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Wednesday 15 January 2020

‘Poetic Justice: Oxford’ by Fran Raya

Book Guild Publishing Ltd,
28 September 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-91288176-5 (PB)

Randal Forbes is an undergraduate student at Beaumont College, Oxford.  He is handsome, intelligent, wealthy and already a recognised poet.  Almost everyone he meets falls for his undeniable charms, but beyond Randal’s accomplishments lies a ruthless and egotistical killer.  Randal has telepathic powers that enable him not only to read the minds of others but also to control those minds.  Since childhood he has exercised this ‘gift’ for selfish gain and to commit malicious crimes that destroy the lives of anyone who stands in his way.  Such is Randal’s cunning that few people have witnessed his vindictiveness and fewer still suspect that he is a criminal, but one who does is Dr Patrick Shaw.

Shaw has explored Randal’s past and discovered a succession of unexplained accidents and deaths that have befallen the student’s family, friends and acquaintances.  From his analysis of these suspicious events, the doctor is convinced that the young man is responsible for the misfortunes suffered by those around him.  He also believes that Randal’s recently published collection of poems, Poetic Justice, point to his heinous crimes:

“In an investigatory capacity, it revealed a hidden chain of events.  It was like the poetical diary of a serial killer.”

Shaw shares his suspicions with his friend Chief Inspector Leonard Galloway and sends him a copy of the poetry collection along with a detailed list of the curious mishaps that have happened to people known to Randal.  Galloway’s problem is that there is no tangible evidence to link Forbes to the tragic events that have befallen the unfortunate victims.

The only person who does know the truth about Randal is his long-suffering friend and lover Clive Hargreaves.  Hargreaves, fully aware of Randal’s diabolic powers, would never betray his trust, but he cuts a sorry figure.  The lovelorn Clive slopes around after Randal, in constant need of reassurance and weighed down by low self-esteem and the knowledge that he is an unwilling but slavish accomplice to murder.  Randal, of course, is oblivious to the suffering his behaviour causes as he sets off on another methodical killing spree.

Poetic Justice: Oxford is the second book featuring Randal Forbes.  It has sufficient backstory to work admirably as a stand-alone novel.  If you are intrigued by the idea of a malevolent mind reading murderer romping exuberantly through the prestigious halls of Oxford University and infiltrating members of the British aristocracy, then you will love this book. 
Reviewer: Dot Marshall-Gent

Fran Raya lives in Manchester. Her career has been predominantly in music since the 1970s, both in the UK and abroad, originally as a singer-songwriter but now in later years purely as a songwriter who places original songs with other artists. Fran is a member of The Guild of International Songwriters and Composers and has performed throughout Europe as she used to live in Denmark. Fran was the support act for Eric Clapton on his Scandinavian tours in the 1980s. She has also published poetry in numerous anthologies and as a result was awarded her own book, Thoughts of the Poet. Fran's first book in the Poetic Justice trilogy (Poetic Justice: The Dawning) was published by The Book Guild in August 2018.
Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties.  She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues.  Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.  

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