on 25 September 2012
Bang, Bang, You're Dead is the story of Sam - a twenty something fresh out of prison. Life has moved on whilst he's been inside. As it does. But some things stay the same. The pain of his brother's death. It runs deep. And someone knows the answers. Sam's mates, Weasel and Jonno, they don't know. Nor does his brother's wife, now moved on and living with someone else. It seems no-one has the answers Sam is searching for. But that doesn't stop him.
We follow Sam as he attempts to stay on the straight and narrow, whilst trying to discover who left his brother to die of an overdose. But to find the answers to these questions involves Sam mixing with some pretty unsavoury characters. The Nolan brothers, for a start, with their car crushing business. When I say 'car' crushing - to be honest, they're a little more flexible in their use of their machinery than just using it to crush cars. And then there is Vinnie, Weasal's dad - a gentleman and a gangster. And finally, Roberto Tardelli - a right nasty piece of work. Got the drug trade on the estate sewn up, he has. When Sam and Weasel and Jonno find themselves in the middle of this lot, decisions need to be made. Loyalties tested. But Sam has a score to settle, and not even the nastiest bastards in Hull are going to stop him from getting answers.
Bang, Bang, You're Dead is an absolutely cracking read. Quantrill tells the story through the eyes of Sam, with humility and compassion, yet pulls no punches. We feel Sam's loss, but Sam does not ask us to feel sorry for him. That is not an easy thing to pull off as a writer, and Quantrill does it expertly.
In his debut novella, it feels as if Quantrill has used the form to stretch out, to let loose. The dialogue still carries Quantrill's trademark terseness, but it is laden with anger and aggression. The violence in the book is necessary and brilliantly achieved. The plot is at one straightforward, yet emotionally intricate. And the pace of the whole thing is such that we tread the broken streets of Hull with Sam, by his side, looking for the answers that will bring peace to his troubled mind, the superb pacing of the whole leading to a climax and a twist I never saw coming from a million miles.
Bang, Bang, You're Dead is a brilliant example of top notch Brit Grit. Right up there with anything by Ray Banks or Allan Guthrie.
on 21 September 2012
Nick Quantrill is best known for his Joe Geraghty novels. Private investigator novels which are set in his hometown of Hull. However, he is also a prolific short story writer who has appeared in Byker Books Radgepacket series, kindle anthology True Brit Grit and the acclaimed Mammoth Book of Best British Crime among many others.
Edgy publisher Byker Books new best of British collection is bringing some home grown talent from the cream of the Bri Grit pack and Quantrill brings us his novella Bang Bang, You're Dead. Rather than novels these novellas are shorter reads aiming to pack a punch in fewer pages.
Quantrill's novels are intelligent, well researched and carefully considered. Bang Bang, You're Dead is more in your face and raw than his usual work. It's closer to Irvine Welsh or Ray Banks in its dark and violent style. The author displays his usual affection for the city but pulls no punches when it comes to showing us the seedier side. His knowledge of Hull's geography is an asset to the story helping to create a realistic and believable setting. I think that some of the Hull spirit creeps into his main character, Sam, and the city seems to be a character sitting over his shoulder as the plot unfolds.
Fresh out of prison Sam is determined to make a fresh start in life but the chance to make a quick buck proves too alluring and he soon finds himself in trouble up to his neck.
With wisecracking characters and a fast paced narrative I found this to be a very enjoyable read that I raced through. Easy to read in a day a good novella will leave you satisfied and yet hungry for more. Quantrill achieves this with a well rounded action packed plot. A great short read.
on 8 August 2013
Sam is just hours out of prison after a stretch for manslaughter. Despite being determined to get back on the straight and narrow, he's immediately drawn back into a life of crime by his best friend Jonno. A drugs exchange goes wrong and before he knows it Sam is being squeezed between two local hard men - the Nolan brothers and Roberto Tardelli, whilst he tries to learn more about the death of his younger sibling.
Bang Bang... is an excellent story that hits the ground running. Quantrill is highly effective in subsequently winding up the tension and by the concluding pages, the characters are fit to burst.
The story is set in the author's home town of Hull (where I happened to live for a decade on and off). Quantrill paints the run down aspect of the area in stark and accurate fashion, creating an excellent grim backdrop for the criminal element to play in. However, he manages not to let the city dominate the story. I can't recall a single character that is perfectly clean (even the local copper DS Whitehurst seems to have a potentially shady side). I particularly liked the Nolan brothers who proudly showed off their new car crusher, and informed Sam and his friends how it could be used to deal with people that have offended them, too. They're not someone I'd like to cross.
This is a fast-read novella, mainly because the slick, intelligent fashion in which it's constructed draws the reader through the story. Personally, I was keen to reach the end and learn who was the cause of all the troubles - and when it arrived it was a surprise.
The prose is gritty and sharp enough to cut yourself on if you don't handle it carefully. A great read.
**Originally reviewed for Books & Pals Blog. May have received free review copy.**
on 19 September 2012
I heard the author Nick Quantrill on local radio and thought I'd try this book. I've not read his work before. I'm from East Hull too and wondered what the local link might be. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The local references were particularly good. It really helped to picture the scene. The only downside was that it's a very short book. A couple of hours and I'd read it! The story has some realism and anyone who grew up on any
tough council estate will have examples of every character in their area.
on 2 December 2013
Sam fresh out of prison wants to go straight but with a girlfriend and young son he needs money to survive in this crime tale set in Hull. When he reluctantly helps out with a drug deal things soon turn nasty in this gripping story from Nick Quantrill, the author of the Joe Geraghty books. At the heart of the story Sam wants answers about the death of his drug addict brother. It's this pulse that keeps beating all through the narrative giving the piece sadness, urgency and life. We glimpse a small world full of low life criminals, hungry piranha's instantly ready to turn on each other as they go about their business in a dying Northern city. The Best of British series really does live up to its name with powerful stories such as this one by Nick Quantrill and Paul D Brazill's Guns of Brixton. Do the right thing and read this book.
on 26 January 2014
Not exactly the story of gang wars of the mean streets of Hull that I'd expected, more a spat between a couple of low-life dealers in which Sam, the very entity of a loser with a chip on his shoulder and two of his associates, long-time friend Jonno and Weasel, son of one of the aforementioned low-lifes get thoroughly stitched-up in a drug deal. As expected Jonno makes every decision lead him ever closer to either a long gaol term or death. At least he has a guardian angel, not that he sees him as such. Though the characters are believable and well written, the lack of a character the reader can identify with, maybe even root for rather spoilt the thrill I look for.
on 9 December 2013
I have to say that Nick is a great author telling gripping stories set in his home town of Hull. I spent most of my life in East Hull and even lived on the said estate in the book so can relate to some of the places.
Sam has been out of prison for less than 24 hours and here he is sat in a car on the A165 in a lay by along with Weasel and Jonno (his best mate since school). They were doing a trade for money for drugs off the Tardelli's.
Sam didn't like the Tardelli's as his brother was buying his drugs from them. His brother Danny overdosed on drugs and was left alone to die in a squat, why did someone leave him to die well this was what Sam wanted to know.
Sam took Danny's death badly and took it his anger out on one of the Tardelli's men who had come around to his mam's for his dead brothers debt. He waited near the underpass and struck him but the man didn't get back up again, hence Sam was arrested and sent to prison.
Sam was struggling to get back into normal family life with Nicole his girlfriend and his son Jaydan.
Back to the hand over, the deal was done so the 3 men drove back to Weasel's dad's shop on Bilton Grange to give him the drugs. Everything seemed fine and Jonno and Sam got £200 for their part in this and went to celebrate with a pint in Dolphin pub.
He returned to a dark home only to find Nicole sat waiting for him she wanted to know what he had been up to and he said just for a drink with Jonno but she didn't believe him and left the next day.
Well the drugs that they received were sub standard and the buyers the Nolan brothers were less then happy, so Vinne (Weasel's dad) had to make good and see what happened.
DS Whitehurst keeps popping up and warning Sam to keep away from things otherwise he will end up back inside and that's he's watching him, but will Sam listen to this advice? No.
Sam and Jonno piss off the Tardelli's as per request of Vinnie.
In between all this Sam is trying to find out who was with his brother before he died and the circumstances surrounding his death. He does find out that he was dealing for the Tardelli's to pay off his drug debts to them but this was just a vicious circle he had gotten himself into.
A plan was hatched between Jonno, Sam and Weasel that they would rob Tardelli's men taking their takings to a safe house. They waited near the underpass and then struck but was surprised that it was actually one of the main men Roberto Tardelli, Weasel hit him hard with the cricket bat and he went down out for the count. Weasel took the envelope of money out of the down man's pocket but Jonno took a gun out of his pocket and pointed it at Weasel and demanded the money, then the penny dropped with Sam that it was him that had swapped the drugs. How could his best mate do this to him after everything that they had gone through together.
DS Whitehurst turns up and tells Sam to take the money and make himself go straight and buy the cafe he wants to make a good life for his family and himself and that he would sort out the Nolan brothers and Tardelli.
A gripping read which you don't want to put down by a great author.
on 20 November 2012
Nick Quantrill is best known for his slow burning, evenly paced P I novels - Broken Dreams and The Late Greats. BBYD however, is an in-your-face, Brit Grit novella that tells the story the story of Sam, who is fresh out of the slammer and trying to get his life back on an even keel. But those ties from the past still bind him. Hard hitting and involving, this shows a more visceral side to Quantrill's writing which he carries off with aplomb.
on 16 April 2014
Although I did enjoy reading this book, I can not in all honesty, say that I loved it hence the 4 star rating but I did like it a great deal.
A well told story with a few twists and turns, some of which I expected and some I didn't, but the ending really did catch me unaware although if truth be told, I should have realised from the title but didn't!!
I have on previous occasions when writing my reviews, find myself wishing that there were either 6 stars available with 4 being 'like', 5 being 'more than like but not quite love' and 6 being 'love' or alternatively a '+' key so you could perhaps indicate by selecting that the your rating fell between, for example, 4 and 5, where you liked a lot but not enough to say you loved it. Please note this is my personal view/opinion.
on 5 May 2013
Nick Quantrill gets into the bloodstream of Sam as he tries to make sense of his life, his friends, his estate, all of which are spiralling down into Hell and taking his future with them. But to straighten his future, he needs to look his past in the eye, including the death of his younger brother.
Nick Quantrill does an excellent job of putting the reader in Sam's mind, while reflecting places I know from the other characters. A cracking piece of noir from a star that is only going to shine brighter. Read it.