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“An eclectic, ingenious and often hilarious collection!”

Burke’s latest is a droll, intriguing collection of stories permeated by themes of violence, greed, obsession with murder and mayhem added in the mix. The book is divided into four sections. In the collection’s fantastical first section “History,” Burke pushes the boundaries between the bizarre and the humorous with brilliant results. “The Central Pacific Railroad” takes readers on one woman’s journey of three decades—from the whorehouses of San Francisco to the wealthy section of Salt Lake City—also trailing the history of the construction of the Pacific Railroad that began in 1860 to Idaho becoming the 43rd state of the union in 1890. The incisive, funny second part “Heroes” brilliantly captures the claustrophobia of classic noir. The “Servants of the Crown” is the hilarious twist on Ian Fleming’s James Bond adventure in which James Bond accompanies the discount detective Paddy Pest and his enigmatic girlfriend Stormy Waters and go to India to retrieve a national treasure. The single but available Melanie Marple, in charge of the Entertainment Unit of the Metropolitan Police, hunts a serial killer who is targeting girls from a popular musical band in “Melanie Marple”. Reward and recognition await the courageous protagonist of “War and Reese” after she is sent to France as a spy. “Valour and Courage” takes readers on another international adventure of the endearing Paddy Pest. The third part “Horror” is a dark, unsettling section with murder, bloodshed, and chaos at its center. A sinister twist surprises in “Albert Stein,” in which a police detective finds herself entangled in unsolved murder cases. The eluding killer escapes justice for decades but after the detectives from the Cold Case Squad close in, his nephew orchestrates a final act of vengeance. In “Donald Tuck and Mickey House,” two drinking buddies’ plan of bringing down the iconic Sydney Opera House seals their fates to doom. The bright, ingenious female protagonist at the center of the sinister “How Do You Wear Your Genes?” discovers not even a steady, fulfilling job could alter the psychopathic tendencies of her twin sibling. In “Hands across the Water,” the story from the third section “Hollywood,” Paddy Pest solves another case, the kidnapping of a renowned celebrity. Queerness permeates these stories, shaping the characters and their lives: there is a copious analysis of human psyche, family ties, sibling bonds, and individual struggles, old history, and a lengthy parody of fragmented classic detective fiction. This impressively varied compendium will not only entertain but also challenge and move readers.


Stories that burst the bubble of believability

Publisher: iUniverse

Buy now through author’s website

Also available via Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble and other reputable outlets.

Published 25 November 2020

ISBN: 978-1-6632-1323-5 (softcover) 13.99 USD

ISBN: 978-1-6632-1322-8 (hardcover) 26.99 USD

ISBN: 978-1-6632-1324-2 (ebook) 3.99 USD

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