I was inspired by a talk on Modern Day Slavery that I attended at Bradford Literature Festival. The speakers, Baroness Lola Young and Kevin Hyland OBE, are both strong advocates against Modern Day Slavery in all its many insidious forms. As I listened, I became more and more appalled by what can only be described as ‘Man’s inhumanity to man.’I left feeling angry, frustrated and sad, so I began to research more about Modern Day Slavery and I was sickened by what I discovered. Commoditizing another human being, whose only desire is to obtain a better life for themselves and their families must be among the sickest of actions. I watched documentaries, read reports from various Anti-Slavery Charities and cried ... a lot.
One day the germs of a story unravelled in my mind and Broken Silence was born. Despite toning down the horror, Broken Silence doesn’t pull too many punches; the subject matter was too important for me to do that. When the ebook was released, Baroness Lola Young retweeted my tweet saying the following ‘Writing novels as a form of activism! Part of a long tradition of lit/art engaging with difficult problems, raising awareness. Once you know, you can’t claim ignorance.’ This is chapter two of Broken Silence and introduces Stefan Marcovici who has been tricked into slavery. As the book unfolds you will find out much more about Stefan’s story. Just remember, this sort of thing does happen ... and often it happens right under our noses.
Extract of the book from
Headlights pierced the early morning dark, as the van pulled up outside Bradford Halal Chicken Factory. The men who were bundled on the floor in the back, got to their feet before the doors were yanked open and they were berated by the big hulking bloke the other men called Bullet. Their eyes adjusting to the dawn light and shivering, they stumbled out onto the frosty ground. After being locked up in the dark for the duration of the journey, it was a relief for Stefan Marcovici when the doors opened. The smell of unwashed bodies combined with their cramped positions always panicked him a bit. What if they crashed and the van exploded? What if one day their captors just parked up and didn’t bother to open the doors for them? The factory lights were on, but they were the first workers to arrive and the car park was empty bar their transport and another car that probably belonged to the night watchman. It was parked next to the huge waste containers that stood next to the roll-down warehouse doors attached to the factory. As they passed Bullet, he pushed each of them, a stupid grin on his face. They trudged onto the next man. Huddled in a huge coat, woollen beanie on his head and a fed-up weed-glazed look on his face, he handed them their lunch: a single paper-thin sandwich with a disgusting paste filling, that clagged up your mouth. Each day, he arrived at the halal chicken factory, put on white overalls, a plastic apron, hairnet, mask, gloves and wellies and for hour after interminable hour he stood, freezing his balls off, by whatever machine they directed him to, dealing with the cold chicken corpses that moved passed him on a conveyor belt of death. All around him, the machines clanked and jolted, the men chatted and the radio played songs about, love and sex, none of which held any importance for him in his current situation.
Over the months Stefan had grown immune to the putrid stench of blood clogging up his nostrils. It had become routine, just part of his day. A huge part of it. A necessary part of it. The section between getting up and going back home to bed. The bit he could measure. The squish of innards and entrails between his gloved fingers, the sound of cartilage and bone cracking beneath his cleaver and the persistent buzz of the fly catcher that hung from the ceiling above him, as he worked, were all just scene setting. Part of the cadence of his daily life.
Some of the men worked shorter shifts than he and his fellow captives –coming in later and leaving earlier. About two hours before the end of his shift, Stefan watched, heavy-hearted and envious, as they left of their own accord with a friendly wave and banter, whilst he and the other faceless people slogged in silence. Sometimes he wondered if it was just one great long nightmare. Months earlier he’d been full of hope, making plans for a future where his entire family joined him and his daughter. A new start away from the threat of the gang he’d betrayed back in Romania. When they’d taken him and Maria to a bank and helped them sign up for an account, he’d been sure everything was legitimate, all above board. Sure, he’d be able to manage his money, pay off his debt to those who’d helped him escape and build a life, but the bastards had confiscated his card and insisted he still had a huge debt to pay off.
Throwing a pile of chicken guts into the plastic waste tubs behind him and wishing it was a brick hitting Bullet’s head, he went through his strategy. For days now he’d been thinking about this and now the day had come, he wanted to make sure everything went to plan. The trigger had been when he’d heard the advert on the radio. At first, he hadn’t understood it. Wondered what it was about. Then, he heard it again and it began to dawn on him. The advert was about people like him and the other men. People kept against their will, unable to escape. People like his daughter being forced to do God knows what.
If you suspect that there is Modern Day Slavery happening in your city, town, road, or area, then please contact this number 08000 121 700
These links are to organisations which work with trafficked people and can provide much more information:
Welcome to ILR, this week we have an new author for you to try, well new to me. I'm liking the sound of these books and have been informed they are very good. I have treated myself and bought the first book ready to read, so watch out for my review over the next few weeks.
Author info from authors website.
I was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, in December, 1944. At the age of twenty-two, armed with a Higher National Certificate in Chemistry, I moved to Thurso, Caithness, where I worked for the UK Atomic Energy Authority at their Dounreay plant on the north coast of Scotland for two years, before moving to Salford in 1968 to complete a degree in Applied Chemistry at the city’s university. Following that, I worked for thirty-five years for Kellogg Company, the global breakfast cereal manufacturer, latterly in the role of Human Resources Director with responsibility for Pay and Benefits policy across the company’s European operation.I retired from the company in December 2005, just a couple of weeks after my sixty-first birthday. This new freedom provided me and my wife, Carol, the chance to indulge our passion for hill-walking and we have undertaken one long-distance walk each year for the past seven years, with more already planned for the future.
Even so, retirement from such a fulfilling job dumped me well and truly outside my comfort zone and left a significant gap in my life. My motivation for writing the story of Hotel St Kilda was an attempt to fill that gap.My choice of subject originated from a short story I wrote over fifty years ago whilst at Hull Grammar School. The story drew critical acclaim from my peers in the third form (I guess that’s year nine in modern English) and was included in a school magazine. I’m not sure whether this fact already established me as a published author. I think probably not. That short tale, spanning a few hand-written pages, is essentially the basis of Chapter 2 of the first book, Catalyst, and from there the story developed as I wrote it around the skeleton of the plot. In fact, my intention was to produce a single book, until the words ran away with seemingly lives of their own, multiplying as they went, to produce a surprisingly long saga. The climax of the third book, Lost Souls, is based on another short story which I have had in my mind – though never put down on paper – for a good many years.For the last forty-seven of my seventy-one years, I have lived in Manchester, forty-five of them married to Carol. We have two children, and two grandchildren. Incidentally, Carol is an artist and is responsible for the cover design of all three books.
Catalyst: Hotel St Kilda
When three brothers, the leaders of a brutal gang, are lured to an isolated street and shot dead by a mysterious stranger, the subsequent euphoria on the estate where they lived is picked up by the national press.
Tom Brown, an MP for the Opposition Party, whose constituency includes the estate, seizes the opportunity to exploit the story. Having built a reputation as a champion of law and order, he leads the crusade to implement a New Justice Regime with several supporters in tow, including local campaigner George Holland who embarks on a tour of the country to rally support for radical change.
There are those who steadfastly oppose these reforms, one individual being Tom’s wife Maggie, a high-profile Human Rights activist. Their relationship suffers badly during his campaign, a situation which pushes him closer to Grace, his assistant.
When the killer is eventually caught and sentenced to life imprisonment, the gang sets out for revenge, targeting George for his outspoken condemnation of their activities and uncompromising proposals for their demise. They descend in large numbers on the quiet village where he lives, armed and ready to kill, and the resulting event is dubbed 'The Meadow Village Massacre' across the national papers.
Meanwhile, Party Leader Andrew Donald is pursuing his own agenda…
This intriguing novel, the first of the Hotel St Kilda books, contains themes of politics, crime and the military with family drama at its heart, creating a wide appeal for readers both young and old.
The events of these past few months can be likened to the destabilising of a mountain top, creating a political and social avalanche of awesome, overwhelming power. As it cascades, unstoppable, in its devastating surge, it now seems certain that everything in its path will be either swept along with it or buried irretrievably beneath.
The public demand for radical change in law and order in the wake of a catalytic event on a tough East London estate featured in Catalyst, the first book in the 'Hotel St Kilda' Trilogy.
Now with the second instalment, Heaven’s Door, we re-join the story as the new government, who swept to power off the back of the public’s appetite for reform, start to assert their control. The new measures for addressing street crime include lifetime banishment for worst offenders, a popular development which receives widespread support, and which Tom Brown, the Home Secretary, decides to extend to cover other serious crimes. Although he meets strong opposition to this change, he steadfastly pushes it through.
Then, at the zenith of his political achievement, and just when he seems reconciled with his family, his decision backfires. His private and political lives collide dramatically and Tom is faced with a devastating choice which, either way, will lead to personal tragedy..
Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Jo Cottrell and a former colleague, David Gerrard, begin looking into the circumstances that led to this situation and uncover unexpected liaisons which raise a number of questions…
Get your signed copy!£8.99 + £2.00 P&P
Lost Souls: Hotel St Kilda (Hotel St Kildar 3)
Lost Souls is the third thriller in the Hotel St Kilda trilogy by Prestwich author Michael Knaggs. Michael's second book, Heaven's Door, published in November 2014, described how Tom Brown, on his appointment as Home Secretary, introduced the New Justice Regime, which included new methods for addressing street crime involving lifetime banishment for worst offenders. When this extreme measure receives widespread public support, Tom decides to extend it to the next serious crime on his hit-list - Class A drug dealing. Then, at the zenith of his political achievement, his decision backfires, causing his private and political lives to collide dramatically...'Lost Souls' picks up the story of Tom's struggle to come to terms with his personal loss as he sinks ever deeper into a drunken world of lost nights and half-remembered days. Concern grows in government circles over his outspoken condemnation of the New Justice Regime, his own brain-child and the prime vehicle for getting the party elected. Then the killing begins; a series of apparently unconnected loners, chillingly executed. A missing drug trader and a tenuous link to a mysterious stranger set the police off on a trail they have no wish to follow as the stakes are raised and the body count rises...
Happy New year to all of you. Hoping you manage to read many more books this year. There are many books i'm looking forward to this year. you can check out my Facebook page where I have listed just a few of those.
For now I'm feeling excited to use my new book journal, but I don't want to write on those lovely new pages, so I have to go through my 20,000 pens and find a nice one to use on the first page. lol
Thrilled to be part of this cover reveal tonight for an absolutely amazing book, by an amazing debut author. #NoelleHolten #DeadInside
About the Book: ‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent. ‘Kept me hooked … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons When three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet. The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband. Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?
'Bloody Brilliant read' Vicki -I Love Reading
How awesome is that?
About the Author: Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle's hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the #booklove via her blog. Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
One Endless Summer is in the UK Kindle Summer Sale. Until 31st August it is only 99p and can be purchased here
One Endless Summer
How long can you keep a secret?
Three best friends are embarking on an all-expenses paid trip of their dreams. The only catch? Every moment will be documented on film.
Lizzie is finally ready to embrace adventure for the very first time. It’s their last three months together, but it is Lizzie’s time to finally start living!
Jaddi is known for her stunning looks, flirtatious attitude and many conquests. But Jaddi has a secret and on this last trip together she needs to decide whether her best friends will ever know the real her.
Samantha has always been the ‘grown up’ of the group, the one with a five year plan. What Lizzie and Jaddi don’t know is that Sam is trapped, and her perfect life isn’t quite what it seems…
As they trek across the globe Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha must come to terms with loss, love and trusting one another. But will it all be too late…
‘Speechless at just how breathtaking this book really is.’ Rachel Gilbey
’Mind-blowing, enchanting, heart-breaking, moving, spell-binding and emotional.’ The Writing Garnet
Purchase Link - https://amzn.to/2utiVsm
Author Bio –
When I am not running around after my two children, my husband, our cockerpoo Rodney, or just plain running, I love nothing more than disappearing into the fictional world of my characters, preferably with a large coffee and a slab of chocolate cake to hand. I have a degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, both of which help me in everything I do.
Social Media Links –