The Hundred and Fifty Eighth Book

After finding a mysterious book entitled ‘Five’ in his overlooked bookshop, Hamish’s life rockets into elated chaos.

London 1985.
Hamish, a dispirited poet, is in debt with divorce and shop-repossession looming. While absently-mindedly checking his stock one morning, he finds a book he has never seen before entitled ‘Five’, its dedication reading: ‘To whoever picks this up’.
As he reads he finds his life mirroring that of the main character, ‘Mr Bolton’, commencing with the discovery of his hitherto absent sense of smell, the purchase of his long-desired favourite car, and a romantic and lustful encounter in a clothes shop changing-room which utterly changes his life.
After losing the book, and following a frantic search, our hero learns that four other copies of ‘Five’ exist each with different dramatic endings. Hamish’s life becomes a roller-coaster ride of exultation, sadness, success and love as he attempts to find the original copy of the book and ultimately save himself from . . .

The Hundred and Fifty-Eighth Book started as a short story published by the sadly now-defunct ‘Cracked Eye’ online story site. The short was chosen to be made into an audio-book narrated by Anton Lesser.
After jiggling around more with this site, I hope visitors will be able to listen to it. Please bear with me . . .
I decided to write a novel as the feedback had been so enthusiastic, and I really enjoyed writing from Hamish’s perspective. Another reason is my fascination with the world of communication before the web, emails, etc, compared to the mega-highway of instant connection we experience now.

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REVIEWS

Kate transports us, once again, into an intimate and quirky world, mostly of the mind, but also filled with piercing physical details, whether these be poignant period references or seductive descriptions of, er… seduction!
Hamish, the awkward, prickly, but utterly endearing and reluctant bookseller, is a well-drawn character, whose wild, unpredictable story helps us to empathise deeply.  The premise of the story line is brilliant – just the right side of fantasy, but imbued with the unexpected at every turn.  It is impossible not to want to turn the page.
The complexity of the plot and the links between characters makes for much fun, and a very pleasant “need” to keep up with what is going on.  At the end, you will find yourself wanting more, and it is to be hoped that Ms Hardy will give us just that sometime in the near future!
Claire