Synopsis:

A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears. 

Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her former friend and room-mate, Laurie,  for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up and seems to have vanished. 

Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter. Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice. 

The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods he and Vicki track the killers who are working across the dusty freeways of North America. 

Soon Vicki and Leighton find themselves nervously waiting at a remote bus stop expecting the arrival of the bus. 

Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie? 

And can they both escape with their lives? 

And Now N.M. Brown:

Great Expectations.

I think that this is perhaps the greatest novel ever written. It contains so many elements that are vital to great story telling. The central character is essentially on orphan – therefore vulnerable and sympathetic- who must face his deepest fears in order to fulfil his destiny. 

This hero’s journey has of course been replicated in everything from Star Wars to Harry Potter.

But for me, the darker Gothic elements of Great Expectations were always far more interesting than Pip’s adventure. For example, the novel opens in one of the most dramatic ways possible, when Pip –whilst visiting his parents’ grave- is accosted by an escaped convict. 

Despite being a foreboding character, the convict is nowhere near as horrific as the enigmatic other man he alludes to:

That young man has a secret way pecooliar to himself, of getting at a boy, and at his heart, and at his liver. It is in wain for a boy to attempt to hide himself from that young man. A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck himself up, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man will softly creep and creep his way to him and tear him open

This depiction of a creeping and unstoppable killer seems horrific and utterly modern – like the stuff of Thomas Harris- to me. I was thrilled by the near mythical aspect of this man- who seemed almost like a Victorian Slenderman The novel is also peppered with numerous other characters who are all harbouring dark secrets – such as the pompous lawyer’s maid – Molly who has mysterious scars on her wrists.

I was also intrigued by the dusty Miss Havisham, secreted away in her crumbling mansion. She like so many of the characters in that novel seemed clearly located in their own histories, some of which is only ever hinted at.

It terms of influencing my writing, Great Expectations made me appreciate the importance of taking the reader on a journey – something I also aim to do. This layered novel also helped develop my understanding of how stories within stories can help reinforce aspects of character and theme. But perhaps even more than that, it made me realise that any adventure that a protagonist embarks on is even more powerful if it offers a opportunity to atone for past mistakes.  

About the Author:

Norman M. Brown is an author living and working in Scotland. He attended secondary school in Stirling where he spent more time in the library or in the nearby park with a paperback, than he did in classes… Ironically, having graduated from Stirling University with a degree in English, he soon ended up back on the classroom again – where he has shared his love of fiction for two decades. 

Having experimented with poetry, scripts and short stories over the years, he finally decided to write sit down and write the type of fiction he would like to read. The result was his crime thriller -The Girl on the Bus. As result, Norman was delighted to be signed to Bloodhound Books at the start of this year. The Girl in the Bus, is his first published novel. He is currently writing a second novel based on its protagonist – detective Leighton Jones.

Thank you N.M. Brown. It was an honour to have you guest post on my blog today!

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer!

For more information on N.M. Brown visit his website at: nmbrownfiction 

or follow him on Twitter at: @normthewriter

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