Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2017

Boy A – Jonathan Trigell

Crime Fiction
5*s

A hard-hitting yet compelling novel examining what it means to be imprisoned as a child and released under a false identity. Boy A is one of two boys tried and convicted of the murder of another child. Although there are echoes of a trial here in the UK this isn’t in anyway an examination of that crime with much of the book concentrating on what happens next.

Boy A chooses a new name, Jack Burridge, to preserve his anonymity which is part of the terms of his release and then with the help of his ‘uncle’ Terry who had been a member of staff at the home he was first sent to follow his conviction. One of the minimal number of people who know Jack’s true identity. Jack has a job but first he must learn what it is like to live in a world he last left as a child.

The book skips backwards and forwards through the time periods from before Boy A met Boy B to after he left the adult prison with his new name. Each chapter starts with a letter of the alphabet starting with A is for Apple. A Bad Apple. All the way through to Z, which is for Zero in case you are wondering. Just finding the titles that match the content of each chapter must have been a challenge and the sparse language used with its short sentences is perfect for the subject matter. This book feels like a work of art as well as a captivating tale.

Fortunately, given the tough subject matter, the torn sympathies as Boy A’s life is revealed through not just his own eyes, but later on, his father’s too, there are some humorous parts to the book too, most predictably when Jack meets a girl and the attraction is mutual, but most often it is bittersweet humour with a shared moment with a cellmate before his monotonous life rolls onwards.

As we see the horrors Jack endured in prison it is almost odd that my sympathies were highest when he starts his new job and makes friends, and of course a girlfriend Michelle. It is here that it becomes apparent how hard it is to hide your entire life up to a point in your twenties. As Jack becomes close to those around him, his enormous secret puts a boundary up between them as he unwillingly hands out lies to cover the truth.

But nor is this book just about Boy A, Terry and his life at the point where they overlap tells a different story, a fairly normal one of a broken marriage leading to a strained relationship with his own son as he also guards the truth and builds the lies of the life he hopes to see prove that rehabilitation is possible.

The way the stories of Boy A, his parents, Boy B, Terry the psychologist along with Jack’s new friends and his girlfriend all intertwine, create a thought-provoking and compelling read. The book is just the right length the author resisting the urge to brow beat the reader and the ending perfectly pitched. A book to ponder over and in the end marvel at how in the right hands, such an emotive topic can be explored.

Boy A was my thirteenth read in my Mount TBR Challenge 2017, so I’m still on target to hit 36 books purchased before 1 January 2017. I purchased this book in April 2015.

mount-tbr-2017
 

 

First Published UK: 2004
Publisher: Serpent’s Tale
No of Pages:  256
Genre: Crime Fiction 
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 3)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment the book open on my bedside table is Boy A by Jonathan Trigell the next in my Mount TBR 2017 challenge having been purchased in April 2015.

Blurb

A is for Apple. A bad apple? Jack has spent most of his life in juvenile institutions, to be released with a new name, new job, new life.
At 24, he is utterly innocent of the world, yet guilty of a monstrous childhood crime.

To his new friends, he is a good guy with occasional flashes of unexpected violence. To his new girlfriend, he is strangely inexperienced and unreachable. To his case worker, he’s a victim of the system and of media-driven hysteria. And to himself, Jack is on permanent trial: can he really start from scratch, forget the past, become someone else?
Is a new name enough?
Can Jack ever truly connect with his new friends while hiding a monstrous secret? This searing and heartfelt novel is a devastating indictment of society’s inability to reconcile childhood innocence with reality. Amazon

I have just finished The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett after all who can resist peeking behind the doors of a neighbour?



Blurb

‘Have you met them yet, the new couple?’
When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.
When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.
And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them…
Have you met The People at Number 9? A dark and delicious novel about envy, longing and betrayal in the suburbs… NetGalley

Next up I plan to read Need You Dead by Peter James with Roy Grace’s thirteenth outing – followers of this blog will know what a huge fan I am of this series so I can’t wait to curl up and read his latest adventure.

Blurb

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined. Amazon

So what are you reading this week? Have you read any of these choices? Do you want to?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (May 9)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

Because I want to read the fantastic selection of books I bought last week I decided to ban myself from NetGalley until I’ve caught up with the reading that has mounted up. That went well until I heard that Angela Marsons latest book, Evil Games had been added. I’d really enjoyed Silent Scream earlier this year featuring Kim Stone so I couldn’t let that one pass me by!

Evil Games

Blurb

The greater the evil, the more deadly the game …
When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work.
With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim soon finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment.
Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time – it’s personal Netgalley

The publishers Harlequin sent me a copy of Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica as I’d enjoyed this author’s debut novel The Good Girl

Pretty Baby

Blurb

A chance encounter
She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…
An act of kindness 
Heidi has always been charitable but her family are horrified when she returns home with a young woman named Willow and her baby in tow. Dishevelled and homeless, this girl could be a criminal – or worse. But despite the family’s objections, Heidi offers them refuge.
A tangled web of lies
As Willow begins to get back on her feet, disturbing clues into her past starts to emerge. Now Heidi must question if her motives for helping the stranger are unselfish or rooted in her own failures. Goodreads

And then it all went wrong! Having seen many reviews of Letters to the Lost, particularly that featured by The Book Trail, and having failed to secure a review copy, I decided I had to buy myself a copy. Like last week I fell into the trap of needing to spend £10 to get the free postage. So in addition to Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Letters to the Lost

Blurb

A beautifully written and evocative novel—the story of an impossible, unstoppable love affair set in London during World War II and the present day,
An accomplished novel from a talented writer, Letters to the Lost is the kind of love story that will sweep you away from the very first page. Iona Grey’s prose is warm, evocative, and immediately engaging; her characters become so real you can’t bear to let them go.
Late on a frozen February evening, a young woman is running through the streets of London. Having fled from her abusive boyfriend and with nowhere to go, Jess stumbles onto a forgotten lane where a small, clearly unlived in old house offers her best chance of shelter for the night. The next morning, a mysterious letter arrives and when she can’t help but open it, she finds herself drawn inexorably into the story of two lovers from another time.
In London 1942, Stella meets Dan, a US airman, quite by accident, but there is no denying the impossible, unstoppable love that draws them together. Dan is a B-17 pilot flying his bomber into Europe from a British airbase; his odds of survival at one in five. The odds are stacked against the pair; the one thing they hold onto is the letters they write to each other. Fate is unkind and they are separated by decades and continents. In the present, Jess becomes determined to find out what happened to them. Her hope—inspired by a love so powerful it spans a lifetime—will lead her to find a startling redemption in her own life in a powerfully moving novel perfect for fans of Sarah Jio and Kate Morton. Goodreads

I went through my extensive wishlist and got a copy of Boy A by Jonathan Trigell, a story which covers the same subject matter as my recent read Humber Boy A by Ruth Dugdall

Boy A

Blurb

A is for Apple. A bad apple.? Jack has spent most of his life in juvenile institutions, to be released with a new name, new job, new life. At 24, he is utterly innocent of the world, yet guilty of a monstrous childhood crime. To his new friends, he is a good guy with occasional flashes of unexpected violence. To his new girlfriend, he is strangely inexperienced and unreachable. To his case worker, he?s a victim of the system and of media-driven hysteria. And to himself, Jack is on permanent trial: can he really start from scratch, forget the past, become someone else? Is a new name enough? Can Jack ever truly connect with his new friends while hiding a monstrous secret? This searing and heartfelt novel is a devastating indictment of society?s inability to reconcile childhood innocence with reality. Goodreads

Coincidently as Ruth Rendell sadly died just three days after I placed my order I also have a copy of No Man’s Nightingale the last Inspector Wexford book, published in 2013.

No Man's Nightingale

Blurb

Sarah Hussain was not popular with many people in the community of Kingsmarkham. She was born of mixed parentage – a white Irishwoman and an immigrant Indian Hindu. She was also the Reverend of St Peter’s Church.
But it comes as a profound shock to everyone when she is found strangled in the Vicarage.
A garrulous cleaner, Maxine, also shared by the Wexfords, discovers the body. In his comparatively recent retirement, the former Detective Chief Inspector is devoting much time to reading, and is deep into Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He has little patience with Maxine’s prattle.
But when his old friend Mike Burden asks if he might like to assist on this case as Crime Solutions Adviser (unpaid), Wexford is obliged to pay more precise attention to all available information.
The old instincts have not been blunted by a life where he and Dora divide their time between London and Kingsmarkham. Wexford retains a relish for solving puzzles and a curiosity about people which is invaluable in detective work.
For all his experience and sophistication, Burden tends to jump to conclusions. But he is wise enough to listen to the man whose office he inherited, and whose experience makes him a most formidable ally. Goodreads

and as on that very day I came across a wonderful review on Rebecca Book Review, Girls of Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Girls of Tender Age

Blurb

With beauty, power, and remarkable wit, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith interweaves a bittersweet portrait of growing up among the working stiffs of 1950s Hartford, Connecticut, with the chilling progress of a serial pedophile who threatens to shatter her small town’s innocence. In Girls of Tender Age, Smith lovingly evokes the jubilance and chaos of life in her extended French-Italian family and the challenges of living with her brother Tyler, an autistic at a time before anyone knew what that meant. Hanging over Smith’s rough-and-tumble youth is the shadow of the approaching killer who forever alters the landscape of her childhood. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below