11:59 by David Williams
|11:59 by David Williams|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: Local radio host Marc Niven takes a seemingly innocent call on his regular phone-in. The caller's message will ensure that many lives are not only involved but upturned - and will the mystery be solved?|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 278||Date: July 2010|
|Publisher: Wild Wolf Publishing|
The back cover blurb informs the reader that this novel was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. And the front jacket is stylish and a bit Hitchcock-esque. All the signs looked promising for a decent read. But did it deliver?
The story is based in the north-east of England and straight away the dialogue is both warm and down-to-earth. A plus point is that, for me, I was immediately drawn into the characters' lives and wanted to know what happened next. The central character Marc is credible. He's also dishevelled, a bit of a lad, but wouldn't do anyone a bad turn. Well, unless he has no choice ... Williams has used the intimacy of the radio station to good effect. Great dialogue and some really funny lines all added to the plus points. It all seems to add up to community - where people care about each other.
But one listener appears to care too much as far as Marc is concerned. A young man with apparently 'special needs' is an avid fan. We get to know a lot about Oliver, his mam and their home and daily routine. Oliver is a sweetheart and an absolute hoot. He's also annoying. His conversations are lovely to read and you never know what's going to erupt from his mouth next. Somehow, he gets drawn into the whole mystery with Marc and is both a help and a bloody (that's Marc talking) hindrance. The relationship between hero (Marc) and just-stopping-short-of-stalker, Oliver is a joy to read. In one of their many man-to-man chats Marc's giving the low-down on his breakfast eating choices and finishes off by saying Sometimes I just stick my mitt in a packet of Sugar Puffs and eat them dry. to which Oliver grins and says he does that too. Oliver would happily eat cat litter if Marc said he ate it. I laughed out loud in several places. Williams has a refreshing style and I really enjoyed it. I can see why it was a semi-finalist.
Part of Marc's charm is that he sort of bumbles through life and also, more worryingly, shuffles his way into rather awkward, sometimes dangerous situations. He's an amateur, out of his depth mostly but he does try. He thinks out loud and the reader gets to see inside his mind. We are on this mysterious journey with him and I for one, was a happy passenger. The plot takes a nasty turn and he gets caught up in the illegal sex trade. It does make for grim reading, especially as we know that this happens in real life. And to add to that, there are even more serious and sinister implications which are anything but local.
The plot is intricate, very intricate. All about the delicate balance between (mainly) East European immigrants and the local people. A taxi driver is more than happy to air his opinion to Marc Too many flamin' Poles. And bastard - pardon my French - Lithuanians. And once again fiction seems to spill over into real life. This is a good read with engaging characters and a modern, topical plot-line. Recommended.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might like to try Depths by Henning Mankell.
You can read more book reviews or buy 11:59 by David Williams at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy 11:59 by David Williams at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.