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Unfriendly Fire - Bryan Marlowe


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Unfriendly Fire
by Bryan Marlowe 

UK price: £6.99       US price: $9.79
Format: Paperback
Pages: 254
ISBN: 978-1908026187
Published: July 2011

Jack Drake is highly disciplined, skilled in all aspects of his job and courageous; an ideal career soldier who is well regarded by his superiors and singled out for early promotion. But there is a dark side to Drake's character - he wants to track down his father, known only to him as a soldier called 'Rowdy,' and exact revenge on him for deserting his mother. The story moves dramatically between the lives of Jack and the soldier called Rowdy. Jack's relentless pursuit of Rowdy takes him to war-torn Iraq and to Afghanistan where they have their final confrontation, while fighting for their lives against a large force of merciless Taliban warriors. Unfriendly Fire is a family saga spanning over sixty years and involves betrayal, blackmail, bravery, loyalty, love, romance and revenge.

See review of Bryan Marlowe's books by James Drew below

About the author

Bryan Marlowe was born in the City of London in 1930. He left school at the age of 14 and had innumerable jobs before being called up for National Service in the Royal Air Force from 1948/50. He rejoined the RAF in1951 and retired in 1971. He worked for twenty years with a Northern Police Force. On retirement he took up voluntary work with Witness and Victim Support, co-ordinated Neighbourhood Watch schemes and worked as a newspaper columnist. He has travelled extensively and lived abroad. He now lives in southeast London.

Those of us who enjoyed Bryan Marlowe's last book "An Errant Youth" have an opportunity to follow the further adventures of Archy Cholmondeley in "An Errant Youth In Uniform". This is a fun read, as Archy is at his clever best squeaking out of tight situations, figuring new ways to earn extra cash, and leaving his less ambitious fellow R.A.F. recruits behind while he strives to improve his lot. Mr. Marlowe has left the door ajar at the end of the book for more of Archy's escapades in the future. I hope he doesn't make us wait too long.

Carl M. Miller
Bolivar, MO U.S.A.

Review of Unfriendly Fire - James Drew

Fan of Belgian beer and novelist Bryan Marlowe has had his latest book Unfriendly Fire just published.

Marlowe has been a published author since 2006 and before that served with the Royal Air Force, the police, the diplomatic service, worked as a newspaper columnist and has done voluntary service with Victim and Witness Support in the UK.

While the author has brought elements of his previous experience into most of his works, it is interesting that his most successful stories (Settled out of Court, Leaving Mercy to Heaven and A Kind of Wild Justice) have dealt squarely with the themes of revenge and retribution, which begs the question as to whether perhaps Marlowe’s experiences with the victims of crime was the aspect of his working life that left the biggest impression on him?

No matter, Marlowe’s style is riveting, he’s a natural-born story teller, and his latest, Unfriendly Fire, has both the revenge element and the military setting with which he clearly feels most at ease.

And, thankfully, there has been a noticeable improvement in Marlowe’s use of dialogue, his terse, tense tale of career soldier Jack Drake, a courageous and disciplined fighting man who nevertheless also has a vengeful side to him and is relentlessly pursuing his own father who deserted his mother, has benefited hugely from the writer’s ability to make his characters more credible this time around.

The only real criticism I made of Marlowe’s previous work was that of his language reading as just a little too gentrified, of being stuck in a 1940s time-warp which, while it may have been suitable for a work such as Memoirs of an Errant Youth, which was the writer’s first, nevertheless seemed distinctly at odds with the gritty edge of A Kind of Wild Justice, for example.

No such problems this time around, when his characters talk this time, you can hear the ring of truth to the dialogue which, while still frequently delivered in the clipped, reserved tones that one would associate with the armed forces, serves to deliver far more information about Jack, his colleagues and, later, ‘Rowdy’ (the only name he has for his errant father) than merely moving the narrative forward.

It’s good to see that riveting storytelling has not yet died as an art form, this is a cracking read, so power to your elbow, Mr Marlowe.

By James Drew 11 July 2011

Another Review by James Drew

Based in no small part on the youthful adventures (and misadventures) of
its author, Bryan Marlowe, An Errant Youth in Uniform sees our hero
Archibald (Archie) Sinclair Cholmondeley (pronounced 'Chumly') called up
for National Service just after the end of World War Two, and thus forced
to put his journalistic ambitions temporarily on hold to serve his time in
the Royal Air Force. Sharp-witted, sharp tongued and subversive, Archie
quickly becomes the bane of his COs but, as in his first outing, rarely
misses a trick or an opportunity to make a little cash on the side. His
relationship with Felicity still seems solid - but will he keep his
wandering eye in hand long enough to keep the girl? That would be

Marlowe has already proved his ability to deliver slick, well-paced page
turners with his previous work in the thriller genre, such as A Kind of
Wild Justice and Settled Out of Court, but he is never more in his stride
(and I hope he will forgive this reviewer) than when he is talking about
himself, and that's why Archie is probably his best-defined, most likeable
character to date. In addition, the brisk formality of the dialogue is far
more suited to a military setting in post-war England than it has seemed
to be with some of his other work, in which the characters' speech has
sometimes seemed at odds with more modern-day settings.

Here, however, the characters' verbal interaction only adds to the charm
of the story, and, coupled with the wryly amusing nature of Archie's
hijinks, allows the novel as a whole to be enjoyed as a perfect bedside
companion. Marlowe makes us care for what happens to Archie and, when you
have your readers onside, you can't be going far wrong. Recommended.

Available from the following on-line bookstores:


Also by Bryan Marlowe:

Black Hatted Cowboys
by Bryan Marlowe 

UK price: £12.50     US price $14.50
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
ISBN-10: 1909304689
ISBN-13: 978-1909304680
Size: 20.3 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
Published: Nov 2012

The building and repair work carried out by dangerously incompetent and unscrupulous builders, often known as “cowboys,” is widely reported in newspapers and investigations into their nefarious activities make popular and thought-provoking television documentaries. This publicity helps to warn the unwary of the misery, unjustifiable costs and even death that can result by employing unskilled building workers to carry out improvements and, often-unnecessary, repairs to their homes. The cowboy builder will always ask for “cash-up-front” before he starts to work. Later, he will ask for more cash, because he “underestimated the work and material needed to finish the job”. If the householder is unable or unwilling to part with more money, the cowboy will leave the property in such a state that it is an unsafe dwelling. This is the story of two men who take deadly retributive action against cowboy builders.

Recalled to Arms
by Bryan Marlowe 

UK price:  £6.99     US price: $9.79
Format: Paperback
Pages: 258
ISBN-10: 1908026421
ISBN-13: 978-1908026422
Published: Feb 2012

Readers of Leaving Mercy to Heaven, which introduced Eli (Mac) Murray, an embittered ex-SAS captain and Sarah Shahar, an Israeli Army captain, who joined forces to fight a fanatical terrorist group, in North Africa and the Middle East, might be interested to learn that they are bent on action again.. They are now married, but find they cannot settle down to a humdrum life and are ready and eager to answer a call to arms. This time they are engaged by a powerful British media magnate to take on the task of rescuing his son (a foreign correspondent) and his daughter-in-law, who have been arrested and imprisoned by the Syrian Secret Security Service. Their mission takes them, incognito, to turbulent Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's tyrannical government is engaged in brutally subduing the dissident populace, who are demonstrating and dying in their attempt to overthrow him and replace his government. As you might expect, the action is very strong, with Mac and Sarah giving covert, but no holds barred, support to the rebels in exchange for their help in freeing the newspaperman and his wife.

As Long as There's Tomorrow...
By Bryan Marlowe       
UK price: £11.77     US price: $21.95
Format: Paperback
Size : 5 x 8
Pages: 394
ISBN: 0-595-39621-6
Published: May-2006

A romantic saga dedicated to those who have lost the love of their life and live in hope of one day regaining it.

Tarnished Heroes       
by Bryan Marlowe 
UK price: £8.38     US price: $15.95
Format: Paperback
Size : 5 x 8
Pages: 228
ISBN: 0-595-40750-1
Published: Aug-2006

It's the cold war in the Far East and a chain of deadly circumstances forces two former world war heroes to form an alliance to save those they love in a final desperate act of heroism and redemption.

A Kind of Wild Justice.
by Bryan Marlowe        
UK price: £8.63    US price: $16.95
Format: Paperback
Size: 5 x 8
Pages: 242
ISBN: 0-595-43194-1
Published: Mar-2007

Be warned; don’t be fooled by Gary Remington’s gentlemanly demeanour. He’s a tough, war-hardened ex-sergeant major, who exercises unremitting relentlessness in whatever he undertakes. He’s now on a mission of merciless vengeance and he’ll take no prisoners!

Settled Out of Court      
by Bryan Marlowe 
UK price: £8.00     US price: $14.95
Format: Paperback
Size: 5 x 8
Pages: 204
ISBN: 0-595-47705-4
Published: Nov-2007

Tense, gripping and with a rich seam of black humour, Settled Out Of Court is the latest thriller from Bryan Marlowe—a man with a literary mission of his own.

Leaving Mercy to Heaven  
by Bryan Marlowe 
UK price: £7.99     US price: $10.85
Format: Paperback
Size: 5 x 8
Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-0956051967
Published: Feb-2009
Published by

Leaving Mercy to Heaven is a bang-up-to-date, dramatic action-packed tale of revenge, intrigue, betrayal, and romance, involving terrorism, modern Casablanca, and the Israeli Secret Service


Marlowe's Manuscripts

(From Up Front)

James Drew takes a trip down memory lane, with a shameless plug for his one-time journalist-cohort turned published novelist, Bryan Marlowe. Not heard of him yet? Well, that's why he's a 'cult hero'. Read on...

Bryan always takes pleasure in his work...It does seem like a long time ago. Eleven years, in fact...before falling in love with Brussels (where he arrived via a circuitous journalistic route, taking in The Yellow Advertiser in East London http://icessex.icnetwork.co.uk, which explains why he's a West Ham supporter), your 'umble hack Drew started scribbling in the ancient northern town of York, where a certain UP Front editor Tony Mallett (yes, him again), made a big mistake - he gave him a job as a journalist.

The sadly-defunct free-sheet The York and District Advertiser was where Drew first won his spurs and, if you're wondering when I'm ever going to get to the point of this yarn, don't worry, it'll be any second now.

Because, at this time (told you), Drew also came into the orbit of one Bryan Marlowe, a letter-writer extraordinaire, a man with more bylines in The York Evening Press (www.yorkpress.co.uk) than many of its journalists. Drew, anxious to score points against the 'Tizer's fiercest rival (ah, memories), shamelessly bribed the man with competition prizes, free meals and more than a few sherbets, to ensure that Marlowe's missives began flowing into another newspaper.

The York Press (as they are now called) had the last laugh, unfortunately - doubtless stung by their plucky rival's chutzpah, they offered Bryan a job as a columnist. Which he took, the swine...[Good point - exactly why are we giving him a plug, Drew? - ED]

But enough of the past - Marlowe, who was born in London in 1930 (revenge truly is a dish best served cold) and left school at the age of 14, has long lived the rover's life. Conscripted for National Service in 1948, he served two years, was demobbed, then worked for Siemens and rejoined the RAF as a regular in January 1951.An RAF regular from 1951-71, he then worked for a further 20 years with a northern police force. His extensive foreign travels, combined with his life's career path, inform the genuinely exciting narratives of his four books to date. Up to press, these are As Long As There's Tomorrow, an intensely personal romantic saga about love lost and regained, Memoirs of an Errant Youth, a tongue-in-cheek account of the author's early years of employment in wartime Britain and the immediate post-war period of austerity, Tarnished Heroes, a cold-war thriller set in the Far East and A Kind of Wild Justice, an ex-sergeant-major-turns-vigilante page-turner.

Memoirs of an Errant Youth - By Bryan MarloweAs Long As There's Tomorrow - By Bryan MarloweA Kind of Wild Justice - By Bryan Marlowe

And, just for those readers wondering what the connection is between Bryan and Brussels, be informed that he says he'd "very much like to revisit the capital of Belgium, so long as the G+Ts are on Drew's tab". Just what we need in town - another writer...[Drew, you're fired - ED]

For more information on the man Marlowe and his work (he's currently working on a fifth, Settled Out of Court), go to http://www.diadembooks.com/tomorrow.htm, where you'll also find links to purchase all of his thus-far published tomes. Happy reading!

Brussels-based freelance journalist Tom Slaughter reviews Settled Out Of Court by Bryan Marlowe.

 Considering that he only turned to novels two years ago, Bryan Marlowe proved himself prolific and more than adept at handling a range of genres, from the whimsical nostalgia of Memoirs of an Errant Youth, via the military rough and tumble of Tarnished Heroes, to riveting revenge yarn A Kind of Wild Justice.

 Settled Out Of Court runs along similar lines to …Justice, but Marlowe’s choice of a sociopathic, revenge-driven young man as central character lifts the narrative into the realm of psychological study, as well as being a cracking read.

 Dermot Baxter is the man with a plan – his father Rex died in jail after being wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his au pair lover. Still at home but distant from his mother, Baxter embarks on a calculated mission of revenge against all those members of the law and judiciary whom he believes must pay for the injustice. But the law is slowly and surely closing in…

 Marlowe’s own police experience (he worked for 20 years with a northern force in the UK) is put to good use here; the dialogue between the ‘coppers on the case’ is believable, even if it occasionally seems forced between Baxter and his mother. By the same token, the writer’s gift for creating enjoyable page-turners has once again been employed – that we are suckered into sympathising for a cold-blooded killer is an impressive turn from Marlowe, and there are more than enough twists and turns, coupled with genuinely suspenseful set-pieces, to keep thriller-hounds happy. Recommended.