Lots of people feel the need to write almost as soon as they learn to put words together. I went to school with girls who kept diaries and diligently made entries on a daily basis. Not me, I was like the other boys. If there was a ball to play with, we’d play football. If there was no ball, we’d find an old tin, maybe in a dustbin, and play kick the tin. In the late 50’s, early 60’s, where I came from that was what life was for a young lad – and I loved it.
I don’t remember the exact age, let’s say fifteen for the sake of argument, but I picked up a book I think was my uncle’s and began reading it. The novel was called The Carpetbaggers and was written by Harold Robbins. The first chapters, when the protagonist’s parents were murdered, absolutely enthralled me. I couldn’t put it down. Unfortunately, not enjoying the greatest of concentration at that time, I found the book too long, too slow, and soon got bored. However, when another novel by the same author showed up in the house, The Adventurers, I thought I’d give it a go. Once again the first chapters had me living the pages, but, yet again, as I delved further into the book my interest waned.
So, you might think, no signs of a budding writer here. But no, those first chapters in The Adventurers were about an author who’d made it to the top of his trade. He lay next to his private swimming pool in the garden of his grand house musing over what the point of his life was now he’d done it all. Without realising it at the time, that man by the pool had been so believably drawn by Robbins that he weaved himself through my skin. Over the years he held on to a compartment of my mind. I wanted what he’d had. You might think I mean his wealth and position. That would be nice, but no, my reasoning was that the stories of that fictitious writer were adored by all who read them. He had a worldwide following and his works were renowned. I think what I felt was that age old sin… envy.
This figment of some writer’s imagination grabbed a space in my mind from where he occasionally popped up to make sure I hadn’t forgotten him. I was fifty when I retired and I had no intention of donning a new harness belonging to someone else. At the same time I’m not one to sit around contemplating life and I’d been an avid reader for many years. The little man in my head chose that moment to highlight an opportunity. I did creative writing courses, bought and read a multitude of ‘how to write anything’ type books and started writing… and there I was, proudly presenting my debut novel Birth of an Assassin. An interesting offshoot to this tale; you can carry ambition around for many years without even knowing it.
Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.
Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating – R
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