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Long, long ago, before Twittering and Blogging and Facebooking - in fact way back in 1988 - Allen Makepeace retired from the post he had held for ten years as a Schools Inspector in south London. Prior to that he had been a comprehensive school head for thirteen years and before that... well, that's back in the mists of time.
Since his retirement Allen has written more than twenty non-fiction books on crime, disasters, the supernatural and superstitions. He has won several awards for writing including the South East Arts Prose Prize and he was a finalist in the Fenner Brockway Peace Prize for Literature. Most of his books have been traditionally published, the rest self-published. He has written two novels, 'And Such Great Names as These', winner of the NAWG Award for 'best novel', and 'Winter Hunt' and a collection of prize-winning short stories. 'Winter Hunt', a thriller set in the early nineteenth century reflects Allen's interest in the criminal history of England. This book has never appeared in traditional printed book format.
Seventy-five per cent of the profits of these two novels are to be donated to the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association.
Allen Makepeace and his wife live at Eastbourne on the south coast of England.
What reviewers said about And Such Great Names as These when issued in printed book format:
'...carried off with enviable subtlety...'
Martyn Bedford, author and reviewer for The Literary Review
'...a page-turner...I couldn't put it down...'
GJ Lee, Bexleyheath
'...a truly accomplished, evocative and well-judged novel...'
Sophie Lambert, buyer for Foyles, London
'...powerful and haunting in its joys and sorrows...'
Linda Cunliffe, Edinburgh
'...a well crafted novel...'
Southampton Library Reading Group
'...sharply etched, raw yet tender...give yourself a treat and get this book...'
Rosemary Bartholomew, St Leonards-on-Sea
'...intelligent, uncluttered prose...a little gem...don't miss it...'
Deborah Fisher, Tregolwyn Book Reviews
'...an ability to bring the period to life...'
'...packed with incident...you just lap it up...'
Steve Craggs, Northern Echo
'...totally absorbing, beautifully written...'
on Oct. 27, 2011 :
Winter Hunt takes place in the early years of nineteenth century England. A home invasion robbery, during which a young man loses his life, sets the stage for an adventurous and complex tale. As the first chapter closes, the gang of thieves makes their escape with the owners' possessions in tow. The reader is left to ponder how and when they will be caught and brought to justice, if at all.
When the magistrate's godson, Will, once an army officer, is enlisted to question the robbery victims it starts a chain of events where key members of the gang end up being silenced forever. Will he be able to figure out this perplexing puzzle before the last witness to the robbery and heinous murder is no more?
Who is the mysterious Mr. Heselton, aka Mr. Smith, and what is his connection to the gang of thieves?
Will Kitty, the homeless teenage girl unwittingly enlisted into doing the bidding of a certain devious man of Mr. Heselton's acquaintance, figure out she is a target as well?
Author Allen Makepeace has written an engaging story with equaling engaging characters. The atmosphere is bleak; the weather cold, snowy, and harsh. Typhus is running rampid claiming the lives of those living in the foul and repulsive tenements. The sordidness of the career criminals' lifestyles is captured flawlessly as well as the dankness of the prisons. Life is definitely not easy, some would say even brutal, for the majority of people living in this era.
I enjoyed this novel. The pace of events was quick and I found the characters to be well-developed. Although I was overwhelmed at times by the sheer number of dubious characters introduced into the storyline, overall, this is a gem of a story and one which any mystery buff would enjoy.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)