2004 saw the publication of Mark’s first book Over Land and Sea, and in the intervening years he’s written and collaborated on a wide range of titles which share the experience of watching Chelsea Football Club. Nestling amongst his work is a novel called Blue Murder – Chelsea Till I Die which is a fast-paced mix of fact and fiction with a heavy Chelsea twist. Blue Murder proved very popular and Mark did mention a while back he was writing another novel in a similar vein. That novel, This Damnation, was published last month and launch at a charity party which raised almost £2000 for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
If you enjoyed Blue Murder there is no doubt you’ll find This Damnation riveting. If you are new to Mark’s writing, ready yourself for a white-knuckle, page-tuning roller coaster ride through seven decades of working class London life which takes the reader on a journey from the backstreets of 1950s Battersea, through sleazy 1960s Soho and the Stamford Bridge terraces of the 70s, to battlefields serving Crown and Country.
Having been deeply affected by the Falklands War from which he emerges a hero, former Para Kennedy Jones’ life spirals violently out of control as he begins to unravel the truth about his father Alec’s murder during the Northern Ireland Troubles. Alec also served in the Regiment as does Kennedy’s son Jack, and This Damnation examines how the brutality of war was affects lives and relationships.
Patriotism, courage, friendship, love, hate, obsession, murder, incarceration and revenge are on the agenda for Kennedy who eventually joins his Uncle’s criminal enterprise and steadily finds out there is much more to Manny than meets the eye. Manny is obsessed with his sister-in-law, Kennedy’s mother Vera. The roots of this obsession lie in a boxing match which takes place between Manny and Alec on the day Chelsea win the First Division title in 1955. The level of detail and research into these period pieces is nothing short of amazing. Similarly, there is a dust up between rival football fans at Victoria Station set in mid 80s which again is rich in detail right down to James Alexander Gordon reading out the football results.
Interwoven with the tale is plenty of music, and Mark’s love of The Jam, The Clash and The Godfathers adds to the heady cocktail of evolving popular culture which plays out alongside aspects of criminality and immorality which draw you into Kennedy’s world of pain where his faithful dog Spot is his only constant companion.
Great characters and a high-octane plot bound together with constant references to Chelsea make for compelling reading. Buy a copy and you won’t be disappointed and your Dad will probably like it too.
This Damnation published by Gate 17 is available now in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon all good book shops and some bad ones too as well as the cfcuk stall on Chelsea match days.
Further info www.gate17.co.uk