Drum roll…. the winner of our Mark Billingham comp is…

May was our Month of Crime and we celebrated by giving customers the chance to win a book pack filled with awesome crime novels! All you had to do to enter was order Mark Billingham’s brilliant new book, Time of Death.

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time-of-death-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win- Time of Death

The Tom Thorne Series : Book 13

by Mark Billingham

The Missing

Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up and from which she long ago escaped. But this is a place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried.

The Accused

When it’s splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the more…

…and the winner is:

M.Nicholls, Boambee East, NSW

Grab a copy of Time of Death here


Congratulations to the winner!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions, signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

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What Cathryn Read – Bestselling author Cathryn Hein on her May reading

Australian novelist Cathryn Hein, author of The FallsThe French Prize, Heartland and much more gives her verdict on the books she’s been reading.


Lyrebird Hill

by Anna Romer

I thoroughly enjoyed Romer’s debut novel Thornwood House and her follow up, Lyrebird Hill, didn’t disappoint. The story unfolded beautifully, slipping between the present and colonial times, and held me captivated throughout. As with Thornwood house, the story had a wonderful gothic feel which made the suspense part of the novel even more intense, and Romer is a master at bringing the Australian bush to vivid life.

Lyrebird Hill unfolds with Ruby Cardel discovering that her sister Jamie’s death – an event she’s managed to blank from her memory – may have a sinister connection. When Ruby journeys back to her childhood home, the vault of her memory begins to open, bringing with it uncertainty and danger.

Highly recommended.

Grab a copy of Lyrebird Hill here


Already Dead 

by Jaye Ford

The suspense and action begin almost immediately in this gripping thriller from Jaye Ford and barely lets up until the final page. When an armed stranger jumps into her car, journalist Miranda Jack is forced on a terrifying ride. Her abductor, Brendan Walsh, seems a madman, but as her ordeal progresses and Miranda listens to his paranoid rants, Miranda is left with doubts. Doubts that force her to seek answers even when it appears doing so might place her in danger.

As with Jaye Ford’s previous novels, Already Dead was a page-turner so compelling all I wanted was to gobble it down in one sitting. I loved the thrill ride, loved the touch of romance and loved the landscape. She’s an auto-buy author. Next please!

 Grab a copy of Already Dead here


You’re Just Too Good To Be True

by Sofija Stefanovic

This short book looks at online romance scams, how they operate and the devastating impact they can have on those caught up in them. Triggered by her eighty-year-old friend Bill’s experiences, Stefanovic sympathetically reveals how Bill’s search for online love took him from hope to bankruptcy. It’s sad and frustrating and I feel desperately sorry for Bill and others caught up in these scams. To have the human need for love exploited so badly is horrible.

The story gets even more interesting when Stefanovic decides to lure a scammer into talking to her about their operations, and finds herself in turn being drawn into this morally murky world.

Fascinating. And an eye-opener on how easily people can be manipulated, regardless of background.

Grab a copy of You’re Just Too Good To Be True here


The Diabolical Miss Hyde

by Viola Carr

This book is brilliantly cross-genre, spanning romance, steampunk, horror and crime, and probably a few others, and, as the title indicates, takes more than a little bit of inspiration from classics such as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein and more. It’s dark, no question and certainly not a typical romance, but it worked thanks to an intriguing plot and great characters, and some seriously lush world building.

Crime scene investigator Eliza Jekyll is daughter of the famous Dr Henry Jekyll (from the classic novel) and suffers his same condition. Her “evil twin” is Lizzie, and she’s a blast compared to straight-laced Eliza, if a tad violent-minded. The two are in a constant battle for domination, a battle that becomes more fraught when the Royal Society’s enforcer, Captain Lafayette, comes to assist in the hunt for the bizarre new serial killer stalking London’s streets. For this is the man who could see Eliza’s career and life destroyed. Except Lafayette may not be all he seems either, and Lizzie is on the trail. So perhaps is someone even more dangerous.

Great fun!

Grab a copy of The Diabolical Miss Hyde here


Hein, CathrynThanks Cathryn Hein, we look forward to seeing what you have read next month!

Cathryn Hein was born in South Australia’s rural south-east. With three generations of jockeys in the family it was little wonder she grew up horse mad, finally obtaining her first horse at age 10. So began years of pony club, eventing, dressage and showjumping until university beckoned.

Armed with a shiny Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy College she moved to Melbourne and later Newcastle, working in the agricultural and turf seeds industry. Her partner’s posting to France took Cathryn overseas for three years in Provence where she finally gave in to her life-long desire to write. Her short fiction has been recognised in numerous contests, and published in Woman’s Day.

 Click here to see Cathryn’s author page

The Falls

by Cathryn Hein

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.

Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.

But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

Grab a copy of The Falls here

Last chance to win an awesome crime pack!

Do you love crime……fiction? Order Time of Death by Mark Billingham by midnight tonight and you could win an amazing crime prize pack!

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time-of-death-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-Time of Death

The Tom Thorne Series : Book 13

by Mark Billingham

The Missing

Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up and from which she long ago escaped. But this is a place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried.

The Accused

When it’s splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the flooded town to support Bates’ wife – an old school friend of Helen’s – who is living under siege with two teenage children and more…


We’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited edition signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!
Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

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Brian Panowich, author of Bull Mountain, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Brian Panowich

author of Bull Mountain

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I’m a military brat, so although I was born in Ft. Dix New Jersey, I spent most of my childhood traveling around the country, and the world, until my father finally settled us in East Georgia when I was Twelve. That’s where I consider my home. I went to Georgia Southern University to study journalism, but decided I’d take a year off and move to Nashville, Tennessee to try my hand at writing songs and ending up never going back. I traveled most of my adult life as a musician. I suppose being a tumbleweed was in my blood.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve I’m pretty sure all I wanted to be was Laura Self’s boyfriend. Nothing else really mattered at the time. At eighteen I wanted to be Bruce Springsteen and change the world, as I was no doubt born to do, and at thirty I wanted to be Cormac McCarthy, so I could write something as majestic as Blood Meridan. I’m also happy to say, that at Forty-three, I’m pretty glad to be me.

brian panowich

Author: Brian Panowich

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That I was no doubt born to be Bruce Springsteen and change the world.

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Give Us A Kiss by Daniel Woodrell had a lasting profound effect on who I wanted to be as a writer. That book woke something in me I didn’t know I had, and put me down the path I’m on now. Music is also one of the great loves of my life, and without Waylon Jennings’s Honkytonk Heroes record, or Johnny Cash’s American Recordings, or Springsteen’s The River, I might be an altogether different person, much less a different artist.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 

I’ve done a little of everything before landing here. My father was a jack of all trades that way, and it was passed down to me. When I was much younger I wanted to write and draw sequenal art for comic books, I worked hard at it, and got pretty good, and than I picked up a guitar, and took that route. It wasn’t until I settled back down in Georgia after the birth of my oldest daughter did I finally return to writing as an outlet to create. I think all artists, no matter what the medium, need to produce something–anything, or that part of them starves to death and leaves the rest of them misreble. I couldn’t allow that to happen to me, and that led to this novel.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

It’s a story about the internal and external struggles surrounding The Burroughs family in North Georgia. An imfamous clan known for bootlegging, running guns, drugs, the works. Clayton, the youngest son of three generations of outlaws decides to buck his heritage and take a different path by becoming a Sheriff in a small neighboring valley town, but as anyone around here can tell you, Family doesn’t work that way. Escaping who you were born to be isn’t as easy as it seems, and things can go south pretty quickly.

Grab a copy of Brian’s new book Bull Mountain here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

A smile. I write stories with no other intent than to entertain. I hope people read this book, enjoy it, and then loan it to a buddy. I love to talk about the books I’m passionate about and I hope I can inspire folks to do a little of that.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?the-road

That’s a loaded question. I love Cormac McCarthy, and Daniel Woodrell, C.J. Box, and John Connolly for their skill on the page and for constantly producing books that spin my head around, but I also love guys like Tom Franklin, and Wiley Cash, not only for their incredible writing and imaginations ( They are two of the best in the business) but because of the accessibility they give their readers. Tom Franklin sent me a email once about his love of comic books after seeing a comment I made about Marvel on Facebook. Mr. Cash took the time to answer a note I sent to him about how much I enjoyed This Dark Road To Mercy, and at the time, I had no book coming out. I was just a fan. That kind of thing means the world.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I have two goals at this juncture in my life.
1. To live long enough to see my kids become happy adults.
2. To provide the means for that living through writing books they can be proud of.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

That’s easy, be wary of writers giving advice. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions of the writers you admire, or seeking out instruction on the craft of writing, but writers that make their sole living by telling other writers how to succeed at being a writer can be downright predatory. Also, never pay to play. If you want to write something and give it away for free, that’s up to you, and how important a part you feel it will play in your career, but never pay someone to publish your work. It’s a racket almost 100% of the time.

Brian, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Bull Mountain here


Bull Mountain

by Brian Panowich

Clayton Burroughs is the Sheriff of Bull Mountain and the black sheep of the brutal and blood-steeped Burroughs clan. In the forties and fifties, the family ran moonshine over six state lines. In the sixties and seventies, they farmed the largest above-ground marijuana crop on the East Coast, and now they are one of the largest suppliers of methamphetamine in the Southern states.

An uneasy pact exists between the law man and his folk, but when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms shows up in Clayton’s office with a plan to shut down Bull Mountain, his agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction. At its heart, Bull Mountain is a story about family, and the lengths men will go to protect it, honor it, or, in some cases, destroy it.

About the Author

Brian Panowich attended Georgia Southern University before taking a twenty-year detour to travel the country playing music. He started writing again in 2009. Two of his stories were nominated for a Spinetingler award in 2013.

 Grab a copy of Bull Mountain here

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Paula Hawkins

author of The Girl on the Train

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, I lived there – and went to school there, obviously – until I was seventeen.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve, a human rights lawyer (bleeding heart liberal); at eighteen, a foreign correspondent (thanks to romantic notions of what that might entail); at thirty, an author (also thanks to romantic notions of what that might entail).

Paula Hawkins

Author: Paula Hawkins

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I can’t think of a single one, which suggests that I’m incredibly stubborn (or possibly that I simply can’t remember all the ridiculous things I believed when I was eighteen).

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Impossible to pick just three, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Macbeth, The Black Paintings by Francisco Goya, and the song Down by the Water by PJ Harvey.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 

Because I can’t draw, or paint, or dance, or play an instrument. Writing is the only thing I’m any good at.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

The Girl on the Train is a story about a lonely commuter, a voyeur who witnesses something shocking on her daily journey to work, and who finds herself drawn into a mystery which, unbeknown to her, she is already an integral part.

Grab a copy of Paula’s new book The Girl on the Train here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Talking specifically about The Girl on the Train, I’d like to have given the reader food for thought about the nature of perception, about the judgements we make about the people we see every day and the people that are close to us, and about how flawed those judgements frequently are.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?case-histories

I’m a huge fan of authors who can write literary page-turners – the likes of Kate Atkinson or Cormac McCarthy.

Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To write something I’m proud of. That’s all.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Find someone whose judgement you trust to read your work: no one does this all alone.

Paula, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of The Girl on the Train here


The Girl on the Train

by Paula Hawkins

YOU DON’T KNOW HER. BUT SHE KNOWS YOU.

Rear Window meets Gone Girl, in this exceptional and startling psychological thriller.

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

About the Author

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction.

Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller.

 Grab a copy of Girl on the Train here

New Sherlock Holmes story discovered, written by Arthur Conan Doyle

sherlock-holmesHistorian Walter Elliot has unearthed the first unseen Sherlock Holmes story in more than 80 years that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote to help save a town bridge.

The 1,300-word tale starring the famous detective was found in a collection of short stories written for a local bazaar.

The story is entitled Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, by deduction, the Brig Bazaar.

It is believed the story – about Holmes deducing Watson is going on a trip to Selkirk – is the first unseen Holmes story by Doyle since the last was published over 80 years ago.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

Mr Elliot said ‘In Selkirk, there was a wooden bridge that was put up some time before it was flooded in 1902.’

‘The town didn’t have the money to replace it so they decided to have a bazaar to replace the bridge in 1904. They had various people to come and do things and just about everyone in the town did something.

‘The Saturday was opened by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He had written a wee story about Sherlock Holmes and Watson and this was in the book.

‘He really must have thought enough of the town to come down and take part and contribute a story to the book. It’s a great little story.’

Grab a copy of The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes here

 

Darragh McManus, author of Shiver the Whole Night Through, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

shiver-the-whole-night-throughThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Darragh McManus
author of
Shiver The Whole Night Through

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and reared in Ireland. A little village in County Tipperary, which is in the South-Midwest, if you can follow that. School, hmm…loved primary, hated the first three years of secondary. It wasn’t the school’s fault, they were fine. I just hated pretty much all the kids! Including myself, probably. I grew up a bit and enjoyed the final two years though. Then I went to college in Cork for an Arts degree in English Lit and History. I’ve also done a certificate in Art & Design, and of course have learned some lasting lessons in both the School of Hard Knocks and the University of Life.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Twelve: either play soccer for Liverpool or be some kind of intergalactic bounty hunter with cool blue skin and bluer eyeballs, toting a crossbow that fired lasers. This was because I read a LOT of comics at the time, mostly Roy of the Rovers and Champ (hence the soccer) and Eagle (hence the daft sci-fi).

Eighteen: probably to have my own grunge band. I’d moved onto an obsession with grunge by that stage. I still love those bands, the image, the sarcasm, the plaid shirts, everything about them – good guys who rocked like all-get-out. Sadly, I was too lazy to bother learning guitar…the dream withered and died.

Thirty: a writer! I’d decided in my late twenties that, yes, I definitively wanted to be an author; I finished my first novel at 29 and the future seemed – potentially? – bright. Didn’t quite go according to plan. That book and my next one (collection of stories) failed to sell. Finally, I was published in non-fiction at 34. And in 2012, a lifetime ambition was realised when AT LAST I had a novel released. Shiver the Whole Night Through is my third published work of fiction (though first Young Adult).

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That communism was both possible and desirable. I think most people, as they get older, move to a more meritocratic philosophy i.e. you should get out pretty much what you put in. (Obviously, this doesn’t mean not looking after those who need it – that’s just basic decency and kindness.) But my desire for a totally evened-out society is gone; I don’t think it’s remotely feasible anyway, even if it was a good idea. Maybe after another 10,000 years of human evolution. Funnily enough, not every youthful passion fades away; for instance, I’m probably more and more of an ardent feminist with each passing year.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc. – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

It’s not a work of art, as such, more a movement – but the aforementioned grunge music has been a seminal influence on me personally and my writing. I did a crime novel, Even Flow, which was basically the grunge ethos in vigilante form. Shiver the Whole Night Through takes its title and much of its tone from Nirvana (and Kurt is mentioned in the first paragraph). Another book, unpublished, called Pretend We’re Dead, is about a bunch of slackers whose lives and thoughts were profoundly shaped by grunge. As I said, I love everything about it: artistically, intellectually, emotionally, socially…maybe even metaphysically, who knows.

FEA_2014-01-29_LIF_044_30297410_I1Twin Peaks was also huge. In fact Shiver was, to some extent, my attempt at writing an Irish version of the great David Lynch drama. Murder mystery, small-town weirdness, supernatural elements, love story…and of course, the forest. It’s a character in its own right, in the show and book. Just that sustained mood of dread and reverie that Lynch evokes…man, it’s stayed with me for decades.

Finally, I’d like to pick a book but there are just so many… I’ll go for Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, one of my very-favourite novels. (Incidentally, I consider it a great work of YA literature too: the core story is about a lad of 14 and his fraught journey to some kind of emotional maturity and adult responsibility.) I was blown away the first time I read it, especially by the language Burgess invented for his narrator: English-Russian-Cockney-Gypsy and who knew what else. It really showed me the limitless possibilities of fiction. Great, great book. Real horrorshow, oh my droogies…

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

God – good question! I should have been a musician or painter or movie director or one of those lunatics who mutilates their own body and videos the whole thing and runs the video in a gallery and… Probably I write because A) I’m reasonably good at it, B) I love reading anyway so why not read my own stuff, C) as I say, I was too lazy to learn an instrument, D) I’m colour-blind so visual art is out and E) films cost billions to make and I’m way too neurotic myself to be dealing with tantrums and egos of actors.

6. Please tell us about your novel, Shiver The Whole Night Through.

It’s a YA mystery – sort of a noir-style detective story, with paranormal/horror elements, set in a small Irish town. The basic plot is: after months of bullying and romantic heartbreak, seventeen-year-old Aidan Flood feels just about ready to end it all. But when he wakes up one morning to find that town sweetheart Sláine McAuley actually has, he discovers a new sense of purpose, and becomes determined to find out what happened. One night Aidan gets a message, scratched in ice on his bedroom window: ‘I didn’t kill myself.’ Who is contacting him? And if Sláine didn’t end her own life…who did? Now Aidan must hunt down Sláine’s killers, and unravel the darker secrets surrounding the town. And he’s about to find out that in matters of life and death, salvation often comes in the unlikeliest of forms…

shiver-the-whole-night-throughNeedless to say, it’s great! Seriously, the reviews so far are very positive, and Shiver is on the (UK) Daily Telegraph’s Best YA 2014 list. Think Twin Peaks meets Twilight meets Let the Right One In meets the teen-detective movie Brick meets old Gothic horror stories. Or don’t think that at all, and just go into it blind.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

This one specifically, a feeling that they’ve been thrilled, chilled, moved and entertained. For all the things we may say about our books, first and foremost you want to entertain the reader. Beneath that, I hope they get a sense of empathy and sympathy for bullying victims; it’s the scourge of society and always has been. Nothing worse than a bully. I hope they debate some of the themes with their friends e.g. is revenge ever justified? And I hope they’d have become as fond of Aidan, Sláine and Podsy as I am.

In general, I’d like to think people will put down one of my books and – whether they loved it or liked it or were indifferent or worse – at least they’d think it was authentic, distinctive, made with care and sincerity. I hope they’d think, “This guy’s writing isn’t like anyone else’s.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Oh wow, so many. Anthony Burgess, again: the man was just the most incredible virtuoso. Could write anything, any style and any genre, better than virtually anyone else. Jorge Luis Borges, because his ideas and technique were so unusual that he was almost an art-form unto himself. Margaret Atwood for being so witty and clever and making it look so easy. George Orwell for writing 1984, probably the greatest book I’ve ever read. Don DeLillo, for having the most unique literary voice I’ve ever read, and for somehow expressing the inexpressible in our existence, and illuminating the deep mysteries of it all… I’d better stop now or I really will keep going and going, possibly forever.

 9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To write and publish a sequel to Shiver the Whole Night Through. To write and publish the several other ideas for YA novels that I’ve begun sketching out, plotting, pottering about with. To have my first novel and short-story collection published. To have that slacker novel published (dude). To write lots of screenplays and get filthy rich in Hollywood. To win an Oscar for one of them…and then refuse the Oscar. Ha!

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Everyone says this, but…read. Read, read, read. Not the internet or magazines; read books. All sorts of books, with a good smattering of classics. That can mean anything from Homer to Dickens to Graham Greene – whatever. Just something outside your comfort zone, outside your normal realm of thinking/reading (and they are, in a sense, two sides of the same coin). Something that stretches your mind. Read. Keep reading. Then start writing, but keep reading. Don’t ever stop reading! I cannot stress this enough!

Darragh, Thank you for playing.

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