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Dreamcake by Frederick Anderson

I knew Brendan Martin:  yes, I did.  I expect, if you search your memory, you’ve known him too.

Brendan’s the grey guy, the one in the group of men at a party you went to, or standing by the bar, or maybe just walking on a busy street.  There’s the flashy, handsome guy with the really neat goatee, the man with a long face and a warm, quirky smile, the ebullient, noisy guy in red trousers and a t-shirt, always shouting. 

Then there’s Brendan.  He’s the one dressed in beige and brown.  His skin’s pallid and clean-shaven, his wispy brown hair neatly cut, his shoes inconspicuously clean.   He rarely smiles, he talks in subdued tones, and after five minutes in his company you’ve probably forgotten he’s there at all.

Like I said, Brendan is the grey guy.  Only moderately talented, divorced, cuckolded by his boss at the accountancy firm where he worked.

So, what would happen if…….

‘He dreamt about her, years ago – spent nights in torment with her image on his mental page, trying not to imagine himself with her, trying to expunge desperate, lonely desires from his mind.  She was his Venus de Milo, his Aphrodite, his Virgin of the Rocks.

And there she was.

Sarah.

What if he should suddenly run across someone: a girl he knew at university?  A haunting, pre-Raphaelite mystery of a girl who seems to have fallen on hard times?  And if she accepts his advances, would that alter his run of bad fortune?  More yet, would that change him as a man?

Suddenly – why, he cannot fathom – Brendan’s grey life in a grey town takes a colourful turn.   Where once he was customarily ignored, now he seems to be a centre of attention:  his ex-wife:  his beautiful, utterly self-indulgent ex wife who only married him as a means to an end won’t leave him alone, he is followed around by a furtive man in silent shoes, and the police begin to view him with suspicion.

What’s more, his luck changes!  He attempts an act of personal bravery on impulse, drawing the devotion of Penny, his business colleague and friend; and whether as a result of his increased self-assurance or simply a stroke of fate, an annual conference that is usually sufferable at best becomes a one night stand of epic intensity.

But all this is leading somewhere; and the somewhere has a price.  What is so terrifying his ex-wife?  Who are the grim figures from whose grasp he and Penny escape one night on the moors; and what are the secrets his policeman friend cannot divulge?

Through each of these changes the enigmatic figure of that girl drifts like a wraith, sometimes closer than a breath, sometimes further than the stars.   Who is she, what have the years done to her to wreak such changes?  And what can she want from him?

I enjoyed giving new life to Brendan, and I know you will enjoy going along for the ride.  The book is called ‘Dreamcake’ and you can find it on Kindle at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007JW8LO4 in US, or https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007JW8LO4  for UK.