It’s always a sadness that I simply cannot read every book I’m offered, but whilst I turn down 90%, occasionally I find one that I simply have to feature because it intrigues me so much. Such is the case for Chicago May by Harry Duffin and I’m delighted to share a small extract from the book with you today.
Chicago May was published by Cumulus on 26th April 2021 and is available in all good bookstores and online including here.
Sixteen-year-old peasant girl, May Sharpe, steals from her abusive father, and flees Ireland, to chase her dream of a new life in America. Arriving penniless and friendless in 1919’s America, May has to choose between honest poverty, or crime. Beautiful May is charmed by successful con-man, ‘Society’ Eddie. With her new lover’s guidance, teenage May soon becomes the city’s ‘Queen of Crooks’.
But Joe, a stubborn local cop, has fallen for the spirited May. He is determined to save her from herself, and having to spend her life in prison. In the midst of her glitzy life, he confronts May to make a decision; a decision which would threaten, not only her new-found fame and fortune, but her young life…
An Extract from Chicago May
May’s new life had started with a crime, but she had not expected to end her life as a criminal.
Her lawyer had been dismayed when she told him that she wouldn’t speak in her own defense. She wouldn’t give the sensation-seeking gallery in the court the satisfaction of hearing her beg for mercy. May Sharpe was not a beggar, she was a thief. Not so long ago, back in her own country, she would have been hanged for what she had done. So be it.
She spent the night alone in her bleak cell preparing her suicide. For despair had replaced her fiery defiance. The infamous Irish beauty had only one defiant act left in her.
With an effort she pulled herself up on the bars. Pushing her head through the noose, she felt the twisted rope tighten against her skin. As she let go, the noose tightened, forcing blood to rush to her head like a blow. The drumming in her ears was deafening. Then, as the air drained from her lungs in a strangled cry, she was falling, falling.
How’s that for a dramatic taster? Sounds good doesn’t it?
About Harry Duffin
Award-winning British screenwriter, Harry Duffin has worked extensively in UK television for such hugely popular series as ‘Howards Way’, ‘Eastenders’ and ‘Coronation Street’. As Head of Development for Cloud 9 he was responsible for seven major television series, including ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ starring Richard ‘John Boy’ Thomas, and ‘Twist in the Tale’ featuring William Shatner.
He is co-creator of the hit teen series ‘The Tribe’, produced by Cloud 9, which ran for 260 episodes and has a growing world-wide fan base.
Chicago May is his first novel, adapted from his own screenplay of the same name.