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I’m sneaking in to share a review of a book that I read last year and utterly loved, it’s had a makeover and is being rebranded, relaunched and I am honoured to be part of the buzz of this book!  And now, back into hibernation ……

Cover

 

Description:

When will you discover The Otherside?

There is more to the shadows than just darkness

The Otherside is located at the fringes of our world, hiding in plain sight and existing within our shadows. Shielded from humanity, the Otherside is watched over by the BTCO, a highly secret government agency, whose members all possess ‘The Knack’, a genetic anomaly that allows them to see this other world.

Franklyn ‘Bermuda’ Jones is the BTCO’s finest agent, the only human to have passed to the Otherside and returned. Gifted with the ability to physically interact with both worlds, Bermuda reluctantly stands between both worlds, pining for the life he had to leave behind and the daughter he can no longer see. Teamed with Argyle, an enigmatic Otherside warrior, Bermuda is assigned the case of a missing woman who has vanished under mysterious circumstances.

As Bermuda delves further into the disappearance, he uncovers a threat that could destroy the truce between two worlds…and finds himself in a race against time to safeguard humanity’s very existence.

Discover a new world in this fast-paced urban fantasy packed with thrills, action and the odd one liner.

My Thoughts & Review:

Science Fiction is not a genre I tend to read very often, the speculative nature of the genre jars with my analytically driven mind and I find that I don’t enjoy these books as much.  That being said, when I heard about Robert Enright’s Doorways I was intrigued enough to give it a try, the idea that there was a thriller/mystery woven into the Sci-Fi plot was enough to tempt me into giving it a go.

The protagonist Franklyn “Bermuda” Jones is an interesting character, one that possesses a gift (more a curse in his opinion) that means he can interact with “Others”, lifeforms from another existence.  Unfortunately for Bermuda, he is one of the few who can so more often than not he looks mad, talking to himself.  In actual fact he is usually speaking to Argyle, his partner, his sidekick, his “Other”.  The concept of the detective speaking to an “unseen” entity reminded me somewhat of a tv series I enjoyed as a youngster Randall & Hopkirk (deceased), the detective working in tandem with his unseen partner who was instrumental in his solving cases with a wonderful comedic element.
The dynamic of Bermuda and Argyle is well written, for all intents and purposes you could be reading their dialogue and seeing two human detectives in an office or other setting, the sarcastic edge to their exchanges is both humorous and entertaining.  But there also seems to be a genuine bond between these two characters, coupled with a strong element of care.

Essentially a story about good versus evil, the fight between the two is surely a messy one.  Vividly described fight scenes play out across the pages, damage done to buildings, Bermuda and Others with some serious weaponry and incredible brute force.  The violence in these scenes is not so graphic that it will put readers off and if anything the fluidity of the descriptions means that the reader can watch the scenes play out in their mind clearly.

The concept of “The Otherside” was interesting, and the characters were fascinating but there were a few wee bits that I found harder to get onboard with, however it’s probably more a personal thing given that I have a penchant for reading thrillers and real crime genres – my mind wants to make sense of things and likes details to be as real to life as possible.  This does not detract from a great book however, and I do think that should Robert Enright want to expand his Bermuda Jones story to a series of books he would do so with great ease.  His writing is great, there is intelligence and skill in the writing, a great groundwork in place to lead into another novel and best of all a character (well two if you count Argyle) that readers are invested in.  I do hope there are more books to come, I may not be fully converted to being a fan of Sci-Fi, but I am definitely a fan of Enright’s writing!

You can buy a copy of Doorways via Amazon UK. 

About the Author:

Author Photo

Born and raised in North West London and now residing in Hertfordshire, Robert Enright has been writing for over 10 years. His debut novel – ONE BY ONE – was self published on Amazon in March 2015, receiving critical acclaim and was nominated for Books Go Social Book of the Year 2015. The violent, revenge thriller gave Rob a path into crime fiction, but the constantly embraced geek within him went a different way. 2016 will see the release of DOORWAYS – published by Urbane Publications – the first in the Bermuda Jones series, a dark sci-fi about an agency dealing with the threat of a parallel world. He can’t wait to write the whole series – if he can put down his Xbox controller or his Nerf Guns!

For more information about Rob and his upcoming books, feel free to check him out on social media:

Twitter – @REnright_Author
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robenrightauthor

 

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As we close out the year and look forward to the approaching New Year, I wanted to round up all of the posts I’ve been lucky enough to feature from independent publishers and authors this year.  There have been so many brilliant books, wonderful authors and lovely publishers who have been part of my Friday feature and I cannot begin to thank them enough for entrusting me with their books and tales, it’s an honour to be asked to review any book and I always feel so privileged.

I’ve recapped the posts from Urbane Publications, Orenda Books and No Exit Press so far, and due to flu I’ve not had a chance to pull together the posts for the other publishers who have been part of Celebrating Indie Publishing yet, but here goes!  A huge end of year round up of Indie Publishing on The Quiet Knitter.

Bloodhound Books:

Review of Death Parts Us & Author Feature with Alex Walters

Review of End of Lies by Andrew Barrett

Bombshell Books:

Review of The Trouble With Words & Author Feature with Suzie Tullett

Elliott & Thompson:

Review of The Classic FM Musical Treasury by Tim Lihoreau

Review of Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain by Lucy Jones

Review of Sweet, Wild Note: What We Hear When the Birds Sing by Richard Smyth

Review of Hitler’s Forgotten Children by Ingrid Von Oelhafen and Tim Tate

Review of Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags by Tim Marshall

Review of Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People by Julia Boyd

Review of What’s Your Bias? The Surprising Science of Why We Vote the Way We Do by Lee De-Wit

Review of The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities by Paul Anthony Jones

Cranachan Books:

Review of Fir For Luck & Author Feature with Barbara Henderson

Review of The Beast on The Broch & Author Feature with John K. Fulton

Review The Revenge of Tirpitz & Author Feature with Michelle Sloan

Review Buy Buy Baby & Author Feature with Helen MacKinven

Review Charlie’s Promise & Author Feature with Annemarie Allan

Review Nailing Jess by Triona Scully

Review Punch by Barbara Henderson

The Dome Press:

Review Sleeper & Author Feature with J.D. Fennell

Black and White Publishing:

Review The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin

Modern Books:

Review De/Cipher: The Greatest Codes by Mark Frary

Review Literary Wonderlands Edited by Laura Miller

 

And not forgetting the wonderful authors who have been involved:

Anne Goodwin

Review of Underneath & Author Feature

Carol Cooper

Review of Hampstead Fever & Author Feature

Clare Daly

Review of Our Destiny is Blood & Author Feature

Ray Britain

Review of The Last Thread & Author Feature 

 

Wow, what a year it’s been!  I can honestly say that I’ve discovered some absolutely brilliant books this year, some were ones that I might not have noticed if I had not been making such an effort to read more indie books – just shows you, there are hidden gems out there, you just have to open your eyes to the possibilities of brilliance!

Thank you authors, publishers, readers, bloggers, everyone who has taken time to read my Celebrating Indie Publishing feature, everyone who has commented on the posts, your support this year has been immense and I definitely would not have managed this without you all.

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As the countdown to 2018 ticks merrily on,  I thought I would extend my Celebrating Indie Publishing round up of the brilliant books and authors who have taken part in this feature by recapping the fantastic books by No Exit Press that I’ve had the privilege of reading this year.

As I’ve mentioned in the previous posts, it really has been an honour to work with some amazing publishers and authors this year, and without them this feature would never have been possible!   I’d like to take a wee moment to say “Thank You” to each of the publishers and authors who have taken part in this feature, who have kindly filled in the Q&A form that I sent out, have written guest posts or have kindly sent copies of books for me to read and review – your support has been invaluable and I truly appreciate you all!

Here’s some of the books from No Exit Press that have featured on The Quiet Knitter this year:

 

Reviews of each book can be found by following these links (there are also author features with Howard Linskey and Leigh Russell with the reviews of their books):

Hunting The Hangman by Howard Linskey
The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet
Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell
The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan

 

I have been lucky enough to read more than these books by No Exit Press this year, some of them have been regular reads or ones that were part of blog tours … and there are one or two on my radar to read during my January break from blogging.  These guys are bringing some amazing books to readers, check out their website for details of what’s coming up!

I hope that Celebrating Indie Publishing has helped you find some great new books to try this year, or perhaps opened your eyes to other books that you might have missed. It’s certainly been a blast for me and I’ve loved every moment of it!

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I am so excited to be part of Urbane Publications 12 Days Of Christmas blog tour, and today I have a review to share with you of The Man Who Played with Trains by Richard Whittle.  Richard has also taken some time out to answer a few questions about his book, his reading and the road to publication, so sit back and enjoy!


Book Feature:

Description:

Cover 9781911331032(1).jpg

A gripping thriller for fans of Martin Cruz Smith, Jack Higgins and Robert Harris

Mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies from her injuries. He also discovers her home has been thoroughly searched.

Determined to track down her killer and discover the truth behind her death, John finds a connection between his late father’s wartime mine and the wreck of a U-Boat. The connection deepens when he discovers the diaries of the U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Göring to safety along with a fortune in stolen art. When John’s daughter Jez is kidnapped, he is contacted by a mysterious consortium. Her life hangs in the balance unless he can find the stolen art.
What is the link with his father’s abandoned mine? Who was the U-Boat captain? Did he survive and hide Göring’s treasures? John races against time to discover the truth…and in doing so may unearth secrets that were better left buried…

 

My Thoughts & Review:

One look at the description of this book was all it took for my interest to be piqued, I love WWII thrillers and anything that involves a bit of espionage, secrets and danger is always going to grab me!

Set over two timelines, The Man Who Played With Trains is a very cleverly written novel.  There is the story of John Spargo set in the present day, the tragic death of his mother following a horrific attack in her home has left him utterly distraught.  And whilst he is putting her affairs in order and sorting through her belongings he discovers a collection of journals written in German.  But this is only the beginning of the problems for John, his daughter is kidnapped and he must work out who killed his mother and why as well as find his daughter Jez.
Running parallel to this is the story of Theodore Volker, a German U-boat captain during WWII.  Theodore is a good man and good captain, he cares about his crew and doesn’t hold back when speaking his mind.  On his way home to be reunited with his young son he meets a stranger on a train who recruits him for a secret mission in the UK.

The writing is brilliant, you get a great sense of the settings and the characters with the great descriptions.  Although I initially felt more drawn to Theodore’s story, as the pace picked up I found that my attention was being drawn back to John in current day, and despite this being quite a hefty read it’s thrilling and exciting right the way through.  I particularity enjoyed seeing how the two timelines ran alongside each other, and it made this a very enjoyable read.  The plotting is clever and well thought out, its apparent from the details woven into the story that time and care has been taken to ensure that readers get a feeling of authenticity and feel immersed in the story.

Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers!

You can buy a copy of The Man Who Played With Trains via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications


Author Feature

Richard Whittle

Richard Whittle believes that he discovered the power of the novel and his love of writing at the age of eleven when he read Paul Gallico’s The Snow Goose and Jenny. On his overseas trips many years later he armed himself with an excess-baggage mix of paperbacks that did not include crime novels – as an ex-policeman he had vowed never to read them, let alone write them. Now, years later, he no longer feels that way. His central characters, people like you and me, find that they have been dragged into situations beyond their control and from which there seems little chance of escape. For them, crimes are most definitely involved.

Richard has been a policeman, a police marksman and police motorcyclist, a diesel engine tester, professional engineering geologist and Chartered Engineer. He has worked in civil engineering, geothermal energy, nuclear and mining industries in seventeen countries in Europe, Africa and the Americas and is able to draw on a wealth of personal experiences. Well known in his field as a technical writer, he spent time as a book reviewer for technical journals and regularly contributed to professional publications.

As a spare-time novelist he had several short stories published. In 2002, writing as Alan Frost, he was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger Award. More recently, his self-published novel, Playpits Park, has been downloaded as an eBook more than 4000 times.
Richard has been a trustee of a Scottish Charitable Organisation, acting first as its project manager and then its technical advisor. He now writes full time. He currently lives in the Scottish Borders, not too far away from Edinburgh.

 

For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

I have been a policeman, diesel engine tester, mature student, engineer and geologist. As a geologist I often worked alone in godforsaken places, usually with nothing to do in the evenings except eat, drink and read. The drinking, I promise you, was modest. But the reading was not. Before leaving Heathrow or Gatwick I armed myself with paperbacks. After a while I started to fill my spare field notebooks with short stories (I even got two of the stories published).

Never, ever, did I think I had a story in me that had to come out. My work gave me so many ready-made backdrops: lost and alone in hundreds of square miles of forest in Canada (and there were bears!); having my passport seized in the airport of a Central African Republic, then taken at gunpoint and locked in a small room.

So, I had the scenery. What I needed now were characters and situations. That wasn’t too difficult. During my years in the police I’d come across plenty of those.

The Man Who Played Trains is a novel in two interwoven parts. One part, a contemporary story set in the north of Scotland, starts with an apparently pointless murder. The other, set in wartime Germany, is a tale of conspiracy and intrigue that the reader will guess is backstory to the Scottish murder, but (hopefully) is at a loss to know how or why. The two tales come together gradually.

 

 Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

It was a very long journey. The idea for The Man Who Played Trains came to me years ago. I knew the story I wanted to write and I spent long hours researching the German side of it, mostly in libraries. My big problem was that I didn’t know how best to present it. Then, as so often happens, the day job got in the way and I put away all my notes. Perhaps, one day, I would have time to write it…

My first published novel, Playpits Park, is around 80% flashback. The contemporary story moves seamlessly (so I’m told) into the past and back out again. It was an unsuitable format for The Man Who Played Trains. Finally I plumped for two separate, interlinked stories.

This might sound as if I decided what to write, wrote it, and then got published. As all writers will tell you, that isn’t the way it works. Several times over the years I became so discouraged by multiple rejections that I stopped submitting my work to agents and publishers. That does not mean I stopped writing, rewriting and editing. My hard drives and backups are a nightmare of novels and parts of novels – a digital attic of good stuff, bad stuff and indifferent stuff.

In 2016, Matthew Smith at independent publisher Urbane Publications, agreed to publish The Man Who Played Trains. I rewrote it for the umpteenth time and submitted it to the amazing Matthew.

 

 What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

I have just read Stephanie Merrit’s five novels written under her pen name S J Parris. The novels are well-written and well-plotted. I have Michael Connelly’s latest in my to-read pile, and Robert Harris’s Munich. Also, I have just received a parcel of books from Urbane, so I have plenty to go on with. Recommended reads? Any novels by Kate Atkinson, S G Maclean, John Grisham, Kazuo Ishiguru.

 

What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

Jennie, by Paul Gallico. It made me realise how emotionally powerful writing could be. I also discovered John Wyndham’s SF novels and read them all. The children’s section librarians eventually gave in and let me take out adult books. Well, I’m sure you know what I mean.

My father bought a large set of encyclopaedias and I remember spending weeks paging through them, reading every entry that interested me (how weird is that?)

Because I am basically a techie person, when I was young I read as many technical and scientific books as I did novels.

 

What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

Seeing 5-star reviews coming up on Amazon! I like to think that I write for myself rather than for readers, but in reality that is not true. The story is for me; the many rewrites and edits are for the reader. I know reviews aren’t everything, but positive ones are so encouraging. It means I have got things right.

 

 Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

Probably my greatest source of encouragement was Simon King, at the time a director at Random House. An early novel I submitted to the publisher attracted a personal reply, along with his red-penned edit of the first few pages. The two-page letter accompanying the returned typescript ended with ‘You will get published. It may take you some time‘.

Further encouragement came a few years later when I submitted a different novel, under a pseudonym, to the Crime Writers Association and was shortlisted for their Debut Dagger Award. At the award ceremony Ian Rankin presented me with a runner-up prize and said ‘Just keep writing…‘ No doubt this was oft-said advice to budding writers – but it was just what I needed to hear at the time.

 

Social Medial Links

Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/richard-whittle/

Amazon: https://goo.gl/a4lWwY

Richard’s blog:  https://playpitspark.wordpress.com/

Richard’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/richard1whittle

Richard’s Facebook:  http://bit.ly/2xolpZB

 

urbanechristmas

 

 

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As the year draws to a close and Christmas looms ever closer I thought I would extend my Celebrating Indie Publishing round up of the brilliant books and authors who have taken part in this feature  by showcasing the fantastic books by Orenda Books that I’ve had the privilege of reading this year.

As I said last time, it really has been an honour to work with some amazing publishers and authors this year, and without them this feature would never have been possible!   I’d like to take a wee moment to say “Thank You” to each of the publishers and authors who have taken part in this feature, who have kindly filled in the Q&A form that I sent out, have written guest posts or have kindly sent copies of books for me to read and review – your support has been invaluable and I truly appreciate you all!

Here’s some of the books from Orenda Books  that have featured on The Quiet Knitter this year:

Reviews of each book can be found by following these links:

Maria in The Moon by Louise Beech

Deadly Game by Matt Johnson 

Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl

In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings

I have been lucky enough to read more than these books by Orenda Books this year, some of them have been regular reads or ones that were part of blog tours … If you want to see a full list of the Orenda titles then just use the search function at the top of the page and enter “orenda” and it will bring up a mammoth list for your enjoyment. Sealskin and Exquisite were just two of the books read this year that took my breath away and ones I cannot recommend highly enough!  Also, check out the Dark Iceland series written by Ragnar Jónasson, that is an author who’s name you don’t want to forget in a hurry!  And while we’re on the topic….why not add Steph Broadribb, Michael J Malone, Antti Tuomainen, Thomas Enger, Johana Gustawsson, Matt Wesolowski…..erm well ok, all the authors at Orenda Books to your watch list, these are some incredibly talented people who are absolutely awesome!

I hope that Celebrating Indie Publishing has helped you find some great new books to try this year, or perhaps opened your eyes to other books that you might have missed. It’s certainly been a blast for me and I’ve loved every moment of it!

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Today for Celebrating Indie Publishing I thought I would do something different, instead of reviewing a book I’ve decided to do a round up of the brilliant books and authors who help to make Urbane Publications so special.

It’s been an honour to work with such fantastic publishers and authors over the course of this year, and without them this feature would never have been possible!  So on that note, I’d like to take a wee moment to say “Thank You” to each of the publishers and authors who have taken part in this feature, who have kindly filled in the Q&A form that I sent out, have written guest posts or have kindly sent copies of books for me to read and review – your support has been invaluable and I truly appreciate you all!

Now on to something less gushy eh?

Here’s some of the books from Urbane Publications that have featured on The Quiet Knitter this year:

Reviews of each book can be found by following these links:

The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes
Seeking Eden by Beverly Harvey
The Scarlet Coven by David Stuart Davies
Beware The Cuckoo by Julie Newman
The Secret Wound by Deirdre Quiery
Imperfection by Ray Clark
All The Colours In Between by Eva  Jordan

I’ve also been lucky enough to chat with some of the wonderful authors published by Urbane Publications, their interviews can be found following the links above.  Some of the names include Lloyd Otis, Mark Pepper, Sophie Jonas-Hill, Simon Michael, James Silvester, David Gaffney and Rose McGinty.

There have been some amazing books published by these guys this year, some of the books I’ve read outwith this feature have utterly entranced me, some have stolen a place in my heart (Electric Souk is one that I fell in love with when I read it and might never have discovered it had it not been for this feature).

I hope that Celebrating Indie Publishing has helped you find some great new books to try this year, or perhaps opened your eyes to other books that you might have missed.  It’s certainly been a blast for me and I’ve loved every moment of it!

 

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Hello and welcome along to another post to celebrate indie publishing, which today sees The Quiet Knitter joining in the blog tour for Andrew Barrett’s The End of Lies published by Bloodhound Books.


Andrew Barrett - The End of Lies_cover_high res.jpg

**  My thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for my copy of this and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

My name is Becky. I arrived home to find my husband, Chris, stabbed to death and a gang of men ransacking our house.
Turns out that Chris has something that belongs to them. And if I want to stay alive, I have to find it and return it. They have given me seven days. And a beating.
There is nowhere to hide and no time left to look. So I will stand my ground as the deadline approaches. All I have is a head full of lies and a very bad plan.
This is my story.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Wow!  From the moment I started reading this book I didn’t want to put it down!  It’s dark and gripping and full of so much intrigue that readers cannot help but become hooked from the first chapter.

Told from the perspective of Becky, who has just discovered the body of her husband Chris,  stabbed to death on the living room floor.  She takes on a persona that I have to admit had be swaying between wondering if she had a death wish, or was merely panic taking over.  She has to “it” over to the gang that have murdered her husband, she agrees, not knowing what “it” is or where to find “it”.
From the narrative it is clear that these are not people to mess with, so goodness knows why Becky decides to take them on and try to get the better of them.  See what I mean about wondering what was going through her head?
She’s quite a strong character, and finding your partner’s murdered body would be enough to make the strongest people crumple into a heap but not Becky, the situation demands she gets her act together to save her neck.

By giving Becky a week to hand over whatever it is the gang are looking for, the author ensures that the pace of this book remains brisk and the plot thrilling.  This is an “edge of your seat” sort of read, the sort that I was glad to be reading on my kindle so I didn’t have to waste time fumbling with pages to find out what was coming.

The writing is clever, its punchy and it makes for a thrilling read.  The plot is gritty and exciting, the characters are so well crafted that they feel real, the fear and intimidation, the panic, the guilt, it’s all so wonderfully written that you find yourself drawn into the book .
Andrew Barrett is an author you will want to add to your list of favoured authors based on this book alone.

You can buy a copy of End of Lies via Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire.

He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.

In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 120,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.

Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.

He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.

You can find out more about him and his writing at Andrew-barrett.co.uk

Social Media Links:

Contact: andrew@andrewbarrett.co.uk

Website: http://www.andrewbarrett.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewBarrettUK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndrewBarrett.author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrewbarrettauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrewbarrettauthor

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