The friendship and banter of the characters pay gentle homage to the revered cult classic 'Withnail and I' (Bruce Robinson, original screenplay 1987).
What did some of my readers think?
"This is the tale of a man's isolation and difficulty in forming relationships after suffering horrendous bullying in his school days."
"The lads' trips and dialogue between the lads lighten the tone and often lead to laughing out loud."
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About Hassle Castle
The opening pages of Hassle Castle were greeted with rapturous applause in the 2006 UKA Opening Pages writing competition, but it took a chilly plunge into an Amsterdam canal and the construction of a tower crane, before the book was completed in 2014.
Following invaluable advice on plot structure by Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and a beautifully crafted cover by Sarah Hardy Art and Box Illustrations, Hassle Castle teasingly presents a calmer, contemporary genre.
This psychological crime thriller has a humourous undertone, yet it is overshadowed by a darker, foreboding mystery.
Lowry, the tormented and evasive narrator, is drawn back to the grounds of an empty mansion, where six letters: ‘M-O-S-C-O-W’ have been crudely burnt onto an old garden table. It is the abandoned scar of a tragedy that occurred three years before . . .
Thirty-four year old Dooster purchases an alluring Playboy style mansion and his six male friends relish the elicit opportunities presented to them.
The house is teasingly named Hassle Castle (‘the Castle’) by a disgruntled girlfriend and to escape the creeping perils of marriage, babies and the inevitable changes to their lives, the friends combine outrageous parties with enthralling adventures across the United Kingdom and Europe. But these humorous excursions are hooded by the men’s strained loyalty to their partners and their guarded, personal relationships with the beautiful, yet malicious Alexis, who has mysteriously disappeared. With family and police searching for her whereabouts, Lowry is haunted by Alexis’s link to the Castle and the disturbing memories from his childhood.
When one of the group persuades the others to accompany him to Moscow, the friends are sucked inside the menacing atmosphere of this aloof Russian city and become the victims of a devastating event. Returning home, they attempt to rebuild their shattered lives, but the dynamics of the group have fatally changed and the Castle finally reveals its dark and sinister secrets. With the past now sadistically exposed, the friends are swept towards a brutal and shocking retribution.
Martyn Chapman, 1 edition (19 Dec. 2014),
Kindle Edition, Amazon