The mental toll of war is explored in this historical fiction story. ‘Sailor’s Heart’ by Martin Campbell follows three naval soldiers, who’s experience of WWII leads them to require treatment at the HMS Standard. The author takes their time introducing up to each of the characters, how they came to be in the Navy during the war and the experiences which lead to them requiring medical treatment. We see the human and mental health toll of the war and the brutal, almost barbaric treatment options available to psychiatrists then. My heart went out to the characters as they reached their breaking points and the treatment they received. Using locations and details that are based on historical and naval records, I thought that the author managed to interweave the fictional tales of these three characters seamlessly. This is a story of how the war impacted individuals, as opposed to being overshadowed or glossed over with victory in a more politically abstract sense. In turns heart-breaking and hopeful, I rooted for Marco, Duncan and Clarence to find some sort of peace as I read. ‘Sailor’s Heart’ is a character-driven and thought-provoking look into the treatment of psychiatric injury as well as a story of courage. I think this would appeal to readers of wartime fiction.
There are no murders in this story, just killer hands and players drawing dead. It is a story about poker and plumbing. Once a week the players come together to play their cards, trying to find the zone avoid bad luck, bad beats and bawbags. There are many types of poker and many types of players. Vince doesn’t play, but thinks he's a business man who thinks he knows a way of making money from poker. Arthur and Rab both learned how to play when they met in the Mad Hotel and saw fruit Ninjas throwing cards at bananas. Arthur plays for succour after his wife disappeared. A poker table is the only time that Rab, aka Frank the Penguin, will sit down with anyone not committed to the Cause. Lee learned how to play in prison, for a crime that he's still paying for. Welsh doesn’t want to know what he did, but thinks he's about to find out. Shuffle up and deal.