Robert Craven - Author
Behind the Author
Irish author Robert Craven has always been passionate about writing and storytelling. He is an independent author of seven novels. One was a number one download on KOBO. He's self-motivated and driven to produce quality fiction. His personal blog and stories can be found on ABCTales.com. An active member of the writing community,
he writes regular features for Writing.ie.
Novels: The Eva series:
(Amazon.com / Smashwords / Kobo.com)
·(2020) Eagles Hunt Wolves - Winner of the Firebird 2021 book award
·(2016) Hollow Point
·(2014) A Finger of Night
·(2011) Get Lenin
(2018) The Road of a Thousand Tigers – best seller on Kobo.
(2017) The Mandarin Cipher
(2021) A Kind of Drowning
Zombie Bites - Red Rattle Books
Kobo Writer’s Life Podcasts - Podcast 117.
**** #TheDoctorWillSeeYouNow ****
in conversation with Dr Jacky Collins 2020
The Voice of Get Lenin
A KIND OF DROWNING
The man standing at the funeral in bubble-gum pink hair is P.J. Crowe. His career as a detective is in tatters - he's facing dismissal, vilified by the press and his wife's about to leave. Lying low in a small seaside town he spots a ‘Help Wanted’ ad in the kitchen of a local café. It offers him an escape from the public and his spiralling mental health - and it's where Thea Farrell worked – until she was found dead at sea.
And herein lies the problem: Thea was an Olympic medallist, silver for swimming and Crowe’s burned-out synapses are starting to join the dots – it wasn't his case, but his cop’s senses tell him that Thea wasn’t the drowning kind.
And the suspect may well be in the congregation.
©Robert Craven 2021
There were two universal truths for Crowe; a newspaper was never worth buying and the only real facts in one could be found between the pages of the sports columns. If you wanted to read a newspaper for free, there was always your friendly neighbourhood turf accountant; they kept longer hours than the library. And, if you wanted to catch a villain, you had to frequent his likely haunts. In his experience, most criminals were gamblers, both calculating and reckless; crime was a game and they always thought they were winners. Criminals like race horses had form and this Teflon D character was notorious for the sport of kings.
Being cut off suddenly from society had its freedoms. Shorn of responsibilities, past the derelict bank and shuttered up businesses, Crowe stepped into the bookies. The first thing he did was grab a handful of the small biros. It was a habit of his, on his days on active duty when those small plastic ball-points would be thrown into the side panel of the patrol car. You could never have enough pens.
He decided to scan the newspapers pinned to the shop’s boards. It was late afternoon and the TVs blared their commentary to empty seats. He selected three meetings: each way on the favourites.
“A ten euro accumulator. The last race is 5:30,” said the girl behind the glass.
“Feeling lucky today,” replied Crowe handing his bet over. “Busy?” he asked.
“Dead,” she replied as she handed him his slip.
“A coffee machine would help,” said Crowe.
“Good luck with that,” she said. Behind the glass her hair was as collapsed as her demeanour. She had the kind of features that could be anywhere between eighteen and forty, “That would involve the boss spending money. Moans about the recession,” she continued.
Crowe suspected she was leafing through a magazine beneath the counter. It suited him; he had a sheaf of blank betting slips out of sight in his other hand.
“Would lend the place a little je ne sais quoi. Speaking of coffee, the new café in town, The Boogie Woogie? Who is the manager?” he asked.
“Melanie Fox,” replied the girl.
Crowe wrote her name out on the back of the slip.
“Is she a hands-on-kind of boss?” he asked.
“Mel IS the Boogie-Woogie,” replied the girl without looking up.
“What does she look like?”
“You’ll know her the moment you see her.”
“Thanks, one other question?” asked Crowe.
She looked up and around the room, he turned to see the same empty shop with the flat screens alternating between odds, racing cards and horse races. The tacky looking carpet had stains, discarded takeaway cups, and used crumpled slips strewn across it.
Hardly Cheltenham, now is it? Townsend would’ve said.
“Other than me, I don’t suppose you’ve had any new faces coming in recently? Perhaps over the last few weeks?” asked Crowe.
“Not much passing trade in this town. Just the locals,” replied the girl.
Crowe could at last make out her name on her badge pinned to her waistcoat.
“Thanks, Karen,” said Crowe.
Karen blew a chewing gum bubble. It burst loudly. She seemed to have stopped turning pages. Her expression had turned into a light bulb moment.
“We do get the odd new customer - a student type has come in recently. Haven’t seen him before. Rides a mountain bike, brings it into the shop. Same type as my husband’s.”
“Does this student place his own bets or hand over a list?” asked Crowe.
“List. Mid to short odds, later race meetings, smaller cards. Sometimes he’s in every day, sometimes once a week. Collects winnings close of business.”
Crowe found himself jotting down the details. He circled ‘smaller cards’, astute betting. An operator like Teflon D would need runners and couriers. A student type: he’s a runner, thought Crowe.
Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.
The Real Story
The great Jazz bass player, Steve Swallow once observed his career was 50% listening, 50% playing, like this discipline, writers too should immerse themselves; inhabit the world of reading and writing. Steven Spielberg always watches John Ford’s seminal work, ‘The Searchers’ before loading a strip of film, every writer too should have a ‘go-to piece’ for preparation; as in the words of the great American poet Kenneth Koch, “You can’t lose anything of yourself by being influenced by a poet, no matter how strong. All you can do is learn from him [or her] how to do it. Just like by imitating the hand movements of great pianists.” Like Mr. Swallow, I listen and write and listen and write and listen and write, only after careful preparation. Like all good bakers, we work to avoid flat cakes…
My best seller, THE ROAD OF A THOUSAND TIGERS was a no 1 download on Kobo.
You can find this and my KOBO books here @KOBO
His latest novel EAGLES HUNT WOLVES is OUT NOW!
photo - courtesy of Ger Holland http://www.gerhollandphotography.com/