Inspector Christy Kennedy novels
Inspector Starrett novels
(in reverse order—latest releases at the top)
One of Our Jeans Is Missing
In one of his many classics, Paul McCartney famously asked, "All the lonely people, where do they all come from?"
Well let's see now. DAVID BUCHANAN is from Castlemartin in Mid-Ulster; MARY SKEFFINGTON is from Bath; JEAN SIMPSON and JEAN KERR—yes that's the two Jeans—are childhood best friends from Matlock in Derbyshire; JOHN HARRISON is from Scotland. All are in their late teens—so late, in fact, that they will soon leave them and (hopefully) their innocence behind.
David meets up with Mary, John, Jean and Jean and they start to enjoy each other, and music, and each other a bit more, and then one of them disappears. At least two of remaining quartet start to consider what might be the perfect method of murder.
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Fahrenheit Press, ebook, April 2016
CreateSpace, paperback, October 2016
The Lonesome Heart Is Angry
What seems like a routine job for Matchmaker Michael Gilmour in a small 1960s Northern Irish Town becomes something very much more when events take an unexpected turn. The Kane brothers have an idea for their matches that will set tongues wagging, light the fires of jealously in more than one heart, and open the door to potential tragedy.
The Lonesome Heart is Angry explores life in a small town and the darker side of the human condition. It doesn't shy away from the gossip, the fear, the violence and the desperation that can build up in people and behind closed doors.
Set in Castlemartin home of The Playboys in The Last Dance, The Lonesome Heart Is Angry is a gripping novel that will keep you reading until the last page.
Read what Paul wrote about his youth and The Lonesome Heart is Angry
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New Island Books, paperback, April 2014, ISBN: 9781848403390
"A beautifully written novel about smalltown secrets and the mysteries of the human heart. The Lonesome Heart is Angry may just be Paul Charles's best book yet."
"After a successful run of crime novels, Paul Charles has written a delightfully charming mystery story set in the early 1960s."
—Katie Binns, The Sunday Times
"A wonderful book."
—Tom Dunne, Newstalk
"... a slow burning and consistently intriguing tale of matchmaking and vicious gossip..."
—David Roy, The Irish News
"Brilliantly engaging... I can't recommend it highly enough."
—Johnny Hero, U105
"Anyone who enjoys a good, old fashioned whodunit will savour this."
"A strange and ultimately dark story will unfold, gripping and perhaps tragic, but as ever in fiction as in life, shot through with light too."
—Joanne Savage, Newsletter
"Twin Peaks in deft thriller."
"An excellent read, I really enjoyed it."
—Gerry Kelly, Radio Ulster
"His affection for his cast of quirky characters is palpable... The Lonesome Heart is Angry is a delightful genteel mystery novel."
—Declan Burke, The Examiner
"A fascinating glimpse into the darker side of a small town and the human condition, this novel is beautifully written with jolts of humour, but yet it doesn't shy away from the sense of desperation and fear that can build within a secluded community."
"Charles has created engaging characters and, with old fashioned snooper Doyle at the helm, cleverly evokes the feeling of piecing together a jigsaw at a deliberate pace. All with a 1960s soundtrack playing in the background. A delightful read."
—Katie Binns, The Sunday Times
"The Lonesome Heart is Angry explores the darker realities of small town life and ultimately the human condition, not shying away from the gossip, the fear, the violence and the desperation that can build up behind closed doors. Paul Charles' latest book could well be his most readable yet."
—Shelly Marsden, The Irish World
The Prince of Heaven's Eyes (A Novella)
In the early 1970s I was working with Belfast band Fruupp and apart from numerous other tasks including, but not limited to, finding the weekly wages I wrote some of the lyrics for their songs and wrote the spoken word links that connected the songs on stage into a kind of show. It's probably also important to note that swords, costumes, dry ice (loads of dry ice) and blood capsules were also involved.
For the third album I had the idea of reversing the process, that is to say writing the links first, in the form of a short story, and then the band's song-writers, Vincent McCusker and Steve Houston, writing the songs to bring the story to (stage) life.
I often wondered how the legend grew about a pot of gold being buried at the end of the rainbow and so I created a legend of my own to explain it and named it The Prince Of Heaven's Eyes. From childhood I'd always seen a rainbow as being the top eyelid of the almighty.
It has to be said that Vince and Mr Houston came up with the musical goods and in trumps. Fruupp as a band, Vince McCusker, Steve Houston, Peter Farrelly and Martin Foye, wrote their one and only song, "The Prince of Heaven," about the show as opposed to being part of it, and so was released as a single and not on the album.
The album was released (with the first 5000 albums containing a free booklet of my short story) and we took the show on the tour and that as they say was that. The following year Fruupp could be heard to mutter, "Houston we have a problem." They were of course referring to their keyboard player and a year and an album later it was all over.
The Prince of Heaven's Eyes album was re-mastered and re-released a couple of years ago as a CD. I thought it might be a good idea, once that dust settled, or revisiting, tidying up the story and e-publishing it on Kindle so here we are...
The Last Dance
The Irish Showbands—with their high musicianmanship and ability to perform note-perfect the current hits from England and America—were a genuine phenomenon. They were so named in the late 1950s when the Clipper Carlton became the first band of travelling musicians to dump their seats and their music stands and start to move around the stage putting on a show. At one point in the early 1960's at the peak of the showband phenomenon, there were as many as 760 such bands criss-crossing the length and breadth of the land, putting on shows for the new generation.
The perfect timing of this phenomenally successful trend could have had something to do with the fact that it was started by the first post-Second World War generation—encouraged perhaps by the new infectious sounds they were hearing on the wireless. Equally, the dancing craze might have lifted off because the teenagers who came of age after WW2 sensed that The Troubles were just around the corner. Anyway it didn't really matter what the reason was; no, not even in the slightest. This particular generation just wanted to get out of their houses, let their hair down and dance. They worked hard, were paid little and so they needed to enjoy themselves. And enjoy themselves they did!
Ostensibly The Last Dance is the story of The Playboys of Castlemartin—a now forgotten big band from the heyday of the showband era in the late 1950s and early 1960s—and the band members. The Last Dance is, at its core, a love story. Written in the style of a band biography that explores the rise and dramatic demise of The Playboys, The Last Dance focuses on the journey of Martin Dean (McClelland) from small town boy to song writer and lead singer of the Playboys. Along the way it tells the complicated story of his love affair with Hanna Hutchinson, his friend from childhood who grew to be much more.
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New Island Books, paperback, June 2012, ISBN: 978-1848401426
"Romeo and Juliet to the sounds of the Hucklebuck."
—Martin McGinley—Derry Journal
"This is a book that's easy to like, with a keen and clear eye for the times, a genuine sympathy for the characters and an obvious regard for the showbands themselves."
"The Last Dance is at its core a love story."
"Mixing nostalgia with humour, Charles gets to the core of what was for its time a glamorous environment full of mystery, mystique and promise, but he also has a deft touch that can make the romance between McCelland and his childhood friend Hanna Hutchinson crackle with drama. This is about as close to the real thing as it's possible to get... you have to remind yourself time and time again this is fiction."
—Jackie Hayden, Music Book of the Fortnight, Hot Press
"The Last Dance is an evocative, engaging and entertaining trip in the company of The Playboys."
"He writes a compelling story that the reader can't wait to finish yet they never want it to end."
—Ivan Martin, The Sunday World
"It is well written... He includes a series of well-researched statistics and he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the decade's most successful showbands. His book, evocative, nostalgic and written with a wry humour will bring back fond memories."
—Sam Smyth, Irish Independent
"Brimming with wry humour and appreciation for the genre, it provided insight into the history of a great showband and lives of those at its heart. Nostalgic and funny The Last Dance with stay with you long after the final page."
"It's a story full of nostalgia and written with wry humour; well worth checking out."
"Sweatin' and pettin' in the Sixties."
—Sam Smyth, Irish Independent
"Paul Charles' latest venture into fiction conjures up the magic of those wild years in Ireland superbly... The Last Dance is a requiem for the times in which it is set."
—Colm O'Hare, Hot Press
"An entertaining read."
—BBC Radio Manchester
"A vivid page-turner packed with believable three-dimensional characters. The Last Dance also serves as a loose history of a country in transition and the birth of the beat group era. Charles with a laconic style, the easy pace of the action and the lyrical dialogue of his characters transports readers to a more innocent time and place."
—Terry Staunton, 4 Star Review, Record Collector
"It's a history of that musical era which no-one else could have written... this towering novel... the best book ever about that time in the 1960s when we spent too much time in the ballrooms of romance. You will be intrigued all the way to the last page."
—Eddie McIlwaine, The Belfast Telegraph
"Paul Charles perfectly captures the magic of the showbands. Setting the novel against the backdrop of real drama and stories anchors the entire book and grabs the attention from the start. Paul has written this book so brilliantly you really are convinced that The Playboys were probably one of those bands you missed out on along the way."
—Michael Commins, The Farmers Journal
"The Last Dance is a new book that fans of the showband era will thoroughly enjoy. Great read."
—Eddie Rowley, The Sunday World
"Clearly a labour of love, this novel in the style of a nostalgic band biography, re-creates a unique and iconic period of musical history."
"Nostalgic and surprisingly tender tale that magically conjures the (showband) period."
"Evoking the lost world of the Irish showbands of the 1960s with the affectionate eye of an insider, The Last Dance is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand where Irish music has come from—and the extraordinary forces that were at work, in a time of tempestuous social change and sexual enlightenment."
—Niall Stokes, Hot Press
First Of The True Believers
The autobiography of Theodore Hennessya novel concerning the Beatles.
The Beatles formed in 1959, and by March 1964, every one of the top five singles in the American Billboard chart was theirs. They had become a worldwide pop sensation and their hometown of Liverpool was the centre of the thriving British music industry. Among other less celebrated Merseybeat groups of the time were The Nighttime Passengers, led by Theo Hennessy whoaccording to his own testimony, at leastvery nearly replaced Pete Best as the drummer of the 'Fab Four'.
First Of The True Believers tells of a decade in the life of Theodore Hennessey. It begins in the late 1950s with his first meeting with the beautiful and elusive Marianne Burgess, and follows their subsequent on-off love affair and his rise to prominence as a musician and a music agent. Undaunted by his near miss, Theo remains an enthusiastic Beatles fan and he follows their progress with interest.
First Of The True Believers charts the rise of the Beatles through the eyes and ears of a fan, from their early days in Hamburg, through the years of pop stardom to the bitter break-up that signalled the end of the 'Decade of Love'.
The Beatles provided the definitive soundtrack to the Sixties, and in First Of The True Believers, novelist and musicologist Paul Charles combines their phenomenal story with a tender-hearted tale of sex, love and rock 'n' roll in the sixties Liverpool.
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IndieBound | Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones UK
Do-Not Press, paperback, October 2002, ISBN: 978-1899344789