From the author of the acclaimed Harrogate Crime Series, a gripping debut novel, Bridging the Gulf about one man fighting for justice. One man, haunted by his war experiences. One man, desperate to make a difference.
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About the Book
A fast-moving, thought-provoking thriller, set partly in the stunning beauty and history of Turkish Cyprus. The novel follows one man’s struggle against faceless bureaucrats bent on negating the existence of Gulf War Syndrome.
Roy Hanna is a driven man. On his return from the Gulf War, in which he was injured and his comrades killed, he appears to be a successful salesman with everything he could want. Behind his facade, he believes he is suffering from Gulf War Syndrome and that the Government is carrying out a massive cover-up. The lives of countless sufferers lie in ruins.
Roy is determined that the Government should pay and he embarks on a bombing spree to ensure that it does.
I love Malcolm Hollingdrake’s eloquent writing style and his Harrogate Crime Series – am a huge fan. So when having a chance to read the author’s first-ever novel written, I took it with both hands. Would I be able to see a remarkable change in his writing? To spot a ‘first-author-first-novel’s awkwardness? Hell no!
The writing is superb, the descriptive sentences I have come to love are embedded into the storyline – maybe the only thing different from the Harrogate Crime Series is the passion between Roy Hanna and his girlfriend, Joan that sparkles from the pages. The relationship between the two is intense but still, Joan is unable to reach Roy – he has built a wall so huge no one is allowed to even take a glimpse inside.
Roy’s friend and business partner, Scotsman Drew McKenna, is a guy you just have to love. He’s worried about his friend and even if Roy has no intention of opening up to Drew, he appreciates the thought, the professional help, as well as the excuse because now he can proceed with his meticulously prepared scheme.
I was shocked at what Roy and his mates had gone through – the horror of what happened. Even imagining how he must feel – and who can, apart from those who have experienced similar situations -, the brutality of the attack, the devastation, the why … simply abhorrent and shocking.
No wonder Roy has so much anger built up inside. No wonder he carries a feeling of guilt with him. You can tell him he’s got nothing to be blamed for but being the only survivor of such a violent attack, wouldn’t you keep mulling it over in your mind?
Having said that, I felt it difficult to empathise with Roy as he only reveals part of the turbulence in his head. The agony, the growing anger and resentment, we only perceive it a few times and still, are unable to fathom the depth of it. Even if I could fully sympathise, even if I could understand the reasons behind Roy’s actions, is putting innocent lives at risk ever justifiable?
Roy’s response to the news about his first bomb hit me almost as much as it hit him. I kept thinking about what he was (about to) do(ing) and it just buzzed through my mind. You have now gone on a path of destruction – your response to that shows you how you truly feel about it. Can’t you now find another way? Go public, share your story, give people an insight into PTSD and the way the government operates – the bureaucracy and need to bury things rather than expose.
Before I talk about Joan, Roy’s partner, I have to mention a character I immediately ‘fell’ for: Bill O’Brien, the psychiatrist. Roy immediately feels comfortable with him and I wished he had met him before – what if? I loved Joan, she’s so brave and, like us, readers, suddenly confronted with all of this. Roy himself experiences only a few times moments of doubt and I so wish he’d have talked about it before executing his violent plan. I was angry at him and wanted to shout at him and yet, also felt sorry for him and what he had been going through.
The last sentence of the book – it evoked a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. Can you say it – is it justified even if we now fully perceive the outcome of Roy’s actions – when deep down, even Roy himself experienced feelings of guilt for what he had done?
Bridging the Gulf is a unique, shocking, and gripping book about the consequences of PTSD but also, about a society that fails to take responsibility for their actions. Would Roy Hanna have entered his path of destruction if he would have received help and acknowledgement sooner? We will never know…
Books by Malcolm Hollingdrake
The Harrogate Crime Series:
#1 Only the Dead – my review
#2 Hell’s Gate – my review
#3 Flesh Evidence – my review
#4 Game Point – my review
#5 Dying Art – my review
#6 Crossed Out – my review
#7 The Third Breath – my review
#8 Treble Clef
About the Author
If you are born in a library no wonder you have it in you to be an author one day. That is what happened to Malcolm Hollingdrake and although he took a circuitous route via a teaching career, once challenged to do so, he started writing vigorously. Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories but is foremost known as the author of the DCI Bennett crime thriller series. Malcolm enjoys collecting works from Northern artists. The author cherishes his home county, which is why his crime novels are set in Harrogate.
Malcolm Hollingdrake on Social Media:
Author Website: malcolmhollingdrakeauthor.co.uk
FB Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorMalcolmHollingdrake/
Amazon Author Page: http://author.to/MalcolmHollingdrake
Bridging the Gulf is available at Amazon
|Publisher||Malcolm Hollingdrake (7 August 2019)|