New works of Harting author published
HARTING journalist John Dodd is raising an extra glass to a double publishing triumph: two of his books coming out in the same week.
The first is a thriller set on the downs, while the second is a compendium of funny cases from the lower London law courts.
“I didn’t know publishing could be like London buses,” said John. “You wait forever, then two come along at the same time.”
His thriller, Fall Guy (Endeavour Press, Amazon, £2.99) follows a world-weary press photographer returning to his old home town — a mixture, he said, of Midhurst, Petersfield and Emsworth – for the funeral of his former best friend and then finding, at every turn, unseen forces there want him dead.
“It’s not so much a whodunit as a who-dunked-him, meaning, who was it who set him up to take the rap for a girlfriend’s death 18 years before? And was his old pal really a very cunning shark in sheep’s clothing?” he said.
“Slowly he begins to realise he has bequeathed him a secret that could ruin an all-powerful dynastic family. But will someone get him first? And why do the local cops have such a grudge?”
John’s second book, Capital Punishment (Endeavour Press, £1.99) is from the years he spent covering places like the historic Bow Street court for the likes of the Observer, the Evening Standard and the Independent on Sunday.
The two demonstrate the variety of John’s writing skills as a reporter, national newspaper feature writer, court reporter, US correspondent, strip-cartoon creator and columnist.
He was first captivated by the delights of Midhurst when, aged 16, he rode there on a bike from Petersfield.
Ten years later he was in Fleet Street, and for the past 25 years he has freelanced for national magazines and newspapers from his cottage in South Harting.
“I’ve worked with scores of photographers, from one who had a Saluki dog that dribbled down my neck as we bowled over Harting Hill in his 1935 Austin Swallow, to famous Fleet Street ones who had to tape ‘goodbye’ letters to their wives under their armpits when they were under siege in Vietnam.
“It seemed a good idea to create a down-at-heel character whose only future is his P45 from his photo agency. He has a mad wife who exists in a parallel universe – not unlike Harting – where she’s only interested in rescuing donkeys.
““My hero’s only weapons are his camera, his wit and his instinct to survive. Capital Punishment coming out was a real surprise.
“It was due for publication in June but then I got an email from Endeavour Press saying, ‘it’s out.’
“That’s the way the world is these days.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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