Darkness Comes by John Lynch
Paperback: 386 pages
Publisher: Mandrill Press (28 Dec. 2019)
Ted has been many things……selfish, greedy, and even a murderer. How will he survive judgment day? Ted’s in a hotel room, with a woman named Bella, in the Canary Islands. He’s moments from death. In retrospect, he’d made it to the end and never paid for the drug dealing, gun running, or even the people he’s killed. Let the trial begin. St. Peter said, “It doesn’t look good. ”This other world, one we think of as the afterlife, isn’t as advertised. There is a God, but this Deity isn’t the God people imagine. Ted’s judgment day will peel back the layers of his life. Is there redemption to be found? Will the ruling be Heaven or Hell? Or is there something else? Before they can begin, Ted needs an advocate. After a lifetime of deceit, will anyone stand for him? You’ll love this clever look at a life, because what we see on the surface is often only a shade of the truth. Get it now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
For 40+ years I was an international salesman; I’ve lived and worked on every continent except Antarctica. I was always a writer, though; the very first writing success I remember was standing on the stage of Benton Park Primary School in Newcastle upon Tyne at the age of ten, reading to the assembled school and parents a story I had written. It still gives me pleasure to know that one of my fellow pupils — a man I have dinner with once a year when I go back to Newcastle — was nagged all the way home that afternoon by his mother demanding, “Why can’t you write like John Lynch?”
I sold my first freelance piece to Good Housekeeping Magazine in 1989 and that was a good year for me — it was also when I sold my first book to a publisher and my first short story to BBC Radio. (It’s called Bird and you can listen to it on my blog). My mother, the daughter of a Durham miner who first went down the pit when he was 12 years old, was proud that her son had a story on the radio — but even prouder that it was read by Clarrie Grundy from the long-running radio serial, The Archers.
I’ve ghost written about 50 books that have been published in other people’s names (you’ll find a video about that on my Author Page) as well as writing my own work. As me, I write under two names:
As R J Lynch for a series of five books set in County Durham (with one in the revolutionary American colonies) in the 1760s.
As John Lynch for contemporary fiction and two non-fiction books.
Twitter : @jlynchauthor
Alex knows she’s never been in this place before. Heaven for the most part is what you want it to be and for Alex that means gardens, streams and lonely places. This is a room in a building of grey stone. The building is a house, or was once, and it could be new or thousands of years old. In the room is a table about eight feet long. There is one person on each side of the table and another at the end. It’s helpful that the dead wear the clothes of their time and place; Alex places the woman on one side of the table in the twentieth century and somewhere in the West – Britain, America, maybe Germany although her jacket lacks German formality. The man opposite her is harder to date because as far as Alex knows that Arab gear went unchanged for centuries.
The person at the head of the table is simple because that’s Peter. The fishermen Alex saw as a child on the North East coast were thin and wiry in ganzies and jeans and Peter is nothing like that. You’d take him for a farmer before you thought he might have made his living in a fishing boat. He has the shoulders of a weightlifter; the legs that jut from beneath his short robe are as thick and wiry as trees on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. Are there trees by the Sea of Galilee? Twisted old olives, possibly, and dates? You’d think you’d know stuff like that when you get Here. Maybe they should run tours for newbies. The Holy Land, guided by people who were there when The Holy Land was holy.
Peter says, ‘Sit down, Alex. This is Kay and this is Hani. They’re here to help us.’ He turns towards the window which a moment ago looked out on nothing but a courtyard and another wall. Now, as close as the room next door but such an unimaginable distance away, is an hotel room There, and a bed, and a girl, and a man.
Alex says, ‘Where is this?’
‘Lanzarote,’ says Peter. ‘Ted Bailey lives in the Canaries now.’
‘He’s not dead yet,’ says Peter. ‘Though it doesn’t look good.’
They watch in silence. Ted is on the point of departure. Tear tracks have dried on the girl’s cheeks. She’s stopped trying to push him off. There she will have to lie until a chambermaid arrives to clean the room.
Peter looks from face to face. ‘Alex,’ he says. ‘Kay and Hani arrived before you did and they know why we’re here. Ted Bailey has very little time left and there’s a decision to be made. It isn’t clear-cut; there will have to be a trial.’
‘I don’t see why,’ says Kay. ‘He’s a murderer. He’s used people. Sexually and every other way. He’s never controlled his temper. He’s destroyed lives with his bribery and his drugs.’
‘Kay has summed up the case for the prosecution,’ says Peter. ‘And I think it’s clear this man isn’t coming straight through. Is there a case for a second chance? That’s what we need to decide.’
Kay is staring at the hotel bedroom. ‘It’s too late. I think he’s gone.’
‘Lazarus was in the tomb four days,’ says Peter. ‘The situation is never irreparable.’
‘Isn’t that frowned on now?’ asks Kay. ‘All the attention miracles get from hysterics and self-publicists? We know how the popes feel about that. Is it something we’d want to recommend?’
‘The popes have no say Here,’ says Peter. ‘Even if they think they should. They don’t run things any more than the rabbis or the imams do. And I don’t know what you think you mean by “now”.’
‘Who does run things?’ asks Hani. It’s something Alex has wondered, too, but Peter simply glances at Kay and says nothing.
‘The popes have a special relationship, though. Don’t they?’ asks Kay.
‘On this rock…?’
‘That was never said. Like so much in that book, it’s pure invention. I should know. And look how many popes have failed to make it through the darkness.’ He looks directly at Alex. ‘The prosecutor is already in place. We need a defence counsel.’
‘Defence? He has a defence?’
‘He thinks so. I agree with him, actually. But he needs a friend down there with him. Acting as his own counsel…how well would he put it across?’
Alex realises with a shock what Peter is suggesting. ‘You want me to go back There and defend him? Me?’
‘You were close to him once.’
‘I loved that man and he got me killed. When I was by no means ready to go.’ In the face of Peter’s silence, she says, ‘I thought he loved me, too. Well, I knew he didn’t, not yet, but I thought he would come to love me. I was kidding myself.’
Kay says, ‘That’s what women in love do.’
Peter says, ‘We’d like you to go. Please.’
She doesn’t want to do this but she knows he’s not really asking her. “Please” is for form and the look of it; in fact, she has to do what she’s told.
Peter pushes a thick folder across the table. ‘This is Ted’s file. Your ex-lover’s past may surprise you.’