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King Of Hearts by Mark Stibbe
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King Of Hearts
by Mark Stibbe
Publisher: Malcolm Down Publishing
King of Hearts tells the gripping story of Jake Graystone, a struggling teacher, husband, and father, who looks for easy money playing poker. When his wife Sally exposes his secret addiction on Christmas Eve, he walks out and heads north for Casino City, leaving his family for a dark world of gambling, prostitution and murder.
How will the cards fall for Jake in this brutal, urban wasteland? And, as the stakes get higher and higher, will this modern Desperado ever come to his senses?
King of Hearts is a winter, festive story to sit alongside It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. Raw yet redemptive, it is a Christmas tale you’ll not be able to put down.
At the end of each chapter, you will want to twist, not fold.
Jake’s voice was getting louder now. ‘I’m bored. I’m bored with life. And… I’m bored with you.’
Jake’s voice was now so forceful that he failed to hear the rising crescendo of little Tommy’s crying.
Finally, Billy yelled, ‘Leave Mum alone!’
‘I’ll leave her alone, all right!’ Jake shouted. And with that he reached inside his coat pocket, drew out the smaller packet of the three, and hurled it on the kitchen floor.
He turned, marched to the front door, opened it, shut it, walked to his car, slammed another door, fired up the engine. He turned to look back through the frosted glass of his car window. He saw an upstairs curtain opening and Sally’s face pressed against the pane, mouthing two words.
‘Please, Jake.’ But Jake ignored her.
Downstairs, the front door opened, and Tommy stepped out. His favourite teddy bear was hanging from his left hand and his right hand was wiping a tear from his eye. He was trying to say something, but the words had got stuck like a fishbone in his throat.
Jake faltered before his anger once again engulfed him. He pushed his foot to the floor and accelerated out of the driveway onto the icy street.
As the snow began to fall, he raced through the village and across the railway bridge out towards the motorway.
In no time, Jake was in the fast lane with no map, no destination, and no compass.
He had made his decision.
It was Christmas Eve, and it was the worst decision of his life.
About the Author
Mark Stibbe, “An acclaimed Christian author,” New York Times.
Mark started writing when he was very young, publishing his first book – an anthology of poetry entitled The Drawing out of Days – when he was just 17. Since then, he has been a prolific author and professional writer, with over 50 books published, and countless articles in broadsheet newspapers, journals and magazines. One of his most successful recent books has been Home at Last, offering a faith-based journey of recovery for those who were deeply affected by the trauma of being sent away to boarding school. He has also ghost written over thirty books, of many different genres.
In 2013, Mark migrated from writing nonfiction to fiction and this resulted in the co-authored historical spy thriller The Fate of Kings and now his debut, single-authored novel, King of Hearts, a raw but redemptive Christmas tale in the tradition of A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. In early 2020, as the official storyteller for the award-winning Arokah Puzzle Game, he and Steve Brazier, the inventor of the puzzle, will publish the first in a series of Sci Fi Fantasy novels based around Arokah and starring Khali, an autistic, mixed-race hero. These are aimed at the 9-13 age group.
Mark runs BookLab with his wife Cherith, a company dedicated to equipping aspiring writers to become great authors. He is a frequent and much in-demand speaker at workshops for writers and conferences in which the subjects of his books are featured. He has often been interviewed on BBC (Radio and TV), Channel 4 and other media, and writes articles for The Times. Having been brought up by an adoptive father who dined fortnightly with CS Lewis, his whole life has been devoted to books and to writing. He lives in Kent with his wife Cherith and their Black Labrador, Bella.