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A saga of lost identity, crime and cold bloody murder, thrilling to the earhole. That’s how one of the two main characters – Citizen Digit – describes this story on the first page of Nobody Saw No One and it’s a pretty good summary of this modern retelling of Oliver Twist.

Nobody Saw No One by Steve Tasane

Buy Nobody Saw No One by Steve Tasane at or

Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Z J Cookson
Reviewed by Z J Cookson
Summary: A gritty and gripping modern retelling of Oliver Twist that’s a must read for teenagers and adults alike.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: June 2015
Publisher: Walker Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1406350760

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World-wise Byron (aka Citizen Digit) and innocent Alfi Spar have both broken out of Tenderness House Residential Unit to seek a better life on the streets in London, but they’ve seen something no one should see. In fact, they’ve gone one step further and they have a film of the child abuse taking place at the secure unit. Despite their efforts to put the past behind them, their old life isn’t ready to release them yet and they’ll be no escape until they’ve found a way to use the evidence and unmask the unsavoury activities at Tenderness House.

Loosely based on Oliver Twist, Steve Tasane’s story of two boys who have – to use Citizen Digit’s words again – fallen off the Googlemap and don’t know the way back shows how little has really changed since Dickens’ time. A gripping and fast-moving thriller, the book doesn’t preach. However, its portrayal of the powerlessness of the young people ('the WhyPees') in the troubled care system is utterly believable and all the more disturbing for that. There is more to this book, however, than a fast-paced plot, a clever story structure, and the underlying social commentary. What makes this book really stand out is the incredible voice Tasane gives to each of his main characters. Written as a dual narrative, switching between Citizen Digit’s and Alfi’s thoughts, the voices are both different from each other and, indeed, from traditional storytelling.

Using distinct speech patterns for each character, in a style that reminded me of Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go, I originally wondered whether Tasane would be able to maintain both voices for the full 320 pages. He does and they effectively pull the reader through the story making it even more difficult to put this book down.

It’s hard to find anything negative to say about Tasane’s second novel which I fully expect to receive every bit as much acclaim as his debut novel Blood Donors. Marketed for readers aged 12 and over, it’s certainly not suitable for a younger audience but I’d wholeheartedly recommend it for teenagers and adults looking for a good story and, perhaps, something to make them think.

If the unusual voice of Tasane’s characters appeals to you, why not check out The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness or, if you’re looking for another pacey thriller with an underlying social commentary, read Riot by Sarah Mussi.

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Buy Nobody Saw No One by Steve Tasane at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Nobody Saw No One by Steve Tasane at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Nobody Saw No One by Steve Tasane at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Nobody Saw No One by Steve Tasane at


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