Fiction

This page features chapters from each of my – as yet unpublished – novels. Click on the red titles in order to view the sample chapters.

Mouthful of Stones

“Anything that really turns you on also scares the shit out of you, at least a little bit.”

When your mates are professional gamblers, gangsters, fighting-dog trainers and crooked cops, your part-time job is going to be exotic. When Michael ‘Dickie’ Dickinson suddenly finds himself arrested, he is severed from the supports of career, friends and family.

He lands feet-first in a shadowy territory of crime and exploitation, supporting daytime University studies by earning a living as a bouncer and stand-over man at night. While bouncing, he strikes up a relationship with Cynthia, barmaid and stripper extraordinaire.

Their relationship runs along the ‘fucking and fighting’ continuum with few stops in between. The stress of this, his job and finally attending a cataclysmic dog fight take him full circle to a confrontation with his demons at their origin; the family home.

Finding Cronos

Jacob Henry is not a bad little boy. He is, however, a deeply confused one. ‘Discipline’, as meted out by his father, is a mercurial, capricious force of nature.

The best approach to life in the family home for a ten year old child is to be seen and heard as little as possible. When Jacob’s mother and father suddenly divorce, an uneasy calm descends on the family home. It is soon shattered, however, by the arrival of his mothers’ new boyfriend.

Steve, while less bombastic, is far more insidious in the way he exerts his influence. Things become more difficult again for Jacob when his younger sister, Leonie, leaves home to travel overseas with their grandparents.

He is not entirely alone in his predicament, however, supported as he is by school-friends and a sympathetic teacher who can read between the faint outlines of his bruises. He also experiences a shift in his understanding via the books on Greek mythology that he discovers in the school library.

The story of the Minotaur is particularly striking to Jacob, which presents its own frightening poetics of abomination. Courtesy of his reading, he finds his old models balanced against new and frightening hybrids whose true natures are revealed within the close corridors of the suburban family home.

Jacob must now learn how to survive on an adult political level, forced as he is into the frightening and bizarre territory of adult relationships and the tacit understandings they are founded on.

Finding Cronos is written in a simple, engaging prose style which progressively draws the reader deeper into the complex leaves of adult life and perception.

The novel is a narrative continuum which runs between a child poised on the brink of adolescence and the psychology of a sophisticated adult readership.

Theme Parks and Obstacle Courses

When Pat Roisin touches down at Tullamarine airport he has little more than a passport, a few paperbacks and some clothes stuffed into a Gladstone bag.

He has returned to Melbourne to escape the legacy of the last decade, most of which has dissolved into one long blackout. His recollections are punctuated by stretches of clarity spent as a stevedore, factotum and bouncer on the wharves, pubs and hostels of London.

He is picked up from the airport by one of his oldest friends, Johnny. A tattooed gentleman publican of some years, Johnny takes Pat to show him his latest venture; a pub and backpackers’ hostel nestled in the internecine alleyways of the Melbourne CBD, amongst its burgeoning restaurant and live-music scene.

Going in with mutual friend Wally Kleiber, former drummer for seminal Aussie punk band The Shrunken heads, Johnny invites Pat to live and work in the pub alongside both owners and Johnny’s intellectually disabled son, Stevie.

Pat finds himself in the peculiar position of working to stay sober while living in a pub. This is made easier by the fact that Wally, too, is finding both his life and body are changing now that he has also run aground on thirty.

Both become keen tennis players, developing a most un-rock-and-roll interest in a sport that not only absorbs their frustrations, but assists in keeping them alive. They are guided by their coach Nir, a former Israeli soldier who understands the importance of finding appropriate ways to vent frustration.

Theme Parks and Obstacle Courses charts the struggle of a man who is trying to stare down a past which has ossified into an identity. It is a foray into the everyday courage practised by addicts who struggle to accept who –and what – they are, in order to achieve jobs and stable, honest relationships with the people that they love.

At the Gay Bar…

This is a chapter from my fourth novel. I am currently completing the first draft and hope it have it ready for submission to publishers in late 2013.

On the cusp of making the pilgrimage to Brazil, Clayton Jennings, up-and-coming Ultimate Fighter, has done a very bad thing. He finds himself suddenly severed from the promise of travel and training at the crucible of the world’s fastest-growing fighting sport, to somehow talking his way out of some serious charges in front of a judge.

Fortunately for him, his childhood friend, Grant Jeffries, takes to the stand in his defence. Grant is the very antithesis of Clay. A softly-spoken primary school teacher, Grant helps Clay get out of the breach and, with the assistance of his own loving family, grafts him back into everyday life.

By bringing Clay into school as a P.E. teacher with a difference, Grant provides Clay with a whole new environment to temper his attitudes and behaviours.

Over time, Grant reveals himself to be a much more sophisticated person than he appears and presents Clay with a moral conundrum which throws into question the whole notion of criminality. Solving the insoluble will split both men – and their life-long friendship – to the core.

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