Operation Julie Podcast

Operation Julie Podcast

I’m delighted to inform you there’s a wonderful 4-part podcast produced by True Crime Investigators UK. John and Sally are the people behind the podcast. They also present it in a friendly, laid back way but they are knowledgeable too as both are former serving police officers.

The Operation Julie podcast is broken down into these four parts and it’s received some wonderful reviews.

Episode 1: The set up / Plas Llysyn surveillance / The request to go undercover.

Episode 2: What is involved in preparation for an undercover operation and building relationships with contacts.

Episode 3: Dangers of undercover work / knowing where to draw the line / infiltrating and or befriending contacts.

Episode 4: The end of the Operation / the raids / the arrests and the convictions. Police career after Op Julie – rebuilding career after that big life moment.

Each episode contains a narrated excerpt from my book with my permission and that of Worldmark Films. 

I mentioned reviews so here is one from Apple: 

Great podcast 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve just recently started listening to this podcast. What a great format, and the presenters have so much knowledge and insight into criminal investigation. Includes really interesting and informative interviews with people affected by the crimes covered.

 Please let me know what you think of the podcast.

Foul Language in Crime Fiction

Foul Language in Crime Fiction

I originally wrote all about this topic in one of my email campaigns. My readers appeared to enjoy it even if a small minority didn’t agree with all I wrote. I thought I would share it to a wider audience. 

In crime fiction, foul language is justified on the ground that it is lifelike.” NY Magazine, June 3 2011.

And the same article Ode to a Four-Letter Word by Kathryn Schulz commences with ‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad,” the poet Philip Larkin declared in “This Be the Verse.”

Before you decide to read any further – a warning. If you are offended by so-called foul language, it’s probably best if you stop reading right here and now. Indeed, if it offends you so much, I promise I will not be offended if you unsubscribe from my mailing list because my books will probably not be “your cup of tea.”

I do justify the use of “foul language on the ground that it is lifelike” in crime fiction. I justify using it in dialogue or as part of an internal monologue (thoughts of the character). Some of the words I use in my books are better described as expletives not profanity. Profanity means showing no respect for a god or a religion, especially through language.

You may ask what prompted me to write about this topic. A review, of course. It’s getting tiresome for a reviewer to dock stars from the rating and mention the use of “profanity.” Tiresome? Yes, though it’s probably only happened about four times. If you are that reviewer, don’t take this personally. It’s not an attack on you, please accept that. If my books are not for you, so be it. Just unsubscribe from my mailing list.

I possibly read that review on an emotional low. One of my VIP Review Team recently lost her son in a tragic road crash. I feel greatly for her loss and though it’s nothing compared to what she is going through, it has shaken me up.

“Foul” or “bad” language is justified for the sake of realism in fiction. It all depends on the context and the fictional characters involved. I can imagine a Godly man, perhaps a preacher, talking to a prostitute (don’t tell me that has never happened), and inquiring about fees for the services she provides. I can imagine that dialogue without the use of four-letter words. On the other hand, imagine a Glasgow or Liverpool docker (substitute New York or any American port stevedore) in the same scenario. Can you seriously imagine that conversation without the use of “fuck” or “shag” and possibly “blow job”? And imagine if she (the prostitute) is a hopeless loser addicted to heroin, wouldn’t she cuss and swear just like her potential client? I think so.

Through my fourteen years as a detective, fourteen years as a criminal trial lawyer, and my numerous other jobs such as truck driver, motor cycle courier, and heavy plant operator, I do think I have a good handle on how people really express themselves. People from all walks of life. It’s not only men who swear. As a young man and new to the capital, I was both shocked and fascinated when I discovered many young women from London’s East End swore more than many men did. I also soon found out Britain’s upper-class toffs do their fair share of effing and blinding.

That brings me to another point – we are all different and have been raised in different parts of the world in different circumstances. I respect it if any individual is offended by foul language. That is who they are and part of their conditioning. However, I do wonder why they choose to read adult books intended for an adult audience such as mine. No one in their right mind would look at my books, the descriptions, and the covers and think they were YA or cosy mystery books. My books are full of detectives with flawed characters, outlaws, gangsters, hoodlums, and some sexy women (some of whom curse.)

If Matt Deal is facing a life and death situation, do you think he would say, “Excuse me, old chap, please drop that gun?” I think it more likely Deal would shoot the hoodlum dead, then say something like, “Worthless piece of shit.”

Can “foul language” be funny? In my opinion, yes. Take the movie Four Weddings and A Funeral for example and I quote:

Film (1994): As the audience members at that Salt Lake City screening know, the original Four Weddings and A Funeral gets off to a flying start with using profanity. In fact, the first five words of real dialogue are “fuck”, which is soon followed by a “fuckity fuck” and “bugger”. This, of course, all occurs as Charles (Hugh Grant) and Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman) rush to their first wedding of the film, which they are very late for, and the swearing is brilliantly effective in conveying that frantic sense of dread that falls over you when you wake up far later than planned.

That mention of Salt Lake City is an acknowledgement that audience members even walked out of a screening in Salt Lake City thanks to the opening scene’s frequency of fucks – and yet it still managed to get two Oscar nominations, four Baftas and a Golden Globe award.

A further example of the use of the word ‘fuck’ being funny (kind of) was told to me by a police officer colleague many years ago. He was stationed at Kirkby, a large Liverpool overspill town, as I was. He had a four-year-old boy who mixed with the other kids in his street. Upon a visit from grandma, when the boy was asked how he was, the rascal simply said, “Fuck off!” He didn’t know its meaning but had picked it up in the street from his playmates. I later inquired of my colleague how his mother had reacted to this episode. He made me laugh once more when he said, “I told her it was better than being fucking deaf.” Kirkby is a tough town where expletives are commonplace just like the area I was raised in not too far from Kirkby. Having said that, I not once heard my parents use bad language. I learnt all my early swear words from school and friends.

One of my favourite examples of a funny scene from TV or movies is that of the “fuck scene” in HBO’s The WireBelieve me, as a former detective that scene has all the hallmarks of realism.

I also believe American and British attitudes to swear words are quite different. We Brits are more relaxed overall with swearing. I suppose that’s no surprise as “fuck” is an Anglo-Saxon word circulating in England before America existed. The Scots have made swearing an art form. I am given to understand that native New Yorkers and Chicagoans try to outdo each other in the swearing stakes. That may be so, but I love this apocryphal story of the New Yorker on seeing a female pedestrian lose her purse while crossing the street who yelled, “Lady! You’ve dropped your fucking purse.”

These two Scribendi articles on the use of swear words in literature are worth reading. I recommend them:

Part One

Part Two

I would never dream of coming into your home and using any form of bad language but in contrast, when you come into my make-believe world of fiction, they are my rules and I refuse to be censored.

Not everyone will like my books. I get that. I accept it. Gladly, many do, and they are the readers, with the VIP Review Team at its core, who I do my utmost to entertain in a genre they love and characters they have come to know.I am nothing without you guys. Once upon a time, I would have posted this as a blog post on my author website but never know who has read it. I’d rather let you readers know directly about my thoughts on this prickly subject as I am doing my best to create a long-term relationship with the core of my readers.Thank you for reading to the end.

The Simple Art of Murder

The Simple Art of Murder

What did I think of The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler?

Overall, I liked it. It was worth reading if only for Chandler’s essay of the same title of this collection of short stories published by the Atlantic in 1950. It appears at the beginning of this book.

I am fan of this style of writing. Some may call it pulp fiction. Perhaps, hard-boiled? I suppose it is similar to comparing bare knuckle fighting and boxing under the Marquis of Queensbury rules. Chandler’s style, and those like him, is down and dirty, and supposed to be realistic. Indeed, in his essay, he writes: “Fiction in any form has always intended to be realistic.” He was writing in the context of denigrating the old-fashioned British-style mystery. I do believe he had a point.

These short stories are, I guess, realistic of the time and place they were set in: 1930’s Los Angeles. Reading them now in 2020, they are a microcosm of society and its attitudes in those times. His stereotyping of black and Asian people is something that would not be tolerated today, and rightly so. But if the reader can get past all that, these are stories that bring to mind old black and white movies full of characters wearing hats and mink fur coats (men and women), smoking cigarettes, slurping hard liquor, and of course toting guns or should I say “gats.”

They were all okay but no more than that. They tended to become a bit tiresome in that they covered the same types of characters but different names, and slightly different story. However, I am looking forward to reading The Big Sleep to see how he writes in a full length novel. I also vaguely recall seeing the movie so many years ago.

I pose an interesting question about Chandler and his “realistic” style. I really do wonder just how “realistic” his dialogue was. Did folks really talk like that back then? Or is it yet another case of life imitating art found in books and movies?

I mean, how would Chandler really know how tough guys and their molls talked? He became a detective fiction writer at the age of 44 after losing his job as an oil company executive. Prior to that as a British-American, he was a British civil servant then fought in WW1 with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, before undergoing flight training in the fledgling Royal Air Force (RAF) when the war ended. In 1919 he returned to America and by 1931 Chandler was a highly paid vice president of the Dabney Oil Syndicate.

Food for thought??

Operation Julie Latest Developments

Operation Julie Latest Developments

Some of you with sharp eyes may have noticed the recent changes to my website. For example, I have included contact details for my literary agent.

Indeed, I now have an agent and he negotiated a book publishing deal on my behalf with Penguin Random House UK. The Ebury imprint of PRH UK will be publishing my Operation Julie memoir probably in early 2022 to coincide with the anticipated release date of an Operation Julie TV multi- part documentary.

Ebury has the publishing rights for my memoir in the English language for the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, South Africa, and Commonwealth countries. I still retain the rights for the USA, Canada, and other countries too many to list here.

I have no further details of that documentary right now and I’m not permitted to release any further information in any event.

The proposed feature film (separate from the documentary) based on my memoir is still in development, but the production company is exploring the possibility of turning it into a drama TV series with as many as eight episodes.

It seems the current state of the UK film and TV industry favours TV series over full-length feature films aimed at cinema audiences. That may come as no surprise seeing the worldwide pandemic has drastically altered the way we live and seek to be entertained.

You should consider joining my mailing list to be first in the know about any of these projects.

So, I guess you can now say I’m a traditionally published author. That wasn’t an easy decision to make because as an indie I had full control over all aspects of my books including marketing. But the traditional route makes sense as regards my undercover cop memoir. Together with the media tie-in, it presents greater opportunities for publicity. Time will tell, so again, watch this space or even better, sign up for that mailing list.

The rest of my books are still indie books and will almost certainly remain so. That’s why I’m a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. However, the Penguin Books contract enabled me to also join the UK’s Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association – the links to those organizations can be seen in the sidebar.

I mentioned “sharp eyes” at the beginning. How many of you spotted the new version of my memoir on Amazon?

 

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