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  • Chris Statham


18 Reflections and 3 Statements of Relief (Volume 1) is a first-person, fictional account of 15-years in Liam Stranger’s life. The prelude finds Liam neck deep in sand, the tide fast approaching and an assassin sitting 5-metres away enjoying the taste of his Cuban cigar. The reader doesn’t find out his fate until 80% through the book, with Liam retrospectively explaining the twists of fate that led him into such a predicament, this through 18 (serious) reflections and 3 (facetious) statements of relief.

The first chapters are set in the early years of the new millennium. Liam is in the last days of university and his life revolves around beer, friendships and casual sex. Graduating, he moves to London where he is a poster child for Generation Y, namely, better educated and more travelled than his parents but also less well-off and having lower job security. It is during these formative years that the reader is introduced to his friends and who will play a crucial part in helping Liam become a criminal mastermind.

Liam eventually settles down with a girlfriend, though after much soul searching realises his wanderlust is not quelled. He moves to Malawi (southern Africa) as a volunteer business consultant and re-starts his life. This is where he meets Amy, a Malawian with a positive and fun-loving attitude and who quickly becomes the love of his life. However, marrying an African is not what his conservative minded family expected, this just one of life’s challenges that Liam contends with. After the birth of their son, and with finances reaching breaking point, Liam gets the break he was praying for, a well-paying contract with GlobeTel, a telecommunications company in Tanzania. However, Liam’s dream job soon turns into a nightmare when caught-up in office politics. His contract is terminated and he is walked out of the office by security. Humiliated, Liam is at his wits end. Pushed into a corner, Liam is inspired by the song, Not Afraid.

Contemplating Eminem’s battle with drugs, alcohol and gambling - and understanding these vices well - Liam draws on all his business and life experiences to audaciously plan a criminal enterprise to financially provide for his family. Acknowledging his deficiencies to carry out his plan, Liam partners with the hell-raising Jonas, a lawyer who he shared a house with in London. They open a bottlestore which they soon arson to raise insurance capital for reinvestment. They also start to create the urban myth, The Ghost, a publically revengeful entity that takes on anyone that crosses his path, including corrupt police. The Ghost is part of Liam’s branding plan. He brings in other friends (who the reader was introduced to earlier in the story), Tony negotiates with his Colombian contacts for narcotics supply and, Gillian is a stockbroker.

Liam’s two-year plan comes to fruition when his vast criminal wealth from alcohol, drugs, prostitution and protection are invested in competitor telecom shares while simultaneously engineering the fall of GlobeTel’s share price.

The book finishes with Liam reflecting how through his various life experiences that he will never again be at the mercy of the financial capriciousness of life.

I am currently drafting Another 18 Reflections and 3 More Statements of Relief (Volume 2), and in which Liam’s hubris gets the better of him. His family is kidnapped on holiday of the coast of Somaliland. He brings back his group of multi-talented friends to globally track down the abductor, it transpiring that it was his wife who instigated the seizing.

While the first novel (in the series) is largely written in the past tense (the last 15% is present tense, the reader finding out how Liam escapes from the assassin) the second volume will be primarily set in the present. Draft blurb for Another 18 Reflections and 3 More Statements of Relief

“Life is like poker, you make the best decision on the limited information you have.” Liam Stranger

It's been four years seven months and twenty-six days since I was buried neck deep in a Tanzanian beach and smelling one of Cuban’s finest cigars wafting by on the sea-breeze; it was being enjoyed by my assassin.

My current predicament it's equally perilous as I‘m strung up by metal hooks in a basement of an improvised prison in Somaliland, my captors grinning as they approach my sweat soaked and broken body with a picana electrica and which will deliver a high-voltage, low-current electric shock.

If you were in my position, that being naked and strung upside down, a cattle prod inches from your face and wondering one of three things, 1) how much pain is about to go through my body, 2) will my bowels disengage, sewage gliding down my chest and over my head and, 3) am I about to die… and you don’t reflect how you got into such a situation, when do you?

My love affair with Africa is seemingly once again my downfall. This is my story.

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