“Framed” – a review by Csilla

Framed

As comments are closed on posts here after some time, to prevent bots spams,  Csilla found herself unable to post her thoughts about “Framed”. So here they are on her behalf. Thank you Csilla.

SPOILERS, SPOILERS, so if you have not read the book, don’t read this.
I enjoyed it very much, and the slang was not a problem, it was easily understandable, although I do wonder how much shorter this novel would be without the generous use of the f-word (but not a problem, my favourite spy-series had “bloody” everywhere).
Also quite good that though it is not a first person narrative it reads like one: I think it never loses Frankie’s perspective and I like the kind of narration that flows from this approach.
Love that it is not the conventional crime story where the murderer and his motives are investigated: Frankie in the end only wants to clear Jack and if a witness cleared him saying it was not him who committed the crime, I suppose, Frankie would have left the rest of the investigation to the police, even though he was sufficiently appalled by the way of the murder.
My favourite part is when Frankie is running from the cops and then escaping after he found Star dead. It is already interesting that the police was called by a neighbour, not by Wilson/the Hamiltons, especially because otherwise it completely smells like the same setup of which Jack was a victim, so a good ploy. But I really like that Frankie gets away: we have seen a lots of police dramas where the cops always catch whomever they chase, so it is really nice to see someone to flee successfully and one of my favourite/funniest sentences is when Frankie says that if he gets away he will make his body a f-ing temple (and of course, he drinks a lot of vodka when he makes it home).
Kidnapping poor Baotic looked to me a little like “jumping the shark”, but I like the two observations by Frankie about this: first that he actually enjoys acting like a criminal (scary, but understandable), then when he is captured by Wilson and Hamilton, he does not like looking at Baotic, because now he realizes that he had done the same to him as what was being done to Frankie now, and Baotic must have been equally scared etc. It is quite good to put oneself into other people’s shoes.
For me it is obvious from the first time he mentions it that no tape had been made, and in any case, I don’t think it would be very useful to send a tape to the police where he was beating the witness with a crowbar to make him tell the truth. Dougie yeah, he would find it “useful”, but the police? Frankie would go to jail himself fast. But it is well played with Hamilton, and that is a very good part too: it is obvious that Frankie will survive, so the interesting thing is not whether, but how.
Finally, I kept wondering whether or not he would end up with Sharon and I know it is part of not having a happy ending that he did not, but I was happy about it. First of all, of course it is suggested, or Frankie suggests that he just screwed up, because when Sharon came he was kissing the other woman, but Sharon might have visited him to say good-bye, telling him she would go to Hong Kong, or anything like this. Second, despite Frankie not being a criminal, I can’t imagine that the kind of life he leads and people he knows would be conductive to a good relationship with a policewoman.

Some of my beefs, or loose ends not tied (to quote Columbo).
A small one: Chloe in that fancy brothel gives Frankie her number. Since there is no follow-up, it is a sort of action gratuite, maybe to show that yes, Frankie is a very attractive man, buta little pointless.
It was obvious that Xandra and Slim would have some problems with each other, and it was also obvious that Xandra did not take the money, so there must be another explanation.
However, it is a little strange that Slim thinks Xandra stole £400 (my monthly scholarship in 1995/96 was £600, so it was a lot of money), and then he writes the note and does not open the club: why would he throw good money after bad and since they already lost what was in the till, why top it up with more losses by not opening? Because of it for awhile I thought that the Hamiltons got to them too and forced Slim to write the note and then kidnapped them too.
Finally, the biggest: there is a lot of talk about Snaresby being a strange cop (with such a name no surprise), who must have known Frankie’s parents, Frankie’s father tells Frankie to be careful about him, Snaresby is the one who comes to the club after it is vandalised, he goes to tell Frankie the bad news about the grandmother not exonerating Jack and delivers some lecture too, so the whole thing builds up to some kind of big revelation about Snaresby, but that never comes.
OK, this was literature talk for now.

Double Kiss – a review

Ronnie O’Sullivan will be signing copies of his new book Double Kiss at WHSmith Glasgow tomorrow, Tuesday 12th, December at 6pm.

DoubleKissCover

So I thought this is a good time to write a little review …

Double Kiss is the second book of the “Soho Nights” series, and, although it’s probably possible to read it independently, I would strongly recommend to read  “Framed” first because in Ronnie’s books, like in real life, there are a lot of characters surrounding the main protagonist and many of them are actually introduced, in context, in the first book of the series.

here is what Double Kiss is about:

Frankie James has his hands full.

He’s trying to develop the club he has “inherited” from his father to make it profitable. Part of this plan is to organise a snooker tournament, the Soho Open, that would attract pros as well as amateurs. To achieve that he needs to find promoters and sponsors and he wants to stay in control of it, which means staying away from the gangs running the area. This isn’t easy especially as his younger brother Jack is involved with one gang in particular, the one run by Tommy Riley. Worse, Frankie is indebted to Tommy who helped him clear his brother’s name when he was falsely accused of murder.

Frankie is also convinced that his father, who is imprisoned for armed robbery, didn’t get a fair trial and he is looking for evidence in order to get the case reopened.

If that wasn’t enough, a postcard arrives through the post, from Mallorca, seemingly written by his mother, who suddenly disappeared eight years ago.

And then, Tommy Riley requests Frankie’s help to bring back home his god-daughter, a teenager who has gone off the rails and eloped to Ibiza with her boyfriend. Frankie has no choice but to accept, and decides that, as he is going to the Baleares Islands anyway, he will take the opportunity to do some research about the sender of that postcard whilst fulfilling his mission…

At the heart of the series is Soho, a colourful area of London, and the language the book is written in, is just as colourful and uses a lot of slang. It has its charm and certainly gives the characters an authenticity, but it might be a bit difficult to read for non native English speakers. And it will require a very careful and skilful translation, if it is ever translated, to not betray the spirit of the original. That said, it makes Soho itself a character of the story in its own right and I like it. In that way, it’s a bit similar to the “Inspector Morse” series of books by Colin Dexter, where Oxford is central to both the narration and the atmosphere.

Frankie himself is very similar as a person to the author, Ronnie, and it’s even more obvious in Double Kiss than it was in Framed. He is not Ronnie, but he shares a number of traits with Ronnie, both in his personality and in his life history and cultural heritage.

The book itself is pacy, gritty, entertaining and keeps you guessing. I don’t want to spoil the readers of this blog so that’s all I’ll say. However, as the book finishes, it is clear that the story, and Frankies quests are far from over. When you reach the last pages, it leaves you wanting for more, thinking and trying to figure out where all this will lead Frankie, and you, the reader, along with him, as the plot unfolds in the third book to be published next year.

I liked Framed, and liked Double Kiss even better because of the various sub plots it presents. There is more depth and maturity in this one. And I will certainly read the third instalment of the “Soho Nights” when it comes out.

Ronnie news and snooker news

Ronnie was out on social media today to confirm that the sequel of “Framed” will be out in November and its title is “Double Kiss”

On twitter:

my new book, out Nov but pre-order it here and i’ll sign it too. thanks for your support Ro x

DoubleKissCover.jpg

And on Facebook

please to say my new book will be out in November. More stories of Frankie, you can order a signed copy here thanks for your support Ro x

As a reminder, here is the “trailer” …

The race is on. The stakes are high. Frankie James thought his troubles were behind him. He’s busy running his Soho Club, and his brother’s finally out of prison. But when a postcard arrives from Mallorca, he’s stopped in his tracks . . . Is it from his mother – the woman who’s been missing for eight years? When the goddaughter of London’s fiercest gangster, Tommy Riley, goes missing in Ibiza, Tommy knows there’s one man for the job – Frankie James. Just when Frankie was on the straight and narrow, he’s now faced with an impossible choice. If he agrees to help find Tanya, he’ll be thrown into a world of danger. If he doesn’t, Tommy could destroy him. For Frankie James, old habits die hard. One thing’s for sure, playing with this gang is no game. But with everything at stake, how can Frankie say no? Double-Kiss is the fast-paced, thrilling sequel to Framed, by snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Note that, unfortunately, whsmith delivers only in the UK, so this offer is only valid for UK readers…

Now about the snooker

It transpired on social media earlier last week that the Shanghai Masters 2017 was still no certainty, that the deal wasn’t done yet and the entry pack not out. Worldsnooker has since removed the tournament from its “live scores” calendar, so I reckon it’s not going to happen. That the Shanghai Masters disappears is a shame, that the week between 13 and 19 November becomes free would be good news, in my opinion at least. I’m not sure how the top players, who are only human, were supposed to cope with playing in China for the International Championship, next in the Champion of Champions in Coventry, then in China again for the Shanghai Masters, then back to UK for the Northern Ireland Open considering that there isn’t a single “free” day in that schedule. It would not have been just about the hectic traveling, it would also be about how the human body adjusts to time difference and broken sleep patterns.  You can’t realistically expect them to play in every of those tournaments AND to perform at the top of their ability in each. That said there is still a “China Ranking Event” in Worldsnooker Calendar but unless it’s all 128 at the venue, I wonder when the qualifiers could possibly be played, Maybe right after the English Open? Anyway, personally, I hope it’s scratched.

Players are currently in Yushan for the World Open and there have been a few notorious casualties already: Mark Selby, Michael White, Liang Wenbo, Shaun Murphy, Barry Hawkins and Graeme Dott are all out already (*) as the last 32 is starting tomorrow. Apparently the venue and conditions are very good. But the trip to get there is quite long and tiring – it’s a rather remote place – and a number of players arrived without their cue or their luggage. This of course isn’t Worldsnooker fault, but the more connections and different transports are needed, the likelier these incidents become. And there are complaints about the hotel(s) too. Why not stick to big cities, with easy connections? Surely this would allow more fans to come and watch live as well?

(*) Ali Carter, the defending Champion and Ronnie didn’t enter, Judd Trump didn’t qualify.

Paperback “Framed” launched

bradford15june2017

Going by the many comments on twitter the event, and Ronnie’s story telling skills, were highly appreciated, as was the fact that he made himself available for  the fans. It was packed and VIPs were treated to a signed cue. Ronnie BTW wasn’t the only sporting celebrity in the room …

Pictures shared by Jason Francis on twitter:

And today, they paid a visit to the Northern Snooker Center in Leeds, owned by the Lines family, and home of many pros. It’s a beautiful club.

Ron&PhilLeeds16.062017

image shared by David Grace on FB

And in the evening he even played some snooker at Hanging Heaton CC

report on this exhibition by the Dewsbury Reporter

Snooker legend O’Sullivan thrills sell out crowd with exhibition

One of the greatest snooker players of all time thrilled a sell out crowd as Ronnie O’Sullivan played an exhibition at Hanging Heaton Cricket Club last Friday.

The event had taken 12 months to plan by club steward Pete Jagger and attracted snooker players and followers from across the area as over 170 people packed into the clubhouse.

Huddersfield based family run business the Billiard Company installed a professional standard table into the main function room, with O’Sullivan playing eight frames against local players.

BBC snooker commentator John Virgo compared the evening and provided commentary to all eight frames.

The five-time World Champion produced an entertaining display and maintained his superb record of making a century break in every exhibition he has ever played.

O’Sullivan faced former English CIU Champion Wayne Cooper in a best of five match, which saw both men produce some excellent snooker. O’Sullivan produced a brilliant 79 clearance break to take the first frame but Cooper fought back in style as he made a magnificent 80 break to level the match. The third frame was nip and tuck as O’Sullivan built a 64-point lead but Cooper twice forced snookers only for The Rocket to close it out and win 96-40. O’Sullivan had the crowd on the edge of their seats as he potted five reds and five blacks at the start of the fourth frame only to see his hopes of a maximum 147 break ended when he missed the sixth black, although he went on to win 77-0 and establish an unassailable 3-1 lead. Cooper began the fifth and final frame superbly as he potted five reds and five blacks before missing a difficult long red. Cooper added a 42 break later in the frame to win it 83-15 and earned him high praise from O’Sullivan.

Hanging Heaton member Chris Swaine won an inter club competition for the once in a lifetime chance to play a frame against O’Sullivan. Swaine earned rapturous applause when he took a 1-0 lead before O’Sullivan went on to win the frame 98-14.

O’Sullivan then met Bradford’s Mark Slater, winner of a qualifying tournament. Breaks of 46 and 51 from O’Sullivan, sandwiched between a 29 break by Slater, saw him take the frame 97-29.

O’Sullivan saved his best for the final frame of the evening as he met Wakefield St Michaels player Anthony Hebblethwaite. After a cagey opening which saw O’Sullivan 9-2 ahead, The Rocket produced a stunning 108 break to the delight of the crowd.

As O’Sullivan left to a standing ovation, Virgo announced that his final break had maintained a record of making a century in every exhibition he has played. A snooker cue, donated by The Billiard Supply Company, and signed by O’Sullivan raised £450 in an auction, which will be donated to cancer charities. The winning bidder was Joe Brennan of Chem Scaffolding Ltd.

Ahead of the paperback “Framed” launch …

bradford15june2017

Ronnie will be in Bradford tonight, speaking about his life, and this event is part of the promotion around the launch of the paperback version of his first novel “Framed”.

In the same context, yesterday, he was at the BBC2 studio, for an interview, which is now available on the BBC2 site as a podcast. Many thanks to Silvry who was first on the ball and spotted it!

It’s a nice, down to earth interview, where Ronnie explains that, as weird as his childhood environment might have been, it was normality for him as a child.

Pictures shared on Facebook by Jason Francis:

 

 

Double Kiss – Ronnie’s next novel news

It’s coming … this was in the press today

Pan Mac to publish Ronnie O’Sullivan’s next novel

Published May 22, 2017 by Katherine Cowdrey

Pan Macmillan has poached Ronnie “The Rocket” O’Sullivan after his debut, Framed, published last year with Orion. Pan Macmillan will publish his sequel, Double Kiss, in November.

The follow-up will take readers back to the summer of Euro ‘96 and gangland Soho, drawing on the five-time world snooker champion’s own personal experiences of Soho, his parents’ time in prison and of the hedonistic ‘90s club scene.

Like Framed, Double Kiss will again follow protagonist Frankie James “struggling to stay out of trouble”. But whileFramed was about the “dog-eat-dog underworld” of 1980s Soho, its sequel will be set in the ’90s.

Victoria Hughes-Williams, senior commissioning editor, acquired world rights (excluding China) in a two-book deal, from Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown. Author Emlyn Rees, who also worked on Framed, will again be collaborating with O’Sullivan to write the book.

O’Sullivan said: “When Jonny suggested I come to Pan Macmillan with the new crime series, I was really up for it, because I love working in the book industry, everyone is so passionate about what they do. The team at Pan Mac are great and I can’t wait to work with Emlyn Rees again after the success of Framed and will look forward to November when Double Kiss hits the shops.”

Hughes-Williams said: “We were bowled over by Ronnie’s infectious energy and warmth when he visited Pan Mac last week. He’s a legend of the snooker, and indeed sporting, world but his enthusiasm for books, and his commitment to making Double Kiss a success, was genuinely exciting. We could not be more delighted to welcome him to Pan Mac.”

Double Kiss will publish in hardback on 16th November 2017. Pan Macmillan will also publish the audio edition to his first book in the series, Framed, on 15th June 2017, read by Nick Moran.

Crucible’s Greatest Matches – a must read

Hector Nunns, one of the most dedicated and honest sport journalist you could possibly meet, has finally fulfilled his dream and published a book.

He was interviewed by Worldsnooker:

Tuesday 18 Apr 2017 10:18AM

This year we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first World Championship in Sheffield, and to mark the occasion, snooker’s leading journalist Hector Nunns has written a book about the Crucible’s greatest matches.

The book throws the spotlight on classic matches involving Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White, the late and much-missed Alex Higgins and Paul Hunter, Cliff Thorburn, Terry Griffiths, Ken Doherty and of course the 1985 black-ball final between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis.

The book is available to buy now and makes a fantastic souvenir of the 40th anniversary, or a gift for anyone who loves snooker. Click here for more details.

The book is also on sale in the Crucible throughout the Betfred World Championship.

We spoke to Hector to find out about his experience of writing the book…

Hector, how much fun did you have writing The Crucible’s Greatest Matches?

A lot of fun. I knew from last summer I wanted to do a book, my first, that was in some way related to the 40th anniversary of the Betfred World Championship taking place at the Crucible in Sheffield. So it was just choosing what to do, and I quickly settled on a book of greatest matches to celebrate at the same time a special venue, a unique tournament, and the game itself. And I knew I wanted the chapters to be long enough to be self-contained stories, taking in some career and season background on the players when we met them for the first time in the book, as well as the blow by blow account of the match. Interviewing is probably my favourite part of journalism, and I wanted to have first-hand recollections from as many of the players involved as possible. Given that some great players featured more than once I also thought I needed to have as a bare minimum Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White on board. Luckily that happened, and for those featured sadly no longer with us like Alex Higgins and Paul Hunter, I was able to add quotes from those that knew them well in addition to past interviews and cuttings. Then, armed with all my interviews, Chris Downer’s Crucible almanac, and watching a lot of archive footage, I spent most of November, December and January writing it up, either in the wooden cabin that serves as an office at the end of the garden, and then in my hotel at the Masters.

Which players gave the most fascinating interviews during your research?

The first thing to express is my gratitude and appreciation for all the players who generously gave of their time to talk about the matches selected. Whether they were legends of the game, or players who simply were part of one amazing match at the Crucible, they spoke candidly and honestly, and basically made the book. Of course, it is fascinating to hear Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis talk about the 1985 ‘black-ball’ final, and even though it is hard to get anything really new (given it is one of the most discussed and written-about moments in sporting history) hopefully there is the odd new perspective. But I loved the conversations with both Ronnie O’Sullivan and Peter Ebdon about their incredible 2005 quarter-final, when eventual winner Ebdon slowed the pace down so much that he was accused of doing so deliberately and ‘cheating’ by journalist Matthew Syed in The Times. Ebdon sued over the comments, and lost. My respect for Jimmy White – always high, as one of my favourite players as a kid – only increased as he was able to talk about painful defeats with such a total absence of bitterness. Regret, but no rancour. Ken Doherty and Paul Hunter’s former manager Brandon Parker spoke very well about one of my own favourite matches that I covered as a journalist, the 2003 semi-final that saw the Irishman come back from 15-9 down to win 17-16. And the (costly) transatlantic phone call to Cliff Thorburn was more than worth it as he spoke about the 1980 final against Alex Higgins, and the 1983 match against Terry Griffiths that saw the first Crucible 147. The Canadian remains one of snooker’s great characters, as does Tony Knowles whose recollections of being out nightclubbing until 4am during his 10-1 win over Davis in 1982 had me laughing out loud.

You have been covering the World Championship yourself for over a decade. Do you have a personal favourite moment at the Crucible?

While I had covered the World Championship from the office for a couple of years, and done a few player interviews in London, my first time in Sheffield was in 2004 when Ronnie O’Sullivan won his second title, and the first time will always be special. Of course I will always remember it but the matches that mainly sticks out for me apart from the final was the semi-final and seeing the player I had watched dominate for a decade, Stephen Hendry, absolutely destroyed by O’Sullivan 17-4. Also the last-16 match between Matthew Stevens and the late and still much-missed Paul Hunter; great friends, two players I always enjoyed watching and a cracking match won 13-12 by the Welshman. I would have to say that this year’s 40th anniversary gala celebration in the arena, and seeing all the former Crucible champions, was a great evening. Away from the table and work there are plenty of good memories, not all of which centre around big nights out in Sheffield, a city I have always had a lot of time for having also studied here. There is a camaraderie in the media, and team curries help you through the marathon. I try to get out towards the Peak District and have a walk around Ladybower Reservoir if I can, and sneaking out of the venue to relive my youth at a Happy Mondays gig over the road one year was another major highlight.

In writing the book, did you find yourself immersed in the intensity and emotion of those classic matches – even the ones which happened before you covered snooker?

I would say just about every match in the book I either watched all or most of at the time, or was here covering them at the Crucible. Then in writing the book I spent hours going over any old footage I could find to remind myself of key moments, and sometimes find shots or misses that the players had specifically raised in their interviews. So in that sense yes, you had to immerse yourself, and certainly writing the book brought back many of the feelings from watching the matches live. That said, it is of course far more intense for the players – with the possible exception of Jimmy White. Yes he was very upset, but he thinks (and I agree) there are still fans who were more upset than him he never won a world title, and he regularly has to console people to this day.

Do you feel snooker has a unique capacity – among all sports – to create that kind of drama?

Without any doubt snooker has the power and the capacity to create huge drama in an almost unique way. World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn was kind enough to pen the foreword for the book, and as usual he puts it better than most: “Unlike a lot of sports snooker can be a slow burner, the tension builds minute by minute, frame by frame, hour by hour and especially at the Crucible where the matches are the longest we see. It is like reading a long book with a series of plot twists, and you are gripped but don’t know until the final page what will happen.”

There are so many tournaments around the world now but do you feel the World Championship still stands alone in terms of the atmosphere and attention it generates?

There are some great tournaments around the world, and I have been fortunate enough to cover snooker from many of them including events in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Mumbai and Berlin – the German Masters for many years one of my favourite events in an incredible city. Could any of these one day stage a successful World Championship? Probably they could. But could they stage a World Championship with the same atmosphere, buzz and unique appeal that we have now at the Crucible and in Sheffield? It is very hard to believe that would be possible, and the question is now redundant for 10 years at least. I have included in the book a quote from Paul Hunter from an interview I did with him in April 2003, just before his run to the semi-finals at the Crucible. In it he said: “I just like going down the M1 and seeing the signs to Sheffield, it gives me a huge buzz.” I think he spoke for everyone.

I will just add that I’m  well into the process of reading this book, and I’m loving it. The psychological insight into the matches, and into the players mindset, before, during and after the actual action adds something really unique and invaluable. It has changed my view and opened my mind about things I had witnessed, lived through, but only understood from “outside”. Thank you Hector, and thanks also to all the players who gave you their time, and spoke candidly about their feelings and how they were changed, as players and men, by what they went through, in victory as well as in defeat.

A must read.