Simon Says » communiqué 009/July 2017

Simon Says: communiqué 009/July 2017

Hello everyone

Wow! We’re over halfway through 2017. Yeah…I don’t know where the heck it went either, but I hope the year has treated you well so far.

Have you been following the tennis at Wimbledon?

Boniface’s office is in Wimbledon, yes, that Wimbledon—the office is a mile from the All England club. Boniface doesn’t follow the tennis, but he’s mightily frustrated with the influx of people, the parking restrictions, and all the redirected traffic. And that’s before we talk about the heat.

If you want to know what happens in Boniface’s office in Wimbledon, then why not check out Pollute the Poor? Keep reading to find out more and to listen to the music that is mentioned in the book.

Pollute the Poor

It’s always good to talk about books I haven’t mentioned for a while, and one of those books I haven’t discussed recently is Pollute the Poor, the second Boniface book and the first to fully feature Montbretia “Monty” Armstrong.

Here’s What The Back Cover Says

The first Boniface knows about the dead body in the next room is when he is arrested for murder.

The lack of evidence against Boniface doesn’t seem to concern the police—they are sure they have the right man—they just need to prove his guilt, and while they do, Boniface is bailed allowing him to return to work with his client.

His client, a shipping company, couldn’t care less that Boniface is distracted. The client has its own problems: News is about to break that one of its ships dumped toxic waste in East Africa, leading to painful and lingering deaths, as well as widespread disability and illness. While the company privately acknowledges its role in the dumping—and its ongoing responsibility for the welfare of the victims—it is insistent that Boniface keeps the story out of the public domain until it has fully assessed how it can most effectively deliver support to those affected.

Boniface knows he has been set up for the murder—and that somebody is trying to destroy him, his business, and everything he holds dear—but he doesn’t know who has set him up, or why. He strips back the layers, discovering who the dead man was, why he was killed, why the body was dumped in his office, and why he was set up in such a clumsy manner until, he finds who has endangered his livelihood, his liberty, and his friends.

This leaves Boniface with only one conclusion: He must neutralize the threat, permanently, while at the same time trying to protect anyone affected by the dumping.

Read The First Chapter

Click here to read the first chapter of Pollute the Poor.

Boniface Box Set

Pollute the Poor is one of the three books (along with The Murder of Henry VIII and Tattoo Your Name on My Heart) included in the Boniface Box Set.

Three gripping novels, one low price. You can get the book—in electronic and paper formats—wherever you buy books:

Amazon

iTunes (Apple)

Kobo

Google Play Books

Barnes & Noble/nook

Sylvia

In Pollute the Poor Boniface plays Sylvia, a tune from 1972 by the Dutch prog rock band Focus. You’ll have to read the book to find the significance of the track and why Boniface chooses to play it.

The track is an instrumental with a strong, quite joyful melody, but there’s a mournful undercurrent. It’s one of those tunes that “speaks” without using words—and, of course, since there are no words, you can imprint your own interpretation.

If you don’t know the track, let me rectify that for you right now—and rectify it four times.

At this stage, I should note that the 1970s hair carries a public health warning, for which I apologize.

Here’s the original version. As best I can tell, the audio is the original studio performance. The video footage was synced to the music—you’re not actually seeing a live performance.

This version starts directly with those power chords that feature in Pollute the Poor.

Personally I prefer this alternate version. This is a live (as in live in the studio) performance. It’s a beat or two faster and doesn’t start with those power chords.

After two 1970s versions, let’s bring things up to date (or at least closer to up to date) with an acoustic version. Start listening from around 1:13.

This version features Jan Akkerman. He was the original guitarist with the band and as you can see, since the 1970s the hair has been replaced with a white cap. The playing on this version is great, but unfortunately some of the sonic fidelity is lost in this recording.

To my mind this acoustic arrangement offers a very different perspective to the melody bringing out the mournful undercurrent that is less obvious in electric renditions. With this acoustic version there’s a lot more space and the melody is allowed to breathe more freely.

If you keep running the video, you’ll see Akkerman perform with his (electric) band. Initially, there’s a fairly loose (and kinda dull) jam, but around 4:16 the band move to Sylvia, giving a fourth take on the track.

Montbretia is pretty dismissive about other tracks by Focus including what she calls “the yodeling song” (its actual name is Hocus Pocus). Then again, Montbretia is pretty dismissive about Boniface’s entire taste in music. 

Have You Read Them All?

Have you read all the books in my introductory library?

Get the Complete Introductory Library

I hope by now you’ve loaded my introductory library onto your reading device of choice. At some point in the future (although probably not until 2018, so take this as an early warning), I may switch out one or two of the books, so now’s the time to make sure you’ve got the full set.

If you’re missing any of the books, get them here:

Sharing the Introductory Library

If you’ve been around for a while you’ll have heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating…

My introductory library is intended to do exactly what its name suggests: to introduce my books to new readers. If you have any family or friends who you think may enjoy these books (or any of my other books), then please forward this email to them so they can download the books.

And if you’re a family member or a friend who has received this email, I hope you enjoy your reading! Please also join my readers’ group. When you join, I’ll send you this monthly communiqué, Simon Says, which will tell you about my books and any special offers, as well as giving you extracts and a few other pieces I think you may find interesting.

Review Team

Book reviews help prospective readers understand whether a book might be right for them. And of course, reviews help the author.

I’ve had the good fortune to have a number of readers join my review team and share their thoughts with fellow readers. Now I’m looking to augment that team.

Perhaps you’d be interested?

What Are You Letting Yourself In For?

In short, the process works like this:

If—when the call goes out—you are interested in the book and you have time to review, you can grab the book, review it, and post your review (on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, or wherever you talk about books). However, if you aren’t gripped by the book/don’t have time to review it, that’s no problem, you’ll still be on the list for next time.

There’s no obligation to give any particular rating or to offer obliging comments—I want honest reviews to better inform my potential readers.

Sign Up

If you’d like to help your fellow reader, as well as helping me, I’d be delighted if you would join the team.

If you can help out, then please let me have your name and email address.

And if you’re already a member of the review team, then there’s no need to sign up again.

Sexy Beast

On the face of it, Sexy Beast is a gangster movie. In truth, it’s a love story.

Sure, there are all the elements of a British gangster movie: there’s Ray Winstone playing a retired criminal living in Spain who is drawn back for one last job—a safe deposit vault heist. But dig deeper to the heart of the film and there is a love story. Gary “Gal” Dove (played by Winstone) loves his wife Deedee, and is only forced back to take the job to protect Deedee.

As an aside, for those readers who don’t know Winstone, casting him in a British gangster film is like casting John Wayne in a cowboy movie. You know the character. However, in Sexy Beast, Winstone plays against the usual expectation that are thrust upon him.

Retirement to Spain

Gal Dove is a retired criminal, his wife Deedee is a retired porn actress. Both have skeletons and both have left the UK to get some distance from those skeletons. They have found their own personal Shangri-La in southern Spain.

They now live in a secluded house with a pool, set on the side of a mountain and overlooking the sea with a view of a bay. In their terms, this is perfection and the place where they will see out their days together.

We get a hint of distant tremors when a huge rock is dislodged and rolls down the hill, just missing Gal before it lands in his swimming pool.

Enter Sir Ben

The hint of trouble is realized with the entry of Sir Ben Kingsley playing Don Logan. Logan has been sent by Teddy Bass, a “Mr Big” of the London underworld. Logan’s mission is simple: recruit Gal for the heist. Persuade him to come out of retirement.

Kingsley’s performance is the stand-out performance of the film.

Kingsley—a man known for his thoughtful performances (Gandhi, Schindler’s List)—is required to physically intimidate Winstone, a man with a reputation for playing brutes. It is a testament to both actors how convincing their performances are.

Kingsley’s Don Logan is volatile and violent—he is violent in his language and he is violent in his behavior. He has no social graces and does not adhere to any social norms, indeed, in one incident, without provocation he bursts into hosts’ bedroom and beats the husband.

If you want to see a clip of the interaction between Gal and Don—and see Kingsley and Winstone playing against type—check out this clip. Before you click, I should warn you that the language is rather extreme in places, so don’t follow the link if you’re easily offended.

Gal Takes the Job

Gal stands firm and refuses the job offer from Don. Don leaves. Don returns. Don disappears.

I won’t spoil the movie by talking about the circumstances of Don’s return or how he then disappears, but his disappearance means that Gal’s rejection of the job offer cannot be communicated to Teddy Bass, hence Gal has little choice but to take the job. He sees it as the only way protect his new life in Spain.

So That Rock…

You’ll have to watch the movie to find how the rock in the swimming pool links to the conclusion.

Sexy Beast is a short (84 minutes) and dense movie which is well written and perfectly executed. Hire it out if you haven’t already seen it. 

And To Close

If you’re holidaying over the summer, I hope you enjoy your time. And if you’re in the southern hemisphere, don’t worry, the summer will be back with you soon. Whether it’s summer or winter with you, be sure to reach out for a good book. And if you’re looking for a recommendation to read….you know how the sentence ends :–)

Until next month.

All the best

Simon