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A LEOPARD IN LIVERPOOL

Michael Walsh, historian, and journalist, never found the time to be a novelist until recently, a term that is flexible.  It was during the 1990s when, down to his last brass cent, he wondered if salvation might come via a blockbuster novel. The dissident journalist put pen to paper and began work on Retribution later re-titled A Leopard in Liverpool.

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He knew the plot had to tick all the boxes and most important the storyline had to be believable. The only one way to achieve this was to write a novel that draws on first-hand real-life experience. In many respects, A Leopard in Liverpool is painfully biographical. The reader will feel the skin prickles as he or she turns the pages.

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The novel is based on a mercenary’s planned vacation in his native Liverpool. His break goes downhill when during a chance meeting with a former girlfriend he learns that his adolescent daughter, whom he was unaware of, is ensnared by the maritime city’s lowlife. This was an epic fail on their part.

After being drawn into the 1960s Congo crisis and Simba Rebellion Liverpool seaman, Fraser McLeod morphed into a lethal humanoid. The leopard in the book’s title was the insignia of Commando Kansimba otherwise known as the Leopard Battalion under the command of the legendary Colonel Jean ‘Black Jack’ Schramme.

Years spent in Rhodesia’s anti-insurgency bush wars served to turn the dog-of-war into a cunning and resourceful predator. Camouflaged by the inner-city mixed-race nomadic jetsam his pubescent daughter’s trail has by now gone cold. The action heats up when the merciless MacLeod melts into the maritime city’s social sewers.

Those, whose trade is debt and death, flesh and illegal substances know how to discourage the inquisitive. Yet, they are no match for a prowling marauder for whom death is no more to be feared than is birth. The soldier-of-fortune turned arms dealer has a single lead and unquenchable thirst for a vengeful nemesis.

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Readers of A Leopard in Liverpool will be much reminded of the Brian Garfield novel, Death Wish. The movie of the same title tells the story of Paul Kersey, a Manhattan architect, who became famous, or infamous for pedestrian vigilantism.

Parallels will also be drawn on the 1978 soldier of fortune Daniel Carney epic, The Wild Geese. When the film was made it became an iconic movie that allows us a peek into the world of the notorious dogs-of-war.

A Leopard in Liverpool makes Death Wish and The Wild Geese into a hot trilogy of drama, suspense, and brutal pedestrian vigilantism. Was Michael the man for the job? You decide but rest assured that much of the book is indeed biographical.  A Leopard in Liverpool skilfully combines real life with, well, you decide, is this saga all real life or not.

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