Stories from before

31 03 2019

The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor

 

Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home.

But the aftershocks of Becky Shaw’s disappearance have origins long before then, and those in the village have losses, and secrets, and stories of their own…

A woman remembers a son’s inexperience – and a father’s rage; a young wife pushes against the boundaries of her marriage, whilst an older one finds ways to ensure the survival of hers. A hunt for a birthday present takes an alarming turn, and a teenage game grows serious.

Fresh hurts open old wounds, salvation comes from unexpected quarters and chance encounters release long-buried memories.

First broadcast as a series of specially commissioned stories on BBC Radio 4, The Reservoir Tapesreturns to the territory of the Booker-longlisted Reservoir 13, revealing the web of connections that bind us, and the many layers on which we all build our truths.

Written in the same precise, spare and powerful style as Reservoir 13, there is nothing not to admire about this prequel which comprises a set of stories foreshadowing that novel’s narrative strands. It’s an outstanding read, as ever with McGregor, and highly recommended therefore.

 





Rebus in the house (again)

23 03 2019

In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin

 

IN A HOUSE OF LIES

Everyone has something to hide
A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods. Worse still – both for his family and the police – is that his body was in an area that had already been searched.

Everyone has secrets
Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. There were always suspicions over how the investigation was handled and now – after a decade without answers – it’s time for the truth.

Nobody is innocent
Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead – and that it could be the end of him: John Rebus.

It feels like Rebus is having the most active retirement imaginable. Despite being largely focused on walking his dog and avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, Rebus still seems to find time to get completely embroiled in a new/old case. Naturally this brings out many a skeleton, metaphorical and in one case literal, from lots of closets for Rebus to get mixed up with.

Hard to believe after all these years but this is a series which continues to entertain and this is one of the best to date with much to challenge and stimulate. Definitely recommended.





Telling tales

16 03 2019

Hings by Chris McQueer

 

 

 

From the streets of working class Scotland, and on occasion, a little beyond our solar system, comes one of the country’s most hilarious debut writers. Putting surreal and witty twists on the everyday, Chris McQueer creates recognisable characters you will love and want to avoid like the plague.

Peter’s earned his night off, and there’s not a bloody chance he’s covering Shelley’s shift. He just needs to find some pals for the perfect cover story. Deek is going to be at the forefront of the outsider art movement and do Banksy proud. Davie loves tattoos and his latest is going to be a masterpiece. Tam is one of the most creative minds in the galaxy (apparently), but creating parallel universes can cause problems. Everybody on Earth wakes up with their knees on backwards.

 

There are some very entertaining short stories in here from a writer who is new to me. I do think some of the story titles give a flavour of what’s on offer:

 

I really did enjoy most of these and McQueer is an extremely creative and entertaining writer. There are obviously some similarities with early Irvine Welsh but there is a unique voice here who is both sharp and very, very funny.

Looking forward to reading more like these.

four stars








%d bloggers like this: