Related to: 'Safe: How to stay safe in a dangerous world'

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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Strikeback 4

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

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Killing for the Company

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

From the author of the bestselling Danny Black series and hit TV show Strikeback. Former SAS legend Chris Ryan brings you his sixteenth novel and it is full of all his trademark action, thrills and inside knowledge.2003. Invalided out of the SAS Chet Freeman makes his living in high-end security, on a temporary contract for an American corporation called the Grosvenor Group. He catches a young woman, a peace campaigner, eavesdropping on a meeting the Group is holding with the British Prime Minister. The Group's interests include arms manufacture, and what Chet and the young woman overhear seems to imply that it is bribing the Prime Minister to take his country into an illegal war. Could this possibly be true? Somebody believes that this is a secret that needs covering up, because Chet and the girl are attacked. Hunted down, they go into hiding, and a deadly game of cat and mouse begins.Nearly ten years later tension is reaching breaking point in Jerusalem. The now ex-Prime Minister is working as a Middle East peace envoy. As the city descends into anarchy and rival armies are poised to turn it into a battlefield, Chet's best buddy, Luke, is part of a team tasked by the Regiment with extracting the ex-Prime Minister.At the height of the battle Luke discovers a conspiracy far more devastating than any arms deal.(P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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The Kill Zone

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

From the author of the bestselling Danny Black series and the hit TV show Strikeback.The guys in the Regiment know they face their fiercest enemies when they fight the Taliban. No-one is tougher, more deadly - or more cunning. And if they enter the Taliban's kill zone, they know just what to expect...When three deadly Stinger missiles go missing in Helmand Province, the Regiment is tasked to retrieve the weapons at all costs. SAS legend Jack Harker has a mission to lead an eight-man team into a suspected Taliban facility. He's suspicious about what the aims of the mission really are - and it's about to get noisy.Meanwhile, in Belfast, Siobhan Byrne, a highly trained surveillance operative, is infiltrating the drug crew of a former IRA commander. But are her motives professional or personal? Even she doesn't know any more.Neither Jack nor Siobhan can guess just how closely linked their operations are about to become, or just what's at stake. But as the President of the United States makes plans to visit the UK, a devastating plot unfolds. (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Global Strike

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Osama

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Complete and unabridged. From the author of the bestselling Danny Black series and the hit TV show Strikeback.Despatches from the secret world behind the headlines. Former SAS legend Chris Ryan brings you his seventeenth novel, filled with his trademark action, thrills and inside knowledge. Osama Bin Laden is dead.The President of the United States knows it. The world knows it. And SAS hero Joe Mansfield knows it. He was on the ground in Pakistan when it happened. He saw Seal Team 6 go in, and he saw them extract with their grisly cargo. He was in the right place at the right time.Or maybe, the wrong place at the wrong time.Because now, somebody wants Joe dead, and they're willing to do anything to make it happen. His world is violently dismantled. His family is targeted, his reputation destroyed. And as a mysterious and ruthless enemy plans a devastating terror attack on both sides of the Atlantic, Joe knows this: his only chance of survival is to find out what happened in Bin Laden's compound the night the Americans went in.But an unseen, menacing power has footprints it needs to cover. And it will stop at nothing to prevent him uncovering the sinister truth...(P)2013 Oakhill Publishing

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Shadow Kill

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Warlord

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

'The action comes bullet-fast and Ryan's experience of covert operations flash through the high-speed story like tracer rounds.' The SunThe fifth book in the Danny Black series. On the border of the United States and Mexico, a war is raging that can never be won by conventional means.The drug cartels are rampant. Their victims number in the tens of thousands. Men, women and children are butchered in the most obscene ways imaginable. Of all the cartels, the most violent is Los Zetas. Originally made up of former Mexican special forces turned bad, they are perhaps the most ruthless and highly trained criminals in the world.Which is why only the most ruthless and highly trained operatives can ever hope to be a match for them.Enter the Regiment.When the CIA reaches out to the British military for help, SAS legend Danny Black and his team are despatched to give the Zetas a taste of their own medicine. Working deniably and under the radar, their mission is to sow death and mayhem among the cartel, and to coax out from hiding their elusive leader, the iconic Z1.But as Danny is about to find out, the arm of the cartel is long, their sickening strategies underhand and brutal. And in the dog eat dog world of this clandestine, bloodthirsty war, nothing is ever quite as it seems.It will take all the SAS team's skill to break through to the heart of the cartel. And even that might not be enough...

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Bad Soldier

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Hellfire

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

The third book in the hugely popular Danny Black series by the creator of the hit TV show Strikeback.On the Syria/Iraq border a British hostage is beheaded by IS terrorists. The executioner is a young British extremist. A masked figure watches him. This mysterious person is treated with a mixture of respect and terror. They call him the Caliph.In Nigeria the British High Commisioner and his young aide are kidnapped. A four-person SAS team, including Regiment hero Danny Black, is deployed to find him. The team find devastation in Nigeria, and when they discover prisoners infected with the plague they realise they have uncovered a combined Boko Haram/IS plot to unleash a bio-terror attack upon the world.The team must stop the terrorists and identify the Caliph before the deadly disease threatens those much closer to home.

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Deathlist

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Chris Ryan Extreme: Silent Kill

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

The fourth book in Chris Ryan's Extreme series.The Chris Ryan Extreme books take you even further into the heart of the mission with more extreme action, more extreme language and more extreme pace. Like Call of Duty or Medal of Honour you'll feel part of the team.Chris Ryan Extreme: Silent Kill has previously been published as four separate shorter missions. Now in one book to keep you at the heart of the action. Northern Ireland, 1993. For high-flying MI5 officer Avery Chance the real war has only just begun. When Chance is abducted by the IRA's notorious Nutting Squad, her hopes lie in the hands of a young SAS recruit who must risk everything to bring her home. Twenty years after his act of self-sacrifice in Belfast ex-SAS legend John Bald is a scarred shadow of his former self. But when a face from the past appears and rescues him from deep trouble, Bald is offered one last shot at redemption. His target is Kurt Pretorius, a ruthless mercenary operating deep in the wilds of war-ravaged Somalia. In a world where rogue mercenaries operate beyond the reach of the law, Kurt Pretorius has transformed himself into a god. It is up to Bald to stop Pretorius before he turns Somalia into a terrorist haven. But Bald quickly finds himself sucked into a twisted game of survival, where the stakes could not be higher - and the price of failure is his life... With time running out, Bald must kill Pretorius before he brings down everyone around him. It's a mission Bald was born to do. Because sometimes, the only way to beat your deadliest enemy...is to be like your deadliest enemy.

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Murder Team

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Danny Black is a lone wolf on an unofficial mission.He is in the deserts of East Africa looking for his old comrade in arms Spud, wounded in their last mission and now missing.A wounded British solder is a commodity in these parts...Danny recruits a grizzled ex-Blade to help him, encounters an ex-Mossad mercenary, who is part of the supply chain, and heads for a showdown with a small Somali army, led by most-wanted Islamist militant Abu Bakr.In the heat of battle Danny discovers, he is not the lone wolf he thought he was. He begins to wonder, as so many soldiers have before him, is he just a pawn in a greater game?(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Most Wanted

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Hunter Killer

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Masters of War

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

In Paris, an elderly man is assassinated as he takes his morning walk. In the war-torn cities of Syria, government forces wage a bloody war against their own people. The Russians are propping up the government, the French are backing one rebel fraction and the British are backing another. And in north Africa, young SAS trooper Danny Black is coming to the end of a gruelling tour of duty, or so he thinks. Danny has a new mission. An MI6 agent needs to make contact with Syrian rebel forces, and also with the private military contractors who are - unofficially - training this rebel faction as it struggles to bring down their government and establish a new regime that will be favourable to British business interests. Danny will learn who the masters of war, the men who call the shots, really are. Danny discovers a world where death is dispensed by the highest bidder and individuals will betray anybody if the price is right.

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Night Strike

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Medal of Honor

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

In this new Chris Ryan adventure, the best soldiers in the world come together to fight Al-Qaeda. It is the early days of the war in Afghanistan. SAS hero, Jock, has never fought alongside America's select Tier 1 Operators before now, but when their mission goes pear-shaped, he will find out just what they are made of... Battling against overwhelming odds in unknown territory, and with the enemy well dug-in, even the most elite soldiers with the most advanced weaponry at their disposal are put to the ultimate test of skill and courage.

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Hard Target

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh has a BA in English Literature from Bennington College and an MFA in Film and Television Production from New York University. He is of Chinese-Thai descent and came of age in Singapore and London. He has written radio plays and television scripts for the BBC and screenplays for various Hollywood companies, as well as graphic novels for DC Comics and Big Head Press, and a weekly column about pop culture for BleedingCool.com. He wrote "Zinky Boys Go Underground," the first post-Cold War Russian gangster thriller, which won the BAFTA for Best Short Film in 1995.

Alice Vinten

Alice Vinten spent ten years as an officer in the Metropolitan Police. Now in her thirties, she lives in Leigh-on-Sea with her two sons.