Plastic Turns Fantastic

Reading & Writing

With a full nine months to go before my novel ‘Plastic’ hits the stands, my wonderfully energetic publishers Solaris have already managed to put the book’s cover up on Amazon. I’m amazed and humbled, and just sorry you have to wait for so long!

It feels so strange working with a house that launches long-term tailor-made plans for its authors in this way. I gave them the book because they did an astonishing job with ‘Hell Train’, and ran a tube poster campaign across London together with co-ordinated signings and events that worked brilliantly. It was a novel some publishers’ readers simply didn’t ‘get’, while others loved it. As Joanne Harris put in her forward, ‘Events unfurl with the breathtaking inevitability of a row of collapsing dominoes,’ and not everyone liked that kind of condensed energy.

Here’s the synopsis:

June Cryer is a shopaholic suburban housewife trapped in a lousy marriage. After discovering her husband’s infidelity with her flight attendant neighbour, Hilary ‘Boarding From The Rear’ Cooper, she loses her home, her husband and her credit rating. Then her best pal, the appallingly behaved Lou, offers her a way out; a friend of hers needs someone reliable to take care of a spectacular London riverside high-rise apartment while the security system is being repaired. It’s just for the weekend, but there’s good money in it…

Seizing the opportunity to escape, June moves into the penthouse only to find that there’s no electricity and the phones don’t work. She must flat-sit until the security system comes back on. When a terrified girl breaks into the flat and June makes the mistake of asking the neighbours for help, she finds herself in an escalating nightmare, trying to prove that a murderer exists. But there’s an unexpected twist that leaves her running for her life.

Over the next 24 hours June must survive on the streets without friends or money, solve an impossible crime and fight off the urge to hit the shops with a vengeance.

‘The dark reverse of a personal growth novel, a hoot of a crime thriller.’ The Independent

19 comments on “Plastic Turns Fantastic”

  1. Wayne says:

    Well that’s on order and due to arrive on or around August 8 2013….. Nice cover BTW.

  2. ♪ Kompani ♪ says:

    Fantastic cover. Do you know if there will be an audio book version and if so when it will be released?

  3. Diogenes says:

    Sounds brilliant and I love the cover. I note the artist used a number 11 blade. Surgeons seldom use a number 11 blade and plastic surgeons always use a number 15.

    Perhaps there is some surgery carried out by a non-doctor….

  4. admin says:

    Damn you, Diogenes, you’ve seen through my plot! How are those pebbles in your mouth, BTW?

  5. John Howard says:

    One is tempted to ask, if fact I definitely will ask; why is there a number 11 blade if it’s ‘seldom used’. Maybe it is for a specific surgical procedure. Could be for removing spleens? I assume that as the plastic surgeon uses a 15, and their work tends to be fine, then a number 1 could be the equivalent of a kitchen knife, sooo using that system a number 11 is near the fine end of the spectrum, maybe something like a sushi knife?

    Alternatively the above could be a load of nonsense…

    Meanwhile, back to the more important stuff. Doing the same as Wayne, another copy ordered. Having done that it’s into town with the Grandson for a Cortado and a bit more of the dreaded shopping.

  6. Dan Terrell says:

    Interesting accidental choice of word there, following the discussion above, because “cortado” is from the Spanish “cortar” which means to cut. Ouch. :)However, I am quite sure the Grandson is safe, if not your plastic. Enjoy the day with him, shopping and all. PS: I have two Granddaughters, so I know shopping.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Not being multi-lingual or sophisticated, I had to look up cortado, which turns out to be an espresso cut more or less half & half with milk. The difference between this & a latte must be minimal, but who am I to complain? The above complaint about the blades is the fear of every author/illustrator. Did I get it right or is there something wrong? It’s all in the details and what the reader’s background is. I’ll bet brouhaha, etc. come from Yiddish rather than Hebrew. Is there another word for that language that isn’t so ugly?

  8. snowy says:

    Yiddish when used to describe the language is not generally thought rude, but it gets a bit hard to explain because within Yiddish, Yid just means Jew. And carries no pejorative meaning, it is only the siezing of the word by outside groups for the purposes of denegrating Jewish communities did it become a ‘bad word’.

    As a ‘lingua franca’ it dissolved boundries between Jews from all over Europe and beyond. There were many theatres in London and other European cities that only ever put on plays in Yiddish.

    A lot of Yiddish words have been absorbed into English over the years, the food related ones are natural, but there are many more. Chutzpah, gelt, glitch, maven, nosh [yes, I am cribbing this from a list], schlep, schlock, [I’ll skip the next one in case there are any Presbyterians in the house 😉 ], schmaltz, schmooze, [better skip that one as well], shtick, and lots more.

    It enjoyed a spike in popularity when Leo Rosten, published ‘The Joys of Yiddish’ which steers the reader through Yiddish vocabulary using a series of interconnected jokes. It was adapted some years later into a critically acclaimed radio series with Andrew Sachs, a quick search reveals no trace of that, but the book is still around.

    But what would a goyim like me know anyway?

  9. Dan Terrell says:

    Trust me Yiddish is filled with wisdom and humour. If you can find a book that has Yiddish stories, tales, jokes, like the one Snowy cites above please buy or borrow it. Yiddish humour is seldom mean, but amazingly funny and instructive in a frequently self-deprecating way. Just watch out for the jokes in English that build forever and then end with an untranslatable Yiddish punch line.
    I heard many such as a boy on Long Island. While everyone else was falling over holding their ribs, I’m going: “Hey,guys, hey. What’s it mean in English?” “We’re really sorry Dan, we just can’t translate it. It’s an old well known saying from the Jewish Quarter in … Impossible to translate.” (There’s a lot of German, Polish and Russian in Yiddish, which helps if you speak one of those languages, but still…)
    Wait, wait before you go. Have you heard the one about Buddha inviting Moses, Jesus, Martin Luther, the Sufi master and the Queen of England to a potluck supper in Alice Springs? Yeah, Alice Springs, right. Okay, here goes, Buddha says he’ll bring a nice Tofu and veggies dish, the Queen RSVPs she’ll have send a traditional deep dish English pie, Martin Luther….” Be careful… you’ll going to really want to know how this ends and it’ll be in Yiddish, trust me. (No religious figures are harmed in the telling of this joke.)

  10. Dan Terrell says:

    Yeah, yeah. There are a couple of typos – again – in the above, but my wife came by, read what I was typing and even though we still don’t know the punch line, exactly, we both started laughing so hard I messed up.
    Cut me some slack here,it’s an original excuse and happens to be the truth. What Martin Luther says he’ll bring to the supper is where it starts to get really good.

  11. Diogenes says:


    It was Demosthenes who spoke with pebbles in his mouth. He has an unspecified speech impediment. Diogenes was notorious for many things including living in a barrell in an extremely unkempt state.


    The blade numbers refer more to shape than size. Number 11 blades are mainly used for opening up major arteries and the heart, which may not bode well for the protagonist or any faint-of-heart readers…

  12. Dan Terrell says:

    Tom Holt has a novel, or perhaps two, in which Diogenes appears barrell, barrell-breath and all appears. Rather funny, too.

  13. J. Folgard says:

    Nice job! To be honest, I deliberately didn’t read the synopsis at all, so I’ll still be surprised when I get my hands on the book. Since ‘Hell Train’, I’ve tried and enjoyed Lou Morgan’s ‘Blood and Feathers’ and Steve Rasnic Tem’s ‘Deadfall Hotel’, and ordered ‘Magic’. It seems people at Solaris are really committed to their books -too bad so many people wrinkle their nose in front of ‘genre’ publishers, because many of them seem actually passionate about getting good books out.

  14. John Howard says:

    Hi Helen, nearly there with the Cortado. It’s a half and half mix between espresso and milk from a flat white (very fine bubbles). It’s a mixture that’s both strong and silky. Much better than a latte.

    Thanks for the blade info Diogenes. Blood and gore here we come…

  15. Chris Lancaster says:

    Ahem. Back to the book! Great to see Plastic finally seeing the light of day. The world is hopefully now ready for it. I just hope you can make some money from it, as £5 seems very cheap. Have ordered early, just in case…

  16. Helen Martin says:

    I know the feeling about the translation. We did an exhibit of Jewish memorabilia – not a strong enough word- from Danzig (which is what it was in 1939) a number of years ago. If you are in New York I believe it went back to the rabbinical school there. They asked for volunteers from the various synagogues so the regular docents met a whole new group who were quite capable of telling those jokes with the untranslatable punch lines. I just wondered if there was any politically correct alternative term.

  17. snowy says:

    There doesn’t seem to be a PC alternative, but given the language and it’s speakers don’t seem to recognise the existence of ‘political correctness’, it is perhaps no surprise. Certain words have fallen out of use, but there is not the cultural cringe there is in the various forms of English.

    Having mulled it over, the nearest I could come up with is ‘The vernacular of the Ashkenazi Jewish diaspora’, but apart from being a bit of a tongue twister, if I ever said it to anyone who spoke Yiddish, they would probably expire from laughing at my foolishness. 🙂

    (Thank you for teaching me the perfectly cromulent word ‘docent’, if I ever work as a guide, that is definitely and proudly going on the name badge.)

    [TJoY can be found in PDF or ePUB formats if you look about. If video is your thing look for the early work of Jackie Mason or Mel Brooks.]

  18. Helen Martin says:

    Snowy thank *you* for cromulent, which I had not met before. I am, as ever, cautious when meeting something as magnificent as that, but it is now part of my vocabulary (I think). Docents were what we were called and what was on our badges. I always did the local history program for grade 5 and each new exhibit as well so I learned about Capts. Cook & Vancouver, Double sided Chinese embroidery and other modern Chinese arts & crafts, the above mentioned Jewish memorabilia, and a bit of basic navigation for a maritime programme we had. Good times.

  19. Helen Martin says:

    And cromulent went to our book crossing meeting and is now being adopted by several ‘crossers. We are, of course, pleased to have another cromulent book from our Admin.

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