamer you are, Derek.’

From Peeling Oranges by James Lawless in paperback and Kindle

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Peeling-Oranges-James-Lawless/dp/1496007646/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Peeling Oranges tells the story of how Derek Foley, while sifting through his late father’s diaries and his mother’s correspondence with an IRA man, discovers that Patrick Foley, a diplomat in Franco’s Spain, was not really his father. Derek’s mother, who is ailing, is unwilling to discuss the past, forcing her son on a quest that will plunge him into the early history of Irish diplomacy, taking him to Spain and later to Northern Ireland, until he discovers who his real father was—with tragic consequences. Peeling Oranges is a novel full of personal and political intrigue, fraught with ideology, as it intersects the histories of two emergent nations—Ireland and Spain. It is also a beautiful and lyrically written love story of childhood sweethearts—the apolitical Derek and the passionate nationalist, Sinéad Ní Shúilleabháin.
‘In the vast sea of fiction it is a true hidden gem.’ A thrilling ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Review by Malka in Contemporary Books

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Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

The birds make fake bird songs
that I heard in the Christmas shops,
the fake moon is spotted before dark,
the navyblue sky is waiting
for its absence to be filled,
houses stand like sentries,
men in windows sharpen knives,
dogs bark at the fading light,
black specks of carbon birds
circle my head
because I am one
who will not look up,
the small boy counts down,
radio and TV hop with expectation,
the weather changes,
the bookmaker gives good odds on snow,
all is meant to change,
the barometer moves up and down
the human heart,
cloying melodies bring tears
to those who depart;
it is a time of arrival
where the moss grows green
and the harvest that was gathered
can now be shared between
the angels carrying candles
and the drunk who sways in the wind.

From Rus in Urbe by James Lawless in paperback and Kindle

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Rus-Urbe-James-Lawless/1500770272/ref=la_B001JOXD96_1_22_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482590414&sr=1-22

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HOW RUDOLF GOT HIS RED NOSE

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One day near Christmas Jo Jo went into the woods. The woods were at the back of her house. Her daddy was at work and her mammy was talking at the front gate to the neighbour Mrs Gillespy. She was busy talking about a deer that had run across the road and was hit by a car. The deer ran away. ‘A stupid deer,’ said Mrs Gillespy. ‘Maybe he was frightened,’ said Jo Jo’s mother. ‘Still,’ said Mrs Gillespy, ‘he could have caused a serious accident and maybe could have killed the man in the car. The man is very angry and he is hunting for the deer now. He has a gun.’
Jo Jo’s mother and Mrs Gillespy kept on talking as Jo Jo climbed up on the little wall and crossed over the barbed wire into the wood. She was careful not to tear her nice blue dress. She knew why her daddy put up the barbed wire. It was to keep all the wild animals out from their nice garden where they had plum trees and apple trees and lots of plants and flowers of many colours. She liked blue flowers the best, especially blue hydrangeas. Because her eyes were blue, blue was her favourite colour. But now all those flowers were gone to sleep, as her daddy said, for the winter. But they would wake up again in spring and summer like some of the animals too. Like the hare which they had seen darting through the woods and her daddy joked that he would make hare soup if he caught him.
Jo Jo knew she should not go into the woods. She knew her mammy and daddy would be cross with her. But she dreamed of going into the woods. She wanted to know what it was really like to live there away from the warm and comfortable house where she lived with her soft bed and sheets and plenty of food in the refrigerator. She wanted to know what it was really like to live among all those trees. She noticed some of the trees never lost their leaves. Others looked very bare with only their branches showing.
Her mammy told her that squirrels lived there and they collected nuts so they would not go hungry in the winter. Jo Jo pushed back the branches as she made her way deeper into the woods. She wondered about the hare and the squirrel and the deer. Especially the deer. She wondered was he lying down hurt after being hit by the car. It was getting a little bit dark. She looked back and could see the light from her house. Her mammy must have turned it on. Jo Jo knew she would be looking for her. But the light would guide Jo Jo back. She would find the way and would be home soon before it got too dark.
Halfway into the wood she heard a sound and saw the deer. His antlers looked very big and heavy and Jo Jo felt sorry for the poor deer who had to carry such awkward things on his head. The deer’s antlers brushed against the forest floor as he stooped down to munch some grass. Jo Jo drew nearer. She broke a twig under her foot. The deer looked up. Jo Jo did not feel afraid of the deer. He had soft brown eyes that looked sad and she noticed blood on the deer’s nose. Jo Jo stayed very still. The deer did not move.
‘You are the little girl,’ the deer said, ‘that lives in that house.’ The deer pointed with his antlers towards the light.
‘Yes,’ Jo Jo said and she understood now why the deer had antlers. They were like hands. ‘My name is Jo Jo,’ she said.
‘There is a man trying to shoot me,’ the deer said. ‘He is hunting me with his gun. But he is very heavy and I would hear him coming with his big boots. He is not light like a little girl. You see the blood which has gone hard now on my nose?’
‘Yes,’ said Jo Jo, ‘it is very red.’
‘That was when the car hit me,’ the deer said. ‘If the man shoots me, do you know what will happen?’
‘No,’ said Jo Jo.
‘The children will receive no Christmas presents.’
‘Why?’ said Jo Jo. She was very worried now. She had asked for a bicycle for Christmas.
‘Because I help Santa Claus,’ the deer said. ‘He calls for me every Christmas Eve. I lead his sleigh. My name is Rudolf.’

The man wore big boots and they made squeaky noises as he went through the woods. He was carrying his gun. He pointed it at every sound he heard: a creak in a branch, a bird flying out, some sound further up that he could not make out. He saw the trace of blood on the trunk of a tree. He knew he was getting nearer to the deer.

The deer suddenly looked frightened. He pressed his head sideways towards the forest floor. ‘I must go,’ he said to Jo Jo. ‘I hear the sound of the man. I hear his boots. Goodbye,’ the deer said.
Jo Jo watched the deer run through the gaps in the trees. He ran fast like he knew every step of the way, and soon he disappeared deep into the woods.

The man saw Jo Jo. He spoke to her in a cross voice. ‘What are you doing, child, out here in the woods on your own. Go home.’
‘I saw the deer,’ Jo Jo said.
‘Where?’ The man was excited.
‘He went that way.’ And Jo Jo pointed to the opposite way the deer had gone.

On Christmas Eve Jo Jo could not sleep. She left out a carrot for the deer and wondered would he come with Santa. She wondered would she get the bicycle. Or did the man with the gun find Rudolf and shoot him?
She lay awake as long as she could. She looked out her window at the frosty night and at the moon and all the stars in the sky. There was no sign of the sleigh or sound of Santa’s sleigh bells. She tried to keep her eyes open but they grew heavy and soon she was asleep.
When she awoke on Christmas morning there was a shining new bicycle at the end of her bed and the carrot she had left for Rudolf was gone.

From The Adventures of Jo Jo by James Lawless in paperback and Kindle

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventures-Jo-James-Lawless/dp/1502924420/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Jo-James-Lawless-ebook/dp/B00QIPYOE4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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FREEZING TO DEATH

Con was not at home when his brother Thady called, so Thady went on a pub crawl, starting with Saints and Sinners in Woodside and on to the old haunts: Quinlans in Rochester and Rosie O’Gradys on Seventh Avenue. God, he’d forgotten how good the American bourbon was. Seeing the icicles hanging off the buildings, he’d also forgotten how cold New York became in the winter and he was so weary after the long trip and all those people teeming about, lovers enjoying themselves laughing and carousing in such a vulgar way. How many years had it been? Half a life time, half one’s life eaten away by that cancer that is no more. He had to get away from all those people bumping into him; he needed a little respite; if he could rest a while in Central Park, maybe on a seat where his mind could work over the events of his recent past, already beginning to blur now and yet he had managed to get to the airport. Got a cab to Con’s house; would try his house again; he was probably out on the town with some of his buddies from the fire department; that’s why he tried the old haunts but there was no sign, not even in Molly’s Shebeen or Paddy Maguire’s or even in The Bravest in Midtown East; nobody there he knew. Where were they all? But right now he would falter a while; he needed a little rest to mull over the events, the recent happenings and that Irish boy, what was his name? Danny something whom he texted just before boarding the plane. Thady always kept his passport up to date; was good like that (one thing he was determined to keep away from her especially after she incarcerated him in that hospital). But Laura let him down too, the first time ever about his birthday, but he knew his annoyance was more due to a pique of jealousy on his part when that Irish boy whisked her off on his birthday that day in the Insomnia café. But it was like he had a premonition keeping that passport (which he fondled now like something consoling, his escape valve, in the pocket of his jacket). Yes, you need your passport; she tried to take it from him; she thought he would fly back across the pond, but he kept it hidden from her inside the frame of the photo on the mantelpiece of himself and Con in their firefighter gear. Yes, the passport did represent a portent that some day he would come back to New York, a place he had never wanted to leave. Give me your tired, your huddled masses. He remembered that, yes, the promise. Oh, and he was so tired; that long wait—was it five nervous hours in Dublin airport?—for an available seat to JFK; his prancing around the waiting area until some passengers began to look at him suspiciously, and hiding in the toilet at the sight of a garda; having eventually to sit down and wish he had been a reader. How he envied those who could sit so calmly and just read, in the midst of all calamity, and the thought: had he left any incriminating evidence behind him? He suddenly remembered the window of the bedroom where he had left Laura upstairs. He hadn’t closed it. Christ, he had meant to close it. Oh, why did Laura have to arrive when she did, distracting him? The fear of being called back when eventually he did get going through the departure gate. The plane flying over the Atlantic as he looked down at the white horses frothing on the sea; a long time since he had flown; a long time since he was on his own travelling to Mexico and those other countries to learn the anti-terrorist methods; had forgotten more than he had learned; but he needed to be alert now to remember things to get through the airports.
New Year’s Eve: some far away auld lang syning like a hum not grating on the ear. And an entwined couple of love doves approaching full of it; the guy took a five dollar bill out of the pocket of his thick coat, an act of bravado, and showing off in the presence of the giggling girl, threw it towards Thady, and Thady watched it float down like one of the big snowflakes falling on him. Like I’m one of the hobos, he thought, one of the beggars of the street. But he hadn’t the energy to tackle the guy, to knock the smug look off his face. He was so goddamn tired. But funny, remembering the dates and not remembering how cold it could be over here; his clothes for what they were; he felt the texture, a lightweight tawny suit more suitable for summer wear than winter, and not remembering his overcoat, the long woollen navy coat left hanging in the wardrobe. Hadn’t time to think straight in all the haste to escape the nightmare of that goddamn house and Laura arriving as she did. And not remembering that Laura, his little Laura, would grow up and go away from him, who would not always be his little girl forever and ever. His little Laura—a smile creased the frosted stubble of his chin—how they confided in one another; cuddly bear she used to call him; a good bear, he was a good bear but Maureen didn’t think so that time she scalded him down there. Her finding out about… one of her holy-Joe friends with prowling eyes reporting him—what difference did it make now and what did she expect him to be? Remain a celibate in her sanctimonious house for the rest of his life. No way. And what was he doing after all? Just seeking a companion to fill a well of loneliness. What was wrong in that? Anyone who could touch him, caress him, give him a hug; that’s all he wanted really deep down, rather than kissing rosary beads or holy pictures or crucifixes.
Only for Laura going with him that time to the hospital, only for her… yeah and his tone hardened; he was sharp enough to do that, to get that number from Laura’s cell phone in case she could suffocate or starve. A temporary shudder gripped him, more for Laura than for the cold this time. No, he consoled himself, she would not suffocate; he had left the gag loose deliberately, but just tight enough so she couldn’t get away; she could breathe okay. And she wouldnʼt die of thirst either with the bottle of water he left her and the plastic L-shaped straw to sip through the corner of her mouth. Starvation would be the thing if she wasn’t found by one of the church goers, by one of Maureen’s cronies coming to call to her for the morning mass. Couldn’t rely on that though; they would just go away when they got no answer. No, couldn’t rely on that for his little girl. So he had no choice but to contact the Irish boy, and leave the message, making sure to block his own number, just one sentence saying where Laura was. Oh, and he swayed a little, it broke his heart to have to tie her up, but she understood; she nodded; she did nod; she understood his plight, his difficulty with that creature. Laura knew there was a man sick in Jericho. She would be all right, and to his brother Con how would he explain things? Con would not be as understanding if he learned of the extreme action he had to take with Laura, but his brother owed him his life; he would not turn him away. In a little while he would get a cab to his brother’s house again; avoid that subway and those cave cops; not that they would be alerted yet surely. Oh, he was so tired; there was a little bench near that bare tree with the snow resting nicely on its branches and Christmas gone and he never even felt it coming or going and a panic seized him, the first Christmas that he did not buy a doll for Laura. She said she was growing up now—no, not growing up, grown up—that she didn’t want the dolls no more; but she would understand why he did not buy one for her this Christmas, what with this and that, circumstances did not allow. And he thought, as his mind travelled through tunnels of time, of that first girl he knew, his first love, that teenage girl from Baychester with the Cajun origins. She was generous with herself and giving to him and he was forced to abandon her and worse perhaps to disown the child that issued from their union. It was a union of love, looking back on it now. She was so selfless like Laura until Laura started turning; the first time to do the act and a son, the product, somewhere god knows. If only he had stuck with them instead of being taken in by the prim and proper Maureen with all that god-fearing righteousness, a Blood shot Jesus. He should have stuck with his first love: Amie yes, with her dark beautiful eyes and her colour looked down upon. Oh god when you think of it, the son, their son given up so easily, so obediently. What was his name? And he cried out, I’ll die without knowing the name of my son. How many days now is it since..? I have lost track with those kiss-ass drinks in the gin mills like home away from home. I will make my way to Woodside soon; call on Con again. Maybe it was just as well the first time I called that he was out. It would have been a bit rash, crashing in on him so sudden like; he would have said things maybe without prior thought, without thinking things through. He sighed, watched the hot breath expire. That cold is really biting now, but something is sticking me to the bench. Is it guilt? It couldn’t be guilt; it’s the fatigue, the fatigue but I will not ring Con. How can you explain things like what happened on the phone? I want to surprise him, to tell him in my own time exactly how things were; want to get my story right before I see him again. And Laura, will she survive? Of course she will survive because I texted that Irish boy. I hope I took the number down right; I just said that he will find Laura in Sandymount, gave the number and the street; he will find her; she will be none the worse for wear but she will think kindly of me. She will understand what I had to do. Laura will know these things, and she will tell the world. And that son who was born long long ago, how did he fare without a father? Hopefully not as badly as I did without a son, and Maureen’s ultimatum to come to Ireland, preventing me from seeing though the guise, preventing me from seeing the torment that lay ahead as I abandoned all those old buddies in the fire department. The names. What were their names? Half obliterated. Half a life, a whole life now. None of them around the old haunts. How many of them are dead? Christ, I feel so tired; it’s so quiet here, not a bit like New York at all, no women of the night walking by to add a little warmth on such a cold night. There is a man sick in Jericho. Laura will be all right. In a little while I’ll get a cab again, in a little…while. My brother surely will be home by then.
Some snow slid down from the branch and percolated inside his collar but he was too tired to shake himself, allowing the cold evaporation take place down his spine like a half-remembered thrill, long ago with Amie; it was in this park on a bench like this that she gave herself to him so freely so… lovingly. Oh Thaddeus, you are my one true love, she said and she opened herself to him, oh so free and generous unlike that sterile cunt; and he thought back to Maureen fireproofing her cobwebs like she was something special, so god almighty holier than thou; she never knew what a cunt was for. Oh he exclaimed in a note of agonised regret for a wasted life before he took the turn, before he turned his back on what surely was his destiny.
And the son that was born—he had just heard it was a son at that moment that he was put away, all arranged by Maureen and some Catholic adoption agency. For Amie—how well he never forgets her, his first and only love—was too poor and too young to take charge of their son alone. Alone. And he had agreed; he swore on his marriage vow to Maureen that he would never ever make contact with them again, that wicked woman leading him astray. And he was so timid, oh so timid, so anxious at the time, fearing of the shame he would bring to his parents who were so religious like most Irish-Americans of the time, and he succumbed to her, to her better ways, and his family thought so highly of Maureen, a wholesome Irish girl with good morals. And it was better for the child too. The child would be looked after, better than he or that young girl could ever have hoped to look after him; and it was all arranged with a good Catholic family and he was whisked away to God knows where, in what state? where he would get a proper upbringing—that word proper, one of Maureen’s favourite words but never ever… the cold—his eyelids were getting so heavy. Usen’t to drink so much then. Bloodshot Jesus. The names for drinks have their own story to tell. Whiskey Sour. The son, Thady junior perhaps. Calane junior, where are you now? You must be a middleaged man by now for Christ sake. Did you ever wonder about me? What might have been? And the hope of other children quashed by Maureen. She wanted someone to manipulate, to fit into her ways; that’s what she wanted from a marriage. And the son then in the scheme of things was replaced by Laura whose destiny it was to travel across the pond to her uncle Thady to be his succour and his hope, and Laura sometimes blurred with Amie as she grew and developed: their hair with the dark curl, the brown eyes, the teenage girl, the young woman as time went by and all things unattainable.
Oh, but he started as the cold seized him like a rough handler. He had to think beyond himself and so quickly, oh so quickly for Laura’s sake—that Irish boy for whom he had the initial aversion, understandably, threatening to take his Laura away, but for her sake he must be selfless; he must release her to let her live her life now that she has grown and accept, accept; he knew that, knew just as he had released himself now from like bondage, the slaves with Moses, and he was back now in the promised land realising how over the years all Maureen’s biblical jargon washed over him and he believed in that stuff at first, that Maureen’s way was the way of righteousness and salvation. And he believed that he was the sinner, the one to be saved, believing it despite the fact that she never was satisfied with him, that it was the way. The way and the truth and the light. The way to go. But he was released now from that bond sitting on this seat far away from all of that and the seat was getting colder; he could feel it penetrating his clothes but he hadn’t the energy to rouse himself.
Was it a dream? Had he really done what he thought he did? The arguing he remembered and her final word calling him the antichrist and he knew he wasn’t the antichrist and he told her not to call him that but she kept on taunting him and he knew she was forcing him into a position, invoking god almighty to strike him down and he knew the antichrists were the terrorists of the skies who crashed planes into cities murdering thousands of people. To compare him to those and he a firefighter, the bravest of the brave, who had saved so many lives, including that of his own brother. And she scoffed at that. To compare him to terrorists was an admission, a refusal to recognise any virtue in her husband; that was the final straw. He was not a bad man; he was being made a bad man by a righteous woman and he thought: are the righteous only righteous by claiming superiority over others? By showing up other peopleʼs foibles? But this freedom he had now was maybe too late for him but not for Laura. That Irish boy will come and set her free. But what will she say then? How far can family loyalty go? Will she say her uncle was forced to kill Maureen? The way things were between them, reaching up to the boiling point, the place of no return. She would know, all during the years going back to the Rose of Tralee contest and even her father calling Maureen a termagant. Laura would know. She already knew, the way she avoided her, coming to visit him on her sodality nights. Laura would understand how he did what he did and she would say she had no idea under the wide earth where her uncle Thady was.
Oh, but now it was growing late; it was time, but no, he would tarry a little longer, just a little while longer to get his strength back before seeking out Con once more, to face what lay ahead; a little rest first; he was growing used to the cold settling into his bones like it was part of him now: physical discomfort and pain, and he took another swig from the Jim Beam, still concealed in its duty-free bag. The bourbon was intended for Con, his brotherʼs favourite drink, but he could always get another. There were plenty of liquor stores around here and time a plenty—the rest of his life. That old back pain coming at him now. Con always said he was amazed all those years in the fire department that he never complained, that he could withstand all the different circumstances of fire rescue, that he could go on, he could withstand pain and danger and, with Maureen at him in the early years, realising his marital mistake, he would actually court pain, yes, anything to keep her out of his head. After the Rose of Tralee contest when she started in her high piety to make personal remarks about Laura, Con would agree she had it coming, and now with the drowsiness coming over him he just wanted to sleep. If the cops came and handcuffed him now he wouldn’t be able to resist. He was so tired; he would rouse himself in a little while, just a little bit longer and then he would be ready to face whatever he had to face.
But would he tell his brother, would he even admit that he had killed his wife or that he was not on a social visit but on the run, to tell him that he was being confronted by the Irish boy whom Laura was confiding in, to tell Thady from the horse’s mouth that nothing untoward had happened between uncle and niece. He would beat his breast and weep; there was a man sick in Jericho. Con would understand all the years keeping silent and she was now gone missing; he felt guilty; he caused her to go missing; he would tell Con. He took it to heart all the years ever since she was a kid; she was such a cute little kid so… docile, and her hair in ringlets soft like… a doll’s before she started straightening it for those bangs. Silly bangs that she said were all the fashion, running parallel to her eyebrows concealing her fine Calane brow. He would talk to Con before the outcry would be raised about Maureen. All those security checks on the trip over; they took a lot out of him. But why bother getting anxious if you’re going to go? If someone like those goddamn terrorists go to the trouble of planning your annihilation, why stand in their way? Whooooosh! He thought of the scary words to Laura who was not so easy to scare anymore. Damn it, she didn’t even blink last time. Only for her, only for her arriving that’s what he had intended, had everything ready: cans of gasoline, the firefighter lighting the fires this time, reversing his role. And the candles lighting on the termagant’s shrine could so easily have caught fire to the curtains. And he shivered—fire and ice, that’s what it’s all about, one or the other. And it’s the other extreme now. And Con always saw something worthwhile in living with that wife of his Patti whom Thady could never figure out, who was forever wishing for something else and snooty to boot.
He shivered again as fresh feathers of snow began to fall. Christ, he would knock back one more shot. His head and face were cold marble now numbed by the effect of the alcohol. And the meal on that plane had made him bilious. And the cab driver coming from the airport had no interest in stories about 9/11. He was only interested in conducting him from A to B; it was like people had moved on. And the curt voice of that last barman ringing in his ear saying maybe he had enough, treating him like the leftover spillage of a year gone by.

From American Doll in paperback and Kindle

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/American-Doll-James-Lawless/dp/1530576687/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480615750&sr=1-1&keywords=james+lawless

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Great new review of The Avenue ‘a book for a lifetime’

The av front new

Priceless!

A book for a lifetime. Couldn’t have asked for more!

“Up here” she pointed to her head, “We all are beautiful”.

James Lawless – I’m mesmerized.

Francis Copeland, a middle-aged man working as a librarian in The Avenue. It is a story about how things take turns in his life, how he befriends some kids in the neighborhood and how his whole life was nothing but a lie.

The Avenue is a beautiful fabrication of raw emotions, brutal truth, twisted relationships and the little things in between called love.

Gardening is like praying. You can’t do it without kneeling.

James Lawless has narrated the story like a poetry.

First page of it and it was decided then and there, that I’m reading something exceptionally wonderful.

I fell in love all over again with literature!

His words flowed in my mind as a river flows, untamed, wild and without any barriers.

Every time I held this book in my hand, I couldn’t prevent myself from smiling.
This is the kind of book which will have different effects of different people.

For me, it was all magical. I am still flabbergasted with the aura one can feel from a novel.

The author’s writing style’s beauty knew no bounds. Perfectly woven scenes in a refined and talented language!

The vanilla-like smell that I felt in each page of The Avenue is winning my heart over and over.

There is nothing better to do than to bury yourself in The Avenue, get lost in its heart-owning fragrance and be enchanted under the author’s spell.

His presentation has been so captivating that at no point you will want to let go off The Avenue.

I can bet that if you ever praised To Kill A Mockingbird or The Sense of An Ending – you are going to applaud it even more!

Verdict : I. Want. You. To. Read. This. Book. Badly.
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Review by Archit Ojha, Goodreads reviewer 24/11/16

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