Anyone who has been involved with publishing world for several decades is forced to conclude that some, perhaps many, of the people in it have lost their marbles. The latest proof of this to come my way is Stanley Morgan's first rate thriller Trance.
I wrote about Mr Morgan last month under the crosshead 'The first million sales'. Since then, I have read his book as has Mr Bookworm. We both thought it excellent and are baffled by why the author - particularly with his Russ Tobin track record - was unable to find a mainstream publisher to take it on.
However, thanks to the existence of Twenty First Century Publishers and Lightning Source, the book has been published in a stylish paperback format with pages that don't need to be held open by force as is the case with a lot of current pbs.
Pencilled at the back of my copy are my notes, including a dialogue quote from p 126, "These people have power. They give power to one another in the guise of government regulations, military protocol. They operate in a twilight zone called national security where the rules of behaviour are as flexible as a potentate's whim. I suspect that more crimes have been committed against Americans by Americans, in the name of national security, than by any alien nation. And the same is probably true for all nations, your own included."
One of the reasons Mr Bookworm and I enjoyed this book is because it deals with matters which are increasingly worrying to all intelligent people.
Another note reads, "p 131 One of the best 'curtains', to Chapter 13, I've read.", followed by, "p 147 an even better curtain."
What I also liked about Trance was the relationship between the central character, Los Angeles hynotherapist Paul Drummond and a British-born L A crime reporter Karen Beal. This was handled in a far more intelligent way than the "love interest" in most thrillers.
The straight-backed, no-nonsense great-aunts who were my formative influences believed that most of life's problems could be cured by common sense and long walks. So usually I'm wary of all types of therapists, and cynical about hypnosis. However such is Stanley Morgan's skill at characterisation that he soon made me warm to Paul Drummond.
On p 157 Drummond says, "The word 'cause' has kind of fallen into disrepute lately, hasn't it? It sounds old hat, naïve, silly. This country, maybe the whole damned world, is in the hands of the grabbers. I get so sick of this 'Gotta win' mania…'number one is everything, number two is nothing. Christ, Dick, the world's full of number twos. Do they get nothing? Tom Keegan was made a number two by the grabbers, and that's what he got - nothing. Not even a life. I think it's time the number twos got together and made their presence felt."
Review from bookwormonthenet