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Journalist and writer

Archive for May 2009

Thrilling story from Narinder Dharmi

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Bang, Bang, You’re Dead by Narinder Dhami. Corgi Books.

A psychological drama that produces an absolutely corking twist, this is a book that sees Narinder Dharmi take on a totally genre of writing.

The Wolverhampton-born writer, who has penned more than 200 stories from Rainbow Fairies for under tens and Bend It Like Beckham, is tackling an altogether darker subject in this book.

It explores the unthinkable. It tells the story of Mia, a girl who forces herself to take action when a gunman enters her school.

She thinks the gunman in the school is her brother Jamie because he has developed a menacing attitude since their mother became ill with severe depression.

When he threatens to do something spectacular to snap their mother out of her illness, she thinks he has carried out his appalling threat. She must stop him carrying out this terrible crime and braves the empty school corridors looking for him.

She begins to play a terrifying game of cat and mouse; this normally timid teen crawls around the school to find him and to talk to this angry young man.

But, this is a clever and multi-layered tale and just when you think you know what’s going to happen, Dhami produces an incredible twist that leaves the reader reeling.

I’m not even going to hint at what it is: just read this enthralling book. You’ll be glad you did.


Written by CommonPeople

May 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm

The Battle for Gullywith – worth the wait

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The Battle for Gullywith by Susan Hill (Bloomsbury. £6.99). Paperback review

A story that is steeped in ancient mysteries and strange mythology, Susan Hill’s wonderful tale is now out in paperback.

A diverse talent, this was Hill’s first children’s book for more than ten years when it came out in hardback and it was proof indeed that young readers had been missing out.

The story opens with ten-year-old Olly and his family moving from the comfort of their London home to a remote wreck of a place in Scotland.

Of course, it is spooky, damp and the very fabric of the building seems to be alive. And what are the strange stones with their ancient markings that appear to move about and appear in unexpected places? What do they signify and what are their powers?

The reader feels for Olly, who has moved away from his comforts and friends to this strange and foreboding place, but when he meets his nearest neighbour, a feisty young girl named KK, she takes him on a journey where he learns more about his new home than he would like.

A tantalising mix of supernatural and the more mundane real life keeps the story believable and accessible. So not only do we have the Polish builders, Olly’s earthy parents and his new school pals at Fiddleup, we have magical books appearing, a castle and lake and the mysterious character of Nonny Dreever, who is critical to he development of the story.

Hill is an easy writer to read. Her narrative and elegant prose flow easily and her ploy to keep chapters short and sweet mean that readers can get to grips with the story in bite-sized chunks, if necessary – or that it can be read aloud to a willing audience.

The story ends on a knife edge, so watch this space for a sequel.

Written by CommonPeople

May 15, 2009 at 12:44 pm