I’m a huge fan of Robert Enright’s writing and gave a full five star review for his first book One by One so when I was offered the chance to take part in his book door for Doorways, I was more than happy to take part! I want to thank Robert Enright and Urbane Publications for giving me the chance to take part in this book tour for a fantastic book!
I was sent this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
There is more to the shadows than just darkness
The Otherside: a world that exists on the outskirts of our own, hiding in plain sight and living within our shadows. Shielded from humanity, the Otherside is watched over by the BTCO, a highly secret government agency whose agents are the few humans who possess “The Knack,” a genetic anomaly that allows them to see the truth of existence.
Franklyn “Bermuda” Jones is the BTCO’s finest agent, the only human to have passed to The Otherside and returned. Gifted with the ability to physically interact with The Otherside, he reluctantly stands between both worlds, pining for the life he had to leave behind. Teamed with the Otherside warrior, Argyle, the two of them are assigned a case of a missing woman, vanished under peculiar circumstances.
As Bermuda delves further into the disappearances, he uncovers a threat to humanity that will not only break the truce between the two worlds, but render them both obsolete.
The flashing blue lights erupted from the top of the police car, illuminating the front of the magnificent Cartwright Manor. The huge, stone structure stood with an overbearing grandeur, the large, solid pillars of the front door cast in intermittent blasts of blue. The smooth tone reached three floors high, the wall segregated by the door sized windows in perfect symmetry.
The drive to Eversley had been fairly straight forward, the dreaded M25 that linked him from Hertfordshire to Hampshire, was quieter in the middle of the night, instead of the usual stand still of regularity. The streets of Eversley were quiet, quaint little streets lined with small houses, all hidden behind their front gardens. A few country pubs that would have undoubtedly been full of locals earlier in the evening. On the outskirts of the town, Cartwright Manor sat in the centre of twenty acres of land. As he passed through the grand, iron gate and slowly cruised up the gravel path that cut through the vast, neatly trimmed lawn, Franklyn ‘Bermuda’ Jones whistled with admiration.
Gazing his green eyes over the immaculate grounds, he slowly rolled his black Honda Civic to a stop, the engine cutting out with a gentle purr. The two police officers stood fifty feet away, their arms folded across their stab proof vests as the car door swung open, the chill of the wind slapping Bermuda across his stubble covered face and throwing his light brown hair into disarray. With the moon hidden by thick, spring clouds, the only lights apart from those emanating from the downstairs of the house, were those of the police car.
Bermuda added his own, cupping his hand around his zippo lighter as the flame flickered, touching the end of his cigarette and casting smoke into the air. He flicked it, the metal lid clapping shut.
“Chilly night, huh?” Bermuda’s London accent filtered through the smoke.
As always, Argyle had met him at their destination. Partnered for over three years, Bermuda had become accustomed the Argyle’s ability to beat him to the scene of the ‘crime’. Although Bermuda stood at six foot tall, his partner towered over him by another eight inches. His muscular arms hung from his shoulders, exposed by the sleeveless armoured plate he wore over his colossal torso. His armoured legs stood firmly together and Bermuda was always impressed with the authority that Argyle’s stance commanded. He on the other hand, in his jeans, shirt and long, black jacket, looked comprehensively human.
Argyle’s grey, pupiless eyes, which sat deep in his dark face, betrayed his humanity. Not that it would be a problem. Especially as only Bermuda could see him. As Bermuda leant against his car, he cast his eyes around the acres of land as it flickered with sprays of blue.
‘I do not surrender any thoughts or feelings towards elements.’ Argyle’s response was firm, his voice carrying a low bass. Bermuda nodded, taking another puff on his cigarette. He looked up at Argyle.
‘I bet it’s a hoarder.’
‘We should assess the situation before reaching conclusions.’
‘Yeah, yeah. I know. And we will.’ Bermuda took another drag, smoke being snatched from the end of his cigarette by the whipping wind. ‘But I bet you ten pounds it’s a hoarder.’
“I have never understood your kind’s obsession with this monetary gain.” Argyle shook his head as he spoke, his words emphasising his disappointment. Bermuda looked towards the officers, their impatience obvious. A smile crept across his handsome face.
‘Let’s go see what the fuzz thinks.’ He pushed himself off from the car and took a final hit of nicotine before carelessly flicking the butt of the cigarette into the darkness. He slapped Argyle on the back, his hand a few inches from the long, razor sharp blade of the sword that hung from his back. Argyle was a fine swordsman and had saved Bermuda's life on a number of occasions with it. Argyle’s other weapon; the ‘Retriever’ was fastened securely around his powerful forearm.
As they walked towards the impatient officers, Bermuda’s own weapon hung from the latch on his belt, hidden by his long coat. His footsteps echoed as the gravel crunched beneath his feet. Argyle walked silently beside him.
‘So what’s the situation?’ Bermuda asked him, scanning the grounds again. He dipped a hand into his pocket and returned shaking a small box of tic tacs.
‘The woman’s husband has vanished. Along with their canine companion. Their maid and a home help worker have also vanished within the last few days. Their relatives have stated that this was their last known location.’ The two police officers stepped forward, getting themselves prepared as Bermuda approached.
‘How old is the woman?’ Bermuda asked, two tic tacs rattling in his mouth.
‘Mrs Cartwright is eighty two years old, a veteran of your people.’ Argyle spoke, his voice firm and authoritative.
‘You can just say old, Argyle.’ Bermuda smirked, hoping to extract a reaction.
‘Would seem strange for such an elderly person to be able to remove that many people.’
‘Well strange is why we are here, big man.’ Bermuda approached the two police officers, both of whom looked at him with caution. The shorter officer, mid-forties, thinning black hair and a shirt about to burst at the mid-section, spoke first.
‘You ok there, fella?’ He looked at his partner and smiled. ‘Having a nice old chat were you?’
‘Just getting updated on the situation.’ Bermuda retorted, accustomed to the idea that people thought he was crazy. He looked up at Argyle and raised his eyebrows. The policeman followed his gaze, saw nothing and readied themselves as if Bermuda was about to attack. ‘Is she inside?’
‘Hold on now.’ The younger officer, tall and muscular, reached out and put his palm into Bermuda’s firm chest. ‘We got a call about some ‘specialist’ coming down.’
Bermuda sighed to himself, and whipped his hand to the back pocket of his jeans. He pulled out the thin, leather wallet and flicked it open.
‘Bermuda Jones, BTCO.’ The two men squinted, trying to read the small print. The plastic card, covered by a sheet of clear plastic, bore his face and details pertaining to the organisation. The short officer scoffed and look up at him.
‘BTCO? Never head of it.’ He said, almost mockingly.
‘You wouldn’t have.’
Bermuda stepped through and once again, the young officer stepped in his way. Bermuda smiled at him politely.
‘Sounds like a load of nonsense to me.’
‘Could you please let me through? I have a job to do.’
Bermuda held his stare.
‘Well as far as I can see, that woman in there has something to do with the disappearance of three people. She doesn’t need a BCOT or whatever it’s called intervention. She needs to be taken in for questioning.’
As if he didn’t even hear it, Bermuda once again smiled politely, the wind snatching up his hair and tugging it in multiple directions.
‘Please let me through, Officer.’
The young officer glared at Bermuda, who politely waited. The elder officer stood to the side, a voice crackling through on the radio. Instantly his attitude changed and he pulled the other officer out of Bermuda’s pathway. As they argued, Bermuda walked slowly towards the large, semi-circular steps that lead up to thick, wooden doors. They were open, the brightly lit hallway welcoming him through with a warm grasp. Argyle followed, his colossal frame just fitting through.
The entrance to the house was as grand as the structure itself, the hallway stretching out towards a broad staircase that split into two directions, wrapping back around the wall underneath the high ceiling, from which an expensive chandelier hung. The walls were lined with large canvases of art, their value not worth guessing. In the far corner stood a suit of armour, the metal shining from good upkeep.
Bermuda popped another few tic tacs into his mouth and then walked through the open door to the right, entering an elegantly decorated living room. An oak table sat near the magnificent bay window, shutting out the world with its drawn curtains. A soft rug welcomed Bermuda as he strolled in, locking his eyes on the elderly woman who sat on the sofa, a roaring fire crackling in front of her.
Above the fire place was a large painting, depicting what Bermuda imagined was Lord William Cartwright, the missing husband. Stood in his hunting gear, he emanated wealth and nobility. Argyle walked calmly to the centre of the room, past a small cabinet which housed several expensive looking liqueurs. He stood powerfully, his short, black beard lining his powerful jaw. Bermuda crunched the remnants of his tic tac and approached the sofa.
‘Mrs Cartwright?’ He offered, his tone friendly. The old lady turned, her wrinkled face forcing a welcoming smile. Her eyes were red, the turmoil of the evening apparent. Bermuda calmly removed his jacket and placed it over the back of the chair. He checked his watch, pulling his shirt back to reveal a heavily tattooed forearm.
‘Please. Call me Eleanor.’
‘Eleanor. Nice to meet you. I’m Bermuda Jones from the BTCO.’
‘The what now?’ She looked at him, puzzled.
‘The BTCO. We deal with rather exceptional cases and believe that your husband is one such case.’
‘My poor William. Where has he gone?’ Bermuda had no doubts in his mind that she was innocent. Her grief for her husband was genuine. The last three years had shown him plenty of it.
‘That is what we are here to find out.’ Bermuda ran his hand through his hair, sweeping it into a side parting…
What did I think?
As I’ve already mentioned, I absolutely loved Enright’s first book ‘One By One’ and after conversing with the author about his upcoming book I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as it was completely different to his original thriller. That being said I was hugely surprised at just how much I loved ‘Doorways’.
As a self-confessed crime/thriller lover I was a little sceptical about reading a sci-fi book but much to my surprise, Enright really managed to get me hooked and I stayed fully engaged the whole time. The story line is gripping and at times I could feel my heart in my mouth due to how intense the story went.
Enright has a way of making you love and hate the characters, his writing style is brilliant and that just makes the story that much better. You don’t just read the story, you absorb the tale of Bermuda Jones and The Otherside. With unexpected twists and not fully predictable story lines, Enright has written a truly fantastic 2nd book and I would love to read more of ‘The Otherside’ and of Bermuda Jones.
My Rating? ♥♥♥♥♥
You can buy this book here (from the 13th October!)
Read it and let me know what you think!
Q&A with Robert Enright
Where did you find the inspiration for ‘Doorways’? It’s a very unique story-line! Umm…I really have no idea. It originally started off as two completely different ideas, one of them being similar to the film limitless and the other being about two detectives searching for missing people who keep going missing in dark corners. Eventually, the two ideas collided and then the idea of this other world slowly filtered in and before I knew it, I had created this whole other world. Inspiration wise, I very much see elements of Men in Black and Hellboy’s BPRD. Like you said…..it’s quite unique.
How did you develop the characters and plot? Well Bermuda originally was a PI with a medical condition, who’s medicine allowed him to see things for only a few minutes. It was an intriguing concept but I found it limited what I could do. Eventually, I turned it into an actual ability, and when I pulled The Otherside in, it exploded. Being the only one to physically interact with The Otherside opened up a ‘doorway’ (do not pardon that pun) that allowed Bermuda to be seen as the exception in a bizarre world. Then when I paired him with Argyle, who I love creating storylines for, the whole dynamic and building their friendship began to write itself.
What was the hardest part to write? I’d say establishing this others world and not having it sound really silly. At its heart, Doorways is essentially a crime thriller of someone trying to find missing people. However, bringing in these monsters from another world, like the large Behemoth that Bermuda encounters, and not having it lose credibility, was a tricky task. I had a long discussion with my brother about the tight rope I was walking. Too campy and the book becomes a comedy but too dark and it will alienate a lot of people. It was a hard tone to balance but hopefully I think I managed it.
What were your goals/intentions with ‘Doorways’ and do you think you’ve achieved them? Well the fact that it has been picked up by Urbane means I have achieved my writing goal of being published! From there, I just want to see what I can achieve. I am fully invested and in love with the idea and the characters and I only hope that people join them for whatever bizarre story lines I have in store. I have received my first reviews as well and they were 5 star, which was fantastic as the reviewers were not fans of sci-fi type of books. So right now, I am just hoping it keeps up the positive buzz and will allow me to continue with a few more…
Will we get to read more about Bermuda Jones in the future? That’s the plan. I currently have another 5 or 6 big cases for them to investigate, as well as a lot of twists and turns on the lives of our two heroes. The next one, which is underway, see’s them head to Glasgow, on the hunt for a murderer with a very erratic selection policy but also a very gruesome calling card. Hopefully, you will be able to read that one day.
If so, will Bermuda ever get the life he so desperately wants? (I understand you may not want to give spoilers!) My lips are sealed. I think one of the most endearing characteristics of Bermuda is how much he has had to sacrifice against his will. I think it drives him and there will certainly be highs and lows throughout his journey. That’s all I will say.
Finally, as a huge lover of ‘One by One’ and also ‘Doorways’ – which book did you prefer to write? Do you think this will be the genre you tend to stick to for future books? Both hold a very dear place in my heart. I loved the vengeful hero of Lucas Cole and have another revenge book in the pipeline. However Bermuda is more my cup of tea and I have many of his tales as well as my own take on Vampires, Zombies and (most excitingly for me) Superheroes to come! I kind of just write whatever genre the idea slots itself into. Right now, I am fully in this weird crime thriller/urban sci-fi/mystery world of Bermuda Jones, and I am extremely happy to be here.
Again, a huge thank you to Robert Enright and Urbane Publications for letting me join the book tour. Check out the other stops on this tour to get further confirmation that this is a great book that you need to read!