Salt of Their Blood by Gerald Wixey
|Salt of Their Blood by Gerald Wixey|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Twisty plot, great evocation of time and place and a combination of characters which cannot turn out well. Gerald Wixey popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 312||Date: September 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
Back in 1960 Stuart couldn’t get to sleep on a very hot night. He lived at the pub next door to the bus garage and the sounds drifted upwards. A man screamed and then there was the sound of a heavy weight falling. When he jumped out of bed he saw someone scurrying away. No one was interested in what Stuart might have heard, or seen and even he lost interest as the day after the inquest (the mechanic’s death was ‘an accident’, the coroner said) his best friend, Declan, disappeared. Twelve years later Stuart was leading a feckless life but was still convinced that there was a connection between the mechanic’s death and Declan’s disappearance. He was also involved in an illicit love affair with Kathy - and if he had to pick the wrong person then it was Kathy.
Like all small towns there were people it was best to avoid - and Kathy was the daughter-in-law of one and the wife of another. She was also the long-lost Declan’s sister. Her father-in-law, Ron, had done time and his life revolved around beer and his allotment, with some revenge and hatred thrown in for good measure. Kenny (her husband), Stuart and Kathy had been at school together, where Kenny had bullied Stuart mercilessly. They were regulars at the pub, with Stuart’s father tolerating the downside of their custom because they spent good money. It could have gone on this way for quite a while but two factors came into play. Stuart’s Uncle Wyn came to stay (it seemed that Auntie Doris had had enough of his extra-marital excursions) and Declan’s body was found.
It’s not a cast of thousands but it does feel like it to begin with. Concentrate: it’s worth the effort. It’s an excellent evocation of a small town where everybody seems to be related in some way to everyone else, be it by blood, by marriage or by trade. Scratch one and you might be surprised at who bleeds. You’ll know the pub and the area too. It’s not in the best of neighbourhoods, but it’s a bit above rough and there’s a closeness which incorporates loyalty and seething resentments, occasionally at the same time.
The plot’s clever as well. From the beginning you sense that you’re in a downward spiral: there’s not going to be an easy ending, but it’s very satisfying with a finale which wasn’t expected, but worked perfectly. I’d like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might like to try Revenge of the Tide by Elizabeth Haynes.
You can read more about Gerald Wixey here.
You can read more book reviews or buy Salt of Their Blood by Gerald Wixey at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Salt of Their Blood by Gerald Wixey at Amazon.com.
Gerlad Wixey was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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