I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

A Shameless Review

Sometimes when I read a book that's not in my preferred genre - I find this is a good exercise, by the way, to keep across all types of writing styles - I have to make an effort to put aside old habits. I try to keep an open mind and enjoy what's in front of me, fighting off the demands and expectations that I might have when reading other genres. There's no point in going to a heavy metal concert, expecting to hear distinct classical forms.

I had this in mind when reading Dark Rain by Conor Corderoy, one of the first batch of six novels that came out of the new imprint Macmillan New Writing. The books seem to cover all different genres of writing: experimental; two types of thrillers (intelligent action and psychological); a contemporary family drama (kind of), a sweeping epic and a detective novel. Dark Rain was the detective novel.

For what it was, and bearing in mind the target audience, I think it hits the mark. It was the classic quick read: grisly murder, hard cop, lady in distress, non-PC language and stances, surreal violence and plenty of clichés. It was actually an entertaining read, which took no time at all to get through, and no punches were pulled.

The positive, for me, was the original setting. The story takes place in the future, with the earth soaked in constant rain, the rich living in domes with fake skies, the poor living out in tent cities. There were parallels with our current global situation. It didn't get too deep though, and the dialogue and narrative never betrayed the genre. I can see a film coming out of this book, which would be quite fun to see; everything was very easy to visualise.

Oh, and I won't bore those who have already read my previous comments about the lack of tight editing in some of these first MNW books, but I just wish there hadn't been two spellings for whisky (whiskey), for example, and that the main character's name hadn't gone from O'Neil to O'Neal at one point. There were other slips here and there, but I think my point's been made. There was still a lot of fun had though!


cate sweeney said...

Hi Shamus
yeah Conor's book is a great rollicking read, even for girls! As there aren't any comments on here I guess he isn't even aware, so I'll pass it on. I think he's clever at taking a genre and re-inventing it with a modern twist.

S. Kearney said...

Cate, rollicking is a good word to describe the experience. It was such a departure from anything else similar. It also came to mind when I recently saw the film Children of Men. I also thought some bits were a bit Paul Austeresque!

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