Sunday, 27 May 2018

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist


The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
First published in Swedish as Enhet in August 2006. English language translation by Marlaine Delargy published by Trade Paper in August 2009. Republished by OneWorld in April 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.46 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.61 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $2.62 / £3.42 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty - single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries - are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders.

In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions: well-housed, well-fed, and well-attended. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful.

But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and...well, then what? 

The Unit is a dystopian novel set almost entirely within the confines of the Second Reserve Bank Unit which is a complete living facility for older people that society at large has deemed dispensible. As readers, we don't know how this legal situation came about or what drove their country to create these facilities, but we can see from the people who end up there how society's priorities lie. The novel is Swedish authored and set in Sweden so it was interesting for me to see how much of The Unit's philosophy meshed with what I know of lifestyle choices in that country.

If it wasn't for what has to be given in return, life in The Unit sounds like bliss. There are excellent leisure facilities, empathetic staff, it never rains and the library can swiftly get any book requested! However, the price is to repeatedly volunteer for potentially dangerous clinical trials and experiments, and to donate increasingly more vital organs to more deserving people on the outside. I was fascinated by how these 'dispensible people' cope with this situation. The criteria by which they are chosen would almost certainly make me one of them in just a few years so to say I was unsettled by this book is a massive understatement!

I was completely convinced by Holmqvist's creation and from thinking about how drug trials are actually carried out in poor African towns and villages, it's not a huge leap of faith to get to Units. I thought the intensity of friendships and relationships was very real and poignant and I was gripped by this story from start to finish. Holmqvist's writing style suits her subject perfectly. A scary prospect!


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Books by Ninni Holmqvist / Science fiction / Books from Sweden

Saturday, 26 May 2018

The Forever Night Stand by Bena Roberts + Free Book


The Forever Night Stand by Bena Roberts
Self published in the UK in March 2018.

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $Free / £Free (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add The Forever Night Stand to your Goodreads

A two hour romance which starts with drama and mayhem!

Sara has her back up against the wall. She is recovering from the side effects of chemotherapy and at her own "cancer free" party, she makes a decision that will change her life forever.

The adventure begins when she leaves her posh lifestyle in Scotland and moves in with her Bollywood loving parents, in West London. Her parents are tragically ashamed of Sara's actions and her electronic monitor. She decides to make them happy again and considers re-marrying. 

Enter Raj, a possible hero who comes with the promise of a huge Indian wedding in Goa!

George, the childhood love of her life who seems to be hanging around every corner. Or should she just go back to her husband? Sara faces the biggest dilemma of her life, after making the colossal mistake of her life. What will she do and whom will she choose?




The Forever Night Stand is a humorous novella that starts from a serious place, but aims more for an entertaining read than a deep exploration of Issues. Sara is a fun character and I enjoyed spending a few hours in her company. She is at a major crossroads in her life and I was interested to discover how she would cope with essentially having been thrown back to a teenage situation, despite being in her forties.

Roberts has a great descriptive turn of phrase and can put across a visual image very effectively in just a few words. I loved the humour in this novella too and induged in several giggles as the story progressed. I didn't, however, really understand George. We see about a third of the story from his point of view and I didn't like how I felt I was being persuaded to think of him. George and Sara haven't seen each other for the best part of two decades. During this time, George has still been in love with Sara so 'obviously' Sara must fall straight in insta-love with him? A scene where George attempts to kiss an unconscious Sara without her consent and without her even knowing he was there just made me feel distinctly uncomfortable. This isn't highly romantic, it's assault!

So, overall, I enjoyed reading about Sara and her attempts to get herself back together. Most of the story is fun and funny if I could just have avoided weirdo stalker George!

Meet the author:

Bena Roberts was a journalist and analyst. Now she prefers the title novelist and romance adventurist. She graduated in England 1994 and then with a Masters in 1997.

Born in 1973, Bena lived in West London until she was 24. Then she lived and worked in Budapest, Bruges, Prague, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich. She currently resides in Germany, between Heidelberg and Frankfurt. Although she still refers to London as 'home.'

Bena successfully created a technology blog which gained funding, had lunch with Steve Ballmer and was 'top 50 most influential woman in mobile.' Her blog also won several awards including Metro Best Blog.

Bena has two children, loves small dogs and always writes books with a cup of Earl Grey.

Bena's favorite literary style is black humor, and she hopes to offer a unique voice in this area. Her books aim to confront the darkest of life experiences, with levity. Most of her writing is heavy hitting yet also entertaining.

Author links: 
Amazon ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Bena Roberts / Women's fiction / Books from England

Friday, 25 May 2018

Raving About Rhys by Jessica Redland


Raving About Rhys by Jessica Redland
First published in the UK by So Vain Books in May 2015.

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $1.33 / £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Raving About Rhys to your Goodreads

Bubbly Callie Derbyshire loves her job as a carer, and can't believe she's finally landed herself a decent boyfriend - older man Tony - who's lasted way longer than the usual disastrous three months. Tony's exactly what she's always dreamed of ... or at least he would be if he ever took her out instead of just taking her to bed. And work would be perfect too if she wasn't constantly in trouble with her boss, The She-Devil Denise.

When the new gardener, Mikey, discovers her in a rather compromising position at work, Callie knows that her days at Bay View Care Home could be numbered. Can she trust him not to tell Denise? If she's issued with her marching orders, who'll look out for her favourite client, Ruby, whose grandson, Rhys, seems to constantly let her down? What does Ruby know about Tony? And what is Denise hiding?

Surrounded by secrets and lies, is there anyone left who Callie can trust?



Meet the author:

Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella!

She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast – the inspiration for the settings in her books – with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs!

Jessica tries to balance her time – usually unsuccessfully – between being an HR tutor and writing.

Author links: 
Facebook ~ Website ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Jessica Redland / Women's fiction / Books from England

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi


The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi
First published in Arabic by Dar al-Hikma in 2016. English language translation by Luke Leafgren published by OneWorld in May 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £9.19 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.12 (PB)
Waterstones : from £12.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $3.94 / £3.23 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Baghdad, 1991. In the midst of the first Gulf War, a young Iraqi girl huddles with her neighbours in an air raid shelter. There, she meets Nadia. The two girls quickly become best friends and together they imagine a world not torn apart by civil war, sharing their dreams, their hopes and their desires, and their first loves. But as they grow older and the bombs continue to fall, the international sanctions bite and friends begin to flee the country, the girls must face the fact that their lives will never be the same again.

This poignant debut novel will spirit readers away to a world they know only from the television, revealing just what it is like to grow up in a city that is slowly disappearing in front of your eyes, and showing how in the toughest times, children can build up the greatest resilience.

The Baghdad Clock is a beautifully magical novel of a girl coming of age in a war-torn city. Through the eyes of our never-named narrator, we see the effects of bombings, a decade of sanctions, and more bombings on a thriving Baghdad neighbourhood as its community slowly splinters and evaporates. I was strongly reminded of South American magical realism at several points so was happy to spot the classic novel One Hundred Years Of Solitude being given a role. The Baghdad Clock is a considerably faster read, but I think readers who enjoy Marquez will appreciate Al Rawi too. Concepts such as the neighbourhood being a ship allow for truly effective imaginings and I gave a wry smile at the irony of the emigrating families all leaving in a black Chevrolet - an American car.

I did feel as the story continued that our narrator often felt younger than her years would suggest, but that may be because I am used to reading about protagonists who are overly worldly wise. I can't remember exactly how childish I was in my early teens! The friendship with Nadia is utterly believable and provides such a strong thread for these lives. Al Rawi gives touching details so I felt as though I genuinely saw Baghdad through a child's eyes, which makes her occasional drawing back to reveal the full extent of the suffering caused - especially by the drawn-out years of sanctions - particularly poignant. Neighbourhood characters such Uncle Shawkat and his Kurdish wife, Baji Nadira, are memorable and I was moved by the image of Shawkat continuing to tend the houses of the departed, not knowing whether they would ever return. Seeing the impetus here for what has become a global 'immigration problem' reveals its other side - that of an emigration disaster leaving communities and neighbourhoods destroyed not so much from the physical damage caused by war, but by the gradual exodus of friends, relations and neighbours.

The only part of this book that didn't work for me was the short Future which is kind of an epilogue. Its style felt too different to what had gone before so, while I was interested to see some of what would happen to these characters and how their lives might pan out, I wouldn't have felt anything lost if The Baghdad Clock had ended prior to this final section. I preferred being in the earlier atmosphere and the sudden change felt almost like starting a new book without having taken enough time to reflect on the previous one.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Shahad Al Rawi / Contemporary fiction / Books from Iraq

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

A Reason For Living by Julian Jingles + Giveaway


A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles
Category: Adult Fiction, 382 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: iUniverse
Release date: January 17, 2018
Tour dates: May 21 to June 8, 2018
Content Rating: R

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £17.95 (PB)
Wordery : from £13.23 (PB)
Waterstones : from £17.95 (PB)
Amazon : from $8.80 / £6.49 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add A Reason For Living to your Goodreads

It is the mid-1960s in Kingston, Jamaica, and the country is steeped in social, political, and economic inequities. Howard Baxter, the heir to a real estate empire, has no interest in seeking or managing wealth. Painting and deflowering Jamaican maidens are his passions. As he combs the streets looking for greater meaning in his pathetic life, it soon becomes apparent that Howard's journey will not be easy.

Bernaldo Lloyd, a member of the Baxter clan, is a medical student who is sensitive to the hopelessness of the Jamaican masses. Inspired by his close friend and Howard's cousin, Ras Robin Pone, and their ties with the Rastafari movement that calls for social and economic equity, Bernaldo is determined to overthrow the corrupt government. As Howard, Bernaldo and Robin become influenced by America's Black Power and Civil Rights movements demanding equal rights for African Americans, the women in their lives both love and criticize them. But when revolution breaks out, Howard finally discovers a purpose for his twisted life that leads him in a direction he never anticipated.

In this tale of love, passion, and self-discovery, two Jamaican men become caught up in a 1960s revolution that reveals injustices, oppression, and a purpose for one of them.

Praise for A Reason for Living:

“Riveting, touching on micro and macro relationships of love, sex and politics, and the search of Jamaicans for the essence of their existence, with many compelling scenes and very touching, sensitive dialogues.”
- Dr. Basil Wilson, New York Carib News

"A Reason for Living is a highly complex work that pits sense against sensibility. Emotions surge, transforming men in unfathomable ways. And as love and revolution march in lock-step, Jingles might well have earned a place among the region’s more interesting writers."
- Glenville Ashby, Kaieteur News

“The author, filmmaker, entrepreneur did not wile away five decades as a bystander but may have calculatedly used the hiatus to toil in order to reveal a compelling novel about the creative and volatile ‘60s in Jamaica.”
- Vinette K. Pryce, Caribbean Life


About the Author:

Julian Jingles has had a professional career spanning 52 years writing for publications such as the Jamaica Gleaner, the New York Amsterdam News, JET magazine, the New York Daily News, and the New York Carib News. He began work on his novel A Reason For Living in 1966, a teenager just graduating from high school in Jamaica. In 1967 he went to work as a journalist at the Gleaner Company, the oldest published newspaper in Jamaica, and the Caribbean. He has written, produced, and co-directed three documentary films, production managed several music videos featuring Kool and the Gang, Steel Pulse, the Main Ingredient, promoted several music concerts, and a stage play, along with investing in several entrepreneurial projects in America, and Jamaica.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ LinkedIn


Enter the Giveaway!
Win a $15 Amazon.com gift card (open internationally, 1 winner) or a copy of A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles (print for USA, ebook for int'l, 1 winner)
Ends June 16, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway




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Books by Julian Jingles / Historical fiction / Books from Jamaica

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Farm by Hector Abad


The Farm by Hector Abad
First published in Spanish 2014. English language translation by Anne McLean published by Archipelago in April 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £10.73 (PB)
Wordery : from £14.35 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $9.04 / £11.50 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

When the Angel family's beloved home in the Antioquian wilderness falls into danger, they manage to defend it against the guerrillas and, later, the paramilitaries - but at a high price. After their parents' death, Pilar, Eva and Tono have to decide the fate of their father's legacy. While Pilar and Tono want to keep La Oculta, Eva, who experienced something terrible at the old farm house, is determined to sell. As the siblings each struggle with their own problems, their inner conflicts threaten to tear apart not only their home but also their family.

The Farm is, first and foremost, a novel about the concept of home: how we identify home and how the idea of it means different things to different people. In this book three siblings, Pilar, Eva and Tono, take it in turns to narrate their stories of their family home. The farm itself, La Oculta, was hewn from pristine Colombian rock and forest some 150 years earlier by their ancestor and has experienced changing fortunes in a tumultuous country since then.

I liked how each sibling has a very distinct character and voice. Pilar is happily married to her childhood sweetheart and cannot imagine ever being without La Oculta as her home. Eva has been through a number of marriages and relationships and, for her, home is fleeting. Wherever she lives at that moment is home, but she could move elsewhere  next week and live just as happily. Tono has settled down and married his artist boyfriend in New York but returns regularly to La Oculta. For him, the history of the place is what defines it and he is happier delving into La Oculta's past than in dealing with it's present problems.

The Farm feels like an epic read in that it has a large scope of characters and time periods. I enjoyed discovering the old history through Tono's chapters and the recent history from Eva's. The Colombian landscape and Antioquian people are brought vividly to life and I appreciated seeing how the relatively remote township came to exist and then to thrive. At times, particularly earlier on in the book, The Farm felt a little repetitive. I thought this more the case when the characters were establishing themselves and we were sometimes told things about them more than once, but this turned out to be good grounding for later on. This novel explores home and family in a way that I found familiar even though I think this is only the second Colombian-authored novel I have read. The experience of generation gaps and differing expectations is illustrated through Tono's and Eva's American lives while Pilar is more rooted in the mountain community traditions. This is a lovely novel to immerse oneself in and I think would make a good Book Club choice as it raises deep issues to think over and discuss.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Hector Abad / Contemporary fiction / Books from Colombia

Monday, 21 May 2018

Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven + Guest Post


Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven
First published in Dutch as Terug naar Hiroshima by Uitgeverij Houtekiet in the Netherlands in April 2010. English language edition published in Hong Kong by Crime Wave Press in March 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £11.19 (PB)
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $6.90 / £5.01 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Return To Hiroshima to your Goodreads

1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. 

Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima's war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will "overturn Japan's foundations".... 

Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and Japanese society as a whole.

Guest Post by Bob Van Laerhoven
Literature Resonates
Lately, many people ask me if I think literature is still meaningful in this era of rapidly progressing digital technology: fast changing communication, the many ways of experiencing movies, streamed television series and news.
Literature does matter in our time. In any era.
I'll explain this with an example of my own work.
Return to Hiroshima is my latest novel in English. As the first city ever struck by a nuclear bomb, Hiroshima became an iconic symbol. A novel with that city in the title inevitably refers to that moment in time that changed human history forever.
Why write a work of fiction in which the nuclear detonation plays such an important role? It’s easier, and faster, to stream a documentary about the subject, or to be carried away by watching an after-the-bomb movie.
That would make us informed, correct?
In a way, yes, but, in my eyes, literature has an added value. It can provoke in us an empathic understanding of the consequences of nuclear warfare. That’s something else than being informed.
Moreover, are we as informed as we think we are? The answer is a bone-dry “no”. Mass-media and social networks spread “news bytes” every second around the globe but have desensitized us to a certain degree to the deeper meaning – or consequences – of the experience behind information.
What do you think about the heightened possibility of a WWIII, which has been all over the news lately?
Tensions are on the rise. A new World War is nearer than ever since the end of the Cold War. Democratic regimes loose the battle against dangerous demagogic populists and dictators: Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, Vladimir Putin in Russia, and Viktor Orbán in Hungary, to name but a few.
Never before was the turbulent Middle East such a chaos of shifting alliances and growing animosity.  Iran and Saudi-Arabia are competing for hegemony in the region and build nuclear facilities that can be used to produce nuclear weapons. The US, Russia, and Turkey - with China looming at the horizon - support different factions in the civil war in Syria… They are allies today and enemies tomorrow. No-one seems to have a sound strategy, a solution, for the region.
It’s obvious that the seemingly endless Syrian civil war could become the trigger of a new worldwide conflict. The airstrike in April of the coalition of US, UK and French forces on the chemical weapon installations of Bashar al Assad’s regime triggered so much international unease that the most important question for the coming months (years?) seems to become: how close are we to WWIII?
People tend to react to this question with a curiously abstract resignation. When prodded a bit, they usually confess that they can’t fathom how it would be, a nuclear conflict across the globe. Usually they end the conversation with an uneasy, “They won’t let it come that far, will they? I can’t imagine they would.“
***
One of the problems of the modern digital society is precisely that mass-media and social networks have wrecked havoc on our ability to use our imagination. As a result, the all too real possibility of a nuclear WWIII seems unconceivable.
And that, my dear friends, is truly dangerous. Our leaders are not smarter, wiser, or more mature than we are. And they sure do not have more imagination… except in one area - their endless dreams of their growing power.
This is the point where literature can step in. You may have trouble imagining what a nuclear conflict would be like, but literature can.  Moreover, it does this on a one-on-one basis.
A one-on-one basis in this era of mass-communication? Do I hear your Gargantuan laugh booming?
I like movies and television series, even games and social networks, as much as anybody. But I notice that, when spending too time with these media, my level of thinking is reduced to a receptive, confined mode. The essence of a story often slips away from me like water from a seal.
This is not the case when I read. A novel resonates within me. Words can convey sensations that even the most sophisticated visual media cannot. Words can vibrate with layers of meaning, they can produce flashes of feeling (which is different than experiencing emotion), and they can make the reader emotionally receptive. The power to step into the story, not wandering on the outskirts of it, is readily available.
I know, I know: you’ve heard this story before. Since the advent of mass-media, countless philosophers and artists have hammered on similar reasoning. You’re probably sick and tired of being advised to read fiction. Why should you, when watching movies is so much easier?
You may argue reading novels takes time, a certain effort, which is getting more difficult with every minute. Stress on the job, stress in traffic-jams, stress at home with children. Stress of not having posted a witty message on Facebook for two days…..
You have every right to think so, but in my view, literature, more than any other art-form or entertainment, gives you the opportunity to interrogate yourself about the meaning of life: what exactly power or wealth is, how the world is evolving, what kind of society we live in…. The list is endless.
To interrogate yourself is a lot different than being shown what it is all about.
It’s not per se better.
But definitely different.
***
I admit willingly that I present the situation rather black-and-white in this post. But so is the question I hear so often: do you really think that literature can offer something more than, say, Netflix? It’s nearly always about who or what wins, not about differences. We don’t like differences anymore; we want to see winners and losers.
And that, dear friends, is a dangerous attitude, won’t you agree?
So, as an experiment, try something different. Watch a thrilling, shocking movie about the consequences of a nuclear conflict. There are a lot of gripping movies about that theme out there.
And, afterwards, read a novel about the same subject. There are a lot of gripping, passionate novels out there with this theme.
I want to share a few lines with you from Return to Hiroshima, a story set in Japan in 1995. In one of the chapters, a Seizon-cha, a survivor of the nuclear bomb called “Little Boy”, recalls some of the scenes he witnessed and could never forget.
***
A woman staggered past the burning buildings with a baby in her arms. The heat had caused the baby’s skin to peel. He was limp and motionless in her arms.
A man tugged at the body of a teenager buried under the rubble. The boy’s skull was cracked open and brain tissue was hanging out of the wound. He had lost his right eye. He was calling out for his mother, his voice clear and steady. The man had pulled away enough rubble to see that both legs had been crushed. He tried to lift the boy. He succeeded. He continued on his way, the boy motionless in his arms.
A girl, blood gushing from her mouth, stumbled through the ruins of a school. Hands shot up from the rubble, bloody and smoldering. They tried to grab the girl by the ankles. Voices begged: “Take me with you, take me with you!” In panic she kicked at the hands and ran on, her arms outstretched as if she was blind.
Hundreds of people tried to reach the river Aioi. They screamed for help, lost direction in the ash-filled clouds of smoke, and fell exhausted to the ground before they could reach the banks of the river and baked like clay stones in the raging fire.
***
How did this excerpt make you feel?
Reading literature resonates.

Meet The Author
Bob van Laerhoven was born on August 8th 1953 in the sandy soil of Antwerp's Kempen, a region in Flanders (Belgium), bordering to The Netherlands, where according to the cliché 'pig-headed clodhoppers' live. This perhaps explains why he started to write stories at a particularly young age. A number of his stories were published in English, French, German, Spanish and Slovenian.

Author links:
Amazon Author Page


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Bob Van Laerhoven / Crime fiction / Books from Belgium