A Choir of Men and BoysRead Synopsis
A Choir of Men and Boys
All men die. Not all men truly live.
It is a time of civil unrest and bitter conflict in Britain. A radical new government has pushed through some inordinately controversial new legislation causing vast rifts among the people and a nation so divided it borders on anarchy. The eruption of this tumultuousness is mainly due to the new government’s reintroduction of Capital Punishment.
As the date for George Effeney’s execution is announced as January 1st, he becomes more infamous for being the first man to be hanged in England for over forty years than he is for the murder of five young men ten years previous.
The events naturally lead to an unprecedented media circus and with only four weeks to go before his execution George Effeney has still refused to speak to any journalist or media organisation despite a multitude of requests.
And so when executives at sleazy London tabloid newspaper “The Insider” receive a personal letter from Effeney specifically inviting their most junior writer Darien McLeod up to his “death row” prison in the northern town of West Proctor for a succession of one on one interviews they can hardly believe their surreal luck. Their excitement turns to irate disbelief when they approach Darien with the goldmine assignment and he bluntly refuses the job.
Their anger and confusion is compounded by the fact that Darien is a young writer whose ambition is beyond ardent – he is literally a man consumed by his career – having little or nothing to do with friends, women or family he exists in a cold and isolated world of work and the complete abstinence of anything that could cause him to feel something remotely resembling emotion. He is, in short, a man who has avoided warmth and compassion for so long he now seems incapable of it.
Not intent to let the scoop of the century pass them by, the Insider’s Chief Executives resort to some below the belt manipulation and politely-dressed blackmail to force Darien onto a train and up to West Proctor.
Darien reluctantly arrives in Proctor. Beneath the raw emotion and the widespread waves of violence it is a place Darien appears to know well and it transpires that he is George’s estranged son, having changed his last name and left his hometown and his family after his father’s confession to the series of brutal crimes.
Their initial reunion is of such dark intensity and emotional fireworks that it leaves Darien exhausted and broken and he departs the prison vowing to return to London even if it means career suicide.
However, just as he is set to board his train he touches upon truths which have laid buried and dormant over the years but suddenly resurface, throwing George’s guilt into doubt and forcing Darien to question everything he thought he knew.
With defiant will and grim determination Darien digs through ten years of layers of lies, intimidation, revenge, cover-up and guilt. Tenaciously battling against his father’s shrouded truth, authorities who will stand against anything that causes the first execution to be disrupted and a small group of George’s former friends within the dirty mean town who grow increasingly concerned as Darien probes into their dark past.
And the murky grey docking town of Proctor, which clearly holds its own grim secrets, seems to revile the fact that her returned son is so intent on poking through the slime and uncovering a story that would otherwise have gone with George Effeney to his grave.
With so many walls bearing in on him, and the ever-present ticking of the clock that counts persistently down to the execution day, Darien’s own self built prison walls begin to crack and he finds himself open to feelings that have long lain dormant and his quest moves from being that of career advancement to a desperate all-consuming need to save his father’s life. However, as time runs out, and Darien comes dangerously close to the truth, the condemned George Effeney’s fears are far from his own fate but of the fact that an evil sadistic killer is almost certainly closing in on his strong but vulnerable son.
The God GameRead Synopsis
The God Game
Chester Longley is many things, chief among them an exceedingly successful businessman and creator of an empire producing the most globally popular games on the mass market.
He is also an upper class elitist who has never endured misfortune. He’s a staunch conservative who believes that class isn’t just a circumstance of birth; it’s an indicator of character.
He is in equal parts superior, insecure, vain, snobbish and fearful – the perfect gentleman with a taste for sadism and elegance.
To a man who spends most of his time concocting new schemes and situations for his company to develop – games playing is what life is all about – everything is a game: sex, life, death.
Long tired of the corporate politics that have overshadowed the empire born of his zealous imagination, Chester decides on one last great game of his own in order to find a candidate, or candidates, who will make befitting successors for his dynasty following his retirement. And it is with this in mind he summons a mishmash of five of his employees to his country retreat and presents them with his proposition.
Four of the five assembled party couldn’t be happier about the surreal opportunity that has fallen in their laps, certain the old man has finally lost the plot and all they are to do is ride out his little charade then leapfrog straight to the top of the corporate ladder.
Only the most junior member of the group, mailroom assistant Billy Hunter, a hard worker who has struggled for every gain in life, has doubts, feeling that any offer seeming too good to be true probably is. He has known pain, hardship and humiliation. For him, games are just another way the rich and powerful assert their clout over the lower lines of society. And Chester’s offer, given ever so politely with near-murderous intent, does nothing to change his
But his higher ranking and more ambitious colleagues, reluctant to let their cautious subordinate ruin the auspicious chance, apply some fairly relentless arm-twisting. Eventually Billy reluctantly agrees, despite still being certain there must be some deeply hidden twisted catch within the deceptively simple packaging.
And Billy’s uncanny moment of foresight turns out to be one to which they well should have heeded for Chester’s game turns out to be one that will take them to places they could not have imagined, the challenges and scenarios that come their way proving to be more difficult, and for some more deadly, than they could ever have dreamt possible. But, desperate to get their grubby little hands on the up for grabs slice of corporate pie, greed and ambition force the most headstrong among them to dig their heels in despite seeing their lives fly evermore
out of control.
Ultimately when the winners, and more pertinently the losers among the group are announced, all sides finally catch on to the full depth of the game’s deception.
With a final twist as cruel as it is inevitable, certain parties discover they have been played from more angles than ever they realised and the “little game” descends into a squirming mass of double-cross and betrayal where the participants, including the great games master himself, find out that if you try to play god too hard god’s going to show you just who’s boss.
And in the end, it is one of the least expected contestants that demonstrates that not only is he a player of Chester’s calibre, but he’s faster, less principled, and shrewd enough to save the final winning hand for himself.
Especially his own.
In a lonely hotel room, within the eerie calm of a decaying city, an incomprehensibly violent execution style hit is carried out against members of an international crime cartel.
First on the scene to investigate, on what should be the last day of his police career, is Chief Inspector Jacob Tierney, a man so immersed in the world of crime and the causes of crime that it remains ingrained in his skin at the end of each day like grime in a plumber’s fingers.
Despite the promises made to his achingly lonely wife to give up his career and focus exclusively on the search for their troubled, teenage runaway son, lost somewhere among the city’s other broken inhabitants, Jacob finds himself drawn back to the world he knows best when the ramifications of the sudden killing at the hotel begin digging into his soul. For an unseen killer, hell bent on achieving an insidious objective begins a murderous campaign against the worst of the city’s criminals, beginning with Jacob’s prime suspect in the hotel massacre.
Even with the frustrated pleas from his forlorn stepson Robert, still grieving the unknown fate of his half-brother, Jacob reneges on promises made and immerses himself in the case. And so Robert, facing the fact that, despite living with and providing for his family, his stepfather has also turned his back on them, realizes he is his missing brother’s only hope.
Amidst a fear that hangs in the air like mustard gas, Robert, acutely vulnerable, out-of-depth and dangerously alone, enters the darker corners of the city’s midnight underworld and begins his search among the demimonde of strippers, gamblers, prostitutes, panderers and stone-cold killers whose only currency seems to be drugs, lies, depravity and violence.
With the killer still on his scalp prickling reign of terror and the whole city steeped in a mood of clammy dread, Jacob and his colleagues are no closer to finding, catching or understanding the perpetrator. The gratuity of his crimes suggests a dangerously disturbed individual and yet there is also something cold blooded and controlled about his calculated, methodical intent.
As his every abhorrent crime outdoes the last, moral panic breeds among the most immoral of the criminal underworld, all wondering what ghastly evils could be headed their way. Finally a pattern emerges and it transpires that the killer’s main objective is to keep Jacob attached to a world of crime, or a world of crime attached to him, for each carefully constructed murder is a carbon copy of the six notorious murders which remain unsolved from Jacob’s twenty year career and the murderer is revealed to be far more a cunningly intelligent manipulator than a blood lusting sociopath.
As Jacob’s obsession with the case intensifies so does the strain on his already fractured and dysfunctional relationship with his stepson Robert and the two seem to be in danger of crossing a line with each other from which there would be no way back.
The manhunt widens, the killer evading detection and capture and remaining one step ahead of the police at all times and, piece by piece, his murderous odyssey is revealed to be born of a need for extreme vengeance known only to himself. Rob, decent, driven and despairing, battles on in spite of his fear and uncertainty for the sake of his missing sibling. His journey into the city’s unforgiving midnight underworld not only risking swallowing him up as it did his younger brother, but also unwittingly putting him on a collision course with the killer. The unravelling threads of Jacob’s life tangle into a state as messy as murder itself until events finally culminate in an explosion of hidden secrets, murderous vendettas and ruthless crime, forcing the detective to make the ultimate choice between his many obsessions and family love.
An aura of mesmerizing evil hangs over mid-winter central London in the guise of “the Twilight Strangler” a particularly insidious serial killer who’s busy strangling professional women on their way home from work during the city’s fading light hours.
One woman seemingly unconcerned by any danger is vivacious and effervescent office worker Callan O’Dowd. In a desperate attempt to provoke a reaction from her much coveted erstwhile beau she hones her attentions in on, and begins to aggressively pursue, her desperately shy and disturbingly aloof office colleague Justin.
Unfortunately for Callan, she is not privy to the thoughts inside Justin’s mind and as we bear witness to him fantasizing about murderous attacks on the same young woman slain by the Twilight Stranger we’re never actually certain if we’re watching the morbid daydreams of a bored young office worker or witnessing the inner world of the real compulsive killer reliving his crimes over and over again in his mind.
Unaware of what’s lurking in the deeper recesses of Justin’s head, whether they be the truth, a lie or a dream, Callan begins what at first is a thoughtless game but gradually becomes a dark fascination and gradually a creepy symbiosis ensues. She finds herself increasingly intrigued by the introverted near silent boyish man – drawn in by his “wild thing of the night” mystique and the sullen mesmerising presence at his dark heart. As they close in on each other Justin proves an addictive alternative to the lackluster men Callan is used to, especially when he begins taking her on tours of the stalking grounds of killers and regaling his grisly knowledge of local murders in encyclopedic detail.
This new macabre hobby fills Callan’s voided social life and begins to overtake the other half of her life as well, Justin having ignited an unsettling dark flame in her that had obviously been burning slowly and quietly until he came along, and as the lustful pair embark on a wild ride of dark passions they progressively begin to merge personalities.
The deeper the couple descend into debauchery the more Callan’s psyche begins to crack and her grip on reality slips further out of reach. From there on in her world only gets both odder and more schizophrenic as career and once solid friendships hang in the balance. With Justin completely under her spell she comes dangerously close to finding out how easily the two of them could turn their dark fantasies into a cold-blooded reality.
However one ominous hour of dark reckoning jolts Callan back to her senses and she realises she must try to salvage what’s left of her life if she still can.
Unfortunately for Justin, he is by now utterly in love with Callan and, having allowed himself to feel the warmth of a woman’s desire and the taste of physical love, considers himself a complete human being for the first time. And so Callan’s sudden rejection, combined with the mentality of his newfound friends, as quick to unilaterally condemn him as they were to adore him, is more than his spirit can bear and he spills out onto the city streets, his loneliness and longing erupting into irrational rage and what culminates is one very dark night of the soul where Callan sees no danger until it’s too late and the realities of Justin’s mind are finally revealed.
Age of DescentRead Synopsis
Age of Descent
Age of Descent is a multi-faceted film project taking an honest, harrowing and moving look at the prevalent issue of knife crime and other problems facing teenagers and young people in the UK today.
The film boasts a cast of well loved actors from stage, film and television in the UK and Ireland and five immeasurably talented up and coming younger actors.
The film is being made in conjunction with a documentary and a charity website and has recently been adapted into a novel which is being represented by the Uli Rushby-Smith Agency for publication.
Age of Descent is a film project initiated in response to the unprecedented number of knife related crimes, street violence, murder and other issues of hostility, discord and psychological abuse which have become so prevalent among youth culture in recent years.
Despite its harrowing subject matter, Age of Descent is also a moving account of the hopes, joy and complexity of being young and a positive affirmation on the power of dreams.
Hot shot defence lawyer Tristan Elliot’s latest stunning victory is in successfully defending Joshua Ballentine, sickeningly handsome brash young son of a local wealthy businessman on charges of a particularly brutal rape and battery.
Tristan’s contentious victory does not bode well with his estranged wife Kelly who has returned to his home town at the tail end of the trial so she and her husband can begin the sticky process of a last ditch attempt at saving their crumbling marriage.
Putting her ethical issues aside Kelly accompanies Tristan to the Ballentine family’s isolated luxury hunting lodge just outside the mountain town of Blame so they can begin their own negotiations.
However their aloneness and peace is short lived when the newly exonerated Joshua arrives dismantling their solitude with the subtly of a sledgehammer. Tristan’s sense of duty soon goes out the window and his irritation turns to a more primal sense of dread when the ever repugnant and morally defunct Joshua takes a worrying avid interest in his beautiful wife.
And after calming down from her initial outrage at the sudden invasion Kelly’s misgivings and concerns about Joshua seem to dissipate and she finds herself simultaneously repulsed and attracted by him. Increasingly frustrated by his wife’s interest in Joshua’s youth, good looks and erratic edge, life at the lodge becomes claustrophobic as a coffin for Tristan and he and Kelly fall into their old poisonous habits of spiteful little mind games; she interrupting his business calls, he killing a deer in front of her when he knows what an ardent animal lover she is, she making him look weak and ridiculous in front of Joshua by suggesting he come rafting with them when she knows he has a morbid fear of water after a near drowning as a child.
But it is Kelly who pushes Tristan’s tolerance to breaking point by using the dark electricity that’s been building between her and Joshua – flirting with him and wearing dresses that he’s commented on how much he likes.
Twisted up in knots inside, Tristan pulls an unwise counterattack by suggesting they go to the small mountain town below the lodge for a night’s socialising.
Kelly’s mild curiosity as to why visiting the simple little town is such a huge thrill-seeking ride for Joshua is answered with the sickening realisation that she’s been brought to Blame – home town of the victim of physical rape by Joshua and legal rape by Tristan.
As a drunken and ever more unhinged Joshua spouts insults at the mild mannered patrons of the restaurant they are in Kelly and Tristan reawaken themselves to his true nature with progressive dread.
But insight and a grasp on reality have come too late as it becomes apparent that the understandably enraged locals have picked up on who their repugnant brash visitor and his male companion are. Back at the lodge it isn’t long before a group of men, including the victim’s family, lay siege on them seeking the justice Tristan ensured they were denied.
A PhotographRead Synopsis
Charles Sweeney is a high-octane manic young lawyer, revelling in the delights of recently being made the youngest partner at his firm. Charlie really doesn’t understand and only occasionally wonders why his woefully neglected social world consists only of everyone’s nightmare of a best friend, Kane Joffre.
Kane, a man who lacks Charlie’s drive and intelligence, has spent their post college years embarking on one ineffective moneymaking scheme after another. And it is Charlie’s lack of moral fibre and consequent lack of any other true friends that places him with Kane the night of his victory and sends him through an experience that will bring him close to madness.
For Kane, who now believes he has the talent to become a photojournalist, forces Charlie to accompany him into inner London’s midnight underworld on a misguided attempt at snapping up the urban misery and human decay.
Fear of the unforgiving surroundings and Kane’s cavalier attitude to their danger push Charlie’s tolerance to the limit.
Wound up in knots with frustration, Charlie is hardly aware of the vicious beating a young homeless boy is receiving in the gutter by his feet.
As Kane hungrily sucks in the violence with his amateur photographic skills Charlie chases off the boy’s attackers then cradles him in his arms as he lies dying.
The hard-nosed Charlie, so used to backstabbing deals and company crucifixions, is not prepared for the anguish of staring into the eyes of a child and watching the life slip away. The harrowing incident in the dirty London street comes to leave scars upon his soul in more ways than he could ever have imagined.
Charlie’s grief, however, turns to a more sickening distress when he wakes the following morning to discover a gaggle of frenzied press pounding at his door.
More by luck than judgment, in the split second before Charlie noticed the brutal attack, Kane had captured an image of him, business suit attire, hands thrust deep in pockets, eyes cast down, literally and figuratively looking the other way as he passes by a destitute teenager’s lonely violent death.
The image is so profound and expressive of a soulless era that even Kane immediately realises its’ importance and, after selling it to a national paper, it goes on to seep into the country’s psyche and become an iconic image of a cold and heartless age, pricking a collective subconscious like nothing before it. The photograph proves an irresistible temptation to the national press who descend upon Charlie without regard to his life or the truth.
Charlie, now close to being the most hated man in Britain, mournfully accepts how quickly his so-called friend has made a sacrifice of him. After losing everything because of the current notoriety Charlie, broken and haunted, decides to end his own life.
The world, it seems, is not ready to let go of Charlie just yet and he is literally pulled back from the edge by enigmatic businessman Obadiah Lawson, a man with more layers than the proverbial onion. Obadiah’s chauffeur carries Charlie like a broken doll to his limousine and transports him to his rambling mansion on the tiny, sparingly
populated island of Small Haven. In the cold sober light of morning, with hysteria subsided, the island takes on a hue of ethereal frightening beauty. The more Charlie sees of the place and its’ inhabitants, all outwardly normal, inwardly strange, and all living under Obadiah’s domineering influence, the more everything about it seems slightly askew.
The one positive asset for Charlie is the residents’ apparent lack of knowledge of the notorious photograph and his national infamy.
Obadiah, the strangest denizen of all in Small Haven is a man with the confident tone of a monster who’s calmly aware of the brutality coiled up inside him, always leaving a lasting impression of an evil intelligence in his wake. He insists on Charlie staying on at his dark and moody mansion, imploring him to defend his only son Matthew in a bizarre self conducted island trial. Charlie takes on the role with the misguided belief that a victory will restore his dignity and self worth, especially as Lawson’s beguiling young son, with his callow face and haunted stare, is a polished near replica of the dead boy from the photograph. As Charlie throws himself headlong into the case an undeniable air of nastiness pervades the proceedings. At his every turn his efforts are thwarted in a variety of ways and his hopes of being able to save the boy in this “second chance” scenario fly drastically out of control.
As Charlie desperately tries to keep news of his dire ineptness from Obadiah’s ears he grows increasingly consumed by the young Matthew. Still laden with guilt, he becomes obsessed by the idea of “saving” the boy at this trial and his dedication to the case seems more about satisfying some deep-seated need in his own life. The situation draws them together as a noose is drawn tight and during their strange and stilted relationship they begin to pity and care for one another – Matthew seeming almost vaguely aware of Charlie’s wounded life – his pain, his loss, the trap he’s in – the boy’s compassion and normalcy bringing a sense of control to Charlie’s current mad existence.
Without knowing it Charlie tries to mould Matthew more and more into the dead boy from the infamous photograph – making the hope of the expectant salvation all the more pertinent. However, that salvation never comes, in its stead tragedy looms again for Charlie, but this time in an even more harrowing and unforgiving of ways.
Yet, as a traumatised Charlie prepares to flee from Small Haven, he happens upon something that puts all his anguish on the moot island into a dizzying perspective.
Regaining strength, and an audacious cunning that once prevailed within him, Charlie travels to London and pulls a few punches of his own before returning to the island one last time with a sly little game-plan that will hopefully change the way the world sees him once and for all and allow him to answer the age-old calling that every man becomes the man he was born to be, eventually.
Sex in Strange PlacesRead Synopsis
Sex in Strange Places
Elaine Dexter, Maisie Huntington and C.J. Magee, three former college friends and roommates, reunite for the funeral of a fourth, Edward Buchanan, after he falls victim to a notorious pair of serial killers currently at large in town and known to locals as the Georgia Barracudas, so named because of their grim habit of snipping off a finger from each victim while still alive. After overcoming the grim amazement of their estranged friend’s unsavoury demise they are treated to an even more surreal shock when they learn they are the sole beneficiaries of his $125,000,000 fortune.
With mesmeric glee the ladies happily jack in their jobs, say goodbye to their humdrum lives, run up colossal credit card debts and move into Edward’s reclusive beach house where they await the arrival of their inheritance and the life of unbridled luxury it promises to bring.
However, the proverbial spanner appears in the works in the form of Kip Carretti a shifty young charmer claiming to be Edward’s half brother and threatening to tie up their inheritance in the courts for years to come unless they concede what he considers his share.
It seems the promise of such wealth has altered something deep within the three women, especially the go-getting and headstrong Elaine, and the subsequent threat of the money’s denial unleashes a ruthless tenacity within her. But Maisie and C.J. don’t realise quite how resolved Elaine is to ensuring they receive their inheritance until one drunken night she slyly slips them her idea of the 100% foolproof perfect murder and an audacious way of getting Kip Carretti out of the picture altogether.
Maisie and C.J. immediately rebuke the idea. As Carretti is the only thing that stands between them and their inheritance surely they’d be seen as the prime suspects should he suddenly meet a sticky end. Undeterred, Elaine points out that the one iron-clad way Carretti could happily turn up floating in a river or on the city dump with no
accusatory fingers pointing at them would be if he were to become the next unfortunate victim of the Georgia Barracudas.
After much cajoling and heated exchanges Elaine finally gets her less enthused partners in crime to agree and they begin plotting homicide and cover-up.
Unfortunately for Elaine however, as with all best laid plains, what ever can go wrong will go wrong. But even she would not have guessed that instead of a corpse she would find a very much alive Kip, kidnapped, fully fingered and handcuffed in a spare room of the beach house.
It seems Maisie and C.J. didn’t have quite the murderous resolve Elaine assumed they would be capable of and so when it came time to slice off a finger and bash the pretty man’s brains in the two women opted for a courteous glancing blow and carted him off with them in the trunk of their car.
And so with Elaine, happily a criminal mastermind, but not quite having the stomach to carry out the dreaded deed, mulling over the predicament, she is forced to devise a cunning new way of getting her hands on the fortune she’s not prepared to let pass her by.
The battle of wills rages, with Elaine, and the ever more resourceful and charmingly seductive Kip, sinking to new lows as they play any game they have to with their two unwitting pawns. And events at the isolated beach house soon spiral into a tangled mess of lust, deceit, betrayal and murder in the game to see who will emerge to survive and collect.
The OnlyRead Synopsis
The screams of a mother, murdered in front of her twelve year old daughter, pierce through the night. They, in turn, pierce through the life of affluent architect Oliver Carsten. For it transpires that the all but orphaned twelve year old girl, Avery, is also his own daughter, a love-child from a clandestine near forgotten one night stand years earlier.
Already distraught by his infidelity and betrayal, Oliver’s wife Vivien and their nineteen year old son Gabriel, are driven to an even deeper level of hurt and resentment when they realise the otherwise orphaned Avery has no other place to go or relative to turn to and so must move in with them.
Life for the newly formed family of four is claustrophobic as a coffin within the Carsten’s pristine opulent home – Avery’s presence kicking off and exacerbating a series of deep routed jealousies and emotional wounds that run deeper than death between husband and wife and father and son.
It is only when Gabriel, more forgiving and understanding, than his wronged mother, begins taking a genuinely compassionate interest in his fragile emotionally besieged half-sister that things begin to settle and calm.
However the new bonds and comfort don’t last long. For on a black and stormy night while the Carstens are away working on repairing their marriage, and Gabriel is alone with Avery entrusted to his care, they are convinced by a visiting friend to play with an old Ouija board.
Their adolescent game gives way to a moment of terror when it seems their meddling in the occult has brought a presence very dark and very uninvited into their home.
Knowing their actions would enrage his parents, his father being staunchly conservative, Gabriel hides the Ouija board in Avery’s bedroom closet and makes her vow not to breathe a word about what they’ve done.
However it isn’t long before the Carstens begin to suspect that something very unsettling and very strange is going on in their house. For the already emotionally brutalised Avery begins exhibiting some deeply worrying signs and developing extremely disturbing behaviour. Along with night terrors, fits, acts of violence and screaming episodes, she begins regaling her new family with tales of a dark stranger watching her, hiding in her bedroom closet, coming out to breathe over her as she sleeps at night.
The analysis of Avery’s episodes is different for all the members of the Carsten family and their associates. Oliver holding the steadfast opinion that the little girl has been through so much her wild moods and hallucinogenic delusions are perfectly understandable. Her case worker and doctors speculating the development of a dissociative personality disorder or schizophrenia.
Vivien daring to suggest the innocent girl actually is not quite as troubled as she seems and capable of extreme manipulation and playing them all like puppets. Gabriel, guilt ridden by their interference with the Ouija board, wondering if he’s plunged his family into a nightmarish experience of and ‘older’ kind. Traumatised by seeing his new little sister suffer such horrors he keeps his troubles to himself. Silently he endures not only his own guilt, but also his own hell as his already fractious relationship with his father reaches breaking point and the boy suffers, lost and alone, while all eyes are on Avery and her more outwardly noticeable torment.
But things take a progressively downwards turn and the lines between love and jealousy and the various other savageries of the human heart become increasingly blurred when Vivien seemingly loses control of her emotions, venting her anger and frustration on the child she has come to resent so much. A child whose presence has burrowed under her skin, a child who symbolizes a betrayal that has been lying unseen and unknown like a slumbering wolf behind the last twelve years of her marriage.
Oliver, alerted to his wife’s actions, races home and breaks the door down to save his youngest child, scooping her up in his arms and carrying her away from the inhuman insanity she has just endured.
Whether it is her doctors and medication, or just her father’s act of protective love, something does indeed save Avery in that moment. From there on things are different and Avery’s mind, body and dreams settle back to being those of a normal twelve year old girl. But the Carsten marriage is broken and Vivien leaves her house and her family.
However, it is on another evening, when Gabriel and Avery are again alone at home that the embodiment of sin once more is made manifest in their lives. Stairs creak, strange noises are heard, something is rustling in the attic, the whole house throbs with a pulse of mesmerizing evil, and the now calm and measured Avery sees the same shape of a man watching her from her bedroom closet – only this time Gabriel is there to see it too.
With a few insidious hairpin turns the entire Carsten family discover that the evil that exists in hell is nothing matched to the evil one human being can bring down on another. But that evil is something none of the Carsten family were able to see coming until, for them, it is far too late.
The Blood of an EnglishmanRead Synopsis
The Blood of an Englishman
When mild-mannered young Jonah Carmichael accidentally kills his lover, recently successful rock singer Dominic de Ban, in a drastically out of character violent turn with only hours to go before family and friends arrive for a celebratory dinner party he makes a desperate call for help to the person he feels best equipped to explain the unintentional nature of Dominic’s death to the police – some time family friend and eminent surgeon – the ostentatious Dr Adam Knightly – a man who oozes menace and charm in equal measures.
Despite it being his last night in England before relocating to a private South American clinic as Chief Surgeon, Adam, a man with a gargantuan vindictive streak and a consistent need for victory, cannot resist a first hand look at his old friend Dominic’s sticky end.
He answers Jonah’s desperate plea, turning up at their renovated lighthouse to the pitiful sight of Dominic’s corpse below a huge “CONGRATULATIONS” banner with Jonah hovering near catatonic by his side.
Unfortunately for Jonah, he us unaware that the brilliant sawbones has a seething neurotic streak and something of a god complex and as he begs him to call round the expectant dinner guests to stop them beginning their journeys and ultimately finding the nasty surprise that awaits them on the living room floor he unwittingly reignites some rather petty but extremely deep rooted sibling rivalries by mentioning that Adam’s twin sister and long term adversary Evelyn is also due to attend. With that, Adam’s idea of the kind of help Jonah needs drastically changes.
With the beleaguered Jonah’s queries and concerns nothing more than a slight irritation, Adam uses a mix of mild physical and extreme psychological manipulation to keep a vice like grip on his already fractured state of mind as he forces him to move Dominic’s body and clear up all traces of the day’s earlier bloody events.
After completing the horrific chore Jonah reluctantly gives in to the sedative Adam is insisting he take, clinging weakly to the surgeon’s promise that when he wakes everything will be alright.
And when Jonah does awake it is to the realisation that things are as far from alright as they could possibly be. This discovery comes in the form of the gathering of his and Dominic’s family in the living room and the only trace of the body Jonah can find being the ominous plate of freshly cut meat cooking away in the oven in preparation for the dinner party’s main event.
And so, with an accurate perception of the ugly black joke Adam has in mind for his last night in England before absconding to his new life in South America, Jonah is forced to endure his sinister mind games and low cunning as he drops the guests nasty little clues as to the day’s earlier nefarious activities and continuously throws Jonah into the ring and watches in much amusement as he struggles his way back out.
Meanwhile the confused guests become more and more concerned about Dominic’s whereabouts and the increasingly morbid and bizarre conversation. It is only when the feisty tenacious Evelyn arrives and immediately begins clubbing her vitriolic sibling back over the head with equally gleeful scorn that Jonah dares to believe he might have a saviour.
Clearly impervious to the realm of cruelty and charm that is her twin brother, and knowing all his spite and depravity only too well, she soon puts together a few ideas about his unsavoury prank and the other dark happenings lurking beneath the evening’s gloss and social pleasantries.
With the fun and games ultimately culminating in some very insidious hairpin turns and all sides coming at each other teeth bared, claws showing, the deceit and back-stabbery that’s been brewing with the coffee finally comes to light.
As the party draws to a close, and the unfortunate de Ban family find out their missing son has actually been there the whole time, the evening concludes in a ruthless and bloody three way game of cat and mice with a final twist where all parties concerned discover that nothing is ever actually what it seems and that in this evil little parlour game there was only ever going to be one winner.
Aversion TherapyRead Synopsis
It is a time when the immeasurably burgeoning crime rate has driven the city straight to hell. The epidemically overcrowded prison system has long passed emergency levels and meant the drastically early release of even the most habitual and dangerous offenders.
With crime rampant and gangs roaming the streets, engaging in a virtually unchecked reign of terror, the state finally relents and concedes to more radical and controversial options – and soon the DTACP “Department of Technological Achievements in Crime Prevention” soon implement a contentious mind control program designed to cure criminals of their crime and leave even the most sadistic monsters of society dumb and defenseless as de-fanged, de-clawed animals.
Within time their endeavors payoff, but, despite the benefits, there is fervent opposition from various fractions of the social order including human rights activists, who see it as the beginning of a dehumanisation of society, up to the mob, who have the most to lose should the city gone mad reach a state of normalcy again.
With tragic irony, the DTACP’s immense success leads to the ruthless assassination of two of their leading members. The department’s youngest constituent, fanatically ambitious Jack Delaney, is so tunnel-visioned in his quest for success, so fervently determined, that he is widely feared to be next on the hitman’s target list.
Unfortunately for Jack, it is a danger far different than that of a sniper’s bullet that touches him when his twitchily ebullient foster brother, Wesley Haughton, re-enters his life after a spell in incarceration. To Jack’s surprise his shifty, morally repugnant, brother has put his time behind bars to good use, garnering two degrees and designing and building a radical – even by Jack’s standards – virtual reality/deep hypnosis system which, he promises, will surpass anything Jack has ever seen.
Intrigued but unconvinced, Jack ultimately makes the dubious decision to try out the system himself before deciding whether to recommend it to the board. Confident in the knowledge he has no dark side there to be exploited Jack is disturbed, to say the least, to find his virtual fantasy within Wesley’s little mind-bending toy is strangling a cool young blonde woman to death with his necktie.
When his waking world goes on to become plagued by recurring nightmarish visions Jack soon he realises that he has been duped by his vengefully scheming brother.
After tracking him down, Wesley tells Jack about the added ingredient that makes his tool so special – the aversion therapy code – any criminal relieving his ingrained habitual behaviour in the devise will be plagued by haunting visions of his victims and his crimes from there on in.
Thereby giving the guiltless man guilt, the soulless man a soul. It seems Wesley’s main motive for cornering Jack is to force him to do what he can to revoke his previous conviction and restore his reputation in the eyes of his overbearing malignant nightmare of a mother Constance Haughton.
But before Jack can even give in to the grotty little blackmail plot the lines between fantasy and reality are to become even more inextricably blurred as the increasingly tortured Jack, despairing and distraught, takes solace in the company of a luminescent young blonde woman and, to his utmost horror and despair, wakes to find her dead the following morning – strangled to death with one of his neckties.
Running from the law, while making a desperate bid to prove his innocence, Jack must track down the domineering bitterly caustic Constance, as well as her snivelling morose son, and, piece by piece strip back layers of lies and deception that form his whole world until a chilling story emerges that will rock the foundations of everything he thought he knew about his family, his career, his sanity and his life.
In the cool breezes of a late summer afternoon, with the first touches of autumn hanging her chill promises in the air two men meet….
The older man is elegant, carrying with him an air of muted creepiness and arrogant superiority, the boyish younger man inarticulate and insecure.
Life, it seems, has left her particular marks upon each of them; the man misanthropic, the boy broken and bruised.
Their encounter has all the stilted awkwardness and discomfiture present whenever strangers come together for the first time, but for these two individuals, politeness, disappointment, and banal chitchat is a mild distraction to the deeper and more sinister layers of their agenda.
For, unlike the countless victims of the murderous the perverted and the insane, rotting in their secret graves, excused from their fate by youth or naivety, the younger of the two men has come to meet his killer, not by chance, but by desire, not by misfortune but by design.
Fully complicit in his own impending murder, the boy is due to become the latest in the long list of the man’s willing conquests, and readily enters his suburban lair, the seduction of death and dismemberment something he covets as thirstily as wine, as lasciviously as sex.
But the night drags on….
Finally the man, bored and unimpressed by the boy’s stupefying mix of eagerness and ignorance, withdraws his part in the bargain and cruelly rejects him, unwilling to allow him to become a part of his rotting flock.
Life goes on for the man, who moves, in blissful ignorance, on to the next candidate; lusting for the piercing touch of his knife.
However, what he has unfortunately chosen to overlook is the fact that contenders for the kind of macabre games he likes to play are generally not the possessors of healthily adapted minds.
A consideration particularly pertinent to the boy; one of the world’s pitifully misplaced loners, walking wounded and puzzled through a desperately lonely half-life where he never quite fits and a family who simply cannot understand him.
Reeling from what he considers the ultimate rejection, he steals his way back to the man’s world, invading his home and his life with a no holds barred plan for one long night of aptly befitting and juicily nasty revenge.