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City Jitters

Christopher Fowler (Author)

Beyond City Limits...

there are no eyeless, crawling things in this town, no vampire slumbers unseen behind the rusting rails of the city necropolis.

Here are only car parks, and nightclubs, and taxi cabs. The pavements are bright and thronging, people laugh and telephones ring.

But there is another world within the city, where reality may suddenly skip a heartbeat, where for a moment there is no recognition of the face in the mirror.

For in the very ordinariness of the city there lurks its biggest terror...

Sharper Knives

Christopher Fowler (Author)

Take a trip to the cutting edge of terror and discover:

- Why an obsession with sixties British comedy stars can make you a murderer ...

- The mother who dreads the sound of hymns - with good reason.

- How schooldays can be the weirdest days of your life.

- A couple who regularly visit the supermarket from Hell...

- And why people who collect table-mats are dangerous - only when they're dead...

Flesh Wounds

Christopher Fowler (Author)

A popular businessman awakes one morning to discover that everyone hates him. A young woman must surrender her virginity to a grotesque enemy in order to fulfil her family's destiny. An extraordinary chain of events is set in motion when a cocktail cabinet falls out of the sky and kills a farmer. A depressed man decides to make his suicide the most exciting thing that's ever happened to him...

Oozing paranoia, black humour and a certain amount of old-fashioned gore, this is a collection of classic Christopher Fowler short stories - each telling a chilling tale of desperate individuals who learn the hard way that ...flesh wounds.

The Bureau of Lost Souls

Christopher Fowler (Author)

A collection of twelve darkly disturbing, twisted stories from the author of Roofworld, Spanky and the acclaimed Bryant and May novels. But don't expect to read about vampires, werewolves, or ghouls or ghosts, or dolls coming to life or brain-eating zombies. And as for lake-dwelling demons, malevolent spirits, misogynistic slashers or children locked in attics, you can forget them...
Instead, here you have twelve stories of desperate people in seemingly ordinary situations - workers in offices, friends in pubs, husbands and wives in apartments and houses. All of them the most unlikely - and therefore the most likely - to find themselves trapped within their own personal, private, unimaginable, nerve-fracturing, bizarre and yes, deadly visions of Hell...

Hellion - The Curse of Snakes

Christopher Fowler (Author)

'Something had been released into the night streets. It moved unnoticed and sucked the life from people. It caused slow painful death, but even those who could sense its presence were too scared to admit it was there.

And now, with quiet deliberation, it was heading for the street where I lived.'

Red Hellion lives opposite the creepy, tightly locked Torrington Park, or 'Viper's Green'. Walking home from school one day he meets Max, who is trying to break in. Before he knows it, Red finds himself sucked into Max's plans to discover the whereabouts of his father, who disappeared weeks before under sinister circumstances connected with the park. But neither Max nor Red realize just how much their lives are at risk. Their investigations into the park are linked to the terrible the legend of Medusa, and are about to lead them into horrific danger...

Rune

Christopher Fowler (Author)

Across London people are dying in apparently unconnected freak accidents. Further investigation reveals that secreted on some of the bodies are strips of paper carrying angular, indecipherable hieroglyphics: their meaning unknown.

To his horror, advertising executive Harry Buckingham is linked with several of the victims. He is soon avoiding the police and following his own investigation. He discovers a multinational company combining sophisticated technology with ancient mythology. They call it confrontational marketing. Harry calls it pure evil.

It seems that the Devil may be at large in the nation's capital . . . and only a handful of people can stop the most hostile takeover bid of all time.

Red Bride

Christopher Fowler (Author)

John Chapel is a statistician's dream: he's twenty-nine, has a loving wife and son, a comfortable home, and a promising career. Then he meets the stunningly beautiful, mysterious Ixora, and his life starts to change disturbingly.

He first sees her running across the rainswept steps of Waterloo Station. When they meet again, Ixora denies having been there. Odder still, John discovers her in a film containing exactly the same sequence. So begins a dreamlike relationship that escalates into a nightmare.

Despite his good intentions, John finds himself embarking on a passionate affair. But violence and death track the ill-fated couple as John risks his home, his career and his life to save Ixora from a horrific destiny. Now the subject of a police investigation, he finds himself trapped in a vortex of spreading evil which may claim his very soul...

First published in the early 90s, Red Bride confirmed Fowler's place at the vanguard of modern horror fiction.

Soho Black

Christopher Fowler (Author)

Welcome to Soho, London's creative square mile, a bedlam of business and backstabbing, where dreams are manufactured and office workers get off their faces. A place where being a celebrity means treating every day as your last.

Movie executive, Richard Tyler, is strung out, stressed up and sinking fast. He owes money to film-freak thugs, thanks to debts stacked up by his card-charging girlfriend, who has been shagging his belligerent boss, who has just fired him.

Could things get any worse?

During one particularly hypertense evening Richard drops dead in the middle of a fashionable Soho bar. What happens next mortifies his friends and horrifies his enemies, as Richard's lifestyle of power-lunches and parties changes overnight into a fast-track trip into career hell...

Roofworld

Christopher Fowler (Author)

You won't see them unless you know where to look...
High above London's teeming streets exists a timeless universe with laws and codes known only to itself. Suspended in the skies by a complex system of cables and wires, two rival factions prepare to do battle for control of their world and the eventual manipulation of the city below...

Welcome to Roofworld.

Rose, a beautiful, feisty, amateur photographer - and Robert, a shy but cynical scriptwriter, witness a rooftop kidnapping by chance. And then they hear of strange rooftop murders that are being discovered almost daily - and they want to know more. But in their clumsy efforts to understand, they become caught up in an intense power struggle between honest seekers of another life and the consummate evil of a power-mad leader in control of society's hopeless. Together, Rose and Robert become inextricably caught up in a violent war among a nearly invisible people who could easily control the future of the world . . .

The Lightning Keeper

Starling Lawrence (Author)

The Lightning Keeper is a sweeping epic novel of ambition, love and enterprise in America. It is the story of an unlikely Romeo and Juliet romance at the dawn of the electric age, with the nation balancing on the brink of world war and a scientific revolution.

In 1914 Toma Pekocevic is a penniless immigrant in New York, recently escaped from the bloody politics of the Balkans that have claimed most of his family. Also a gifted inventor, he designs a revolutionary water turbine while working with Harriet Bigelow, scion of a proud Connecticut iron-making dynasty now fallen on hard times. Their attraction is immediate and overwhelming, but every circumstance is against them.

Toma is eventually drawn inside the industrial empire of General Electric, his machine an essential cog in its grand scheme to provide electricity to the entire country. After he loses Harriet to a wealthy politician, his invention is all he has - but Toma is determined to win her back. The stage is set for a confrontation that could change not only his life but the course of scientific progress.

Deeply evocative and utterly engrossing, The Lightning Keeper is a rich tapestry of technology, romance and war - an unforgettable and distinctly American saga that establishes Starling Lawrence as one of the most talented writers at work today.

The Crime Code

Michael Cordy (Author)

The year is 2008. Violent crime has become a global epidemic, nowhere more so than in the United States. Everything from the death penalty to liberal reforms has failed. Nothing has been effective. Until now.

Project Conscience promises to be the solution. It is a bold attempt by a powerful group of scientists, politicians and senior law-enforcement personnel to use gene therapy to treat male criminals and cure violent crime. But among their number are those with a more sinister agenda, who would go further and turn the dream of Project Conscience into the nightmare of Crime Zero.

Luke Decker, a criminal psychologist disillusioned with the growing dependence on genetic science, is on the verge of resigning from the FBI when a death-row killer's whispered revelation threatens everything he believes in and catapults him into the heart of the conspiracy. Decker's only ally is Dr Kathy Kerr, an old flame and ideological adversary, and the geneticist behind the original Project Conscience.

Together they must put aside their differences to fight against a scheme so ruthless in intent and so vast in scope that it will irrevocably change the evolution of mankind itself.

Crime Zero is a terrifyingly credible thriller based on technological developments that are already with us. At its core is the story of one man's desperate fight for self-determination and free will in a world where such qualities are in danger of imminent extinction . . .

Distant Music

Charlotte Bingham (Author)

In the 1950s, when Britain was still recovering from the effects of the war, the only people in society who could be said to have a glamorous lifestyle were the very wealthy, the aristocracy, and people who worked in the theatre.
Elsie Lancaster is the granddaughter of a hardened old professional actress who runs a seaside boarding house.
Oliver is the third son of an Catholic aristocratic Yorkshire family whose mother has run off, so the theatre-mad butler has brought him up like a son to be a Great Actor.
Coco Hampton, Oliver's best friend, has been raised in Sloane Street by Gladys, her profligate guardian, who is always borrowing money from Coco to buy more clothes.
Gladys and Oliver have been fans of the theatre since they were knee-high, but Coco has only ever wanted to be a designer. When Coco joins Oliver at his drama school in London, to his chagrin she promptly gets cast in films because of her photogenic looks. Meanwhile, Elsie is 'discovered' in the provinces by Portly Cosgrove, but is sacked by Portly's partner, who runs off with their assets. She is forced to retire from the stage while suicidal Portly walks the streets.
Oliver meets and falls in love with Elsie. Meanwhile, on location, Coco has her first affair with a handsome actor and falls pregnant by mistake...

Summertime

Charlotte Bingham (Author)

When Trilby meets Lewis, the all-powerful proprietor of a newspaper group, she suspects that her life might be about to change, but not, as it transpires, forever. For not only does Lewis wish to acquire her cartoon strip, but Trilby herself. She is inevitably drawn to this handsome, older, and far more sophisticated personality, just as Lewis is, from the first, determined to marry the insouciant Trilby, despite the opposition of her friends and family. But having won her, Lewis reveals himself to be irrationally possessive.

Becoming a virtual prisoner in her own home is not something that Trilby had ever dreamt could happen to her, a young woman in 1950s London, but it is not long before she realises that Lewis is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to keep her to himself. Quite by chance, she discovers the real reason for her husband's unforgivable behaviour. Trilby must come to terms with the truth about Lewis, and more importantly, herself, before she can experience the kind of carefree happiness she once knew before her marriage.

The Chestnut Tree

Charlotte Bingham (Author)

It is the summer of 1939, and like the rest of Europe, the residents of the little idyllic Sussex fishing port of Bexham are preparing for war. Beautiful but shy Judy Melton, daughter of a naval war hero, her determinedly feckless friend, the social butterfly Meggie Gore-Stewart, seemingly demure Mathilda Eastcott, and Corrie Hogarth, the tomboy daughter of the owner of the local boatyard, are all in their very individual ways determined to play an active part in the defence of their country. Knitting socks and bomb-dodging is not what they have in mind for themselves while their husbands and brothers, fathers and lovers are away fighting.
But attitudes to women's roles in a warring world are difficult to change, and at first all four find it impossible to settle for the traditional kind of work that their families envisage. However, it is not just the young women of Bexham who are determined to find new roles for themselves - so are their mothers. In this manner the little Sussex village, facing as it does the coastline of Nazi-invaded France, finds its closely sewn social fabric gradually unstitch, inch by little inch.
Under the tree on the green the women of Bexham meet to look back on a landscape that has changed irrevocably, and which they have in their own ways helped to alter. None of them are the same, and yet, with the men returning from war, they are expected to slip back into their simple roles of mother, daughter, grandmother. This, more than anything perhaps, is their greatest sacrifice. Having been freed by war, they have now to relinquish that very independence that gave them the liberty for which they once fought.
Only the chestnut tree planted by Corrie at the edge of the village flourishes in the accepted manner, finally becoming the uniting symbol of all that has passed forever.

The Love Knot

Charlotte Bingham (Author)

Following the death of her seventeen-year-old mother in childbirth, Leonie Lynch is brought up in London's Eastgate Street by foster parents through the auspices of her godmother, the redoubtable Mrs Dodd, her living expenses provided for by her young mother's friend, Lady Angela Bentick.
Mrs Dodd turns to Lady Angela when her godchild is nearing her eighteenth birthday. Lady Angela runs a fashionable nursing home and can provide Leonie with a profession, whilst Mrs Dodd offers her accommodation. Upon joining Lady Angela's staff as a nurse, Leonie meets our two other heroines - Mercy Cordel and Dorinda Montgomery.
Mercy grew up at the family home, Cordel Court in Somerset, and shortly after her seventeenth birthday, was brought up to London by her stepmother for the London Season. Dorinda Montgomery, on the other hand, has hardly ridden up and down Rotten Row more than a half a dozen times before she has captured the heart of every masher around town, and earns the sobriquet 'Dorinda Blue.' Within days she is a famous member of the demi-monde, with her own house and carriage in St John's Wood. Meanwhile, Mercy Cordel is hard put to find a dancing partner. That she eventually finds a husband in the hard-bitten, hard-riding John Brancaster is a source of happy amazement to her.
Three such very different young women, and yet Society seems to reward Dorinda Montgomery more than it does the virtuous girl pushed into marriage with a suitably older husband. Certainly this is how it seems to Leonie Lynch, the only one of the three who has quite made up her mind to dedicate herself to something other than marriage...

The Magic Hour

Charlotte Bingham (Author)

When Alexandra Stamford goes to stay with her Millington cousins at Knighton Hall she knows nothing about the handsome stable lad they have cruelly nicknamed 'the oik'', nor is she destined to meet him until he is rich and successful. If Tom O'Brien is a servant, Alexandra herself is very much the poor relation, while the daughters of the house have beauty, status and wealth. Shortly after Alexandra's return home, her father re-marries. No longer wanted, Alexandra is forced to become a maid-of-all-work for a Mrs Smithers who lives in a grand Regency house in the seaside town of Deanford. Here she rapidly makes her mark among the impoverished ladies of the town, arranging romantic luncheons where they can meet wealthy widowers in comfort. It is through one of these occasions that handsome, funny Bob Atkins meets and falls in love with Alexandra.Despite her commitment to Bob, Alexandra is determined to make a success of her new life. Meanwhile Tom O'Brien meets and falls for the beautiful Lady Florazel Compton who introduces him to the sophistications of 1950s London. As Bob is conscripted for National Service, Alexandra plans her future, and in doing so discovers the awful circumstances of her birth. Tragedy strikes, and it is only when Tom returns from New York to search out his old friend Bob Atkins' fiancee that Alexandra's life appears about to be truly transformed. But the past seems destined to wreck the happiness of the present, as the glamorous Lady Florazel Compton is determined to re-capture her former love, destroying the magic hour of Tom's and Alexandra's meeting.

The Moon At Midnight

Charlotte Bingham (Author)

It is late autumn, 1962, and darkness is falling, but not just over the idyllic fishing port of Bexham. The threat of atomic warfare is so real that people are taking their children to work, or staying home with their families as they face what they think might be the end of the world. For some, the threat is all the more bewildering as they struggle to understand the new generation of the Sixties, a generation for whom they made so many wartime sacrifices, for whom they had such high hopes. No sooner has the threat of nuclear war seemed to have passed than Judy, Mathilda and Rusty are facing a new, personal crisis brought about by their teenage children. Much as Waldo Astley would like to remain on the sidelines, he finds it impossible, and this too brings about bitter opposition from those caught up in the near-tragedy. Still grieving for his lost wife, he tries his best to help his three friends, only to find himself falling in love with one of them.
Meanwhile the younger generation have their own problems, all of which involve their families. That all the generations find themselves once more united in a battle, this time to save the village they love, is both an irony and finally, a saving grace. Once more an enemy has to be defeated, once more they must arm themselves, but this time for a war of a very different kind.

The Season

Charlotte Bingham (Author)

Portia and Emily meet to launch their daughters on an unsuspecting Society for the London Season of 1913. Both are determined that their offspring, Phyllis and Edith, will catch the eye of their friend May's son, a future Duke. If that were all, the Season would be a relatively simple affair, but since Portia is recently widowed and Emily is away from her husband, life is bound to get more interesting.

Meanwhile, their arch-enemy Daisy Lanford, fallen on hard times due to extravagance and too many lovers, is busy launching American heiresses. However, her protegee, Sarah Hartley Lambert, whilst an engaging girl, is not the wild success Daisy hopes for. This is largely due to the machinations of Phyllis, who, having formed an unholy alliance with Edith, is intent on spoiling the American girl's chances.

As always, the Season is fraught with dangers for both the young and the middle-aged, while the old observe, knowing it has all gone on before. It will be a minor miracle if all three girls find husbands before the end of the Season, and their mothers, not to mention Daisy Lanford, renewed happiness.

The White Marriage

Charlotte Bingham (Author)

Sunny's mundane country life is changed overnight when handsome, stylish Gray's Bentley breaks down outside her parents' cottage in Rushington. It seems that he may have fallen in love with her.Although Sunny herself remains unconvinced, her best friend Arietta believes that Sunny is soon to be set on the road to wealth and happiness.

Shortly after meeting Gray for the second time at a local ball, Sunny is invited out by his close friend, the beautiful socialite, Leandra Fortescue, who tells her over lunch that Gray wants to marry her if she will accept certain conditions. Sunny does accept, even as Arietta is leaving Rushington to work in London.

Sunny soon joins Arietta at her cheerfully chaotic lodgings. It is here that she realises that she can find the sort of contentment that has eluded sophisticates such as Gray and Leandra.Here too she meets Hart and, despite being engaged to Gray, falls in love with him, just as Arietta has fallen for his friend, jazz-playing painter, Sam. By chance Arietta comes into a secret about Gray, but is afraid to tell Sunny, and yet not to tell her might ruin her future.

Every Good Girl

Judy Astley (Author)

After twenty years of marriage, Nina had offloaded serial philanderer Joe and was happy enough, thank you, coping alone with their two demanding daughters and her own hectic life. It felt like freedom, not having to wonder constantly where Joe was, who with and up to what.

But into Nina's new, carefree life some disturbing elements began to appear. A flasher had been accosting young girls on the nearby common, leaving every man in the area under suspicion. Home, to Nina, no longer felt so safe. And Joe, during one of his oh-so-civilised monthly lunches with Nina, revealed that the new love in his life, pin-thin, power-dressed Catherine, had decided that she now required a baby. But babies, Joe told Nina, were what he did with her: a remark that Nina found oddly unsettling...

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