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Opera North - The Little Greats

6 Books You Need To Read This Month

21 September 17 words: Book Reviews

Cosy up by the fire and have a good read of one of these beauties...

Child Taken
Darren Young
RedDoor Publishing, £8.99

With a plot inspired by a news bulletin he heard while driving, West Bridgford’s Darren Young has penned a compelling thriller. A two-year-old girl disappears. The police assume she’s drowned, but the reader knows differently. Twenty years later, Danni overhears her parents arguing. Her mam says, “She’ll find out one day”: a statement that arouses intrigue. After another child goes missing, a rookie reporter joins the mystery. Child Taken was written in a coffee shop on the Flying Horse Walk. A tad lengthy but addictive, this debut novel explores the damage and darkness of every parent’s worst nightmare. With changing POVs, merging story threads and the clever revealing of a secret, it’s a well-structured tale with some memorable scenes. Artistic licence is fully employed, but the heartache, danger and strong female characters make up for it. Young is currently writing his second book. He might be one to watch out for. NottsLit Blog

Lies
TM Logan
Twenty7, £7.99

After Joe Lynch spots his wife entering the car park of a Premier Inn, he follows her and is shocked by what he discovers. One violent encounter and a bad decision later, Joe’s life is thrown into turmoil in this psychological thriller from Notts-based author T M Logan. Lynch is a teacher and family man, but this ordinary Joe is a tad naïve and forgiving, perhaps blinded by love. Threatening taunts and police interest soon pile on the pressure and matters must be taken in hand if his innocence and marriage are to be protected. Phone and internet activity may often help the police, but Lies examines how that data might not always reveal the truth. It’s a satisfying debut with a dark undercurrent, rooted in the domestic noir genre that demands a big twist. The short chapters each end with hooks that make the 500 pages almost turn themselves. NottsLit Blog

Our Bright Dark Summer
Richard Daniels
Wild Boar Books, £6.99

We’ve all got memories of summer in a caravan park by the seaside. Richard Daniels’ debut novel Our Bright Dark Summer takes those same memories and distorts them beneath a lens of paranoia and madness until they snap. Set in the run-down ruins of a British tourist trap, the novel follows down-on-his-luck vagrant Jimmy as he finds himself increasingly tangled in the twisted schemes of childhood chum, Nails. Somewhere between Stephen King and Skegness, the novel effortlessly blends past and present to create a dizzying and surreal exploration of guilt and regret, following closely as our heroes delve deeper into the consequences of their own morally dubious actions. With a tight writing style and a tone that is firmly rooted in ghost stories and urban legend, Our Bright Dark Summer is a clever, well-crafted thriller as turbulent as a seaside donkey ride and as lush as a stick of Skeggy rock. LP Mills

The Particle Beast
Ian Douglas
IFWG Publishing Australia, £8.99

Ever wondered what life on Mars might be like? Author Ian Douglas explores just that in this gripping, nigh-apocalyptic tale, full of primordial demons and futuristic technology. The Particle Beast is the third instalment in Douglas’s teen sci-fi adventure featuring Zeke Hailey, in which a lost alien ghost town is discovered. Guarded by a hideous and deadly monster, with the power to erase atoms, Zeke must find a way to defeat the Particle Beast to prevent time and space unravelling forever. Intelligently written, fast-paced, and containing just enough mystery, the narrative is enough to entertain readers of all ages. The author’s vast knowledge of Mars shines bright throughout, with the entire story combining fact and fiction in an interesting and accessible way. While the narrative is self-contained, there are enough loose ends to tantalisingly drag you into the next book. An original sci-fi delight. Watch out Harry Potter. Zeke Hailey is in town. Ella Poyzer

No Avoiding It
Neil Fulwood
Shoestring Press, £10

An ode to the good old days, Neil Fulwood’s debut collection places work and class at its very core, echoing sentiments of Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. As pubs around the city continue to close and family-run shops turn into chains, No Avoiding It incessantly digs at the heartlessness of modern corporate life, lamenting the loss of the hard-earned pint. Focusing on life right here in Notts, the collection charts the shift from working down coal mines, with the dirty hands and camaraderie that came from an honest day’s work, to sitting motionless behind a keyboard. The loss of the local is powerfully paralleled with the loss of community, as people appear to care more about climbing the corporate ladder than spending time with one another. A nostalgic and compelling read that makes you want to stop what you are doing, and head straight to the pub with your mates. Ella Poyzer

Victorian and Edwardian Nottingham Through Time
Joseph Earp
Amberley Publishing, £14.99

Anyone who has taken a wander through the caves or visited the castle will know that Nottingham is a city with a varied and vibrant past. Naturally, there’s more than enough content for a local historian to write about, and Joseph Earp’s Victorian and Edwardian Nottingham Through Time does a stellar job at documenting Nottingham’s history in a way that is visually fascinating. Every page has two photographs: a vintage shot of old Nottingham alongside a modern day snap of the same scene, encouraging fascinating comparisons that roll through Nottingham’s rich history, spotting what has changed and what has remained the same. A couple of paragraphs give the historical background to each picture. A tasty, bite-sized chunk of knowledge, the book weighs in at just under 100 pages, but with plenty of content to enjoy nonetheless. Local history buffs and anyone who loves Nottingham’s heritage will enjoy this book. Ian Douglas

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