Wrongly implicated in a London terror attack, a troubled young woman is forced to fight for her life when the twin brother of a victim vows revenge.
A page turning thriller
On a summer evening in London, Alice Madsen sips champagne at a restaurant pavement table. But plans to celebrate her new dream job as a TV show producer are shattered when a brutal terror attack takes place on the next street. People panic and Alice flees with the screaming crowd.
Lewis Cole witnesses his twin brother suffer terrible injuries in the incident, and Cole accuses Alice of involvement. Social media wrath turns on her. She suffers insults and threats. CCTV images of Alice are shown on TV, and anti-terror police arrest her.
Cole rages and vows revenge. When Alice goes abroad to escape the attention, Cole cunningly gets copies of her house keys and the code to her alarm. On her return to London, Alice is unaware of Cole’s obsession. But he watches her. He learns. He plots.
As Cole gets closer to his goal, Alice is forced into a desperate fight for her life.
Highly Commended in Novel Fair 2019
I submitted Lasting Scars into the Irish Writers Centre Novel 2019 where it competed with around 250 entries. At the time of submission, the novel was titled Stalking Alice . I was delighted to learn the novel was highly commended by the judges.
Here’s what the judges had to say about Lasting Scars:
Lasting Scars by Lenny Brando
This is a well-written, fast-paced thriller, with a compelling, up-to-the minute opening, dealing with a terrorist attack in an upmarket area of London. The narrative has familiar, contemporary undertones of racism and misogyny, coupled with the well-conveyed tension that Londoners must feel in the wake of recent attacks.
The aura of menace is well done in the opening pages. Alice is uncomfortable, subjected as she is to unwanted male attention. Lewis Cole – an angry young man – is humiliated by her rejection of him and this, coupled with the death of his brother, is sufficient and convincing motivation for his assumption that Alice is somehow involved in the terrorist attack that leads to Daz’s death.
The rage-fuelled dialogue between Lewis and Daz is also well done: it feels both authentic and up-to-date. Dialogue is a strength throughout the narrative, serving both to inject pace and also to reveal the main characters’ prejudices, motivations and weaknesses.
The narrative shifts back and forth between Lewis’s and Alice’s point of view. This is effective in creating suspense and in exploring the ways in which misunderstandings and prejudice can lead to tragedy. The role of the media – in particular, social media – in ramping up outrage and misinformation is also explored to very convincing effect.
All in all, this is a plot-driven, edgy, pacy narrative that combines relentless action set against a convincing backdrop of the way we live now. It is highly visual and feels particularly suited to TV adaptation.
The judges wish the author all the best with Lasting Scars and with his continued writing practice.
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