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Writing as Alan Ahrens-McManus, Alan has published two novellas and four novels of his Bruno Benedetti Mysteries, a series of inclusive stories mostly set in Glasgow, with another forthcoming. Rather than just a form of escapism, these novels allow reflection on 'real life' as the main characters are multi-faceted and develop as they learn from experience and each other, a development which started with Tricks of the Mind, and continues with The Lovers, Shades of the Sun, Qismet, Tir nam Ban and Transits of Terror - all in print and Kindle formats. Here's what a reader thinks of the first book of the series:
Tricks of the Mind is the first of the Bruno Benedetti mysteries, all aimed at 'intelligent readers who like characters they can identify with' as it says on the back cover. I'm not sure about identifying with them exactly, but Bruno and his housemates are certainly sympathetic characters. As for the 'intelligent reader', the book begins with what is possibly an ordinary situation in the house Bruno shares with 3 friends. It soon introduces references to 'the astral band', which I must admit mesmerised this reader. Having passed through the scene setting of those first few pages, however, the associated mystery starts to unfold, with the help of Bruno's friends and family. The story travels along at a fair pace, using our mystified hero's varied friendships and social activities at home and abroad to gradually unravel and solve the mystery. All in all, I enjoyed this book. The references to the planets, Dante Alighieri, mnemonics and the Id were intriguing and encouraged me to discover more about these topics. The stories connected with the housemates' lives entertained me and I look forward to reading more about the intrepid Bruno and his companions. (An Amazon customer)
He describes his qualifications as a novel writer as:
A life of getting into scrapes and out of them while hanging out with people so extremely different they wouldn't be seen dead with each other; years of living and working in dodgy situations in even dodgier countries; a Highland grandmother who passed on her gift of various experiences of second sight; a fascination with the peculiarities of people and a total inability to stop my words jumping around merrily on the page. I also have a respect for my characters, which are only vaguely my own creation, and the patience to let them tell me in their own time and in their own way what they've been up to since I wrote about them last.