Blue Curtains

2.5 stars out of 5.

And we plod on, inexorably forward, progress maintained by accepting any motion as positive. 

It is indeed beyond a truism that glaciers move quicker across continents than I progress towards becoming a published author. 

But drip, drip, drip, we perceiver. 

We carry the nervousness of the second album as the dead dog across our shoulders – maybe it’s just a slow burn, maybe it’s one of those read twice to appreciate kind of books? 

Or, indeed possibly, just maybe, it’s not just ahead of the readership curve, possibly, maybe, it’s just not any good? 

Can you throw so many ideas into a mix and expect them all to work? 

Does one idea detract and distract from the other? 

I’m not too sure.

Doubt sits on my shoulder.

Maybe it’s a misunderstood classic? 

Maybe indeed I should just let it go, move on, have confidence in what I’ve written, and stop looking for applause that’s just not going to come?

Do I need the echo chamber validation?

But standing in the arena, with dust on my shoes, I do look up into the sea of watching faces and focus on the direction of the pointing thumbs.

Standing at the top of the ten-meter board, looking across the sharp concrete edge, the water has never looked further away. 

Tempting, but terrifying.

Unperturbed we move Amy through additional adventures in the young city of New York.  We seek allies, and we vanquish enemies while trying desperately to save our friends.

Echoes from the chasing pack are growing louder, the Latimer siblings are moving to remove the embarrassing annoyance of the woman with red hair, and that woman is…  well you’ll have to read the book to find out just what she is doing.

But, it is a less complex intertwined story than Magic, a tale that sticks to the relative simplicity of the debut.

Album three continues like its predecessors as a no holds barred, unforgiving, harsh, and at times unbelievably cruel, venture into the dark underbelly of life. 

We have Pinkerton Agents, opiate smugglers and the whiff of requited love in the air for our heroine.   

As for the curtains, yeah they’re blue as an echo of the plight of the impoverished victims of global tyranny – shhsh it’s kinda obvious… 







2nd Album Syndrome

Well the first one is always the easiest, for debutants the critics are generally more sympathetic. Idiosyncratic structure accepted as ‘style’, unique phrasing lauded as refreshing, the darkness of the story enjoyed as something genuinely different, something challenging.

And then comes the sequel, the second album, the sophomore effort, the attempted follow on to the well-received debut.

You cannot simply regurgitate the first album, rephrase the same chords, you need to expand your sound, stretch your style – experiment a little.


Reviews are kind, but the second album isn’t viewed in its own merit, it cannot be, it is the sibling to the successful and enjoyed older and established child. Some so loved the original that any variation is a betrayal, some uneasy with the continued violence, and some, a precious few, enjoying the continued ride.

It’s different… but Darks Side of the Moon, part two, it is not!

While Magic is a direct follow on to Thomas Payne, it is a development of the story, a growth of the character from events that have been. Thomas ends, it has a purpose which it delivers. Magic tidy’s up the deliberate lose ends, but then has to move on, has to travel both with Amy and the reader to somewhere new, to something else.

Magic; fairies; satanic ritual sacrifice; sadistic abuse and the loss of love – a romp through the flowers Magic is most definitely not, but then again neither was Thomas Payne.

I take the critique, accept the valued opinion which I purposely sought, and sit now elbows deep in Gotham, aware of what was loved, what was less enjoyed, and hopeful that this will deliver a blend that satisfies me, satisfies the story, and hopefully something that satisfies the reader.

We live in hope.