Thursday teaser: Sugar for Sugar

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By Seb Kirby

Justin Hardman looks at himself in the mirror as he shaves. He likes what he sees. A man approaching forty but with the bright-eyed zeal of a twenty-year-old. A man in control.

He knows where he stands in this troubled world. He despises those who don’t have money and make an issue of being poor. Half of society feeds off their incompetence. Yet he hates even more those who are wealthy and pretend to help those on whose backs their money is made. He admires the charity CEOs who pay themselves six figure salaries. At least they’re honest enough to admit they are running a real, profit making business. He would never support the hypocrites who say they are skimming from the poor. The poor deserve all they get. What matters is being honest about the realities of this life.

When he needs money, he knows where to get it and how to get it. Because he knows what money is and how the wealth that comes with it was created.

He knows about his distant family ancestors who owned slaves working on the sugar plantations of Trinidad, those who were compensated well for the loss of their human property when slavery was abolished. He knows that the work of those slaves, whipped until bleeding as often as not in the treadmills used to process tobacco or sugar, lives on in the money that changes hands today. The indelible mark of his family is still on it. He knows that those who cannot face up to such truths about where their money comes from do not deserve to keep it.

He knows of those other family ancestors who benefited from the rape of Africa, profiting from the shipping companies that transported slaves and returned with tobacco and cotton from the New World. And he knows of the smarter branches of the family who distanced themselves from the brutality of the trade by profiting even further from the import and export duties levied on each shipment that came in or out of London, Liverpool or Bristol, while all the time showing an exemplary face to those around them, priding themselves on the donations they made to the fine buildings that still grace those cities.

Yes, it’s the wealth created by his ancestors and those like them that still flows as a flood tide of ever increasing strength through today’s London.

And he knows of those later family ancestors whose crimes, though vile and treacherous to many, were so long concealed by the passage of time that they were able to pass themselves off as altruistic patrons of the arts without risk of ridicule. The spoils of their dreadful deeds circulate still.

Yes, he knows his true place in this great scheme of things. What does it matter if in this generation he was born with none of the advantages he might have expected had his recent family not contrived to squander these fruits of the past long before he could inherit them? Unlike those around him who took entitlement for granted, he hadn’t been to a good school nor sent on to a place kept waiting for him at Oxbridge.

The only advantage Justin Hardman inherited was an insatiable ambition to succeed by any means possible and an unstoppable desire to recover what is owed from the past. And he knows this matters more than any accident of birth. His is the stronger form of entitlement. The wealth that should be his, the dead labor that has been passed down through the ages, might be now in the hands of others but it is still rightfully his. It is only appropriate that he must do all he can to now take it back.

He washes and dries his face and chooses his clothes for the day from the walk-in dressing room nearby. The choice of over twenty designer Italian suits and over a hundred handmade shirts would overwhelm some. But he knows he has style and can let instinct make the selection. The steel-grey suit. The blue-check shirt.

This is the most important thing he’s learned. The appearance of wealth attracts more wealth. That’s how to stay ahead in this life and get even. Something his father had never understood when he told his son he’d never make anything of himself. If his father could see him now. But he couldn’t. His father had died a loser.

About Sugar for Sugar

How far would you go to uncover the secrets of your past?

Issy Cunningham has made a new life for herself but that’s all about to come crashing down.

If only she could recall what happened that Valentine’s Eve, she would be able to tell the police what really took place.

But those memories won’t come because there’s too much in the past that troubles her.

How can she set the record straight when her past won’t let her be?

What reviewers are saying

“What a great book.”—J L Edwards

“Fast paced thriller”Dawn

“I simply whizzed through this book.”—Ashrae

“Exciting read”—TerryHeth

“A super read”—Susan Hampson, Books From Dusk ‘Til Dawn

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

sebkirby2Seb Kirby was literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, and the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind. Sugar for Sugar is his latest release.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby.

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Each Day I Wake

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A gripping psychological thriller
By Seb Kirby

EachDay-KirbyYoung women are going missing and only Tom Markland knows the terrifying truth.

When he’s pulled out of the North Dock, he comes round not knowing who he is or how he got there.

All he knows is that someone is killing young women.

He sees them die each time he closes his eyes.

The only way he’s going to recover his identity is to discover who is doing the killings.

Each Day I Wake will keep you turning page after page.

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

Seb KirbySeb Kirby was literally raised with books – his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, and the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind.

Read more about him on his BestSelling Reads Author page.

Visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby.

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Focus Friday: Forgive No More, by Seb Kirby

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Forgive No More is Seb Kirby’s latest release, the third in the James Blake thriller series.

Forgive No More Cover

Madeleine Jamieson, visiting London from Seattle, jumped at the chance to become a mudlarker. She’d always been interested in history and when she heard about the London walk that took in the chance to beach comb on the banks of the Thames it was too good to miss.

At low tide, the Thames retreated along the river bank between Somerset House and St Paul’s to reveal a distinct beach made up of shingle and the detritus of earlier centuries. Back in the 1600s, clay pipes filled with tobacco had been smoked and discarded into the river. These were abundant and formed the main treasure to be found at low tide now, though in the mind’s eye of any self-respecting mudlarker there was always the chance of real treasure in the shape of a Roman coin or something more valuable such as mediaeval jewelry. In Victorian times, to be a mudlarker was a recognized profession, given the wealth discarded into the Thames each day when the Port of London was the gateway to the world. These days, mudlarking was, at best, archaeology for everyman.

When the tour guide in the bright yellow T-shirt finished telling the small group these things she wished them well and sent them out on their search for the remains of London’s past. “Good hunting to you all. Come back with plenty of treasure.”

Madeline Jamieson turned to her husband. “Phil, let’s separate. We’ll have more chance of making good finds.”

Phil Jamieson was less interested in any of this but was keen to please her. “OK, Maddie. See you back here in twenty minutes.”
Madeleine made her way along the shore, searching as she went, and before long she’d found the first of the half dozen clay pipe fragments she was to collect. She couldn’t help thinking. “Now, if only I could find an intact clay pipe, that would be something to show Phil.”

She’d walked further than intended and was by now some distance away from the main group. In fact, she was approaching the buttress supports of Vauxhall Bridge.
When she saw the body she gave out a long and piercing scream heard a quarter of a mile away.

The body was bloated and in the late stages of decomposition. It had been dumped in the Thames some days before and the weights used to keep it beneath the water had now slipped. Brought in on the morning tide it had been washed against the supports of the bridge where it was now lodged.

The tour guide was the first to reach her and tried to calm her. “Just take deep breaths. Did I see you were with your husband? He’ll soon be here.”

When Phil Jamieson arrived, the guide was quick to attempt to reassure him. “It’s one of those unfortunate events we can’t guard against. I’m sure your wife will be able to get over this with your help.”

He wrapped his arms around his wife and walked her away from the scene. He tried to cheer her. “We didn’t expect to find anything as Charles Dickens as that, eh?”

She attempted a smile. “And this town is supposed to be so peaceful.”

Forgive No More is available on Amazon.

Seb Kirby, author

I’m the author of the James Blake Thriller series (Take No More, Regret No More and, now, Forgive No More) and the Raymond Bridges sci-fi thriller series (Double Bind). I’ve been an avid reader from an early age — my grandfather ran a mobile lending library in Birmingham and when it closed my parents inherited many of the books. From the first moment I was hooked. Now, as a full-time writer myself, it’s my goal to add to the magic of the wonderful words and stories I discovered back then.

Visit my:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Seb_Kirby

 

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Friday Focus: Take No More by Seb Kirby

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Leda Concept 1Gianacarlo met Emelia on the corner of Via Ricasoli and Via degli Alfani, quiet streets just a short walk away from the Academia. He had not told her why he had suggested that they meet there.

She had been crying, he could see that. ‘You all right?’

‘Not really,’ she said. ‘Why are we meeting here?’

‘There is something I want to show you.’ He took her arm and walked her along Via Ricasoli towards the Academia.

They didn’t make it easy for locals like Emelia to see inside. Most days the museum was besieged by tourists waiting for up to an hour to get in. But Giancarlo had a pass and that meant they could just walk in past the lines. Emelia did not complain but it was clear that she was apprehensive about where he was taking her.

‘Why here? Why here?’ was all she would say.

Gianacarlo moved them on through the entrance hall and, in a few short minutes, they were standing in the Gallery of Slaves, the long corridor-like space that housed Michelangelo Buenorotti’s unfinished sculptures – partially completed figures trapped in the huge blocks of stone from which it seemed they had failed to escape. They had been donated by Michelangelo to Cosimo Di Medici after they had been turned down by the Vatican for Pope Julius III’s mausoleum.

Emelia stood and stared. Giancarlo did not say a word. She knew immediately why he had brought her here. Yes, he thought that her life was that of little more than that of a modern day slave, no different from the life of those souls trapped in those blocks of stone. She caressed the form of the Awakening Slave, running her hands over the cold, hard stone, feeling how the body shape had been worked out of the hidden structure of the stone, feeling the tool marks left behind as Michelangelo’s chisels struck with such precision all those years ago. And she began to cry.

Gianacarlo was concerned that the gallery staff would have them removed for touching the sculptures but in the event, no-one came.

‘So you brought me here, to show me this, to tell me that my life is no better than this?’ The anger in her voice matched the tears in her eyes. ‘Is this some new way you have found to drive me further down?’

‘It’s not designed to make you feel worse about yourself _______ .’

‘Then why bring me here to tell me something that I should already know? Don’t you think that that is humiliating? Nothing to lose, eh?’

‘That’s not what I’m trying to say.’ He tried to hold her but she pulled away.

‘And I am so much the slave that I wouldn’t understand any of this if you hadn’t brought me here?’

‘Look up,’ Giancarlo said. He had managed to place his arm around her and was pointing her towards the statue of David in the circular gallery beyond. ‘What do you see?’

Michelangelo’s statue of David, fully three times life size, rising high above the surrounding tourists, looked back.

‘We trap ourselves. We make slaves of ourselves,’ he whispered. ‘We make our own chains. The powerful look on without a care, inflated by the pride made possible by our entrapment.’

‘And the David looks down on the gallery of slaves, and it’s been like that for as long as anyone can remember,’ she said. ‘Where is the hope in that?’

She looked at him and he could see the anguish in her eyes. ‘And you are no different. You use me and abuse me just like them. Why should I care if the sight of art gives you an excuse to seek to ease your conscience?’

‘It doesn’t have to be like that,’ Giancarlo said. ‘I’d never have known you if we hadn’t both been as we are, here and now.’

Seb Kirby is the author of the James Blake Thriller series (Take No More, Regret No More and, coming in March this year, Forgive No More) and the Raymond Bridges sci fi thriller series (DOUBLE BIND). He says: ‘I’ve been an avid reader from an early age – my grandfather ran a mobile lending library in Birmingham and when it closed my parents inherited many of the books. From the first moment I was hooked. Now, as a full-time writer myself, it’s my goal to add to the magic of the wonderful words and stories I discovered back then.’

Visit his

To buy Seb’s books from Amazon:

Take No More: http://smarturl.it/tnm

Regret No More: http://smarturl.it/rnm

Double Bind: http://smarturl.it/dbb

 

 

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