Poetry Publication in Spillwords Press


written by: FC Malby


In memory of David Carrick’s survivors (they are not victims, they are survivors)

We want our bodies back
the flesh you took
thinking it was yours
for the keeping.

We want our bodies back
the ones you thought you
owned, like a play thing
a game of cat and mouse.

We want our bodies back
they are not for sale
and they do not belong
to you or your desires.

We want our bodies back
because you thought that
by dehumanising us it would
make your fragile ego stronger.

We want our bodies back
because you didn’t hear
our no, didn’t ask, and
because they are sacred.

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Review by Jon Wilkins of “Dead Drop” by F. C. Malby

Monday, 12 December 2022
Reposted from Everybody’s Reviewing

I cannot recall ever reading a book with such a sensual, sense-ful, scent-ful opening. The tastes and sights and sounds enveloped me as a reader drawing me into Vienna and its streets, cafes and churches. I can smell espresso, then I can taste the Guglehupf. I feel the wind on my cheek and the bustle of people on their way to goodness knows where. It is enchantingly delightful. Malby should be asked by the Vienna tourist board to promote their city. And that is only after the first two chapters!

I haven’t even mentioned the dead body, found by our protagonist Leisl, on Stephansplatz underground steps, as if it were the most natural of things to discover. Well it was where she was told it would be. But who by? And what of the broach and the note she took from the body? Art thief by career, Liesl finds herself in a terrifying world of murder and deception in this well-researched, beautifully written thriller. She is a hero we root for, despite her criminal behaviour, as she goes on an adrenalin-running-high escapade as she seeks the truth. To Malby’s credit. I found myself in the streets and buildings of Vienna, described with the minimum of fuss, but described in such a way that I felt I was part of the city, part of the chase and totally enmeshed in the plot.

I hope this is the first in a series as there is room for so much more.

About the reviewer

Jon Wilkins is 66. He is married to the gorgeous Annie with two wonderful sons. He was a teacher for twenty years, a Waterstones bookseller and coached women’s basketball for over thirty years before taking up writing seriously. Nowadays he takes notes for students with Special Needs at Leicester University. He has had a work commissioned by the UK Arts Council and several pieces published traditionally as well as on-line. He has had poems in magazines and anthologies, art galleries, studios, museums and at Huddersfield Railway Station. He loves writing poetry. For his MA, he wrote a crime novel, Utrecht Snow. He followed it up with Utrecht Rain, and is now writing a third part. He is currently writing a crime series, Poppy Knows Best, set at the end of the Great War and into the early 1920s.

You can read more about Dead Drop by F. C. Malby on Creative Writing at Leicester here

See original post at Everybody’s Reviewing

Creative Writing at Leicester Hosting F.C. Malby

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

F. C. Malby, “Dead Drop”

Reposted from Creative Writing at Leicester

F. C.Malby graduated with a first-class joint honours degree in Geography and Education. She has travelled widely and taught in the Czech Republic, the Philippines and London. She writes novels, short stories and poetry. Her debut novel, Take Me to the Castle, won The People’s Book Awards. Her debut short story collection, My Brother Was a Kangaroo, includes award-winning stories published in literary journals and magazines worldwide. She is a contributor to anthologies including In Defence of Pseudoscience: Reflex Fiction Volume Five (Reflex Press), Unthology 8 (Unthank Books), and Hearing Voices: The Litro Anthology of New Fiction (Kingston University Press) alongside Pulitzer prize winner, Anthony Doerr. Her website is here.

About Dead Drop

Liesl is an art thief and an exceptionally good one. She steals priceless paintings from Vienna’s art galleries and delivers them to wealthy private collectors. This life of anonymous notes and meticulous planning, of adrenaline-fuelled dead drops and dramatic escapes, suits her restless spirit and desire for solitude and anonymity. But when Leisl finds a body on Stephansplatz underground steps instead of the expected note, she understands that she’s involved in a deadly game and that her own life is in danger. This fast-paced, intelligent thriller exposes the undercover world of art heists and takes us on a journey through Vienna’s galleries and museums until Leisl comes up against a truth that makes her question everything she knows.

You can read more about Dead Drop on the publisher’s website here. Below, you can read an excerpt from the novel. 

From Dead Drop, by F. C. Malby

I hear the roll and clunk of the train’s wheels on the steel tracks below, feel its vibrations in my toes and through my thighs as it leaves the platform. The wind rushes into the tunnel from Stephansplatz, its caress warm as it whips down the steps to the underground platform and fills the void. 

The Vienna spring brings with it cherry blossom and azure skies, the blues becoming celestial in the late afternoon light. Most count the short, hot summer months. I count the winter months until spring, and then when the leaves turn to a deep, burnt amber, I begin again. 

As I reach the top step, a body lies on the pavement, feet contorted, laces undone, socks pushing through holes in the soles. A red, woollen hat rests on the concrete slab by his head, hands clutch an empty bottle of Kaiser beer. Not a soul stops to look. A body littering the pavement is a familiar sight on this part of the underground. It’s not always clear whether the person is alive or dead. 

I am here for the note. Stepping closer to avoid the people coming up the steps behind me, I spot a corner of paper in his top jacket pocket and pull it free. Without reading the words, I slide it into my jacket. Checking the pocket on the other side of his jacket, I feel something hard and rough and pull out a brooch shaped like a star. I count the spokes, ten of them, and run my fingers across its surface. It lacks the pearls, but at a guess it would have been handcrafted by Hapsburg jeweller, Rozet and Fischmeister. I slip it into my pocket. An unexpected treasure. Reaching down and taking his wrist, I feel for a pulse. I should have checked it first but this is new territory for me. All signs of life have drained away and death was recent. A touch of heat still lingers on the skin, rough and calloused. I pull the hat down over his face. The beer bottle, I suspect, will have been planted to make this look like a natural event. He should have been alive when I reached him. 

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