Awesome Writing – The Punished

A Novel – Crooked Cat Books

Conduit & Walsh, City of London, 1982

Wexham Hospital couldn’t tell her anything about mum’s condition because the doctors still had to do some tests. An hour later both hands around a reviving cup of coffee to stop the shaking, Alexis stared at a pile of pine cones and feathers on top of Paul’s in-tray, listening to the end of his call.

“Take your shit piece of business elsewhere! I’m Paul Rafter. See if I care.”

He slammed the phone down and leaned back, his hands behind his head.


“Who was that?” she asked.

“Some nobody. Now Uluru. The Aṉangu never climb Uluru, Alexis. Why not?”

“You told me already.”

“Because it has great spiritual significance for them and they look up to it rather than climb on top of it and look down from it. What can I scooby-do for you?”

His tacky words set like glue and she dragged her chair closer to his collection of yellow animal teeth.

“It’s urgent, Paul,” she said. “Mum’s had a fall and then the call came from Mr Mahindra, a genuine green shoot I need to nurture. I’d been expecting it, but Hernan’s onto it now and I have to go.”

“Oh, Hernan’s onto it, is he? Well slow down, girl, make the moment last. Mr Mahindra is very keen to engage our services to provide a cost-cutting analysis of his processes, for what they are.”

Alexis gripped the coffee cup and ground her teeth as his slippery words wrapped around her neck.

“It’s urgent, Paul,” she said. “Sound him out, please. I don’t want to lose this. I was hearing him, but I wasn’t giving him my full attention. I know I could have handled it better, but I want mum to be on her feet again. I have to get to Wexham to see her.”

“Did Mr Mahindra sound happy?”

“Of course he didn’t,” she replied, rubbing her stinging eyes with the back of her hand. “He never does.”

“Look, I’m terribly sorry to hear about what’s her name?”

Alexis straightened her back and took a deep breath.

“My mum is lying in a hospital bed, Paul,” she said. “With god-knows-what.”

“Calm down, Alexis”

“Paul,” she said. “Do something.”


The Punished – defiant, coming-of-age

“The writing is awesome and the pacing measured. I enjoyed the dialogues, the well-developed setting, and the balanced and deft writing. The Punished is, without doubt, a work of great entertainment, a book with great psychological allure and emotional depth.” Romuald Dzemo.

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