Truth and Lies

How far will people go to protect other people, what secrets will be kept to protect those with power?
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), estimated to have cost £150 million since being launched in 2014, has just announced its findings. IICSA concluded that while there had been individual cases of wrongdoing, there was no organised VIP paedophile ring and no establishment cover up.
Lord Steel, the former Liberal leader, has quit the party after he was criticised for failing to flag up concerns over the late Cyril Smith, Liberal MP for Rochdale, who was later exposed as a serial paedophile.
IICSA was set up by Theresa May when she was home secretary. She came under pressure following claims, including one from Labour MP Tom Watson, that a VIP paedophile ring existed.
A series of false allegations by fantasists were exposed, including claims from Carl Beech that he was abused by a string of high profile politicians and public figures. Beech, himself a convicted paedophile, was subsequently jailed for eighteen years for perverting the course of justice.
“The report concludes that there are examples of a political culture which values its reputation far higher than the fate of the children involved.”

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Truth and lies; the inquiry had also investigated abuse and cover ups in the church and other institutions. After so many revelations in so many countries, going back into the past, but also in the present, it’s no wonder that the public are likely to believe any new allegations.

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When I was writing my novel ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears you Scream’, cover ups by people in power became one of the themes. Who keeps the secrets, who is trying to find out the truth? It seemed credible that the character Griff would believe someone in power knew what had happened to his schoolboy brother, who had disappeared without trace years ago. If MPs and the Metropolitan Police were taking seriously the claims there had been a Westminster paedophile ring and even murders of boys, so would anyone looking for answers.
Before I finished writing the novel it was discovered Carl Beech had been lying. His crime was terrible in itself, ruining the lives of innocent men and damaging the credibility of genuine victims. But back in 2014, when the novel is set, it seemed credible that Beech was telling the truth and it is true that people in power have abused children and others have kept their secrets.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/25/iicsa-inquiry-report-published-westminster-vip-paedophile-ring/

Tobias Channing, in his search for his missing girlfriend Anna, meets Griff and discovers her disappearance could be part of a web of truth and lies.

At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream

 

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How long does it take to write a novel? I am going to go for 2014 as the conception of my new novel ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream’. The character of Tobias Elliot Channing, the holder of a degree in psychology and registration as a private investigator, first appeared in a short story ‘The Ambassadors’ in Audio Arcadia’s audio book anthology imaginatively titled Short Stories Volume One. It then appeared in a paperback edition An Eclectic Mix Volume One in 2015, with a wonderfully colourful cover. Toby’s actual birth had come about when our exercise for writers’ group was to create a detective character. The story idea came from Pete at my other writers’ group – write something inspired by the painting The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger which hangs in the National Gallery.

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In February 2014 the Valentine’s Night Storm gave me an idea for the start of A Story, but what the story would be I had no idea. Compared with other natural disasters in the world our storm in Britain was a minor event, but three people were killed. Our house shook during the night even though we are ten minutes walk from the cliff top, further along the coast, at Milford-on-Sea, a Valentine’s romantic dinner turned into a disaster movie; a ‘freak’ wave picked up shingle and smashed it through the panels that make up the front of the art deco building, the diners were eventually rescued by army vehicles.

https://metro.co.uk/2014/02/15/dream-valentines-day-meal-turns-to-nightmare-after-storm-blows-out-windows-of-beachfront-restaurant-4305491/

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The weather forecasts warned everyone to stay away from the coast the next morning; so we walked ( okay I dragged Cyberspouse, saying it would be fun to take the scenic route to the local shops ) to the cliff top to see high tide. It was exciting, no chance of being blown off the cliff as you could lean into the south westerly coming off the sea and taking your breath away. But as we clung to the low fence on the cliff top and peered over we got a shock, piles of smashed wood washed over by the waves, rows of beach huts reduced to matchwood. And that is when I had my idea; but you will have to read the novel to find out why Ellen Green was so afraid when she looked over the edge of the cliff that morning.

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Fed up with waiting for me to get on with writing the novel, Toby Channing drove his camper van into two very different novellas I was writing, which along with The Ambassadors are part of the collection ‘Someone Somewhere’ published in 2017. ‘Someone For The Weekend’ and ‘Durlswood’ became two of his strangest cases.

What has happened in the intervening two years? Lots of blogging and writing; strangely only five months pass during the novel and the passing of time makes no difference to Tobias Elliot Channing because he is firmly fixed in 2014. It is just as well this novel had a fixed starting point, because writing novels ‘in the present’ is just about impossible. How the world has changed in the past five years…

 

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Visit my Amazon Author pages here to check on all my books.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

https://www.amazon.com/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Open the novel here…

Sunday Salon

I have been catching up with my book reviews; two novels, a poetry anthology and two novellas / short stories. Authors from England, the USA and Australia. Yeshiva Girl was the novel that stood out for me and I was delighted that Amazon posted my review after my recent experiences. I post all my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, you can see Amazon’s response to Finding David, but I have not yet heard back from Amazon on the other three. So the mystery continues; I and other reviewers have concluded it could be the rule that you must have spent £50, or fifty of something in your own currency, in one year to be able to leave a review. As Amazon allows authors to sell their e-books for as little as 99 pence this does not make sense. Nor does it make sense they accept a review for one book and not another. In the meantime, enjoy a look at five very different books and writers.

 

Yeshiva Girl by Rachel Mankowitz

 5.0 out of 5 stars A novel that will stay with me.

12 August 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I came across this novel after reading a review by another English blogger. I thought if an English agnostic chap could be so moved by a story of a New York Jewish girl it must be special. I went over to read the author’s blog and was even more keen to read. Being a teenager involves lots of angst wherever you live, with the pressures of school, friends and awakening sexuality. If you also lived in a tight community and had dark secrets how would you cope? I am fascinated with closed communities of any sort and I really felt I had an insight into the hows and whys of the orthodox way of life. Teenagers are attracted to the security of belonging to a group and some of the teenagers in this story wanted to follow a strict orthodox life, not just because their parents had put them in that position. In the meantime, our heroine is trying to make sense of her parents’ and grandparents’ lives and she is trying to tell people what happened to her. Gradually she reveals to the reader.

 

Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

What does happen when we dream; as far as I know, no one is sure, but most of us don’t keep returning to the same dream. I was soon wrapped up in Rick’s story and Dan’s life on a planet in the future which was totally realistic. Each story was so involving the reader might forget about the other side, but both lives get more complicated and the two worlds are brought together dramatically. This is the first novel I have read by this author, but I would look forward to reading more.

 

 Small Town Kid  by Frank Prem

This is the first time I have downloaded poetry onto my Kindle. I had read some of the author’s verses on line which led me to buy this and his following collection.  The verse, without punctuation, words kept to a minimum, is liberating. I was gently lulled into the first poem, setting the scene for a quiet country town. Delicious cooking, a wedding, church on Sunday, but suddenly a letter changes Sundays. Then there is a picnic, a picnic bigger than most of us have known. All life is here including the outhouse.  The boy grows, school, seasons, school report, growing up, the town changes with modern life, friends lost and in the last verse closing the circle.

 

Finding David by Stevie Turner

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Finding David: A Paranormal Short Story ★★★★★   from Janet Gogerty on 15 August 2019
 
Not your usual missing person story.
 
People go missing all the time; when a child goes missing it’s every parent’s nightmare and never knowing can perhaps be worse. The author turns the usual missing person story on its head. Would you talk to a psychic, would you trust them? Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, would you take the chance of ignoring a loved one trying to contact you from the other side? We are soon swept along in this novella and the reader is not sure who to trust, nor is David’s mother Karen as her marriage is threatened.
 
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Samantha

I was interested to see what other reviewers wrote. This is a short story that races along, but it needs better formatting to do it justice. When a different character speaks the dialogue should start on a new line to make easier reading.

A dark tale that does have a positive ending, but is not a fairy tale, realistically it does not just end happily ever after. I would have loved to have seen the latter part of the story developed as the main characters have more to offer and we would like to see more of how Samantha put the past behind her.

 

sunshine-blogger

Friday Flash Fiction 150 – Whistleblower

It is easy to kill a man, not so easy to dispose of the body.

I never believed Tom had just left town, nor did his distraught wife, but there was no evidence of foul play.

Tom had evidence, he showed it to me; pictures on his phone, paperwork saved from the shredder. His supervisor told him to keep quiet, let the authorities do their inspections, it was not worth us all losing our jobs.

I was his supervisor.

I don’t believe our boss is a bad man, but he had become a small link in a long chain.

I had no intention of being a whistleblower, I know how easy it is for someone to disappear at Sunny Farm meat processing factory.

Now the men in white boiler suits are here to close us down; if I tell the police about Tom, can they guarantee my safety? No.

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Friday Flash Fiction Five Hundred

                                                     Terminal State

 

‘No one will ever know,’ said my friend that day in 1959 ‘and it was an accident.’

I expect that is what lots of murderers plead, but we were only ten years old. To this day I have no idea who he was, but I’ll never forget the look of surprise on his face, then the look of terror.

‘Be careful girls’ said my mother as we set off that sunny day.

We liked to watch the aeroplanes, then we would go exploring; Stanwell Moor, Colnbrook village, farms, fields and streams. We were free to wander the western edges of London Airport as long as we didn’t go near Perry Oaks.

My aunt and uncle had lived in Heathrow Village, till they were evicted during the war, but my parents lived out their years on the farm under the flight path, wedged between the runways. Up until the last it was like living in the country except for the ranks of landing lights.

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‘Stay together, don’t talk to any strangers and be back at teatime.’

He must have been a stranger, because no one noticed he had gone. For weeks we expected the police to turn up, looking for someone’s husband or father… or an escaped convict, after all he did act strangely.

‘You two girls out on your own? Have you ever seen a water vole?’

I nudged my friend, we turned to walk away, but he followed and what he showed us wasn’t a water vole. We wanted to run, but we were trapped on the edge of a bank that descended steeply. He was blocking the footpath that led back the way we had come.

‘Count to three then rush past him’ she said.

What happened next happened so quickly; it could have been any one of the three of us that went in; did we push him or did he slip? We had strayed into the forbidden territory, Perry Oaks sludge works and as he slipped under we knew why our parents feared it.

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Looking back as a teenager, an adult, I realised he was a flasher, a harmless loner perhaps. But had he followed us? Would he have murdered us? Two missing girls and every stretch of water would have been dragged, but his body was never found. We never told a soul, we didn’t want to get into trouble for being out of bounds; or that’s what we told ourselves.

My friend’s family took her off to Australia, we lost touch. I wondered if she ever told anyone, for years I half expected a policeman to knock on the door.

Then came the planning enquiry, five long years. We prayed the development would be turned down, no one wanted the upheaval and destruction, the removal of the last farm. But that is not what I dreaded.

Digging, draining, what would they find; a body preserved like peat bog man? When Terminal Five Heathrow opened, I knew at last that no one would ever know.

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‘Terminal State’ is one of the Flash Fiction Tales featured in

Someone Somewhere.