Mark Stavish’s Review of The Last Observer

My thanks to Mr. Mark Stavish for this review – it may be found on….

A Fun and Interesting Book for an Rainy Afternoon

The Last Observer is one of those wonderful novels that can be read in an afternoon and discussed with your friends for weeks afterward. Since the release of Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code and subsequent best-seller sequels the world has been awash in books dabbling in the occult but like Brown, never truly crossing the line, or worse yet, taking the leap and the reader wishes they had stayed in place. It is not that there is anything wrong with magic in novels specifically dealing with the occult, it is instead in the way most authors write about it. Best selling authors like Brown titillate us with it only to give us a rationalized ending after 600 pages or so. Authors who have practical knowledge of magic and occultism often find out after the horse has left the barn, that while they know magic, fiction writing is not their calling. In short, all to often the reader is left wanting.

Not so with The Last Observer, if anything, we are left wanting more. Just like the novels by my good friend Dr. Joseph Lisiewski, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found here, for both its insight into occultism, but also reality itself.

The thrust of the story is simple: our hero is drawn into the conflict between two powerful magicians, along with the usual murder and mind twisting mayhem that accompanies battles between good and evil. It is here that Vasey shows us his stuff as a writer and a practicing magician. You see, Dr. Vasey is a scientist as well as a novelist. His keen awareness of the subtleties between the objective and subjective realms of existence are the real treat that the reader is given. The power of imagination, quantum physics, and ethical struggle that makes up magic on a very real level.

Maybe it is no surprise that as I went to write this review at my favorite coffee shop, that I remember the words of one of my teachers as I stood in-line waiting for my order to be taken, it was, “See everyone around you as an enlightened being. See the men as the God of Wisdom, and the women as his consort Truth. This is how they really are. Treat them each as a god and goddess.” This is a difficult task in the best of time, let alone on Black Friday. It is too easy to lapse into a lame New Age ‘namaste’ either mentally or verbally with people. But to hold onto the irate woman taking your order late in the day as a goddess, well, that just takes effort.

And that is what Vasey’s work, The Last Observer is all about – effort. The effort it takes to get and stay ‘awake’ and to see reality as it is, not as we believe it to be. The dedication of this book contains the following: To the seekers of hidden knowledge everywhere, the way is long and hard. Don’t cut corners! Yet, Vasey also addresses that age old question, raise so eloquently in the novel and movie Jurassic Park, about what happens when power is obtained without the discipline required to either understand or wield it properly?

Vasey is swift and clean in his writing, both in the scene descriptions and dialogue, making The Last Observer a book that comes in at under 120 pages and can be read in an hour or two. That said, a small part of me would love to see the dialogue in Chapter Twenty – Zeltan Speaks performed by Al Pacino just as he did his famous defense of the human condition as Satan in the movie version of The Devil’s Advocate. If you liked that scene, you’ll enjoy this strikingly honest appraisal of modern magic.

Suddenly, Everyone’s an Expert

Have you noticed how, these days, everyone is an expert about everything? Its social media that has done this I think.

Stories are floated around woefully lacking in any truth, substance or reality and people read them as if they were gospel. Many feel compelled to benefit us with their encyclopedic knowledge on the subject matter and quite honestly the result makes me laugh at its stupidity … except it doesn’t because people simply can’t tell fact from fiction, truth from lies and they do not know who or what to believe. It is sad and it is dangerous.


There is an old movie starring Peter Cook. He works his way up from nowhere to be PM of Britain and, using a combination of theatre and by allowing everyone to become an expert and have their say on everything, he manages to essentially assume total power – he becomes a dictator. Everyone is more than happy to let him take this position because everyone gets sick and tired of voting on every issue and having so much say. The movie is called ‘The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer‘ and I recommend it to everyone.


A few nights ago, I felt I simply had to get involved in an online debate on Facebook. Within minutes, I had a lady telling me in a single short paragraph the ‘truth’ about renewables being all we need, oil is finished and we shouldn’t damage the Earth fracing. Now actually, I am something of an expert on these topics and I can tell you that I was shocked. I was shocked at her certainty that she was right and knew best. I was shocked at the lady’s sheer ignorance of any actual facts but more importantly at the level of spite and vengeance with which her opinion of fact was delivered. Talk about the inmates attempting to run the asylum? To answer her three lines of nonsense would have perhaps taken me 30-pages of A4 explanation. I attempted to explain one or two items and was promptly cut down as being ‘arrogant’. Arrogant? So those of us that actually have a University education and 25-years experience in an area, i.e. actually know what they are talking about and have expertise… it is US that are arrogant? Not the people who armed with half the facts and what they read on some environmentalists blog? I see. Well.

This is dangerous.

Unfortunately, most issues are significantly more complex than a newspaper or a blog would have you believe. There often is no absolutely right or wrong answer and anyone who believes that things are simple or black and white is quite honestly a prize fool. Unfortunately, even if an opinion comes from a so-called expert, it may not be correct and it may be a political view as opposed to a philosophical view. You see, truth is colored by your ego and personality. Your truth, my truth isn’t necessarily someone else’s. The problem is that these days everyone is an expert – or thinks themselves to be. I understand in my example above, the lady may not have felt I had any expertise in the subject matter and was simply grinding my political axe….. on the other hand, its quite easy to research these things and she was told by another poster on the thread that I had some expertise in the topic…….but why bother – she already knew what she needed to know.

Where does it stop when everyone is an expert? Where are the real experts today? Doesn’t everyone have an axe to grind? What do you think?

Things That Went Bump in the Night

Growing up and leaving my version of Neverland, things took a turn for the worse. I guess it started around age 12 or so and maybe peaked at 17. Nights became sheer living hell at times as I lay in my bed scared to death. It started innocently enough in seeing a ghost. The man dressed as a Cavalier was sat at a desk writing, got up abruptly and walked out through my bedroom wall. My brother who I shared a room with saw him too.

It went a bit pear-shaped after that though. Strange noises…. bangs, cracks, deep sighs, all unexplainable. Then footsteps. I hated the footsteps. Listening to ghostly footsteps moving closer and closer and closer…. Doors opened by themselves, things vanished inexplicably to turn up equally inexplicably somewhere else or even where you knew you had left them.

The whole tale is told in Inner Journeys. Here is an excerpt…

For example, one evening in my late teens I came home from the pub just drunk enough to feel that I could get some sleep. I was visiting for the weekend from College and I always needed to have a couple of beers before I could sleep in that house. I was sleeping on the floor of my brother’s room and he was already soundly asleep when I lay down or rather passed out. Despite my drunken condition, I was suddenly aware of the front door of the house being opened. It’s amazing how alert you become when you are scared half to death. I was no longer feeling that warm woozy effect of alcohol but was now sat bolt upright, the hairs on my body stiff with fear.

“I did lock the door didn’t I?” I said to myself trying to recall if I had checked the lock as I had stumbled through the doorway. I knew I had. Next, I heard a quiet low pitch moaning and groaning that sent chills running up my spine. It was so quiet that I could hear the silence as a continual buzz only occasionally punctuated by the low moans. Then, I heard footsteps coming slowly up the staircase as if the person on the stairs was struggling to climb each step. As this was happening, my heart was racing and the noisy silence was now drowned out by the sound of my own pounding heartbeat deep inside my bursting chest. When finally, I realized that whatever or whoever this was had now reached the landing, I found that I could actually move and started to back away from the bedroom door slowly and as soundlessly as possible. As I did so, the door started to slowly open and I let out a scream that was loud enough to wake the entire city of Hull. Strangely enough, only moments later, my father burst through the door with such an angry look on his face that I thought he was about to chastise me for screaming. Instead, he simply asked if I was OK and told me that he too had heard our intruder.

Whatever this phenomenon was, it occurred more and more often and with greater observable physical activity as time went on. One evening, sitting with a girl friend in our living room in the early hours of a Saturday morning, a similar event occurred and the sight of a door opening by itself was enough to send her home for the evening. At least it wasn’t just my imagination!

These experiences too gradually faded. My poltergeist activity faded as those hormones settled down and as life drew me in…….


Three Ideas For Christmas

Here are three of my books that are inexpensive and would make a nice stocking filler…….

Available on Amazon or directly from me.

Astral Messages: Poetry from Beyond, Createspace, 2013
Astral Messages Cover
Astral Messages is my third book of poetry. It uses poems and blog articles from – Asteroth’s Domain – in a poetic discussion about reality and magic. From the opening ethereal beauty of “Astral Messages” to the humor of the questioning about “Why is life so dirty”, this is a collection of 17 new poems. Each is coupled with a short article to strengthen and bolster the points being made. At the end of the day, we are all magicians willfully creating our realities and Astral Messages demonstrates how this touches all aspects of our lives – yes, even our socks!

Available in paperback and Kindle formats from the Amazon sites.

ISBN-10: 1490312633
ISBN-13: 978-1490312637

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The Last Observer: A Magical Battle For Reality, Roundfire, 2013
LO Cover

The Last Observer is a compelling fictional tale of magic, alternative realities, murder and conflict. An ordinary man is abruptly dragged into the middle of a violent struggle between black and white magicians who both seek to use his extraordinary powers of imagination and observation. He soon learns that reality is not at all what it seems before being called upon to play a decisive role in determining whose reality will prevail.

I am fascinated by what makes up reality. Faith can move Mountains it is said. In fact, faith in an ability to imagine into reality a mountain moving is what magick really is. So what might happen if a black magic cult wanted to change the world and they decided to do it via imagination and magic? Read the book and find out.

ISBN-10: 1782791825
ISBN-13: 978-1782791829

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Poems for the Little Room, Lulu, 2012

This is my second book of poetry published via Lulu. It combines images and poems that range from a humorous look at a Czech TV interviewer Jan Kraus through to stories of idyllic love – both for partner and daughter. The idea behind this over sized book was that it would be ideal for that little room where guests only want something to leaf through for a short time! Hence its name….

ISBN-10: 110566130X
ISBN-13: 978-1105661303

Note: Only available on, or from me directly at the moment.

Seeking Neverland

As a young child I think I was quite innocent. Perhaps I was a tad over protected by my parents or perhaps I was just built that way. To be honest I do not know. I do know though that I had (and to some degree still do have) an imagination. My imagination was such that I drew other children in to my fantasy land and when I left it even momentarily, they stopped playing there. It was as if I were the catalyst for whatever fantasy we built. It was I that built layer upon layer of substance out of sticks, dustbins, stones and such. I would often delay having to go to the bathroom simply because I knew that on my return, the fantasy would be lost, gone, over. Looking back, it was if I created and wove the dance we danced in my childhood reality. And perhaps I did.

I dreamed well too. Better then than now. Lucid dreaming, something I find difficult these days, came naturally to me then. I would willfully continue a dream night after night picking up right where I recalled leaving off. One dream was about a girl. She lived in a castle-like house on an island. It was a small island with steep cliffs all around and it started with me finding a cave and working my way up to find the house. Looking in through a window I saw a girl. She was beautiful and I loved her as soon as my eyes saw her (she was my age in the dream – 6 or 7 perhaps). She looked sad and I wondered how such a pretty girl living in such a house could be so sad?

One day she caught sight of me. We made signs and faces through the window. She even smiled. But she kept looking around nervously. She would shoo me away at times and I would hide and spy as the witch-like lady entered the room and the girl would cry. I eventually discovered the witch-like lady was an evil old hag who practiced black magic in the basement and caves below the house. She abused the girl who was her niece. I discovered the girl’s parents had died leaving her in the care of this wicked Aunt. As the dream continued, she would let me in and we would play happily in that room until the Aunt came and then I would hide or leave or hide and then leave my heart pounding like a drum.

In the end, I was discovered and caught. The girl and I were taken to the basement and we were tied up. Somehow, we escaped and turned the tables on the wicked witch ridding the world of her via her own evil magic once and for all. The girl was free. She was happy and smiled and we would play until, eventually, the dreams stopped.

These dreams took place over an extended period of time and if you analyze them they have elements of all fairy tales don’t they? The wicked witch, the sad and mistreated niece or step daughter and the prince who frees the girl and, in the end marries her. The part of me that faces and confronts something within me and defeats it in order to reconcile other aspects of myself.

When I look back now at my childhood I wonder at how magical it was. I wonder at the abilities I seem to have lost or misplaced as I have grown older and become a part of another world. Imagination is a precious commodity and the art of dreaming is a wonderful and magical tool to heal oneself. I am convinced at times that I really lost something growing up, something truly magical. Some gift I was born with. Perhaps we all have. You see the problem is that “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.

peter pan

JM Barrie and Peter Pan has some interesting quotes throughout in my opinion that now resonate with me. Just consider the following and perhaps you will agree…

There could not have been a lovelier sight; but there was none to see it except a little boy who was staring in at the window. He had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be for ever barred.”

Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.

You know that place between sleeping and awake, that place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always think of you.

All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.

You see, the thing I miss about being a child is my Peter Pan. Everyone of us has Peter Pan within us and we lose him growing up. Some of us never realize it nor care but others, like me, keep looking and searching for Neverland knowing that, not only does it exist but I once went there all the time…..

Urine Deep

I found a book yesterday called the Book of Aquarius by Anon. I’m a good couple of years out of date finding it since it took parts of the internet by storm as a plainly written how to do it book on The Philosophers’ Stone. It can be downloaded for free if you Google it. Its quite well thought of in some quarters and, by many accounts, is the real deal. So what then is the Prima Materia for our Magnum Opus?


Yes, that’s right – urine. Not any old urine – it has to be yours and it has to be collected at the right time. But it is Urine. From said Urine comes the Philosopher’s Stone. Yes, the thing you can live forever with or turn Lead into Gold.

Now, while I am being sarcastic here. There is some evidence that in fact, Urine IS the Prima Materia hidden so obliquely by many alchemists.


Having discovered this, I started doing a few Google searches to see if anyone had managed to turn their pee into some magical substance that cured everything and made you ageless. I discovered of course that there is a line of thought that urine is the Fountain of Youth. Apparently, it’s no accident that your little angelic statues sit peeing into waterfalls and pools globally – this is a hint. A hint that urine is it. Drinking your own urine is the cure all that kills cancer, and keeps you healthy. Rubbing it into your skin keeps you young looking (if a bit smelly!). There are books and websites dedicated to urine drinking.

Before I go ahead and give it a try…… do any of you DO this?

So what am I Then?

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. ~John Lennon

So what am I then?
Just a bunch of atoms
Whirling and swirling
I am mostly space
if the truth be known

Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. ~Democritus

What animates me?
Am I like virtual reality
Imagineered like Disney
For fun
Or something much more
Returning to the place it

Few people have the imagination for reality. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What is it I see?
Moreover, how do I feel
Is it just electrons
Is it all just material
Physically constrained

Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him? ~Calvin and Hobbes

Are we connected?
All things are The One
Am I you, you me
A God?
Existing through eternity?
If so, Wouldn’t that be
A Sod!

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace. ~Eugene O’Neill


The Last Observer – a novel about reality and magic – out now.

Policemen and Blondie

They used to say that you knew you were getting older when the policemen looked young.

Well, that may be so but I have a different yardstick. Last night, I was listening to some Blondie and I thought to myself “Wonder what ever happened to Debbie Harry?” So I googled here and I discovered that she is 68-years old! 68! This is a woman I used to have on my wall and who I fantasized about as a teenager but she is 68….. This got me started. Cyndi Lauper – another amazing artist and I thought beautiful girl – well she is 60. Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders – she would be 62. My childhood love – Sandie Shore – now 66 and SuZi Q – 63.

Now I feel old.

There was a time I rather hoped she would drive all night to come and see me……

Saturday Night Thoughts on Promoting Books…

So its Saturday night and I find myself sat in front of the PC wondering yet again just how in thee world you actually promote a book. You see its November and believe it or not but The Last Observer hasn’t yet made any best seller lists and quiet honestly I am a tad disappointed. I reckon that by now my friends and family are sick to the back teeth of the hearing about the bloody book and probably do the internet version of crossing to the other side of the street when they see me coming! I reckon most of them that will buy it already have so I need a broader audience. But how?

I must have spent hours googling ‘how to sell my novel’ and similar search terms and I can only say that it has turned up nothing but the most turgid crap imaginable and the same old stale ideas about reviews, bloggers, press announcements, trailers, book signings etc. etc. bloody etc.

I have a problem. I don’t live in an English speaking country so book signings have very limited effect.

I’m stumped and have resorted to hiding behind lamp posts springing out on unsuspecting dog walkers clutching my business card replete with head shot photo on one side and book cover on the other. Sell more books? Hell no but it nearly got me arrested.

I have 1000 of these cards. What was I thinking? 1000! It was cheaper to print 1000 that 100 (well almost) and I can take them on business trips….

Actually, I need YOU. Word of mouth. Tell your friends and if they won’t buy it, buy it for them – for Christmas and tell them to tell their friends…

If you blog – let me send you some article that discusses the book. Actually, I have placed several of these and have a magazine article due out shortly too…. This may work.

Of course, what I really need to do is something so bizarre and so weird that it makes the news and goes viral on YouTube. What could that be though? Lady Ga Ga seems to have done everything I can think of involving nakedness and bizarre behaviour and my tongue just can’t compete with Miley’s…..


Perhaps the best advice I have read – in stark contradiction to almost every other article including my own publishers advice – was forget promoting your book just get started writing the next one….. You know, that is really really good advice.

My Dunkirk

It was 1974. Unlike many kids from Hull, I had already been abroad. My parents had driven in 1962 from Hull to St. Tropez and back in a Reliant Robin with me in tow. We still have cine film – miles and miles of french hedgerow goes flying by for much of the film as my parents marveled at their bravery of driving so far on small French roads in a three wheel car that attracted looks of disbelief from the locals. I guess they felt like they would never return and so best film as much as possible? The film also has me in it sitting in the warm blue ocean, looking at artists painting St. Tropez harbour and interfering with the locals’ game of boules…. But, I digress. I had also been to Switzerland and Italy in 1969 again camping and driving miles and miles on little French, Swiss and Italian roads – no motorways back then you know!

So, my exchange with a French student wasn’t quite as exciting as it might have been. France was no mystery to this 14-year old. I already knew the country as beautiful and the girls even more so. French – the language that is – was more of a challenge. I have no brain for languages and I was terrible at French. Jean Luc was excellent at English however so all was well. He came to Hull first and was duly taken to such wondrous locations as Brid, Scarboro, Whitby and York. He purchased several LPs by some band called Status Quo and before I knew it, I too was a fan. He also liked Pink Floyd. He had good taste in music.

Jean Luc and I in Dunkirk 1974

Jean Luc and I in Dunkirk 1974

The train ride to Dover from Hull is tedious – it was back then even more tedious. The train was full with strange pairings of English and French kids all over excited and boisterous. The ferry then from Dover to Calais and then a car ride to Dunkirk – or a small village outside of Dunkirk. My adventure had began.

I recall the concrete floors painted green and total absence of carpets. The blinds that wound down to create total darkness at night. The dirt in the streets – yes – it was dirty. The food. New tastes including raw minced beef with raw egg. To be honest much of the trip was a blur. His father was the Captain of a ship and wasn’t home but Mother had a small car and we went all over the region – even as far as Brugges in Belguim. It was all too soon over but it began my love affair with France and all things French.

The next two summers we repeated the exchange – privately however. The summer before college I spent 8-weeks hitch hiking around using Jean Luc’s home as my base. For a while, we were firm friends. I wonder where he is now? I was lucky I know to find such friends and to enjoy so many experiences as a growing child and young adult. It broadened my young mind and by 18, my French was more than passable but not fluent. It was good enough to talk to the girls….