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“You did this; you killed my brother, you and your fancy tart downstairs, you and your Hollywood ideas. You killed him, as sure as if you had taken a gun and shot him through the heart, now you can join him you bastard!” She pulled one of the large kitchen knives from behind her back and raised it above her head then lunged at Lenny. I moved quickly and tried to grab her arm but she had the strength of a man, so much strength that she tossed me aside like a rag doll. I remember her eyes vividly, staring, empty, as though nothing else mattered but driving the knife into Lenny, as though there was nobody else in the room. I tackled her from behind and by this time Stan had managed to get a grip on her arm and all three of us fell onto the bed.

I was pleased to read Collie this is both a substantial novel and an extremely good one, with a story whose credibility rests on the author’s literary style, which is assured, controlled and atmospheric. It is a touching and compelling work, balanced between detailed description and a paced narrative of events.

The story is built gradually and with a great deal of patience on behalf of the writer, who takes pains to increase the tension and atmosphere whilst drawing his characters with accurate and well observed characterisation. He weaves their relationships with unpretentious charm, marking the text with genuine warmth. The dialogue is believable and well written, the setting evoked clearly but with subtlety – this is a novel with an individual and original style, one which will appeal to readers of quality fi ction.

Helen Pascall-Barton.

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