Friday, December 9, 2016

Read an excerpt from Tears of Glass by David Lake

Tears of Glass

A failed quarterback, failed husband and failed human being, finds redemption through the music of a failed songwriter.

This darkly humorous thriller is based on real events, including the ' Accidental ' deaths of twenty two UK scientists all working on US missile systems. 

Morgan, a drinking, smoking, womaniser, is drawn to the iconic music of the seventies - Dylan, Carole King, Neil Young, Led Zep - but when he acquires a rejected demo tape by a bluesy pianist, his friends start to meet with bizarre, ' Accidental ' deaths. It eventually dawns that HE is the target . Running to the Californian desert, picking up the inevitable girl en-route, he has no idea that he has stumbled. literally, upon the biggest conspiracy the Intelligence Services have tried to hide since The Wall came down.

An imminent Nuclear Armageddon.

The contrast between those who rule our lives and those who try to live by the rules, is brought into sharp focus through a collection of disparate characters, all having their own agenda. The underlying darkness of the message is almost totally masked by the nature of the ' Ripping Yarn.' The reader rides a wave of action, humour, pathos, passion, violence and even enlightenment.
FREE 12/6-12/10

Read an excerpt:

A battered Mustang left the track and headed for the City, leaving in its wake the smell of bourbon and the sounds of Neil Young and Crazy Horse. 
Young picked the guts out of ‘Cowgirl in the sand’ with a rusty nail and hung them with precision on electric strings of barbed-wire. 

The car moved fast against the rain. It pitched and rolled and dipped hard at the hairpins. It had seen better days, but then so had the driver. The thunderstorm had moved on and the squalls were tiring. Soon the heat would come.

He reeled in the silvered road, one hand on the wheel, one around a can of beer. The cigarette had almost burned to the filter when he spat it out. The wind carried it away.

The wipers smeared the last of the rain into neat arcs, the drops on the periphery remained static and the air stank of it.

The Mustang hissed onwards, down through the low hills and all alone. He lit another cigarette, slowed slightly and lobbed the can into a roadside bin; straight in, it didn't touch the sides. The Mustang moved off at speed, the hood was down and the driver was wet.

He didn't seem to care.

MORGAN – Ex Quarterback, Ex Everything.

‘I ... am a very human being.’

The man had been drinking, but not that much. He had come out of the storm, wet and warmly smiling and had sat at the bar for about an hour. He had a good face, blue, or were they grey, eyes; hooded by slanting lids, and a strong mouth above a chiselled chin. He pushed his glass towards the barmaid as he spoke and raised one finger. She assumed he wanted another.


The finger went up again and he nodded.

‘She told me that the first time we met ... I don't know what she meant, but I took it as a compliment.’ The barmaid wasn't sure if a response was required, so she just poured the drink and raised her eyebrows.

‘Right,’ she said, which could have meant anything.

SIEMENSEN – CIA cold calculating

The room was dark, and the desk, telephone and face of the man who held it, was striped with light from thin horizontal blinds. The face was tight and pale, the hair cropped close to the head, the only distinguishing feature on which, being steel-framed glasses. He wore a white, button-down shirt and dark tie and the trousers of a dark suit. The man was speaking in clipped metallic tones.

‘It's Siemonsen ... Have the Cleaners gone in ...? Good. Any feedback from the cops .... ? Good, so no problems ... ? Excellent! What ... !?’ The stripes of light across his face did a passable imitation of a Munch lithograph.

‘Are you serious ...!? YOU THOUGHT HE'D BE THERE ... ? So you only took out the GIRL ... ? Shit ... Just DO IT ... ! as soon as you can ... Yes he IS important, VERY FUCKING IMPORTANT ... ! The people upstairs want everything CLEAN. Do it NOW ...! But careful ... Ever so, ever so careful. It must look ... It must look ... RIGHT ... ! GOT IT!’

He slammed the ‘phone down.

Together they lifted her and moved through into the hall. The tall one took her under the armpits and was first to the stairs. Dead bodies are not very co-operative before rigor sets in, and lifting a sack of jelly may have been easier. They took her up head first, the man holding the legs having difficulty pinning the smooth, waxed limbs tight between his arms and his side. After four steps and losing his grip twice, he resorted to draping her long legs over his shoulders.

The radio was playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ as they proceeded up the curved stairway in this slightly surreal fashion; her backside bumping rhythmically on each stair and her pelvis thrusting into the smaller man's face. Almost the scenario she had planned for that evening, but not quite. She had reached Heaven anyway, albeit by a different route than originally anticipated. Death imitating Art.

BIG JOHN – LAPD, old, big

She lay like a perfectly placed starfish, wide open, sightless eyes fixed on the ceiling; head, legs and arms formed a tightly-stretched pentangle, the white limbs forming the ultimate contrast with the surface on which she rested. Strips of black silk held her ankles and wrists, and the silk scarf around her neck had choked the life out of her. Whether by accident or design Blake couldn't say.

The human pentangle stood in silence for a few moments, gazing down at the body. The cameraman erected the tripod and started blazing away.

‘I want everything,’ said John. ‘All angles, the room, everything. I don't want nothing left out. Then take it back down the stairs, out through the house and through the garden, I want every damn blade of grass in this place covered.’

Back in the darkened, light-striped office, Siemonsen was listening on the 'phone. The earnest voice at the other end was trying to sound competent.

‘Well sir, that's quite right. We could do without these articles; the Brits were always a bit leaky. I don't believe there's anything to connect them ...’

‘Can you do something about it?’ said Siemonsen, interrupting sharply.

‘We are taking care of that right now sir, but to be quite frank, I don't think anyone is likely to put two and two together ... The reports are scattered over lots of journals, and over quite a period of time. The odd suicide in sensitive areas of research, the occasional scandal regarding plutonium accounting, or lack of it; Congress moaning about budgets and Clinton planning to resurrect SDI ... All newsworthy, but not anything that could reach critical mass.’

‘Put water on the fire ... then blow away the smoke.’ Siemonsen said, picking up the silver frame sitting at the right hand corner of his desk which held the twin photographs of his parents. He was looking at them thoughtfully.

‘Got it, sir. No problem ... Thank you sir.’

Siemonsen wrote carefully with his fountain pen, the one his mother had bought him all those years ago, A HARD RAIN'S GONNA FALL.

PAUL MILLNS Songwriter, failed

‘How do you know me?’ There was caution behind the eyes, which were set in a sensitive face that most would describe as lived-in; although, unshaven and unrested, this one looked more like a squat.

‘Somebody gave me a tape of yours.’

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘Yeah, umm, some A+R guy.’

The pianist shrugged. ‘That's one more record company not picking up an option.’

Morgan carried on regardless. ‘Not got a deal yet?’

The pianist replied. ‘Lots of deals, no money, small labels, cheap production, no promotion,’ then looking straight at Morgan, ‘Tapes going to the wrong people.’

Morgan looked uncomfortable. ‘You got a number?’

‘Why?’ replied Paul.

‘I'd like to buy you a beer sometime.’

‘Buy me one now if you like.’ The two moved to the bar.

SARA Post Grad, late twenties

‘I’m doing post-grad studies in modern history and European languages ... and,’ belligerently now, ‘I'm twenty-seven, unmarried, couple of jobs, a couple of boyfriends, not serious, and a nice middle-class background. OK?’ Morgan's hands went up in mock surrender.

‘What about you?’ asked Sara. ‘Joining a circus?’

Morgan tried the brave grin. ‘Changing jobs, just taking a break.’

She scowled and looked at him hard. ‘What are you running from?’

‘Why don't you just piss off and get a life Morgan,’ she snapped. ‘You're a bloody dinosaur, which dark pit did you crawl out of?’

‘One in a Welsh valley, at least my father did. He dug coal for a living; or a dying. He played a game called Rugby. It's like our Football, except they don't use armour. They sing a lot too.’

‘If you love it so much, why don't you go back there?’

‘Too wet, but I'm a real American. Only half my genes come from there, and they're pretty repressed.’


‘A true native,’ Morgan said with satisfaction, ‘Part Red-Indian.’

‘Jesus,’ said Sara, ‘No wonder you're a mess. The spirits of the ancients must be having a ball in your head. Who are you this week ... King Arthur or Sitting Bull?’

Morgan went quiet, then, ‘This week is more like General Custer.’ They both looked out of the window. They both looked sad.

Sir Anthony McClean/ Tony – MI5 Schizaphrenic

The brass letters on the rosewood background indicated that the distinguished gentleman was Sir Anthony McLean, and he was carefully measuring out a spoonful of brown sugar and ignoring the telephone. When he was quite sure that the tea in his cup was assembled correctly he picked up the 'phone.

‘McLean here ... Hello old boy! How are things in the land of the Free?... Ah yes Siemonsen, your head did mention it. When do think Your... ... will be coming over?... Hmm, it would be nice if You could be a little more precise ... Yes I do see your problem.’

He took a sip, scraping the bottom of the cup on the rim of the saucer to catch any drips.

‘We'll let him come into the country unhindered, then plan a really nice surprise. Lead him on to the punch, so to speak. Of course I have a problem also ... He does have links with this country in terms of nationality... although it is only Wales and doesn't really count. If things do blow up, I suppose I can placate the Welsh Secretary with a Jap factory making plastic rugby players ... It's a game! ... Like your football, but without the armour ...Yes it is bloody stupid, Cheerio!’

As the receiver was replaced, there came three tentative knocks on the door. ‘Come!’


‘They're quite mad you know.’

The recipient of this remark put his chin into the palm of his hand and stared unblinking at the young man with the button-down shirt.

‘What makes you think that?’ The speaker was a comfortably large man with piercingly intelligent eyes. He was embedded in a winged leather armchair, the focal point of his den at the top of his secluded wooded home.

‘Would you mobilise all your resources to eliminate one man?’

‘Depends who he was, and how important he was; besides I'm sure it's not all Siemonsen's resources.’

‘OK, maybe I'm exaggerating, but they're going right over the top, and for what? Some bozo who may, or may not, know something?’

‘What thing?’

He hesitated, ‘I don’t know, something that's got them all worked up ... Head's team, that is.’

TRENCH – Seedy operative. Does Sir Anthony's Wet Work

He eventually sidled up to Sir Anthony and stopped, looked around obviously, and then leaned over and whispered, ‘Got your message Sir.’

‘You're a bloody idiot, Trench!’ This was delivered in a broad East-End accent.


‘You 'erd me you stupid bastard.’ Sir Anthony continued to feed the ducks. ‘The press are startin' to wake up. You gotta be more careful. The Pentagon has got its knickers in a twist, which doesn’t help. Got another little job for you. Not now, but later. Same as the others, accidents. But no cock-ups!’

‘It'll go smooth Tony ‘onest, I ...’

‘An’ another thing,’ Sir Anthony, or Tony, as he had just become, turned on Trench. ‘That 'orse you gave me ... 2.30 at Newmarket ... still runnin ...’

SHERIFF – Small town Mojave Desert

‘Did you have a good night?’ The Sheriff was still doing his Rod Steiger impersonation as he leaned against the bar and looked at the couple. The White Lodge in daylight was as seedy as it had appeared the day before.

The couple were sitting quite close together and said in unison, ‘Yes, thank you, Sheriff.’

‘Heat of the Night’ smiled to himself knowingly. He cleared his throat and got down to more serious questions.

‘Now it would seem that the only person with a motive in this case is you, Mr Morgan.’ Morgan looked offended. The Sheriff wasn't finished.

‘You return to your seat, have a fit of jealousy, and before you know it ... WHAM!’ The Sheriff thumped the table hard, bouncing a couple of glasses. When they had settled, he spoke in a softer voice. ‘I don't think it happened that way. Besides, I never seen a Quarterback who carried a knife.’ Then thoughtfully. ‘ But maybe that doesn’t apply to Running Backs.’ The Sheriff took a swig from a bottle.

Siemonsen sat in his office, half a dozen acolytes around him. The 'phone was jammed in his ear.

‘I'm having my balls chewed off,’ said Siemonsen into the mouthpiece ... ‘Yes, very lucky.’ He held his arm up to still the sniggers ... ‘Listen, if this isn't brought to a successful conclusion soon, then you can forget your pension. We'll take him out in Europe, and this time it's got to be quiet.’His colleagues were nodding in silent agreement. Siemonsen was angry ... ‘Using a knife was crazy AND a rope. Just a candlestick and you could have played Cluedo ...Yes I know it was nothing to do with you ...Your partner just doesn’t think!’

About David Lake

David Lake has a background in Scientific research and the Music Business.He was the Marketing Director of Virgin Records in the 70's and Promoted Concerts by major artists such as Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, David Crosby and Mike Oldfield.
Lake also created music videos and had a small award- winning film/ production company.

The book has links to 14 original tracks which are an integral part of the narrative and this impulse is a direct result of his friendship with the supporting singer-songwriter at the Crosby gigs in London. Paul Millns music acts as a soundtrack to the storyline. The resulting Cinematic experience promoted Irvin Kershner, Dir' Empire Strike Back,' to state - ' I want to make this movie !'

Lake lives with his family in Sussex England.

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