Broken Dreams (Joe Geraghty, Book 1)
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Always love hearing about other peoples important books. I've asked authors to share with us a list of the books that are special to them and have made a lasting impact on their life. Today I'm joined by Hull-based crime writer Nick Quantrill. My earliest memory relating to books is demanding to be taken to the local library where I must have devoured every one of their adventures, enjoying the thrill of the chase and trying to solve the mystery before the gang did. I can't wait to pass my love of these books on to my daughter.
The thrill of the chase was still there, but I fell in love with the foggy atmosphere of Victorian London. I was also reading football fiction, thinly disguised Roy of the Rovers type stories, but like most teenage boys, forced GCSE reading as I hit my mid-teens turned me off reading for pleasure.
Maybe it was the hype around the book as the way football was starting to change that resonated with me, but it was the key to me falling back in love with the written word. I was always going to write crime, but it was the heart and compassion, something all good crime novels should have, found in books like ' The Grapes of Wrath ' and ' To Kill A Mockingbird ', which had a big impact on me.
It's tempting to view Rankin's novels as a body of work, one that takes the microscope to present-day Scotland, but ' Black and Blue ' was both his breakthrough and one fuelled by difficult circumstances in his own life. All that's good about crime fiction is distilled into this one novel. I currently have four books on the go. It has been loaned me by a workmate who hails from Smoggie Land and it currently helps pass the time at lunch.
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Completing the quartet and currently occupying pride of place on my bedside is "Broken Dreams". It's the debut novel or "first urban thriller" as stated in the product description by Hull writer Nick Quantrill.
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- Benjamin Franklin Wit and Wisdom (Americana Pocket Gift Editions).
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The author gives a decent introduction to it on this video but I stumbled across him when the Hull Daily Mail ran a piece about a regular feature Nick was planning for this season's Hull KR match programme. It was from this that I learnt that "Broken Dreams" was a crime thriller set in his home city winning start and whose hero, fictional private eye Joe Geraghty, was a one-time player with The Robins sold! How ironic then that having first picked up this tale of Broken Dreams set in some of Hull's more seedier districts, I should find myself on the, er, distinctive setting of Noddle Hill Playing Fields watching our Reserves' own "dreams" of retaining the County League President's Cup "broken" in the cruellest of fashion.
Dean Cup, is often referred to as the most prestigious piece of silverware in the League's locker. This is mainly due to the fact that it is the only cup on offer to every member club although participation is optional. And last year we won it!
Particularly as it offered some of the club's "lesser lights" chance to share in the sort of limelight normally reserved for the First Team squad. On both occasions we'd turned up very much the underdogs, withstood plenty of early pressure, taken the lead slightly against the run of play then gone on to complete a pretty imperious victory. I almost didn't make the game.
With apathy high on the agenda and many other would-be travellers opting for the following night's CML derby at Hutton Cranswick, I was resigned to following the game by mobile phone That is until 'Biff' McNaught came to the rescue. In truth I'd thought he'd been left out of the squad but on hearing otherwise, arrangements were made and at 5.
My chauffeur's late arrival due to "some pigs having come in at just before half-past" lent a slightly surreal air to proceedings and I allowed myself a smile while wondering how many of Wawne's players had ever seen a pig, let alone handle one! Indeed, given the margin of victory for them in both recent league meetings and most of the sizeable Holderness contingent also thought the game could turn out to be a touch one-sided! The early passages of play lent themselves to this view as the United rearguard, marshalled by the aforementioned Rutter, was put under immediate pressure; this despite manager Appleyard having opted for a formation that was expected to stifle the hosts' creativity from midfield.
I looked at Fozzy's dad John - we both wondered whether we'd get another opportunity as good. Left back Adam Metcalf produced one goal-line block as Wawne got on the front foot. We'd be happy to get to the break goalless. But what's this? We only went and scored. We led The cry was soon to be returned with interest - although not before Frosty should have doubled our lead. This time it was Adam M and the Stumo combining to set him free but the shot was off target. You just knew we would pay for that miss.
That came on 42 minutes. Amazingly, though, we were back in front before the break. Fitzy whipped in a delightful free-kick that Fozzy swept home on the half-volley. I didn't shout quite so loud this time.
5WH Interview with: Nick Quantrill – Mike Thomas
But the pressure eventually told and on 65mins it was All talk along our touchline was of whether we would now be swept aside and possibly embarrassed. Or could we hit back again? We should have done. Three times Frosty got himself into great positions - cutting in to be denied by Drayton on the first, popping the ball up into the keeper's arms when caught in two minds on the second and thwarted by a defender's covering tackle on the third. Meanwhile, supported well by the promising Jammer at centre-half, the Stiffs were limiting Wawne to few real openings of their own and it was the hosts who were more relieved to hear Referee Sprangle blow for full time.
And penalties. Easington sides traditionally have good records in penalty shoot-outs. I should have been confident. I wasn't. Up stepped Gav Thurkettle included in the fifteen-man squad as sub and on for the hard-working Thommo. A good striker of a ball Both sides then scored excellent penalties, with Fitzy, Fozzy and Nige maintaining interest at But Wawne had the pen in hand Stumo stepped up to put us in the box seat. And scored. The final Wawne taker had to score to take it to sudden death.
Oh and for a glorious split-second it appeared he hadn't as the ball pinged againt the underside of the bar in the top corner, bounced bown And so to sudden death where, somewhat surprisingly, youngster Luke Nettleship stepped forward for us. His penalty was saved and the Wawnester after him made no mistake with his. We'd lost For now. There was little time to dwell on the night's misfortunes. Of course we also found room for reminiscing about Shotgun's days on the school buses We arrived at Rotsea Lane in reasonable time and I was pleased to see the full squad there and looking keen.
It's quite ironic that this fixture now constitutes our "local derby" having been one of the longer trips in the old Humber Premier League days. At least the ill-fitting tag ensured that the lads appeared to have a new-found sense of purpose about them; at least according to Mack that is. I think several of them still felt they'd let themselves down in our first meeting back in August I rather fancy that several of them may have let themselves down quite regularly since. However, it has easily become one of the most amicable and hospitable of any we enjoy.
And sure enough, the usual suspects - Denis, Jim and club secretary Paul - were on hand to ensure we were made to feel very welcome on what was a bright but bitingly cool evening. Indeed, there appeared to be a general consensus from those around the ground that we were a tad unfortunate to not to come off a goal or two to the good at the break.
Set-pieces in particular appeared to cause problems for home keeper Ryan Ramsden, while Andy M - playing against his former team-mates - should perhaps have done better when promising balls came his way. Frosty forced a good early save out of the keeper and was also unlucky to be denied a penalty when he appeared to be clipped when outstripping the full-back. Meanwhile, there were 43 minutes on my watch before Hutton Cranswick "Cranny" had their first meaningful attempt on goal - and it wasn't far off either.
Although enjoying my half-time cuppa in the genial company of the home committee members, I had the nagging feeling that the lack of cutting edge would come back to haunt us. Worryingly, nobody disagreed. Then " Cranny scored. Poor marking at a throw-in was punished when Kris Walmsley was given time and room to slot home.
Suddenly the home side were confident. They knocked the ball around well, their movement went up a gear. We were hanging on. Then it was Fine work down the right from Danny Cousins culminated in a superb cross that one-time Withernsea man Ash Marriott met with a thumping header. All my half-time predictions were coming true.
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Some light relief for our predicament was to be found in the banter between some members of our support Farny's dad mainly! Every "correct" as we deemed it raise of the flag for a "Cranny" offside was greeted by compliments and hints that his mark for the night was on the rise. Jamie Cousins had entered the fray for the first time in several months when replacing Ricky Kemp just prior to the second goal and he began to have a major influence on the game.
Suddenly, though, we were back in the game. And five minutes after his earlier miss, he capped a flying run with a crisp finish inside Ramsden's left-hand post. Gav replaced Andy M and with ten minutes to go looked to have finally netted his th First Team goal and our equaliser only for a defender to bundle his header from Farny's deep cross off the line.