Book Title: My Name is Jimmy
Author: Garrick Jones
Publisher: MoshPit Publications
Cover Artist: Garrick Jones
Release Date: June 1, 2022
Genres: LGBT mystery thriller, LGBT crime fiction
Themes: Lies and deception, murder mystery, finding Mr. Right, war and its aftermath
Length: 17 930 words/53 pages
Heat Rating: 4 flames
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
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In 1947, James “Jimmy” Bacon becomes involved in a violent workplace altercation fuelled by a PTSD-induced rage. His boss, a fellow war-veteran, tells him to take a few months off work, have a holiday, go somewhere warm, and get his head together.
Jimmy decides to take a coastal steamer to the northernmost outpost of Australia, Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, to visit the grave of his oldest friend, Sandy, killed during the Japanese bombing of the city in 1942. Upon arriving, he discovers that Sandy’s death is not as simple as military records seemed to indicate. After learning that Sandy’s grave contains only an arm with no distinguishing features, he starts asking questions around town in order to find out what really happened to his mate.
The more he asks, the more he discovers that Darwin is less about post-war reconstruction and more about drugs, gambling, and the excessive consumption of alcohol. It’s a lawless city where 95% of the population is male and prostitution is banned, creating a thriving underworld where rough frontier-town blokes and men from the armed forces are doing more with each other than having a beer and passing the time of day.
While digging deeper, Jimmy discovers a terrible truth, arousing the interest of men who would do anything to keep the past a secret—men who consider his life of little value. Jimmy is forced to rely on quick thinking and his army training when death comes looking for him in the dead of night.
Tides in Darwin were monumental, sometimes more than twenty feet rise and fall twice a day. The harbour was still dotted with wrecks, the Indonesian bosun of the launch from the Pamanoekan taking us to the makeshift long jetty that jutted out into the sea from Mindil Beach happily pointed out the ships and the numbers killed on each vessel. The American destroyer USS Peary had the highest death toll: over eighty-eight killed during the raid and only fifty-three survivors. I had no idea; we hadn’t got that news, just that ships had been sunk and the town bombed twice. As we negotiated towards the beach, I saw two officials waiting at the end of the jetty. There were only six of us disembarking in Darwin, but there seemed to be a small crowd on the beach itself—probably about twenty men in all. I couldn’t imagine they were a welcoming committee; they were most likely blokes who’d decided to quit the town and sail on the Pamanoekan to either Broome or Perth to start new lives.
“Take care, Mr. Bacon,” the bosun said to me. “Darwin’s a hard drinking town, rough and violent. Too many blokes, barely any women. Watch yourself, especially in the pubs, most men in this hole like to speak with their fists.”
“Sounds like what I’m used to, mate. Don’t worry about me.”
“Got your military permit to go ashore?”
I patted the breast pocket of my jacket. Everyone had to have a reason to go to Darwin; in 1947, you still couldn’t just turn up there out of the blue. I’d applied for my permit with a covering letter from Sandy’s parents, asking me to take a photo of his grave. Reluctantly, it had been granted after I’d showed my service record to the dick at the permit office in Sydney. He was all of sixteen by the look of him. I’d slapped it on the counter and growled. His eyes had bulged a little, but he’d stamped it and called out “next!” over my shoulder.
I had six weeks in Darwin to get warm, find what I was looking for, and shake off some of my demons. The first two I was sure I could do; the last remained to be seen.
“Taxi, sir?” a thick-set man asked as I stepped onto the beach after being processed.
“Nah, I’ll walk,” I replied.
“Where you going?”
“In this heat?” he asked with a smile, showing a mouth full of gold teeth. “That’s nearly an hour on foot, mate. Do yourself a favour and get in my cab.”
“Call this hot? I served in Ceylon, India, and Malaya, and finished my war in Burma and Siam, my friend. An hour stroll in the sun will do me good.”
“Suit yourself,” he said. When I asked which way I should go, he pointed in the direction of Stokes Hill then turned his back on me to ask a man and his wife who were standing not far away, looking stunned at their surroundings, whether they needed a taxi. Two years after the war, there were still bomb craters and uncleared tangles of broken palms on either side of the road that led to the jetty.
I walked down the beach for a bit then changed into my shorts and a singlet, threw my army duffel bag over my shoulder, and lit a fag. “Hello, Darwin,” I said to nowhere in particular.
I could have sworn it told me to fuck off and go back home.
About the Author
After a thirty year career as a professional opera singer, performing as a soloist in opera houses and in concert halls all over the world, I took up a position as lecturer in music in Australia in 1999, at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, which is now part of CQUniversity.
Brought up in Australia, between the bush and the beaches of the Eastern suburbs, I retired in 2015 and now live in the tropics, writing, gardening, and finally finding time to enjoy life and to re-establish a connection with who I am after a very busy career on the stage and as an academic.
I write mostly historical gay fiction. The stories are always about relationships and the inner workings of men; sometimes my fellas get down to the nitty-gritty, sometimes it’s up to you, the reader, to fill in the blanks.
Every book is story driven; spies, detectives, murders, epic dramas, there’s something for everyone. I also love to write about my country and the things that make us Aussies and our history different from the rest of the world.
I’m research driven. I always try to do my best to give the reader a sense of what life was like for my main characters in the world they live in.
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