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Read an extract

Read an Extract

Here you can read sample pages from our stories along with blog posts by Rohase Piercy and Charlie Raven.
We hope you enjoy them and become encouraged to forge ahead and read more! We love reviews, reviews are gold dust so please, if you've read and enjoyed the books, leave a review on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com or Goodreads! Thank you so much!

Synopsis

The Compact Posted on 15 Nov, 2017 11:10:22

· The Compact is a
Long Read (376 pages, 150,000 words approx.) It’s an LGBTQ
mystery/romance set in 1898, the London of Sherlock Holmes, with fictional
characters such as Dr Watson interacting with historical characters such as Aleister Crowley.

· The story is
a third person narrative; contains humour as well as Occult and Supernatural
themes. Other themes: obsession with beauty and youth; LGBTQ men and older
LGBTQ women in Victorian England; Goddess Inanna/ancient Sumer.

· Biographical
notes, bibliography and footnotes included.

· Non-explicit treatment of adult themes (appropriate to a crime/mystery story e.g.
murder, necromancy, dismemberment, rape).

Synopsis.

The action at first focuses on Harriet Day and her dearest friend, Alexandra Roberts. These two
romantically-attached middle-aged women work hard to maintain respectable middle-class
independence in an era of female economic disadvantage. Things take a sinister
turn when Alexandra begins to fall under the influence of a fascinating,
manipulative and wealthy woman by the name of Minerva Atwell, provider of a range of marvellous skincare products
to the likes of Lillie Langtry and other society beauties.

Meanwhile, one of Alexandra’s
‘gentleman boarders’, the enigmatic, child-like actor, George Arden, is wrongly accused of murder. In terror, he flees for
his life. Harriet, desperate to help him, goes to the address shown on a
calling card George leaves her: a kindly doctor who once met George and took an
interest in his wellbeing. Thus a solo Dr
Watson
, whose poor health has prevented him from assisting his friend Sherlock Holmes in a mission to Russia,
becomes involved in attempting to prove George’s innocence. At the same time, a
young Aleister Crowley has quite a
different motive for wanting to secure the safety of the actor. Crowley’s flamboyant
lover, Jerome Pollitt, patron and
friend of Aubrey Beardsley and talented
amateur female impersonator, is drawn unwillingly into the plot (Crowley’s and
Pollitt’s relationship is respectfully explored in the course of the book).

Simultaneously, at her remote spa
hotel, Minerva begins to induct Alexandra into the mysteries of a certain
ancient clay tablet upon which she has long been brooding. As Alexandra falls
further under her dangerous influence, Watson and Crowley grudgingly team up to
investigate precisely why the punctilious crime reporter, Albert Burroughs, would choose to bear false witness against George
– and begin to discover a series of grisly secrets.

Available on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Kindle from 18th November 2017. ISBN 978-1-9998901-0-0



‘Fro ‘er in the pond!

The Compact Posted on 26 Oct, 2017 13:44:47

Extract from Chapter One of THE COMPACT by Charlie Raven

Dusk was falling and the lamps in the park were already being lit. She walked briskly past the park gate, not intending to walk through, now that it was beginning to get dark. As she glanced over towards the pond, she was surprised to see that young man again, the one ho had fed the birds. She recognised his face instantly, lit by the lamplight as he sat on the iron bench near the water. To Harriet’s eyes, he seemed to perching there, like the robin. And in a little half-circle facing him was a group of boys. They seemed to be singing.

She stopped, trying to hear their voices. As she listened, it struck her
that what they were singing sounded like a sinister little chant. Then to her
surprise and horror, she saw the group begin pelting the poor fellow with lumps
of ice. He protested, protecting his head with crossed arms. Harriet walked
straight into the park through the gate, which creaked loudly, determined without
quite knowing how, to put a stop to this at once. There were eight or nine boys
and they were quite sturdy enough to appear menacing. Harriet had heard about –
and witnessed – gangs of beggar-children intimidating the weak and scared,
stealing purses and handbags, running wildly through street markets. On her own
behalf, she would not have felt so brave, but on this occasion she did not
think twice. She swept towards them.

‘Stop that at once!’ she roared, surprising herself. ‘How dare you!’

The children turned to see what the noise was: just a doughy,
motherly-looking woman stomping towards them. Without hesitation and with one
accord, they turned their fire upon her. Several lumps of ice shattered on the
ground around her. She felt one heavy piece thump against her shoulder.

In her bag, Harriet knew she had a hairbrush, a pair of nail scissors,
needle and thread, sal volatile, a handkerchief and a police whistle. In
her hand she held a stout umbrella with a strong wooden handle. Brandishing the
umbrella, she charged the gang and yelled something to do with ‘police’ and ‘police
whistle’. She wasn’t entirely sure what she yelled, but it was satisfyingly
loud, coming from a place deep within her chest.

The original object of the attack now attempted to put himself between the
volleys of ice and his rescuer, but was reluctant to use physical force upon
the children. Harriet noticed that his build was so very slight that he could
never have beaten off a determined attack. On realising this, she decided that
physical force was exactly what was needed here and she herself would not be
afraid to use it: any other kind of persuasion would simply be ridiculed. To a
chorus of jeers, she flung herself into the fray and walloped the tallest boy
with her umbrella.

‘Ow! Missus, you bloody well ‘urt me!’ yelped the boy, rubbing his elbow.

His gang closed in on her, shouting threats and insults.

‘You fat ugly old bag!’

‘Get ‘er!’

‘Bloody old cow!’

‘Get ’er ’andbag!’

‘Fro ’er in the pond!’

‘Fro ’em bofe in the pond!’

The young man now appeared behind the gang as they pressed forward, and
began pulling individuals backwards out of the mob by grabbing their clothing.
They turned on him now and with small experienced fists and boots went for the
attack. It became a seething mass of dark bodies and shouting, and Harriet
predicted that they would all end up in the freezing water; and that the ink
would run on her recently acquired cheque and she would have to go back and get
another one; and somehow was aware, in a distanced part of herself, of just how
unseemly the whole incident must look. The other floating thought that bothered
her was how heavy her skirts would become if they soaked up water and then
froze.

As all that passed through one part of her mind, she was madly searching in
her bag for the police whistle and keeping up a loud string of threats: ‘I’ll
call a policeman on you! What will your mother say! Stop that! Don’t you dare kick
him!’

Just then, penetrating the juvenile voices, she heard a loud voice barking
across from the park gate. She caught a glimpse of a bulky man in a long dark
overcoat and bowler hat creaking the gate open and walking briskly towards
them. ‘Hoi! What the devil is going on?’ he shouted. He spread both his arms
out and suddenly began running full pelt towards the group, roaring like a
lion, and the children seeing him, decided to give up the attack. Light-footed,
they scattered into the darkness, shouting insults as they ran.