A grungy, grim novella, set in a run-down seaside town. It’s described as a psychological thriller, but it didn’t have the genre’s characteristics. The narrative perspective, which is of a middle-aged man looking back a few decades to being 17 years old, gave a nostalgic haze to the story and weakened any suspense. There wasn’t a mystery to pull me in and even halfway through I felt it wasn’t going anywhere.
The story is about a teenage boy who isn’t getting anywhere much with his girlfriend, when he starts hanging out with Natasha, a promiscuous girl who uses drugs, is a heavy metal fan and is repeatedly described as having flat / dead eyes. He cares about her, she doesn’t seem to care about him, yet she has sex with him. There is a lot of graphic stuff in the book, particularly drug taking, a horrible scene involving a fox, and the unnamed narrator’s hook-ups with Natasha (the writing in these was a bit cringeworthy… and referring to someone’s genitalia as their ‘sex’? Yuck). There are also graphic descriptions of suicide. So, a lot of content warnings. The writing style is quite wordy and is stuffed with similes, which didn’t appeal to me either.
In summary, this book wasn’t for me. It’s a coming of age story, as the blurb promised, but it’s not a thriller. However, I’m sure the right kind of reader will enjoy it.
Published by Grey Matter Press, 2021. Part of The Write Reads tour. Thank you to the publisher and The Write Reads for the advance copy.