Collina, Stephan: Muffin Man
Please join us on a transatlantic story of love, sex and betrayal, with the Muffin Man. The book would be rated PG-13 for some profanity and sex.
Publisher: Analytical Media, Inc. (October 1, 2013)
Category: Political Thriller
Available in: Print & ebook, 368 pages
The President’s wife has a premonition, setting in motion a transatlantic story of love, sex and betrayal.
Set against a backdrop of drug dealing, covert political manipulation and murder the Muffin Man is an authentic and atmospheric tale from the 1970s. Based on real events, the story begins with a premonition that leads to the formation of a secretive political organisation. The plot unfolds in twists and turns through the ordinary lives of innocents who are sucked into an accelerating and dangerous vortex of drug dealing, assassination and murder.
A former high-flying US Army Colonel, his alienated daughter, an accidental drug dealer, his beautiful but manipulative girlfriend and a corrupt police inspector all become sucked into the secretive organisation, initiating a succession of assassinations. Rewards lead to arrogance and an early death, or do they?
Praise for Muffin Man:
“The Muffin Man is an authentic and atmospheric tale from the 1970s, mostly set in the UK and the east coast of the USA. The tale begins with a premonition that leads to the formation of a secretive political organisation, but the story unfolds in twists and turns through the ordinary lives of innocents who are sucked into an accelerating and dangerous vortex of drug dealing, assassination and murder that leads up to the present day. Solid writing and interesting plot. Good characters, dialogue and pacing. Worth a read.”-James A. Anderson, Author of DEADLINE, and The Scorpion
“I really liked the era the book was set in and enjoyed discovering the personalities behind various characters. My favourite was the inspector.”-Amazon Reviewer
“The novel is a complex story about the damaging effects of war on an individual and his family. One of the main characters `Ed’ has demons to wrestle with and this alienates him from his daughter `Anne’, who ends up running away and unknowingly working for her dad’s secretive organisation. There are several complex relationships throughout the novel, which all gravitate around drugs, sex, politics and cross between countries over time. My favourite character was David as he was likeable and reminded me of similar people I have met in my own life. I can only hope that their private lives are as intriguing and complex. All of the main protagonists were believable and were well developed. The story bounced back and forth between the UK and the US and there was sufficient twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. I particularly liked the ending and certainly didn’t guess it until the last few pages. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy political themes, complex relationships between characters and twists and turns. I would certainly consider reading more books by this author.”-Lisa C., Amazon Reviewer
From Muffin Man, Chapter 20
The drive along the A40 was uneventful and the other traffic sparse enough to allow the Inspector to give his briefing en route. Because the Inspector knew how unconcerned was Adrian about its purpose, he felt perversely obliged to ensure Adrian should know the background to the mission for which he was now preparing.
“The true curse of oil, as anyone in the Middle East would confirm’, the Inspector began, ignoring some geo-political realities of which he was well aware, “lies in the fact that elsewhere than the Arab world, American policy is led by concerns for democratic rights, self-determination and free-trade. However, in this region, complicated further by American politicians’ need to show proper concern for Israel, American policy is determined only by the over-riding desire to secure continued supplies of oil”.
Adrian yawned, stifling the noise to make his boredom less obvious to the Inspector, who continued: “No American politician has been visionary enough to realise that, with a different goal and policies, they could earn the respect of the marshalling Arab democratic forces, concerned as they always are with posturing in the mass media for the next election. Consequently, the Americans are everywhere seen as oppressors, supporters of monarchies and appalling dictatorships. Their small-minded bureaucrats and politicians spend all their time negotiating tactical arms sales, and bolstering the inflated egos of regional power brokers while holding what they occasionally still call the line against communism”.
Adrian was paying scant attention to the Inspector’s mini-lecture, wondering throughout whether he would be able to contain the rumbles in his bowel and rectum for the whole journey, and whether he should fart freely, with its consequent risk of an embarrassing follow through. He cared little for the politics of justification. He was not listening out of any kind of free choice: as he saw it he faced only Hobson’s choice. He farted quietly, smiling slightly at the wrinkling of the Inspector’s nose a few seconds later.
The Inspector continued his verbal briefing during the journey, handing over the file containing the relevant photos only as they pulled into their reserved parking space. RAF Northolt’s low-key security meant they had been waived through the gates easily enough. The Inspector drove to where he knew Adrian’s plane would be waiting. For appearance’s sake, there were a number of RAF officers and a couple of junior diplomats sharing the flight, but the reason for all of their journeys had been concocted purely to make Adrian’s seem routine. The Inspector wished him well as Adrian climbed the steps, and told him they would meet again for the debriefing in a few days.
Adrian dropped his bag onto the empty seat next to him and closed his eyes before the plane taxied along the runway and climbed slowly into the air. Opening them a few minutes later, Adrian nodded a cursory hello to the two RAF men he could see from his seat, but made no effort to talk to them or to anyone else aboard. A cold pre-packaged meal was handed to him a few hours later. Otherwise Adrian remained alone in his thoughts for the whole journey and, even after landing incognito at a combined military and civilian airport, Adrian remained deep in thought until his arrival at a safe house on the southern fringe of Teheran.
The next day Adrian spent alone in the safe house. His main concern during training and subsequently remained the quality of the food and of the entertainment provided to him, which varied in both cases from the appalling to the sublime. In a low, unheard voice, Adrian ruefully grumbled that he had similar concerns here, where he had been left to fend for himself for the day with only a TV showing unintelligible foreign programmes to keep him company.
Returning from the US only the day before, the Inspector had not told Adrian the full background to his mission, most of whose details a proud Inspector had learnt from his meeting with Ed. The riots in Teheran and especially Qom, and the popular reaction to their suppression, had eventually led Henry Precht, head of the Iran desk at the State Department, to conclude that the Shah would fall.
About Stephan Collina:
Stephan Collina grew up in the 1970s: a troubled time of recession, poverty, industrial disruption, political tension and terrorism. But for younger people, it was also a post-1960s wide-flared, drug-enhanced and extravagant-haired innocence.
Stephan later became a prominent businessman, acquainted with a number of high-ranking politicians. Stephen ran international technology businesses, spending a great deal of time in the USA and various European and African countries.
The Muffin Man grew from a combination of these unique experiences: his early knowledge of the sometime innocent business of drug dealing (although he never inhaled), and of the much dirtier businesses of covert political and military action, and of international business practices.
Stephan’s first novel explored the nefarious and complicated emotional and sexual relationships of a remote village in Wales, where he had spent his early years.
Stephan holds a degree in Philosophy. He is also a qualified commercial ship’s captain. He now lives quietly by the sea, and concentrates on his writing and related filmmaking activities.