Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost by Patricia Macdonald #TheGirlInTheWoods #Psychological #Thriller #NewRelease @blackthornbks

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The Girl In The Woods by Patricia Macdonald
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

“I have to tell you something. I did something bad.”

Fifteen years ago, Blair’s best friend Molly was murdered.
Fifteen years ago, Adrian Jones went to prison for it.
Fifteen years ago, the real killer got away with it.

And now, Blair’s terminally ill sister has made a devastating deathbed confession, which could prove that the wrong man has been imprisoned for years – and that Molly’s killer is still out there. Blair’s determined to find him, but the story behind Molly’s death is more twisted than she could imagine. If she isn’t careful, the killer will ensnare her and bury Blair with his secret.

Guest Post ~

Readers often ask me where I get my ideas for my books. In truth, I am always searching for the odd news story which piques my interest and engages my emotions. The inspiration for one of my books, NOT GUILTY, was a tiny article about a man who put a new, in ground pool in his backyard, even though he could not swim. When his toddler fell in, the man instinctively jumped in to save him, and drowned. I kept asking myself why anyone would do something so reckless and potentially dangerous—excavate a deep pooI in their yard when they had small children, and couldn’t swim. It seemed an improbable idea on which to base a book, but I found that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I finally decided to use it. It was both satisfying and difficult to create that murderous plot, but I was happy with the results.

If only there were a reliable source that I could consult whenever I needed inspiration! Just as important as inspiration, I need a story that will continue to interest me for the year or so which it takes to produce a book. It ought to be simpler than it is. I write suspense novels, so my story always centers around a crime, and the crime is always murder. But even though the news is full of murders, very few of them are sufficiently interesting to make me want to write a book.

It’s easier to say which crimes wouldn’t interest me than which would. I am never attracted to murders committed for financial gain. Greed seems a pitiful reason to kill. I’m not interested in the Mob, or gang warfare. Anything having to do with drugs puts me to sleep. And as much as I enjoy a good serial killer on the page or in a film, I never want to write about one. Their victims should be apparently unrelated, so that the investigators have to search for a pattern. I adore the search, but am invariably disappointed when the killer is finally cornered, and the trigger is revealed. It’s a letdown to learn that our diabolically clever criminal is some loser killing random girls who resemble someone that rejected him in high school.

No, I want something tortured and shameful as a motive. I want a tormented psyche formed by thwarted desires and family secrets. This is where the writer in me has to get busy. In addition to the killer, I have to create other characters who are also plausible as potential villains. This entails creating family histories for multiple characters who might have the motive to inspire mayhem. Luckily, this is part of the work which I enjoy.

Once I have my crime and my killer, I need an opening which will hold the reader’s interest while I set up the pieces of my chess game, if you will. My latest book, THE GIRL IN THE WOODS, opens with a deathbed confession. I always wanted to write about a deathbed confession, not only for the drama and the emotion of it, but because most of us have misapprehensions about the legal value of a such a confession. There are actually very interesting limits to its usefulness. This gave me two avenues to pursue, the psychological and the legal. I like to think that these dovetailed nicely in THE GIRL IN THE WOODS. I felt as if I met the challenges of this plot, but now, alas, it is behind me. Once again, I am searching for that rare and elusive source of inspiration, which will make me want to write again.

Pat Macdonald
Patricia Macdonald
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost ~ Why Write A Ghost Story? ~ #Haverscroft by @salharris1 #NewRelease #GhostStory @saltpublishing

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Haverscroft by S.A. Harris
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

Guest Post ~

Why Write a Ghost Story?

What influences a Gothic novel; books, films and TV adaptions? Certainly, some have made an impression and I will come to those in a second, but firstly, there is something else. Advise often given to fledgling writers is to Write what you know. So how do you write a ghost story, assuming most of us will not experience the supernatural, even if we wanted too? I have not seen a ghost but I still have knowledge and experience of many aspects of my novel, one way or another. Let me explain what I mean.

One of my earliest memories is being held in the arms of someone who wasn’t my mother. Winter was giving way to spring, a crisp bright day. We were in a sunken garden at the end of a long, sloping lawn as she held me up to the branches of willow tree. I recall extending my red woollen mitten towards fluffy grey catkins, watching them swing in the sunshine, all the time aware of the huge, brooding house behind us.
The house was the home of my great aunt and uncle. They sold it before I turned three years old. My novel, Haverscroft, is a haunted house story. At the rear of Haverscroft House is a terrace similar to the one at my great aunt’s house; French doors overlook the garden, a long stretch of lawn flows to willow trees and a pond. My aunt’s house didn’t have a pond, or at least I don’t remember one which is probably a good thing – for more on that, see the novel!

Twenty-five years later I married and we moved to our current home, an 1840’s townhouse. Abandoned and empty for some time, it needed major refurbishment but the upside was it meant most of the original features were still there; fireplaces, shuttered windows, an old back staircase. The cold floor tiles that suck the warmth from Kate Keeling’s feet in Haverscroft are in our front hall. The many small brass doorknobs and locks missing their keys are on just about every door, and in the garden, the wisteria I planted more than 20 years ago drips purple blossom beyond the double French doors as I write.

There are far more ‘going’s on,’ (as my character, Shirley Cooper would say) at Haverscroft House than has happened in our home. For that, I am hugely grateful, but the back-drop, the setting, is all around me every day. I have never found our home sinister or creepy but our three children sometimes do; floorboards creak, a weak door catch clicks when a draught forces it open. More than one visitor suggests there is a very bad atmosphere at one end of our daughter’s bedroom and our son, when he was tiny, spoke of the lady in the long black dress standing in the corner of our front sitting room.
Write what you know. So I guess I have followed that advise then layered on top all the dramatic events typical of an M.R.James style gothic tale. You probably will not be surprised to know I’ve enjoyed reading authors such as Stephen King, Susan Hill, Daphne du Maurier. I have loved Kate Mosse’s The Winter Ghosts, Michelle Paver’s Dark Matter and I am currently reading her latest novel Wakenhyrst. Not everything I read is dark but much of it tends to be, the rise in popularity of the psychological thriller gave me much to enjoy along with older titles such as John Fowles’ The Collector.

Generally, I’m not a horror film fan. Stakes through the heart and gallons of blood and gore are not usually for me. An exception is Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999), heads may roll but it all adds to the unsettling tense atmosphere. I love the sinister creepiness of The Others (2001), Sixth Sense (1999) or The Orphanage (2017).

Two TV dramas made a big impression, perhaps because I was younger when they aired, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black (1989) was terrifying, the atmosphere, chilling and I never forget to close the curtains on a dark night against the vampires in Salem’s Lot (1979). The children hanging outside the window, nails scratching against the glass, is an image indelibly printed in my memory.

So has writing Haverscroft got the Gothic out of my system? Is one ghost story enough? Perhaps I should branch out next time into romance, thrillers or chic-lit? My second novel, Silent Goodbye, is set on the Suffolk coast. The setting is clear in my head, the characters have wandered into my mind and made a home there. I keep feeling the need to travel to Dunwich, to take a walk along an empty beach and watch the waves roll in. And my great aunt and uncle, when they relocated from the brooding old house moved to Southwold, a property looking out across the North Sea. My memory is a rich seam to mine but do I believe in ghosts? Well, I’ve never seen one, but if I keep writing about them there’s still time yet to follow that advise and write what you know…

SAH
S.A. Harris
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Anne Bonny #Blog Tour #GuestPost The Secret Super Power Of Stories ~ The Storyteller by @pierre_jarawan #NewRelease #LiteraryFiction @WorldEdBooks #TheStoryteller #TranslatedLit

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The Storyteller by Pierre Jarawan
Translated by Sinead Crowe and Rachel McNicholl

Synopsis ~

Samir leaves the safety and comfort of his family’s new homeland, Germany, for volatile Beirut in an attempt to find his missing father. The only clues Samir has are an old picture of his father and the memory of the bedtime stories he used to tell. The Storyteller follows the turbulent search of a son for a father whose heart had always kept yearning for his homeland Lebanon. In this moving and engaging novel about family secrets, love, and friendship, Pierre Jarawan does for Lebanon what Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan. He pulls away the curtain of grim facts and figures portrayed in the media and shows an intimate truth of what it means to come from a country torn apart by civil war. With this beautiful and suspenseful story, full of images, Jarawan proves to be a masterful storyteller himself.

Guest Post ~

The Storyteller begins with a comic scene: Samir’s father Brahim tries to install a satellite dish on the roof of the house, making it point 26 degrees east in order to receive Lebanese TV programs. The longer it takes Brahim to get it to point in the right direction, the more neighbors come and make comments until, finally, Arabic music is heard coming from the living room window and everybody starts dancing. Samir, the boy whose father will disappear a few weeks later, says:

It was crazy. It was magical! At this moment, there was nothing that would have indicated we were living in Germany. This could have been a side street in Zahle, the city where Father was born at the foot of the Lebanon Mountains. Zahle, city of wine and poetry, city of writers and poets. Around us, nothing but Lebanese people, talking and eating and partying in Lebanese fashion.

There is a feeling of warmth and comfort in that scene. Samir, who was born in Germany after his parents had to leave Lebanon because of the Civil War, feels at home and he defines home as “Lebanese”.

When I started writing The Storyteller I wanted to write a novel about a family that is torn apart between two countries. And Samir to me is a typical representative of the second generation of immigrants we have in Germany, but also the UK and so many other countries. This generation did not make the decision to move to these countries themselves. It was made for them. I, myself, am part of that generation too. I consider myself lucky. My father is Lebanese, my mother is German. I learned the best from both worlds. When I got asked what country I considered my home, I always said: both.

Things are different for Samir. And in that respect he represents all the difficulties young men and women of that second generation can face. In most cases their parents keep glorifying their old home. They watch Lebanese (or Turkish or …) TV, eat Lebanese food, get together with other people from Lebanon with whom they speak Arabic… and the children? They end up asking themselves where home really is. Although they go to the neighborhood school, speak the local language better than their parents and have local friends, they experience difficulties in developing an identity. Samir’s father is a great storyteller. And while every child loves having a great storyteller as a father, in Samir’s case these stories cause him to face personal conflicts, because they are about an image of Lebanon which is presented to him in these stories as paradise on earth; they literally make him dream about living there.

Only many years later, when Samir sets foot in Lebanon for the first time in order to solve the riddle of his father’s disappearance which tore apart his family’s idyll twenty years ago, he learns that there is and always has been a dark side to his father’s stories about the country – a side that was never mentioned.

What’s happening in Europe with the current “refugee crisis” had an immediate effect on me. It was in 2015 when I composed the sentence “I am the son of refugees myself” for the first time in my life. I had never seen myself or my parents in this way. They never saw themselves or talked about themselves as refugees. We were simply a German-Lebanese-Family. Period. It’s kind of strange, that in times where “truth” has become a nebulous term people are fighting over, I started to see my family’s truth clearer than ever before.

If you would ask me if literature, if books, if stories have a secret super power, I would say: Yes! I could cite countless statistics about how many people died in a conflict or while crossing the Mediterranean in a small boat or about how many young men and women are part of that second generation of immigrant families and are experiencing similar difficulties as Samir. But it is most likely that this would not cause you to reflect. It is different with stories. Statistics live in the head, while stories reside in the heart. Ultimately it is in the heart that stories can change you, and your way of thinking.

The Storyteller by Pierre Jararwan and translated by Sinead Crowe and Rachel McNicholl is published by World Editions in paperback on 4 April 2019 at £11.99

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Pierre Jarawan
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview & #GuestPost Fingerprint Technology ~ Poetic Justice by @RCBridgestock @DomePress #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Series #Yorkshire

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Poetic Justice by R.C. Bridgestock
Review Copy
Synopsis:

When Detective Jack Dylan heads home after a residential course, he has no idea that an extraordinary succession of events is about to turn his life upside down. A vicious, unprovoked attack is just the start. Soon his wife is dead and his step-daughter – dangerously depressed – is being expelled from university for drug use. And at work, two teenagers have gone missing.

An ordinary man might break under the strain, but Dylan is no ordinary man. He knows that his survival depends on him carrying on regardless, burying himself in his work.

He is determined to pursue the criminal elements behind the events – both personal and professional – whether his superiors like it or not. And, as his family disintegrates around him, a newcomer to the admin department, Jennifer Jones, seems to offer some sort of salvation.

Life may have changed, but nothing will stand in the way of Dylan’s quest for justice.

My Review:

The prequel novel opens at the scene of a fatal car accident, the female passenger is announced DOA. It isn’t until the vehicle is discovered to be that of Jack Dylan’s, that we become aware of the significance of this accident.
It will be an accident which will change Jack’s life forever….

‘If I can’t have you, then no one else will either’

The novel then jumps 10 days previously to the car accident, to show the build up to the accident. Also the rocky relationship between Jack and his wife Kay.
We learn that Jack had recently attended a police residential course. Whilst Kay has been dealing with an obsessive admirer.

The novel also deals with the grooming of two local school girls from the Field Colt Children’s Home. I think it is exceptional brave of the authors to tackle this very modern crime. A crime that has been exposed as being widespread across the UK, including police/councils in northern England, the Midlands and the south.
How do grooming gangs establish control? How do they ensure their prey remain silent?

“The protectors are turning out to be the abusers” – Jack Dylan

This is a police procedural with incredible depth. I felt as though all the dominant characters within the story were dealing with their inner demons. From Jack and his police work, to Kay and her admirer, to Isla and her coming-of-age at Uni and new police admin recruit Jen from the Isle Of Wight.
With the car crash the personal lives EXPLODE!

Between the grooming case, car accident & personal lives of those involved, their are heart-breaking moments a plenty.
Can Jack solve the mystery of the car accident whilst supporting his daughter in the aftermath of her mother’s death?
Can the police involved track down every individual involved in the grooming of local teens? will the powerful and elite endeavour to cover the scandal up?

‘I want not stone unturned in this case’  5* 

Guest Post ~ Fingerprint Technology: 

“You left your ‘dabs’ at the scene mate that’s how we know you were there,” said many a Copper to a suspect.

Bob spent thirty years as a career detective in West Yorkshire Police retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent (SIO), the Senior Investigative Officer in charge of major crime, including murder. During that time he witnessed, and was grateful for, the advancement of forensic technology into what would become known after his retirement in 2003, as the digital age. I also worked for seven-teen years in the administration department in the same police force and at one point my role was the administrative support to the Process Sergeant. Sowerby Bridge Police Station was the HQ of Calder Valley Police – as seen in the award-winning BBC police drama Happy Valley, which we were storyline and police advisers. In the process sergeants office I watched daily suspects / pris-oners fingerprinted by police officers, using the old roller and inkpad.

Brief timeline fingerprint identification:

Juan Vucetich, an Argentine Police officer in 1892, made the first fingerprint identification at a crime scene. He also opened the world’s first fingerprinting bureau in Calcutta, India in 1897.
The first United Kingdom Fingerprint Bureau was founded in Scotland Yard in 1901.

Around 1870, French anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon devised a system to measure and record the dimensions of certain body parts of the body. These measurements were reduced to a formula, which theoretically would apply only to one person and would not change during his / her adult life.

In 1880 Dr Henry Faulds, in Tokyo used fingerprints to identity someone who had left a stray bottle lying around. He matched the fingerprints left on the bottle with a laboratory worker.

In 1892 bloody fingerprints left on a doorframe were used to identify a murderer in Argentina. During that same year, certain police groups started keeping fingerprint files.

In 1901 after the success in Argentina and India, Scotland Yard began questioning whether it would be a useful system for England.

The Bertillon system was generally accepted for thirty years until an event in 1903, when a man named Will West was sentenced in the US, and it was discovered at this time that another prisoner at the penitentiary had Bertillon measurements that were nearly the same, intact similar enough for them to be identified as the same person. Upon investigation it was discovered that the other per-son, William West, was Will West’s identical twin brother.

In 1905 the American military branches began using fingerprints. The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation also began keeping track of the fingerprints on file and in 1924, with the advancement of technology, cataloguing fingerprints in America. By 1971 they had over 200 million fingerprints on file.

In 1990 with the advancement of technology, programs began using Automated Fingerprint Identifi-cation Systems. The AFIS scanned and sorted fingerprints electronically.

But, we can go back as early as China – 200 BC – where Chinese records from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) include details about using handprints as evidence during burglary investigations, would you believe?

Of course there are other visible human characteristics we can use to identify people such as facial features, but these tend to change considerably with age, however fingerprints are relatively con-sistent. Barring injuries or surgery causing deep scarring, or diseases such as leprosy damaging the formative layers of friction ridge skin, finger and print features have never been shown to move or change their relationship throughout the life of a person (and injuries, scarring and diseases tend to exhibit telltale indicators of unnatural change).

Did you know:

1. Fingerprints are one of the last things to disappear when you die, the friction ridges are remarka-bly long-lasting even if a body has been in water.

2. Fingerprints can grow back.

We have known criminals who have purposely used methods, including harsh chemicals to remove their fingerprints so they wouldn’t leave evidence at the scene of a crime. What they actually did was make themselves even more unique.

More common, are those who do not want to leave fingerprints at a scene and will use less painful methods such as wearing socks on their hands – a typical trait of a burglar who also doesn’t want to look suspicious by carrying Marigold type gloves in his pockets, should they be stopped and checked, and possibly be accused of ‘going equipped to commit crime’.

When I took on the role of ‘Property Clerk’ at SB in 1988 this did not just include looking after the ‘Connected and Miscellaneous’ property such as firearms, monies, and drugs seized by the police but also victims’ and prisoners’ property for future court purposes. I was puzzled in the beginning as to why there were so many socks and gloves seized until I was told that it was a telltale sign if a prisoner had no socks on his feet when caught. That this might mean they had been discarded post crime, near to the scene. What the offender didn’t realise was if the police found them, and turned the plastic gloves inside out they would find the perpetrators fingerprints! A certain type of glove used consistently by a perpetrator will also link a series of crimes for the investigator.

Brothers Alfred Edward Stratton, and his brother Albert Ernest Stratton were the first men to be con-victed in Great Britain for murder based on fingerprint evidence. Both were executed at 9am on 23rd May 1905 at HM Prison Wandsworth.

Thankfully gone are the days when I had to cover the prisoners’ hands in ink with a roller. Carefully roll each finger 180 degrees on a fingerprint form which noted each finger individually, and press the palm down, including the beginning of the wrist on the reverse. Even with socks or gloves covering the hands some perpetrators, when climbing, caught the lower part of the palm, or the wrist became uncovered and they would leave a much-coveted mark for the police officer.

This operation was not easy with a cooperative prisoner, but can you begin to imagine how hard it was to take fingerprints this way from an uncooperative one?

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Fingerprint forms for both hands would then be sent through the police internal mail system to HQ,where they would be examined. If the quality was not good enough or errors had been made then the forms would be sent back to the officer for them to see the suspect concerned again, to take another set of prints. The subsequent scanned prints against unidentified marks lifted from crime scenes of crimes have great success.

We touched on the AFIS system (Automatic Fingerprint Identification System) and a National data-base IDENT 1: The United Kingdom’s central national database for holding, searching and compar-ing biometric information on those who come into contact with the police as detainees after being arrested. Information held includes fingerprints, palm prints and scene of crime marks.

This was, in my time, only able to be achieved in the bridewell but revolutionary technology now en-ables mobile units to use the electronic devices that are no bigger than an iPad without the mess or fiddle-fuddle. An officer simply placed the hand of a suspect upon the screen and the computer does the rest. If the suspect is recorded the officer will have their correct details quickly.

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Apart from fingerprints and palm prints, the soles of bare feet, toes and ear prints have been used successfully.

So the process of fingerprinting has been brought into the twenty-first century but it doesn’t stop here. We are very proud to say that work being done by West Yorkshire Police (the force where we spent our collective 47 years service), and Sheffield Hallam University are presently developing something called Mass Spectroscopy. In simple terms they vaporise the sample, and then fire it through an electronic and magnetic field.

How this works: particles of different mass behave differently under these conditions, which allows the team to identify molecules within the print and from this they are able to assist the investigator with the following:

Male or female / understand if a person touched or taken drugs / ingested substances which also may assist in identifying the lifestyle of the individual.

In the past marks (fingerprints) lifted from crime scenes were sometimes deemed ‘not good enough’ for court purpose – typically a smudged mark. These ‘rejections’ that didn’t achieve the required standard were useless, and annoyingly for the officer on the case, they wouldn’t be accepted as evi-dence and included on the case file against the accused.

Mass spectroscopy deals with this in a positive way, and ultimately the gap that the perpetrator may have previously slipped though will be sealed, and the marks will now be good enough for the courts.

The new technology will also be a useful tool in the investigator toolbox for identifying an unknown offenders’ characteristics – it may not give the police the offenders name but it will point them in the right direction ie. man, woman, drug user…

Ever advancing technology helps the investigator to link criminals to crime scenes.

And my view on that?

Amen!

RC
R.C. Bridgestock
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost #Location #Inpiration Black Moss by @Nolanwriter #MancNoir @fahrenheitpress #NewRelease #Mystery

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Black Moss by David Nolan
Synopsis:

In April 1990, as rioters took over Strangeways prison in Manchester, someone killed a little boy at Black Moss.

And no one cared.

No one except Danny Johnston, an inexperienced radio reporter trying to make a name for himself.

More than a quarter of a century later, Danny returns to his home city to revisit the murder that’s always haunted him.

If Danny can find out what really happened to the boy, maybe he can cure the emptiness he’s felt inside since he too was a child.

But finding out the truth might just be the worst idea Danny Johnston has ever had.

Guest Post:

Location/Inspiration

One of the main characters in the book isn’t a person at all – it’s the landscape around Manchester. It dominates. You can even see the hills from the city centre – they cup Manchester like a horseshoe. You can’t get away from them. The moors around Oldham, in particular, are especially bleak and unforgiving. In parts there isn’t even a tree to break up the view. The vista is as intimidating as anything you’d get in Scandinavia and sometimes almost as snowbound. It’s not necessarily what you’d think of when the word ‘Manchester’ is mentioned is it? But it’s true.

We’ve had plenty of ‘Scandi Noir’…Black Moss is ‘Manc Noir’.

The original idea came to me when I was out walking. I came across a reservoir way up in the hills that had a beach. Ian Brown, lead singer of The Stone Roses has a famous quote: ‘Manchester’s got everything, apart from a beach.’ It appears he was wrong. Here was a beach. I had a notion: ‘If I was going to dump a body somewhere, this is where I’d do it.’ Then I thought: ‘What a really weird thing to cross my mind.’ I looked at the map to see what the reservoir was called. It was called Black Moss.
Such a great name. Black Moss. Wow.

I couldn’t see another human being as far as I looked in every direction, yet in the distance I could see the skyline on Manchester City Centre. I thought that if anything happened to me here, I’d be done for. Yet I can see Manchester. Help is near, yet so far away. It gave me the chills. It all started from that thought, though there were several years between me seeing the beach and starting the book.

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David Nolan
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