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Alternative Outcome

Where fact and fiction collide

In this intricate mystery, divorced and disaffected freelance journalist Mike has self-published his own mystery drama online, hoping to shift his life on to a new tack. His story is fictional, but is based on 'real' events, and to give Mike a new focus, well-meaning friends now persuade him to track down a girl he knew long ago, when he was in his teens - someone whose memory he hijacked for his book.

Unsettling events follow: a website hack, a theft, a kidnap attempt. Initially Mike concludes all this has been sparked by an investigative article he once wrote for a magazine, but gradually he starts to wonder if the intimidation could be connected with his search for the girl, or even with his book.

Soon Mike's life seems to be in turmoil, especially when the possibility of a new relationship seems to hover in front of him. Fact and fiction collide in this fast-moving story, which features plenty of lively, natural dialogue and some vivid personalities; and along the way the story highlights some of the trials and pitfalls of the self-publishing process itself.

 

Reviews

“... Much of the success of this remarkable novel lies in the way Peter Rowlands gently and unobtrusively draws the reader into the anti-hero’s mundane going-nowhere existence. Then suddenly you are there with him in the thick of an initially simple mystery which, despite the escalating personal danger, only becomes more puzzling and complex the longer he tries to unravel it. ...”

“... There is a lot of skill here. The plotting is extraordinary. If you can forgive the crush of coincidences ... the solutions to the puzzles are a triumph of imaginative dexterity. It’s not just one set of Russian dolls that we see unpacked, but a whole shelfful of them.”

“... By far the greater part is accessible, crystal-clear uncluttered prose which unobtrusively drives along the action at a relentless jogging pace. Not so fast that it leaves you behind, but pressing enough to keep you wondering where you’re going and surprise you that you have already come so far.

“... The characters are clearly drawn, believable and engaging. Thoughtful underlying themes (art imitating life, the impossibility of personal invisibility in an internet-driven world, and the redemptive qualities of a sense purpose/mild obsession) are there if you want intellectual meat. But they are treated with the same deftness as the action. They rarely surface consciously, and are certainly never a distraction from the jet propulsion of the intertwined stories.”

Profile Photo Peter Rowlands

About Peter Rowlands

Peter Rowlands came late to novel writing, despite planning his move throughout his career. He spent many years editing and contributing to UK magazines covering logistics, transport and home delivery, but finally started work on his first published novel, Alternative Outcome, which he self-published in March 2016.

He is an avid reader of mystery dramas and thrillers, and always planned to write books that distilled what he considers the most appealing aspects of these: vivid characters, naturalistic dialogue, plenty of pace, and intricate but coherent plots.

Peter was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, in north-east England, but has lived nearly all his adult life in London, which he loves. In April 2016 he was revising an earlier book as a follow-up to his debut novel, and planning a third.

 

All books by Peter Rowlands

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