Four very different books form the latest offering from Rednal author Jack Walsh.
His latest novel, Blood!, is a juicy and chilling tale of revenge from beyond the grave. Spanning more than 100 years, it takes in the horrors of the late-Victorian and Edwardian workhouse and asylum systems before moving into the 1950s where a man is haunted by witnessing a bizarre killing – and then to the present day where police are baffled by further murders with a supernatural twist.
With part of the story set around Burcot and Barnt Green, Village readers will recognise many locations – and may never look at Blackwell Road in the same way again!
Since Jack’s novels have covered the Vietnam War, the Soviet gulags, sexual depravity and now vampirism, a children’s book is something of a departure – although he does say that it is aimed at “all children between the ages of five and 105”!
The Incredible Journey and Adventures of William and Klara Churchmouse again makes use of the Birmingham area as two mice leave Northfield in search of a new home, finding danger, friendship and enlightenment along the way.
Told from the perspective of the mice, there are nods to young readers in the explanations of long words and also the Dahl-esque made-up words (we’re told that mice say “spleep” instead of “sleep”; was this a typo that became a cute touch?).
The book also contains a few short poems, and you can find more of Jack’s verse in An Effusion of Poems.Subjects range from serious (war and homelessness) to prosaic (recycling and grumpy old men) and span a variety of styles from colloquial to lyrical.
Equally eclectic (the clue’s in the title) is Eclectica, a bundle of Jack’s short stories – some of which he has turned into full novels.
An entertaining vignette of a scorned wife berating her faithless husband sits alongside various ghostly tales, the memoir of an unusual pet, and a frankly terrifying encounter on a bus in the Deep South.
All books are available via Amazon as paperback or Kindle editions.