Paperback release date 1st June 2017
Joshua Jones is at a crisis point in his life. Recently unemployed, his wife has left him for another woman, and he’s just lost his flat in Finsbury Park. Now the bailiffs stand at the door demanding the keys. His mother, who is unaware of his impending homelessness, has invited him round for lunch. He hands over the keys, says goodbye to his flat and sets off to see her – but a chance encounter with a beguiling stranger called Angela triggers a course of surreal events that prevent him ever arriving.
Angela, an impulsive, pale faced femme fatale has also reached a low point in her life. They spend their last pennies in a café and drawn together by their common plight they share a moment of reckless tenderness, as if all the world’s troubles can be chased away in the arms of a stranger. But with his lips still warm from her kiss, Angela abruptly walks out of the café and, throwing him one last look, quite deliberately steps off the pavement into the path of a passing bus.
Inexplicably Josh pretends that he is her boyfriend and from that simple lie onwards their fates become inextricably entwined. As she lies in a coma in hospital he tries to find out who she really is and why she wanted to commit suicide. Soon he realises he is being followed but he doesn’t know why. He finds a mysterious box which he can’t open and an anarchist called Mikey seems intent on killing him.
As his obsession with Angela grows, he becomes increasingly disorientated and he begins to question his own sanity. It is the shocking discovery of Angela’s real identity that finally turns his life inside out and reveals to him the chilling truth about himself.
The Half Life of Joshua Jones is a beautifully written page-turner full of fantastic set pieces. A unique combination of thriller, psychological drama and fairytale with a wonderful blend of dark humour, terror and wonder. It will grip you from first page to last.
As I entered the hospital the smell of bleach bruised my nostrils. All municipal buildings smell in varying degrees of the same cheap disinfectant. The degree of odour depends on the frequency of application. Top of the list are hospitals closely followed by schools. Armies of cleaners patrol the corridors at night with buckets and mops removing germs and replacing them with low grade poison that is slowly ingested by the workforce, patients and pupils giving them eczemas, asthmas and cancers.
Angela was now in a ward on the third floor, attached to a drip and a heart monitor. Still unconscious. She looked like a broken toy, this girl who had entered my life in such dramatic fashion. A bandage covered her left eye. Her right leg was in plaster and had been carefully propped up on pillows. A red graze stained her cheek like a squashed strawberry. The room contained eight other beds with curtains between them, some open, some closed. A frail African woman who looked as old as the moon was snoring opposite and a pallid looking teenager with a slash from ear to mouth was chatting to her mother to my right.
A fly sat listlessly on the window behind the bed. The distant hum of traffic blended with the gentle throb of monitors and the indistinct hubbub of hospital life. I felt indescribably lost. My attention fell upon my silent audience of one. I examined her delicate features, her fine brown eyelashes, the soft downy skin on her ear lobe, the quizzical half smile on her pale lips.
“What am I doing here, Angela? Since you kissed me everything’s gone haywire… no one’s ever kissed me like that before… I didn’t understand what you were doing… I thought we’d found a connection, I didn’t know you were about to… Maybe you were saying goodbye to life… maybe it was an act of charity or the last bounce on the diving board before the big leap. Whatever it was I don’t suppose you even stopped to think what that kiss would do to me. There’s so much I want to talk to you about Angela. Please wake up.”
It’s been a while since I’ve been in touch. In fact, the last time you heard from me was just ahead of the hardcover publication of The Half Life of Joshua Jones, which I hope you’ve all enjoyed! It’s a great pleasure for me to be getting in touch now with the book out in paperback in just a few days.
Since the initial publication last year, I’m grateful to have received…
Dear friends and readers,
I'd like to invite you to celebrate the book launch of The Half Life of Joshua Jones.
7.30 - 9.30pm May 12th, Highhate Library Cultural and Civic Centre, Croftdown Rd, NW5 1HB
I will read from the book, tell a few stories, sign anything you want and best of all, there will be a glass of wine waiting for you. Feel free to bring your friends.
Most of you should have received your copies of The Half Life of Joshua Jones by now. Every day I'm getting great feedback from those of you who have read it already. There are some quick readers out there! I'm delighted (and relieved) with the lovely things people are saying thus far. An author doesn't really fully comprehend what he/she has written until a reader reads it.
If you haven't receieved…
I'm really sorry for the delay. It is out of my hands. The final proofs went off to the printer last week and the full jacket design is done. All that remains is the printing and posting. I have moved on and have just completed a film script called George and George about two men who escape from a mental insititution. And I will be co-directing my first feature film with brother…
Hello lovely friends and supporters. Unbound have just told me that the cut off date for people who want to support the book and get their names in the back is November 18th. After this date the book can still be ordered through the website but it will be too late to get your name in it as a patron. People who have already supported the book should all have received an email checking the names you…
This date has been in the diary a long time. I'll be talking about my books, my experiences of the publishing industry and telling lots of stories. It will be an intimate evening in a cafe style atmosphere. I won't be selling copies of The Half Life of Joshua Jones because they are not quite ready! If you can make it please say hello afterwards. All details below.
Here is a sneak preview of the book cover.
Looks great, doesn't it? But the question on everyone's lips is when is it going to arrive. It's a good question. Publishing a book seems to take an inordinately long time but there are reasons for it. I spent the best part of a month editing with Liz Garner. She sent me an initial appraisal of the book summarising the themes and characters in the…
Researching a novel can be a lot of fun. When Joshua Jones went in to the cave where his father died I thought I had better follow him. The South Wales Caving Club very kindly gave me special access to one of the biggest cave networks in Britain. It was a terrifying and exhilirating experience and was vital in making the caving sequences in the book authentic. There is a real before and after about…
This clip is filmed in Highgate Cemetery where Karl Marx is buried. You are officially not allowed to film in the cemetery but no one can stop you putting your camera on the pavement outside and filming through the bars. And no one can stop a man talking to himself whilst apparently on a visit. It was just a coincidence that the camera happened to be pointing at the man when he was speaking.
Here is a short amusing video where I try (and fail) to explain what happened to Joshua Jones when he visited the men's bathing pond at Hampstead Heath. Sometimes the out takes are better than the film!
There are now rather a lot of people in my shed on the Unbound website - over 160 - I'm going to have to build an extension. Move those spades and maybe put a window in. I will however continue…
I love reading traditional stories for their wisdom. Good stories are like stones that are polished and polished by storytellers until they become shiny nuggets of truth that are universal to all cultures. When we were filming the promotional video for the book I took the time to record one such traditional story used in the book for my shed. (See attached video.)
I love this particular story because…
A huge thank you for supporting "The Half Life Of Joshua Jones". Writing can be a lonely, isolating experience and it is a source of great encouragement to know that you are there with me.
Like many of you I am just getting my head round this whole new Unbound experience. Until recently I was a luddite when it came to social media. I was a late-adopter but always admired people like Stephen Fry…
These people are helping to fund The Half Life of Joshua Jones.