Masked cover small for web.png

paperback £7.99

kindle £2.99

isbn 9781729494011

available from amazon

pages 196

"Didn't want to end it, especially as it finished on a new beginning like all the best books do. Tell Pat to write a sequel of all the characters 40 years on."

- HD

 

"Rooting for Minky and Wendy. Go girls!" - LK

Publisher Review

I first read this manuscript when its author presented it to me as a thick sheaf of type-written text. It had clearly been produced on a real typewriter, in what we now call Courier font.

I enjoyed my read through very much, and learnt from the Pat, the author that Serpent’s Tail had shown interest in the 1990s, but had eventually decided against its publication. I asked to read it in 2016, and in 2018 when I founded Scott Martin Productions, I asked if Pat would be willing for me to publish it.

Almost inevitably, with a document of this kind and age, I had a nightmare extracting the text from the page and converting it to a Word document. Because there were so many markings, edits and blemishes on the pages that arrived with me, wrapped in bubble wrap, the pdf OCR maker was finding them all and converting each to letters, numbers and special characters.

 

For a few, short moments I considered giving up. But I didn’t give up. I really enjoyed the book and wanted Pat to be able to finally share it with others.

 

The story is of two intertwined families - a mother and her daughter (M1 and D1), and a father, mother and daughter (F2, M2 and D2). Mother 1 becomes intertwined with Father 2, and Daughters 1 and 2 embark on a lesbian relationship (eventually) while Mother 2 attempts to murder Father 2. Yes, the plot sounds complicated, but it isn’t really.

 

It is in many ways as simple love story, set against a nursing background. But in other ways it is so much more – it is an exploration of gender politics and emerging sexuality  in the 1960s and 1970s.  It is about the confusion of teens and the manipulation of a narcissistic parent. It is also about a baby girl who doesn’t seem to be developing as she should and the importance of appearance for many women like M2. Her pamper salon experiences are almost grotesque in their descriptions of women gossiping and preening themselves.

 

I love this book as much as I love the author.  It’s rich in conversation, rather than passages of description. It’s full of well-rounded and strong characters, and of a few terrifying situations – mainly at the hands of M2 and her attempted murder of her husband and attack on her daughter.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading ‘Masked’. It is available free on Kindle Unlimited, so what have you got to lose?

Extract From 'Masked'

"She’d looked at him and her little, too-serious face had suddenly smiled brilliantly."

Paddy Brice saw them scurrying past his joiner’s shop. He’d always felt sorry for Gillian Owen. Married to that creep. Shouldn’t speak ill of the dead but by God it was a temptation.

Paddy had been a drinking acquaintance of Alf Owen’s in the days before Owen went to the bad with his gambling - and worse. The scandal only confirmed what he’d suspected all along.

Owen’s pharmaceutical chemist’s shop in the High Street had once been a going concern and had passed from the father to his son Alf. He’d considered himself as fount of all medical wisdom, including much of the unorthodox variety, specialising in “Female Ailments”.

Women had always consulted him behind the thick, bevelled windows and Winchesters containing water coloured pink, green and a particularly virulent looking purple.

Paddy never liked the way Owen had appeared too concerned about young girls, hardly pubescent, making crude sexual remarks about budding breasts and pudenda. Well, it had all come out in the end. Owen had gone too far with his treatments and the kid had died, bleeding to death in the stockroom above the pharmacy. Full of drugs she’d been and when they hadn’t worked the bastard had carried out some sort of operation to abort the foetus.

The police had discovered other things as well. Porno photos of that girl and many others. That bloody dark room had probably covered a lot of action. Best of it, for all Owen’s lewd character he had been amazingly prudish where his wife was concerned. Wouldn’t hear a word against her if it was anything mildly prurient. Once knocked a man’s ale off the bar for remarking that Alf’s wife looked more like his daughter except for her well-developed bosom.

Odd character Alf Owen. Then tops himself leaving his wife, daughter and a load of debts. Paddy wondered how Gillian was coping. Not too well by the look of her.

It was true that Gillian did look like a schoolgirl although she must be thirty-something. Very small with a heart-shaped face and soft, grey eyes. She had a slight squint which only added to her air of vulnerability.

Paddy remembered seeing her at one of the children’s concerts some years ago. It was the only time she had been dressed decently, in a sort of green suede suit with a low neckline. A sweetheart neckline he thought they were called. Something about the shape of her. He grew tumescent at the thought then checked himself. She’d looked at him and her little, too-serious face had suddenly smiled brilliantly. She’d commented about the progress their girls were making in the dancing class. He’d stuttered and stammered like a fool.

He watched mother and daughter progress to their front gate. The gate had to be lifted. It appeared to be broken off its hinges. The whole place seemed to be in a state of disrepair. A barge board looked precarious. The house was a lovely 1930s detached villa but was becoming dilapidated. His fingers itched to start work, wrenching out deadwood and laying down sound timber.

Paddy sighed and turned back to his present work, turning the wood lovingly and carefully in his large, capable hands.