Alan Franks has published five works of fiction. You can buy them via his author page on Amazon.
When? Wendy is being published early in 2016.
Who? Wendy will do anything to prise the secrets from the world’s most famous people and then publish them for the world to see; at least that dwindling part of the world formed by the remaining readers of her paper in a relentlessly digital age. As everyone else in the business seems to be hacking the phones of celebrities, she decides to learn the dark art by practising on her mother-in-law. The results are sensational.
Where? In this collection of linked novellas, her role as an interviewer takes her first to the home of the ancient stage legend Sir John Templecombe. Although he is so deranged that he makes not a word of sense, this sort of detail is not about to stand between Wendy and a world scoop. Nor will she hesitate to eavesdrop on the private, barely believable exchanges in the palace home of the world’s wealthiest woman.
What? When she is finally cornered and compromised through her own excesses, the chance of salvation comes in a form so unbelievable that not even she could make it up.
The Notes of Dr Newgate (Muswell Press, 2013)
The scribblings of this GP are not of the medical kind. Nor are they meant for anyone else’s eyes as they detail in unsparing intimacy the progress of his affair with the beautiful and damaged Serena, a patient half his age. Surely we shouldn’t be reading them; and besides, how have we come across them? What would happen if his depressed wife and turbulent student son find them? This and much more is revealed in the course of a story that moves between the tensions of a suburban surgery mired in its geriatric caseload and the desolate moorland of the Northern Pennines. This is a searing study of addiction in its many guises; the alcohol dependence from which Dr. Newgate is recovering; the nicotine damage which crowds his daily schedule; obsessive sport, professional rivalry, love, sex, the internet, religion, other people, the list seems endless. So do the consequences coming his way; none more menacingly than the young woman’s famously violent father.
The Sins of the Sons (Muswell Press, 2011)
A split-time family saga with its roots in the early 1960s and the sudden, violent death of teenage ballroom dancing at the hands of The Twist. Bereaved by the death of his father, young Daniel Rose becomes involved in the roller-coaster affairs of the nearby Jacobs family, whose polished surfaces are crowded with the photos of relatives lost to the Holocaust. When their fortunes nosedive after the collapse of an illicit extension, old Benny Jacobs tries to make another million through an ambitious art fraud involving Danny’s sculptor friends, the deeply eccentric Seth and Ruby. Tragedy intervenes when one of the Jacobs’ children takes his own life. A pair of local bullies are blamed and hounded by the community. The guilt clings to them across the decades and the obsessive Danny turns vengeance into his life’s mission. But has he got the right culprits? The quest leads him to the brink of death and beyond.
Going Over (Muswell Press 2010)
First published in 2003 as the winning entry of the National Novella Competition (run by by New Writer Magazine), Going Over became the title story of a 2010 collection published by Muswell Press. It tells of a middle-aged architect walking across the north of England to visit his supposedly dying father. He takes the dramatic upland route pioneered by the late Alfred Wainwright, who had been a friend and walking companion of the father. It is a fraught journey, leading him back into the stormy days of his parents’ marriage and his mother’s allegedly accidental death-fall down the stairs. A major drought is causing the flooded ruins of Mardale village to re-emerge from the Haweswater reservoir. Back into view come not only the rubble of the homes but also the long-hidden circumstances of the mother’s death. It is a secret that her son would have done anything not to harbour.
Also in the collection is The Night Everything Happened, a barbed farce about a deeply troubled student burgling his grandmother’s flat only to find himself the prime suspect in a police murder raid; and The Tarnished Muse, the prototype episode of Franks’ new collection, The Adventures of Wendy Howard-Watt.
Boychester’s Bugle (Heinemann hardback, New English Library paperback, 1982).
Hailed by the late Tom Sharpe as “brilliantly comic,” Boychester’s Bugle is set in a time of great technological change in the printing industry. The novel enters the nostalgic dreams and visions of two men. There is Cathal Dwyer, with his hamster confidant Charles Stuart Parnell, named after the scandal-wrecked nineteenth century Irish nationalist leader; and the troubled David Camina, whose nightmares wrap him into the identity of the young East End Jewish poet Isaac Rosenberg, who perished in the final year of the First War. In the dire north London rooming house known as The Trenches, they plot the overthrow of Boychester (first name unknown to the world), the corrupt and strutting master of the future.
What reviewers said about Franks’ novel Boychester’s Bugle:
‘Brilliantly comic.’ – Novelist Tom Sharpe
‘A very funny blackish comedy about the introduction of new technology.’ – Alan Hollinghurst, The Observer
‘Sharply satirical… a sting in every paragraph.’ – The Times Literary Supplement
‘Alan Franks writes now in the style of Flann O’Brien, now in that of the young Kingsley Amis… a very odd, brave novel.’ – The Tablet