Horror crash unleashes truckie’s creative side

A UK-based former truckie, Matt Gantry, is all set to launch the second edition of his book, The Gamer, this month. The book first came out in December 2021 via Amazon in English speaking countries, and Gantry is now looking to launch the audio book version, along with paperback and Kindle editions.

In November 2007, Gantry was involved in a life-threatening road collision while driving a 26-tonne Mercedes Axor.

It took emergency crews three hours to extricate him out of the heavy goods vehicle following which his heart was resuscitated twice before he was airlifted to the hospital.

“I underwent a five-and-a-half-hour brain surgery and was placed in an induced coma for one month,” says Gantry.

“I broke numerous bones and gained a blood clot on my brain. Due to a chest infection, I had at the time, my temperature was dangerously high and my red/white blood cell count was near fatally wrong. The doctors didn’t think I would make it through the first night.

“Following the coma, I spent a further two and a half months in hospital. I was discharged in a wheelchair after a total of one hundred and one days. What followed was eighteen months of regular outpatients’ physiotherapy sessions so I could learn to walk again. Over this time, I progressed from wheelchair to Zimmer frame, then to crutches and walking stick, to finally walking very gingerly.

Leicestershire Police investigated the crash thoroughly and no fault was found with the truck, or Gantry’s driving or hours.

“I was to blame for the crash because I hit an oak tree, but this occurred because I have a rare condition, which was unknown to me until then, called cough syncope. Cough syncope is a well-recognised syndrome in which loss of consciousness usually occurs immediately after a violent cough or episode of violent coughing lasting for seconds.”

That one episode completely changed the course of Gantry’s life.

Following 101 days in the hospital, Gantry was on a convalescent program that lasted years. During this long arduous period Gantry went through a self-actualisation of sorts.

“Fifteen years have passed since the accident and unable to return to the job I loved due to a partial loss of eyesight, I have attempted many different roles both office and manual. Unfortunately, all of these have proven too much for me. This is mainly down to having done 60 years’ worth of wear and tear to my body in a split second,” Gantry says.

“There is one thing, however, I can do competently and that is research and write a gripping, exciting, edge of your seat, fast paced novel.”

Although Gantry’s personal life story itself is awe-inspiring, his book is based on a fictional story of a teenage video gamer in a hostage situation. The protagonist, Harry, tells the story of how he fights back using the skills he learnt while playing first person shooter video games. “The easiest way to explain the concept is ‘The Inbetweeners meets Die Hard’,” Gantry says.

“The accident and subsequent brain operation has unlocked my imagination. In fact, my story telling ability has thrived. Once I came up with the idea for The Gamer, I infiltrated the United Kingdom Special Forces Community and that has helped make this novel credible.

The Gamer is a romping, stomping, adventurous read that sees a schoolboy video gamer bring down the most wanted man in the world. Harry is scared, overwhelmed, uses outstanding creativity to overcome problems thrown at him and finds the love of his life in the most unlikely of circumstances.”

Matt Gantry recently ran a creative writing session for Year 10 students at a local school.

When he first shared the manuscript of the book to literary agents across the UK, he was praised for innovative concept for the novel. The book appeals to adults as well as the young adult (reading group aged 12-18 years) demographic.

Gantry says he’s honoured to be able to share an exclusive excerpt from the book below with Australian truckies.

“I have been a fan of trucking for as long as I can remember and always loved the big Australian road trains,” he says.

“I used to read trucking magazines wide eyed as a young child and was certain that I’ll one day enter the transport industry. At the age of 22, I realised my dream and it was also the year I abruptly left the industry.”

An excerpt of Gantry’s book below:

Almost twenty-four hours later, Harry returned to the same floor. He looked through the glass in the fire door from the service stairwell. He was unable to see anything. He had used the service stairwell at corner four this time. The floors of the hotel holding bedrooms had roughly the same floor plan. As the hotels floor usage changed from floors of bedrooms to floors of conference rooms and restaurants, the floor plans altered. All Harry could see was a dimly lit corridor and a windowless wall directly in front of him. He wished he was playing SAS: We Dare We Win. He would be able to refer back to the floorplan on his game player’s dashboard. There was no dashboard now. Only memory. His knowledge of this floor was minimal. He hadn’t spent much time here. Hell, he hadn’t spent much time in the hotel. He could remember the wall in front was the far end of a conference room that ran all the way from the Indiana Media Suite to corner four.

Opening the fire door a notch, he listened. Voices laughing at a story another voice had told. Two, three, or more voices, all coming from the Media Suite. He stepped through the door.

To the right was the glass wall that formed the rear of the hotel. He was stood on the corridor that ran to the rear wall of the restaurant. One of the other differences of this floor was the floor covering. Carpet had been replaced with highly polished stone floor tiles. His plan would work beautifully. Walking away from the rear of the hotel and edging his head around the righthand corner, he could see the bottom steps of the rear staircase. A different sentry to last time, but everything about him was the same.

Harry had thought long and hard about his next step. He wasn’t going to be killing anonymously with poison. Not even at a distance with a sniper rifle. This was going to be face to face combat, killing up close and personal. He needed to up his game to be effective. He needed to do the work the police and the SF couldn’t. The only way to obtain weapons was to think outside the box. He had to use whatever he could get his hands on. He would see the moment a man died. Harry would see the pain and suffering in the x-ray’s face. His death would be an immediate reaction to his own action. He didn’t know how he would feel having blood on his hands. Terrorists still bled. But they had brought violence and death on innocent people. By being in the hotel they remained steadfast in their want to do more harm.

Harry waited for a window of opportunity. It wasn’t long before he got one. The guard at the bottom of the stairs was called forward to the media suite. For a matter of seconds the corridor was empty. Harry made his way to the inside of corner four. He made it to safety unseen and unheard. He rolled his feet down the corridor in the direction of corner one. The restaurant was to his left. He could see the entrance up ahead and bathed in light. Was anyone about to walk through from the kitchen to the restaurant? Or vice versa?

He stopped and listened. The double entrance doors in front and to his left were open. He could hear clearly. There wasn’t any conventional restaurant noise. There weren’t any people talking and there wasn’t any cutlery scraping on plates. Harry couldn’t hear footsteps, or anything else either. He stepped closer and eyed the restaurant. Nobody there. Harry bent double as he edged forward and passed the half height restaurant window. He reached the entrance and ducked out of sight, knelt behind the maître d’ stand and took stock of the situation. He made another noise and sound check. Nothing. He got to his feet, but still remained hunched over and stayed as low as he could. One hand grasped the handle at the top, another supported the thick red tube. Harry pulled upwards. It wouldn’t budge. He stood tall. With one big pull the fire extinguisher came free.

Quietly he retreated back in the direction he had come and stayed close to the wall. He didn’t hug the wall as Hollywood movies would suggest. If a person stayed right next to a wall, it was possible to be hit by a projectile as it bounced off and skittered down the structure. Harry stayed a foot out from the wall and stopped every twenty feet to check behind him. Nothing. Ten feet from corner four.

He placed the fire extinguisher on the left of the corridor. There was no room for error now. He moved forward again until he was five feet from the corridor’s turn. Waiting and listening, everything was silent. He shuffled forward five more feet and pulled a bottle of clear shower gel from his leg pocket. The tube was upside down. The contents couldn’t be spilt. Harry had cut off the squeezy bottle’s cap in the Porter’s Lodge. He didn’t want to risk making the sound of the cap being popped open. That was the level of care the SAS took and Harry had learnt from the best. Squatting down, he pressed hard on the tube. The shower gel was squeezed all over the floor. The lines of opaque shower gel he made were similar to those a farmer created as he ploughed a field. He took care. The slippery gel could prove deadly if he got it on his feet. Leaving a small gap just wide enough for him to walk along, directly in line with the fire extinguisher and on the inside of the corridor, he backed away. He readied himself. Pumped himself up and mentally prepared for any outcome. No plan survives first contact with the enemy, but this just might. His only real plan if the shit hit the fan, was to run in the other direction. Harry took a deep breath and exhaled. He was going to do something he had so far avoided. He was about to go face to face with a terrorist.

Carefully manoeuvring forward past the shower gel, Harry ensured not a globule of the viscous liquid touched his feet. He peered around the corner and could see the sentry at the bottom of the stairs. AK47 hanging loosely from the strap draped over his shoulder, not held in his hands. Harry saw him yawn and bring a hand to his mouth. He wasn’t fully alert. All this played in Harry’s favour. Standing straight as if he was standing to attention, Harry put a smile on his face and briskly rounded the corner. There was a good distance between him and the x-ray. He scuffed his feet on the floor so the terrorist would hear him. If the sentry didn’t notice him until he got closer, his plan wouldn’t work.

The sentry heard him and turned, shouted a warning, and waved his AK47 at Harry. A hip shooter, not a pro. This fella didn’t have a Scooby-Doo. Harry turned and ran back to the corner. The x-ray holding a silenced AK47 gave chase. A silenced weapon would help Harry later. The x-ray wanted to take him alive, wanted to drag the hostage back to his boss like a dog brings a ball back to its owner. Harry overshot the corner and turned to face the sentry. Realising that Harry wasn’t going to give himself up, the sentry began wildly firing from the hip. Fucking amateur. Harry navigated around the shower gel. Once past, he broke into a sprint. His legs exploded and he charged towards the fire extinguisher. Grabbing the handle, he back tracked the way he had come. He could hear the sentry running towards the corner, the x-ray not exercising any caution as he made the turn was an error. A fatal error. He had underestimated Harry Fearn.

The sentry didn’t have time to see the wet floor. His foot hit the shower gel and slid away. His upper body followed. The x-ray’s second leg hit the gel. He fell heavily on the tiled floor. Banging his head, momentarily stunned but not unconscious. The sentry expected to see the kids heels as he ran away.

The underside of a fire extinguisher was the last thing he ever saw. Harry smashed the butt of the extinguisher down on the terrorist’s head. The first blow was delivered with so much force the x-ray was knocked unconscious. Harry’s blows didn’t stop. The attack was quick, frantic and violent. He repeatedly smashed the fire extinguisher down on the sentry’s head. The extinguisher was heavy and awkward. Adrenaline fuelled Harry. His stomach turned when the x-ray’s skull shattered. He didn’t have time to think about it. Placing the cannister on the floor, he leant against the wall. He drew deep breaths. The attack had been harefooted. Harry had expelled all of his energy. His eyesight was going fuzzy. Breathing hard he gulped down enough oxygen for him to feel normal again. His eyes refocused. He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. It was now covered in red smears. Harry wanted to throw-up. Blood from the terrorist’s head had spattered on his hands as he pulverised the x-ray. He had to get a move on, but he was still careful as he searched the terrorist. He reH

Harry took the silenced AK47, two belts of ammunition, four magazines and two grenades from the dead body. A shout came from the media suite. It was the x-ray’s mates asking if he was okay. They probably thought the random hostage wasn’t a match. Harry Fearn wasn’t random. He draped the two belts of ammunition around his neck. He wanted to look like a soldier from 2 Para he had seen in a photo. Hard as nails and ready for a fight.

He heard the sound of office chairs pushed back. The two leg pockets of his black trousers took the four loaded magazines. He slipped one of the grenades into his hoodie. He needed the other. He heard more voices, concerned voices. Two people calling their mate. Two people worried about their friend.

A film about the Vietnam War had taught him his next move. More importantly it was the Viet Cong’s tactics during the Vietnam War. He had to move quickly. Those concerned voices had turned into footsteps and they were heading his way. Taking hold of the second grenade, he pressed the handle down and pulled the pin free. Crouching next to the sentry, Harry’s fingers grabbed at the man’s bloody and sticky hair. He pulled the x-ray’s head forward and slid the grenade under the body’s neck. Lowering the terrorist’s head back down, Harry gently released the grenade’s handle. He let the weight of the body take up the pressure. The footsteps coming towards him were no more than thirty feet away.

End of excerpt.

To order your copy of The Gamer, click here.

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