#BookTour “The Glass Tree” by Michael J. Manz


Historical/Suspense ; Suspense/Thriller ; Adult Literary

Date Published: 09-01-2022

Publisher: Endicott Street Press


photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png


Paris, 1954. Eli Cole, American attaché, wants only one thing: to avenge his wife’s murder. But the trail has gone cold. After two years, drinking to his beloved Liana’s memory is all he has left — until the secrets she took to the grave come back to shatter them all. A hidden photo, a Gestapo file, an unsent letter: these are some of the clues Eli must piece together if he is to understand Liana’s secret life, and her mysterious mission. But the clock is ticking. Powerful new enemies are out to give Eli a one-way ticket back to the United States — in a pinewood box.

With the help of Liana’s father and sister, an old war buddy come abroad, and a cunning teenage girl, Eli unravels the events that led to his wife’s death. But getting justice won’t be easy. The more Eli reveals of Liana’s secret past, the more his devotion to her is tested by her deceit. Can Eli allow himself to recognize the entirety of the woman he married? Will Liana’s last art piece, a spectacular glass tree, give Eli the assurance he needs to continue believing in the sanctity of love?

The Glass Tree is a fast-paced, unpredictable mystery, and it is also the story of one man’s attempt to untangle the complexities of betrayal, love and forgiveness.



I grabbed a pack of Lucky Strikes from my stash in the dresser and went back to Le Carre Rouge. Parisians always stick to the same café. I had one with Liana, where I never go. This place was more fitting. It was strictly bottom shelf. The regulars rolled their own cigarettes and there was always a table with a view of the traffic circle.

I knew what JP wanted. I remembered how I felt that first year. Living on hate, living for vengeance. When I wasn’t drunk, I was bothering the police, calling in favors with the French services. I had been with the Sûreté when they questioned suspects. I skulked around Communist meetings, trying to pass myself off as an American comrade. But I was always suspect, and nobody opened up to me more than the usual propaganda line. I followed the men the Sûreté took in for questioning. Some for weeks at a time. Nothing out of the ordinary. No hatchet men. They were family men, working men, functionaries of the party. Rallies, meetings, strikes, canvassing, campaigning. Nothing violent. No one told any stories over drinks. They were dedicated to their cause but did nothing to make me think they had killed one of the opposition and my wife.

There had been no doubt about what I would do when I figured out who had killed Liana. Unintended bystander or not, they would pay with their own life. I had my Colt 1911 wrapped in an oiled cloth in the closet.

The fire that burned inside me never went out, but after that first year of disappointment and false leads, after fellow attachés reported to me that they figured it for the work of Russian agents on orders from the Kremlin, my blood lust began to seep away, like rain on a bridge drying in the sun.

Liana became one of the many senseless deaths. She might have been in a car accident, she might have choked or fallen down the stairs. Undignified. Unlucky. Like so many GIs, she had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And now — had JP found a string to pull?

Even if he had it probably didn’t matter. I’d be shipped back to the States and debriefed any day now.

But maybe there was a way I could stay on, at least long enough to settle this.

I found JP at the same bar where he used to hang out when I was married to his daughter. He was sitting at a table playing la belote with friends or maybe enemies. I didn’t know. They looked like mechanics. The bar was in the Eleventh, not far from Pere Lachaise, a working-class neighborhood. No professors here. Or immigrants. Natives only. Some Algerians had been beaten on the street only a week ago. Where were all those loyal colonized subjects of France supposed to go?

When he saw me he got up and went to the bar. He ordered Suze. The barman poured two cloudy glasses of the yellow liquor. Besides being one of the cheapest drinks, it was disgusting. I sometimes ordered it despite the taste of bitter orange peels.

“What do you want?”

“To kill someone,” I said.

He looked into my eyes. His were red and puffy. “I don’t believe you,” he said, taking a drink. “But I’m going to need you. This time we finish it.”

I took a drink and waited for him to tell me what he had found out.

“Philippe — that is his name — is a professor at the Sorbonne and also a communist. And, it seems, so was Liana.”

I scoffed. “Don’t you think I’d know that?”

“No,” he replied bluntly. “I don’t. As an American there are things you couldn’t understand. The motives of a French woman are not the same as in your country. She couldn’t sacrifice who she was for promises.”

“She wasn’t like that.”

“But she was, wasn’t she? You’ll need to accept that. Accept she was not the perfect wife you thought she was. She was independent, she had a life she didn’t share with you. Maybe she would have…” He stopped.

This was more than he’d said to me all at once the whole time I’d been his son-in-law.

He went back to his table and recovered his cigarette from the ashtray.

“Osval had a 15-year-old daughter. The police report has nothing about her.”

“Police report?”

“I have a friend on the force. She’ll be seventeen now, an adult. Maybe she knows something.”

“And if she doesn’t?” I asked. “Do we break her arm?”

JP smiled. “We’ll see.”

“Let me do it. Just stay in the car with your tool kit.”

JP shrugged. “The downstairs neighbor in her building knows me anyways. I’ll pick you up at noon. I’ve watched her. She never leaves the apartment before two. She’s a dancer at Le Coq Gaulois, or maybe a putain.”

I nodded and finished my drink without coughing.

“She should be alone, the mother leaves with the husband, or whatever he is, around ten. They part ways at the corner. I think she works for the post.”

“And him?”

“I don’t know. Wears a cheap suit and hangs around Les Halles market.”

“Maybe it would be better to talk to the daughter at work.”

“Who knows who’ll be watching there. Better alone.”

I left the bar and walked toward the metro. It was the kind of day I might have strolled through the flea market at Porte de Clignancourt, or the bookstalls along the Seine on the Left Bank. Maybe afterwards a drink with Liana on St. Germain or over the bridge to the Ile Saint Louis for a café. Someone at the Embassy said they’d seen Picasso and Hemingway there. What it must have been like in Paris before the war.

When I got to the metro stairs I changed my mind and headed toward the Sorbonne. I hadn’t been there in a long time. It was a lively part of Paris. Busy with students, those born just before the war.

I walked into the building where Liana had her classroom. I hadn’t spent much time here. Occasionally I came in to meet her after class. It was always so bustling, so alive. Maybe it had too much, too much temptation. It occurred to me that I might find him here. The professor Liana found more exciting than me, who fit her academic mind better. Maybe she even loved him more. I pushed the thought away.

I found her old classroom and cracked the door. It was full of kids listening to a lecture. I went in and took a seat at the back.

It took me a few minutes to figure out the subject. Someone’s textbook read Abstract Expressionism. Liana was part of this. Part of the new wave of art. The museums were full of Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler now. Liana painted and sculpted in experimental ways; the work resembled nothing of the subject. This was the future. I had encouraged her to turn tradition on its head, even if I preferred the old stuff. Giant paintings of battles, dogs with pheasants in their teeth and stags hung for dressing. I didn’t understand the canvases of colorful blotches. It was lost on me. But Liana was passionate about it. The old stuff was overdone, belonged to the past, she’d say. Maybe that’s what I was.

If she hadn’t been killed, would we still be together? Or would she have left me?  How long would I have played the sap? Maybe she would have come back to me on her own. Maybe I would never have needed to know about Philippe.

I left the class. Her office was in another building, a half block away. I took the stairs to the fourth floor. They had given me the little name plaque with her things. There had also been a memorial for her at the school’s graduation that year. All the students had stood, there was a chorus who sang La Mer. The professors all shook my hand afterwards. Including, I supposed, Philippe. I didn’t remember. Maybe he’d had the decency not to. I doubted it, the fucking douche.

I knocked on the door. Her office was occupied by “Prof. Alois Courtemanche” now.

An older gentlemen answered in a tweed jacket. How stereotypical.

“I’m sorry to disrupt you.”

“Come in, come in,” he said. “You are Liana’s husband.”


“I remember seeing you now and then. I was so sorry,” he said shaking my hand.  “Someone with so much vitality, so much energy. And the way she understood art. What it could do, could mean.”

I just looked down, nodding.

“She is missed here,” he went on. “By everyone. It is an honor to have her office.”

“Thank you. I feel like I didn’t know this part of her very well.”

“Please, sit down.”

I sat and he pulled out a bottle of schnapps from his desk drawer and took down two teacups from the shelf behind him. After pouring in a dash, he handed me one.

“This place, to me, was just where I lost her every day,” I started. “I should have been… I wish I had been a bigger part of her art.”

Alois watched me over his teacup, a strange look on his face. His eyes were blue and a little watery.

“But I think you were. I think you were a big part of her art. The school has a permanent collection you know. Can I show you something? Do you have time?”

“Yes, of course.”

He finished his drink and smacked his lips. I set my cup on the desk and noticed a small bronze sculpture of a man sitting with a book. The sculpture had been there when this was Liana’s desk.

“That sculpture…”

“Done by a professor who died during the war. It kind of lives here. This was also his office.”

“What happened?”

“A dark chapter for France. The Gestapo came and took him one day. He was never seen again. I understand you were in the army?”

“The Tenth. The occupying force her father used to say.”

The man chuckled. “Yes, we French are very patriotic. And for some, even when it was Vichy.”

We took the stairs to a courtyard and crossed it to another gray stone building. In the basement he unlocked a room and flipped on the lights. It was a gallery of sorts. Objects under glass or freestanding and an array of paintings. I followed him to the far wall.

“Did Liana ever show this to you?”

“No,” I said, mesmerized.

On a white table stood a glass tree, maybe three or four feet tall, on a wooden base with a drawer. I was sure it was meant to be a Black Walnut. They were Liana’s favorite. Something to do with a place her parents had taken her as a child and the tree had become her solace.

There were two trunks at the base that twisted into one. The branches were hollow, with the tips of each branch open, like the end of a straw. The glass reflected different colors, muted but noticeable, hints of green, rust, light blue and beige. They felt familiar somehow.

Alois pulled out the drawer. Inside was a flat reel-to-reel recorder. He pressed a button and the tapes turned. Liana’s voice came out of the speakers. At first I thought she may have been reading a book. But the sentences didn’t make sense. It was a jumble of words.

“What is she reading?” I asked.

Alois just shook his head slightly.

I recognized the words somehow. The intonation of her voice. She wasn’t reading random words. They came from somewhere else, someplace meaningful to her.

He pushed the drawer in and the words became a hum, echoes, musical almost, escaping through the branches.

Alois said nothing but looked at the piece with me another minute. I was awestruck.

“I wanted you to see it,” he said, opening the drawer and turning off the tape.

I followed him out and he locked the door.

“Thank you,” I said. “I’m really at a loss for words.”

“Come back anytime,” he said, shaking my hand.

I had the feeling he didn’t want to talk anymore. Something had changed and he was uncomfortable now.

At the front steps he gave me another tight-lipped smile and walked away.

What didn’t he want to say? What, I wondered, was he doing during the war? Probably teaching here. Life went on in Paris despite shortages and hardships.

At the corner of the building, I turned and walked deeper into campus. I used to feel out of place here. It was such a different world. Everyone was young and hopelessly pessimistic.

Now I felt like everyone’s father. Not jealous anymore. They didn’t have Liana. None of us did. Instead, I could look at them for what they were. Hadn’t I brought the light back into the world for them? That’s what they told us anyways. Our sacrifice was for their generation. And here they were.

I sat down on a bench and watched the students. I smoked a cigarette and pictured Liana’s glass sculpture and the sound it made. What did it mean? Why had she never shown me?

I finished the cigarette but didn’t get up. To move from this spot was to rejoin the world outside. To get back to the black tunnel leading… where?



About the Author

Michael J. Manz lives in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley and is a rare bookseller by trade. Except for a few years spent in Chicago, he is a lifelong New Englander. The only place he’d rather be, at least some of the time, is Paris, where he has been known to wander the streets in search of old bookshops, great cafes and forgotten bars.

He is the past organizer of the Protagonists and Procrastinators writers’ group and has from childhood been scratching away at some kind of story or another.

Michael holds a BA in English from Keene State College.

The Glass Tree is his first novel.

Contact Links





Purchase Links





RABT Book Tours & PR


#Teaser “The Unforgettable Summer” by Nikki A. Lamers


The Unforgettable Series, Book 1



New Adult Romance

Date Published: August 25, 2022 (2nd Edition)

Publisher: Frey Dreams


photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png


It’s the summer before her senior year of high school and Bree Summers wants nothing more than to spend it with her friends and get to know her new crush a little better. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. Bree’s parents send her to her grandmother’s house on a lake in Maine for the whole summer. Although she’s not happy, Bree loves spending time with her grandmother and tries to make the best of it.

One morning, when she gets ready to take her kayak out, she stumbles upon one of her neighbors, meeting gorgeous, active and playful Christian Emory. The two soon find they want to spend as much time together as possible, cherishing every moment before their unforgettable summer comes to an end.

What will happen at the end of the summer when Christian leaves for College and Bree has to return home for one more year of high school to find her world has turned completely upside down? Will unforeseen circumstances keep them apart or will they be able to find their way back to each other?



Chapter 2

 The next morning, I wake up just as the sky begins lightening and softly groan. It must be way too early to get up! I stretch my arms above my head about to go back to sleep when I roll over and blink a few times. Realizing where I am, I startle myself awake and push myself out of bed wanting to get out on the lake.

Making my way over to my dresser, I pull out my new pale pink and chocolate brown bikini and quickly strip out of my pajamas and throw it on. I love the colors with my pale skin and chestnut brown hair. Since I was such a late bloomer, it’s also the first summer I actually have enough in my bathing suit to fill out a bikini and I want to show it off, even it’s just for me. I don’t think I’m “the shit” or anything, but I’m comfortable with myself. I guess you could say I have my good days and bad days. I throw an old pair of jean shorts over the top of my suit, slip my feet into my black and white flip flops and rush out to the kitchen.

Reaching for a notepad and pen, I quickly scrawl out a note to Gram. I don’t want her to worry.


“Good morning, Grandma,

I left to go kayaking. I’ll be back soon. I love you!

Love, Bree.”


I place a rubber band around my wrist to throw my hair up later and slip out the back door, making my way down to the lake where my green kayak sits waiting. As I pick my life jacket up out of the center of the kayak I hear light splashing, signaling either an animal in the water or someone might be paddling close by.

Quietly, I step towards the shore and freeze with my mouth hanging open. Through the trees I see the most beautiful boy I’ve ever seen and he’s no scrawny fifteen-year-old! He seems to already have a nice golden tan. His light brown hair has sun-kissed blonde highlights hanging messily, but perfect just above his eyebrows. Sunlight begins peeking up on the other side of the lake and seems to be reflecting off him, making him appear to be shimmering. He’s so close to the shore I can actually see his muscles rippling from his miniscule movements, with his arms bare and then hiding underneath a light blue t-shirt.

I concentrate on closing my mouth and squinting to see if I can tell what color his eyes might be when he stops and places his paddle on top of his blue kayak and starts looking around the lake. That’s when it happens. I guess I’ve been unconsciously inching closer to the lake, and I step too close to a wet, slimy rock. Awkwardly, I slip and lean forward with my arms swinging, trying to catch my balance. Letting out a helpless squeal, I lean too far and fall unceremoniously into the lake with a splash.

As I lift my head, sputtering, a loud chuckle erupts from what I can only assume is the beautiful boy in the boat. I look up, completely mortified and glare, red as a cherry tomato, with my face feeling like it’s on fire! He smiles, taking my breath away as he gestures to my life jacket. “You know, even if you can’t swim, the water is only about a foot and a half deep there,” he advises playfully.

My whole body begins to boil with embarrassment as I continue to glare at him while he inches closer. He easily jumps out of his kayak holding out his hand to help me up, still grinning. “It’s okay. I won’t push you back in,” he teases. I reluctantly reach for his offered hand. He pulls me up a little too hard and I bump into his chest. His muscles tense as I plant my free hand on his chest in attempt to brace myself from impact. “Sorry about that,” he mumbles, smirking at me, not appearing sorry at all.

I feel tingles shoot from our connected fingers all the way down to my toes as I finally meet his gaze. “Blue,” I mumble, staring into his eyes. Inhaling quickly, I begin to panic, seeing the strange look he gives me. “I mean thanks,” I quickly amend. Jerking my hand away, I take a step back, and almost lose my balance again, but he grabs my elbow, steadying me. “Thanks. I was just about to head out in my kayak.”

“Don’t you need a kayak for that?” he questions, smiling wryly. I narrow my eyes at him again and gesture to my kayak back on the bank behind the trees as I gather my now somewhat wet hair up into a ponytail. He guides his kayak towards the shore and jumps out of the water, grabbing mine before I’m even done with my hair.

“I can do that,” I call out.

“I’m sure you can,” he concedes, his smirk still on his gorgeous face. I just stare at him as he slides my kayak effortlessly into the water over the rocks.

“We have a ramp right there, so you don’t have to pull it over the rocks,” I inform him, pointing towards the ramp.

“Yeah, but you’re already in the water over here,” he observes, glancing at the ramp and back over to me allowing his eyes to quickly sweep down my body giving me goose bumps. “How about some company? I can show you around the lake,” he suggests, smiling even broader.

I can’t stop my laugh from escaping. “I know my way around pretty well, thanks.”

“Well, then, can you show me around a little more? I’ve only been here for a short time, and I would love to know some of the secret spots around here,” he proposes, raising his eyebrows in question.

I roll my eyes and grin. “Ok. I just like to take it slow in the mornings though if that’s okay with you. I usually go along the shore and kind of check everything out. I was going to watch the sunrise, but I guess I’m too late for that now,” I acknowledge, crinkling my nose as I look out at the already rising sun across the lake.

“Is that why you jumped right into the lake without your kayak?” he taunts, smirking. I roll my eyes again, not bothering to respond. “I’m Christian, by the way,” he introduces himself, reaching his hand towards me with a full-watt smile. My breath catches in my throat. I dig my toes into the muddy bottom and take a deep breath to keep myself from falling over as I slowly reach for his hand. “And you are?” he prompts.

“Sorry,” I mumble, shaking my head at my awkwardness. “I’m Bree. I guess I wasn’t expecting to see anyone this morning. I’m still waking up,” I claim, hoping he’ll buy my lame excuse.

“Bree, I like that,” he mumbles thoughtfully. “Is that short for anything?”

“Briann,” I confirm with a nod.

Suddenly, I realize I’m staring into his electrifying ice blue eyes again with his large hand still holding mine. I quickly drop my gaze and tug my hand away, turning to step into my kayak as a blush consumes me once again from head to toe. I see him watching me get in out of the corner of my eye before climbing back into his own kayak. “So, where to Bree?” he prods, still grinning.

I take a deep breath to calm my trembling hands, then another, hoping my voice won’t come out shaky. “Where were you coming from?” He points behind us and I suggest, “Then, let’s keep going this way.”

I dip my paddle into the water and a chill goes through me, my whole body shuddering. “Are you okay?” he questions.

“Just cold,” I retort, not wanting to give him too much.

He nods and smiles mischievously, his eyes sparkling. “Let me know if you need anything to warm up.” Afraid to respond, not quite sure if his comment was all that innocent, I just nod my head, listening as his chuckle rumbles over the water. The sound has tingles practically consuming my whole body.

After a few minutes, he breaks the silence. “So, how do you know the lake so well? I haven’t seen you around here at all this past month.”

I almost breathe a sigh of relief, grateful with the change of topic. “My grandma lives here,” I inform him, pointing back to her house. “I’ve spent every summer with her since I was nine.”

“I think I’ve seen your grandma. So, you’re here for the whole summer?” he probes, arching his eyebrow in question. I nod my head in confirmation. “Well, it looks like my summer just got a whole lot better,” he happily admits, giving me another heart-melting smile.

Heat slams into me with his compliment, my whole body flushing from head to toe. “What about you? Where are you from?” I question, trying to move the attention away from me.

He pauses like he’s contemplating his answer before he responds. “All over really; most recently Maryland and now here before I leave for college. We move around a lot for my dad’s job. Every couple years he seems to get a promotion that comes with a move.”

“That must be hard.”

He shrugs. “You get used to it and now I’m off to college, so I guess after this summer it won’t matter much anyway.”

“Where are you going to college?”

“University of Southern Maine. I like it up here.” We paddle quietly for a few minutes. Then he glances at me, asking, “What about you?” I must look confused because he grins and prompts, “Future plans?”

I nod my head in understanding and inform him, “I have one more year left of high school and then I’d like to come back this way as well. University of Southern Maine is actually where I’d like to go, if I get in. I want to be close to my grandma and they have a ton of programs to choose from,” I explain. To myself, I can’t help but think it’s also far away from my parents. It’s not like they’re ever around anyway.

“They’d be crazy not to accept you,” he claims, quietly. I blush again in response and quickly look the other way. “So, are there any secret coves or something like that around here?”


 About the Author

Nikki A Lamers has always had a passion for reading and writing, especially romance.

She grew up in Wisconsin with her sister, mom, and dad. She always loved reading romance books and watching romance movies with her dad, something they both enjoyed.

After college she lived in Florida for a few years working at the “Happiest Place on Earth,” where she met her husband. She now lives on Long Island in New York with her husband and two kids.

When she’s not working on her books, she also works with scripts, on and off set. She spends her free time reading or hanging out with friends and family. She would love to spend more time traveling, visiting new places and meeting new people as well as continue creating stories, each of her characters becoming part of her family.

Contact Links



All Other Links: Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, Bookbub


Purchase Link



a Rafflecopter giveaway


RABT Book Tours & PR


#BookTour “Island of Dreams” by Harry Duffin

IslandofDream copy

Welcome to the book tour for historic fiction novel, Island of Dreams by Harry Duffin. Due for release early this Winter!

Island of dreams v4b

Island of Dreams

Expected Publication Date: December 1st, 2022

Genre: Historical Thriller/ Historical Romance

A love story set against the backdrop of the 1950’s Cuban Revolution.

In May 1939, when Professor Carl Mueller, his wife, Esther, and their three children flee Nazi Germany, and find refuge on the paradise island of Cuba, they are all full of hopes and dreams for a safe and happy future.

But those dreams are shattered when Carl and Esther are confronted by a ghost from their past, and old betrayals return to haunt them.

The turbulent years of political corruption leading to Batista’s dictatorship, forces the older children to take very different paths to pursue their own dangerous dreams.

And – among the chaos and the conflict that finally leads to Castro’s revolution and victory in 1959, an unlikely love begins to grow – a love that threatens the whole family.

Having escaped a war-torn Europe, their Island of Dreams is to tear them apart forever.

Coming Soon!


May 1939, Havana, Cuba

‘It’s so warm, Papa. It’s still night, but it’s so warm!’

Professor Carl Mueller smiled down at his daughter, holding his hand at the rail of the S.S. St Louis, the ship that had been their refuge, their salvation, as it slipped slowly through the darkness towards the sleeping city. A sense of relief washed over him, like the caress of the tropical breeze.

‘We’re in the Tropics, Anna. It’s always warm here.’

Anna gazed at the shimmering lights of the city strung out along the shore. ‘Look! It’s like one of Mama’s diamond necklaces!’

‘She hasn’t got them anymore!’ snapped her elder brother, Hans, in German. ‘We had to sell them to get on the boat!’

‘Because of your stupid Nazis!’ replied Anna fierily.

‘The Nazis are not stupid!’

‘Children, children, don’t fight!’ said their father firmly, but gently. ‘And please remember we must speak English now.’

Hans snorted his annoyance, but said nothing.

As the deep throb of the engines slackened below their feet, they fell quiet. The scent of wet palms and exotic blooms filled Anna’s nostrils. She breathed deeply. At twelve years old her life was beginning again. She breathed deeply once more. It was the smell of freedom.

‘It looks so beautiful, Papa. Our new home.’

‘It isn’t our home!’ retorted Hans. His father looked at him. Hans continued in English. ‘Germany is our home, isn’t it, Father! Our Fatherland.’

‘Perhaps one day, my son, it will be again. Until then…’ Professor Mueller’s voice tailed off.

‘I want to explore everything, Papa!’ Anna said excitedly. ‘I shall learn Spanish and learn everything about Cuba!’

Her father smiled at her again, but beneath the smile there was deep sadness. There was one person who could teach Anna everything about the island. A charming, lively, intelligent man who would make the perfect guide to their new home. He didn’t know if the man had ever returned to the island, his home, but if he had, Carl Mueller fervently hoped that they would never meet him.

The cab splashed to a halt, waking Freddie Sanchez as he was thrown against the back of the driver’s seat. Streetlights dazzled him from the wet, empty sidewalk. He felt disorientated and a little sick. That last daiquiri was one too many. The last half dozen, really.

‘Thank you, Carlos,’ he muttered, groping for the door handle. ‘Put it on my tab.’

‘Señor Sánchez –‘

‘Mañana, Carlos. Mañana, I promise.’

‘I have a family to keep, Senor Sanchez –‘

‘You’re a lucky man, Carlos. A lucky man. I have no one.’

He stumbled from the cab, ignoring the muttered Spanish oath behind his back. Freddie understood. Being half-Cuban, of course he understood. But at such moments he leaned on his English side and played the colonial.

The cab squealed into a turn and roared back along the deserted sea-front towards the casinos.

Leaning against the harbour wall to support himself, Freddie remembered falling headlong down the stairs of the Hotel Nacional, and the young policeman catching him, saving him from breaking his neck.

‘You have to be more careful, Senor Sanchez’, said the young man as he helped him to a taxi.

‘Thanks, Ramos,’ he had said. ‘I’m…er, just a little tired.’

Freddie recalled the flash of gleaming white teeth, the sarcastic smile. Why did he still pretend with people like Ramos, who must know as many gutter secrets as anyone on the island. Ramos could care less about him being a drunk, so why did Freddie pretend? Perhaps because the years of excess still hadn’t quite left their tell-tale traces, and the last thing to leave him was his vanity. From his medical training, Freddie knew he’d been born lucky. He had a constitution like the sea wall he was leaning against. Solid, resistant, able to take anything that life threw at him. In body at least, if not in mind. Certainly not in mind.

The klaxon on the S.S. St Louis broke into his self-pity. Out in the dark ocean, like a birthday cake ablaze with candles, the S.S. St Louis stole into the arms of the harbour, the smoke from its stacks ghostly wraiths against the night sky. It looked as if it was headed straight towards the second-floor window of his tiny room by the harbour.

Nearly a thousand refugees, the papers said, escaping from the Nazis. German families like the one he once knew as a student in London. Where were they now? Safe, he was certain. Professor Carl Mueller’s family would be safe…Despite the warmth of the night, at the thought of that family, Freddie shivered. After so many years, the cold chill of self-disgust still lingered.

About the Author

Selfie 002 - Copy (2)

Harry is an award-winning UK screenwriter, who won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best TV serial, while writing for Granada Television’s ‘CORONATION STREET’. Before that, in 1985, he was on the first writing team for the BBC’s ‘EASTENDERS’.

Before beginning his career writing drama for television, Harry spent a dozen years working in British theatre, as stage manager, writer, designer and director, working with actors such as Nigel Hawthorne, Anne Reid and Lesley Manville.

After script-editing the BBC’s HOWARDS’WAY, he freelanced for series like DISTRICT NURSE, THE BILL, BOON, THE BRETTS, EMMERDALE.

In 1994 he became Head of Development at the UK independent company, Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment. As the script executive he was responsible for seven major television series, included ‘SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON’ starring RICHARD ‘JOHN BOY’ THOMAS, and ‘TWIST IN THE TALE’, featuring WILLIAM SHATNER. He also wrote the film, RETURN TO TREASURE ISLAND.

In 1998 he was the co-creator of the UK Channel Five teen-cult drama series ‘THE TRIBE’, which ran for five series, numbering 260 episodes. ‘THE TRIBE’ has been sold world-wide, and all series is on YouTube.

His first novel, CHICAGO MAY, is the first book of a two-part series. He has also written JAIL TALES, about his wife’s 20 year career in the prison service, and the novel BIRTH OF THE MALL RATS, the prequel to THE TRIBE.

He has just finished his third novel, ISLAND OF DREAMS, to be published on December 1st 2022.

Harry Duffin

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours