Related to: 'The Journeyman Tailor'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

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Harry's Game

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

A British cabinet minister is gunned down on a London street by an IRA assassin. In the wake of national outcry, the authorities must find the hitman. But the trail is long cold, the killer gone to ground in Belfast, and they must resort to more unorthodox methods to unearth him. Ill prepared and poorly briefed, undercover agent Harry Brown is sent into the heart of enemy territory to infiltrate the terrorists.But when it is a race against the clock, mistakes are made and corners cut. For Harry Brown, alone in a city of strangers, where an intruder is the subject of immediate gossip and rumour, one false move is enough to leave him fatally isolated...

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In Honour Bound

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Barney Crispin, a Captain in the SAS, is as tough as they come. He is sent on an urgent mission to the Afghanistan border: to destroy one of the Soviet Mi-24 helicopters, a highly sophisticated and virtually invulnerable piece of military equipment, and retrieve the hardware. In order to do so, he needs the help of the Mujahidin resistance and must first train them in the ways of stealth and sabotage.But the guerillas he trains are ill-equipped and disorganised. Their attempt fails and several of them are killed in the process. Against orders and with only eight missiles and a local boy as his guide, Barney decides to undertake the mission alone, his own solitary battle for vengeance...

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A Line in the Sand

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

In a village on the Suffolk coast, Frank Perry waits for his past to arrive. A decade before he spied for the Government on the Iranian chemical and biological weapon installations. His information damaged their killing capacity for years.Now, Iran will have its revenge and has despatched their most deadly assassin to fulfil the task. Codenamed the Anvil, he will move with stealth towards his chosen objective unless Perry's protectors can reach him first.As he draws nearer, the ring of steel around Perry grows tighter. But against a faceless adversary, and with the job fatally compromised by the stifling political bureaucracy surrounding it, there seems little chance that the past will not have its day once more...

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Traitor's Kiss

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

An English trawler strays into Russian waters. When it returns, the captain has a package to deliver to British intelligence. For the next four years a high-ranked Russian naval officer, Viktor Archenko, passes valuable information to MI6. Suddenly the flow of information stops. His contacts in London know nothing about him - but they know that he's under suspicion. The time has come to get him out.But the new breed now playing the spy game have no interest in irrelevant Cold War sparring or the risk of a scandal. There are deals to be done, alliances to be made. They would rather leave Archenko to fend for himself. Only one veteran agent realises that there is much more at stake than one man's life. Only he dares ask the question: if the war is over, who will fight the peace?

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The Glory Boys

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

THE TARGET: Israel's leading nuclear scientist, giving a lecture in London. THE ASSASSIN: A Palestinian terrorist, the lone survivor of a three-man hit squad ambushed by Israeli Intelligence in France while on their way to London. THE MERCENARY: Ciaran McCoy, formerly of the IRA, and The Assassin's only contact in London. THE MAVERICK: Jimmy, an alcoholic, over-the-hill MI5 agent assigned to protect the Israeli scientist. Jimmy is arguably the most dangerous of the lot, but only when sober. Will he be able to prevent a brutal killing?

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The Contract

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Discharged from the British Army in disgrace, Johnny Donoghue is eager to redeem himself. His task is to slip undercover into East Germany and persuade a prominent scientist working on Soviet missile systems to defect.But no one warns Johnny of the dangers involved in crossing the border, nor can he ever imagine the effect the actions of fickle politicians will have on his task. Nothing can prepare Johnny for the impact of the momentous decision the scientist will be forced to make, and no one could have predicted the involvement of the scientist's headstrong daughter . . .

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Archangel

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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Home Run

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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The Untouchable

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Albert Packer is the supreme baron of London crime, ruling his domain with a ruthless fist and thinking of himself as the Untouchable. As yet another criminal case against him collapses, Packer turns his attention to expanding his heroin empire abroad, deciding to travel to Sarajevo himself in order to cut out the middle man. But the Customs & Excise unit tasked with taking him down are determined not to give up. Packer may be king on his home turf, but on the war-torn streets of a city where justice is enforced by gangster warlords, he might just make a mistake. And Joey Cann, obsessed with bringing Packer to justice, will be there when he does.

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Field of Blood

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Sean McNally has sworn his oath to the IRA. But then he'd turned his back on the violence and the hatred, and gone south to the Republic. Life was good, until they came for him to do one last job. But in its aftermath, McNally is captured and is facing a lifetime's imprisonment. Unless he dares think the unthinkable... and becomes a tout.Lieutenant David Ferris hadn't wanted to join the army, but found himself in it anyway. In a cruel twist of fate, his path crosses that of Sean McNally's and he quickly becomes a pawn on the frontline of a brutally tense war of nerves. As McNally prepares to gives evidence, Ferris must confront his own destiny. Not only is his life at stake, but also that of the future of the entire command structure of the IRA...

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Red Fox

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Beautiful, seductive and extremely dangerous, Franca Tantardini is one of Italy's most ruthless political extremists. When she is captured in a shoot-out, her fanatical young lover, Giancarlo Battestini, vows to set her free and, with quiet watchfulness, waits for the moment to strike.In Rome, a British businessman, Geoffery Harrison, has been taken hostage by a ruthless organised crime syndicate - kidnap is, after all, a growth industry. The British Government are adamant that they will not pay the two-million-dollar ransom and discharge responsibility to the Italian police. As political wrangling takes hold, Battestini sees a weakness and realises that the only way to secure the release of his beloved Franca is to capture Harrison and bargain his life for hers.The authorities are confronted with a terrible choice. Should they release a woman who has masterminded the murder of so many or let an innocent man die?

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At Close Quarters

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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The Heart of Danger

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

A mass grave is uncovered in a devastated Croatian village, and the mutilated body of a young Englishwoman, Dorrie Mowat, is exhumed.Her mother, who detested Dorrie when she was alive, is determined to find out how her daughter died. But with civil war tearing apart the former Yugoslavia, none of the authorities are interested in what they view as a minor war crime. She employs private investigator, Bill Penn, a former MI5 officer, who anticipated a short trip to Zagreb where he will compile a meaningless report and receive a good fee at the end of it. But once he has seen the killing ground, Penn becomes determined to find the truth behind the young woman's death.As Penn searches for evidence of war crimes, he finds himself pitted against a ruthless opponent who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks...

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Kingfisher

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

A group of four students, Ukrainian Jews, are fighting for recognition within the Soviet Union. They are tired of being treated as second-class citizens and are prepared to use violence if necessary. When one of their number is captured after shooting a policeman, they know time is running out. Their only hope is to hijack a plane, fly to the West and then on to Israel.One country after another refuses to let them land, untill the plane finally sets down in Britain, low on fuel. Charlie Webster, an Intelligence officer on the Soviet desk, is brought in to negotiate with the hijackers. But it is unclear whether they are political refugees or dangerous criminals. As the government wavers, the students become increasingly desperate and start to lose patience, and control.

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A Song in the Morning

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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Killing Ground

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

A young English schoolteacher, Charlotte Parsons, is invited to resume her job as nanny to the children of a well-to-do Sicilian family. But this time Charley is the centre figure in a desperate plot by the US Drug Enforcement Agency to trap Mario Ruggerio, would-be head of the Sicilian Mafia, the man who masterminds a multi-billion dollar international drugs trade. Charley is to be the bait in the trap and, in deciding to return to the Ruggerio family in Palermo, is about to enter the killing ground...

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Holding The Zero

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Gus Peake should have kept his job and stayed at home, but an old family debt of friendship draws him to the remote wastes of Northern Iraq and to a savage forgotten war between Kurdish guerillas and Saddam Hussein's military strength.To the brutal, no-quarter combat, Peake can bring the skills he has learned as a marksman. But there is no room for mistakes on the field of battle and he must quickly learn to deal out random death at long distance, and help the guerillas to reach their goal, the city of Kirkuk, the old capital of the Kurdish people.From Baghdad, Iraq sends Major Karim Aziz, the most dedicated and professional sniper in Saddam's army. For both men their duel, from which only one can walk away, becomes an obsession. And it will only take one shot, echoing in the mountains and vallegs, to settle the score...

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Condition Black

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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The Fighting Man

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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The Waiting Time

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

On a winter's night at the height of the Cold War, in a small town on East Germany's coastline, a young man is dragged from the sea and killed by the regmine's secret police. The witnesses are terrorised into silence. But a British woman is present and hears the shot which ended her lover's life.A decade later, times have changed, and old enemies have become new friends. An ex-Captain in the Stasi's Counter Espionage section, Dieter Krause is an honoured guest at the headquarters of British Military Intelligence. He is confident that the skeletons in his past are hidden until...Corporal Tracy Barnes, a clerk, attacks him in the officers' mess. She was there at the scene of the young man's murder ten years before. She knows Krause is responsible. But she can't prove it - she needs the witnesses to talk. To make them do so, she must follow Krause to Germany. For her, the waiting time is finally over...