- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Brandon; UK ed. edition (8 Sept. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847175287
- ISBN-13: 978-1847175281
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,321,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Black's Creek Paperback – 8 Sep 2014
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echoes of Huckleberry Finn, Stand by Me and other wonderful coming of age novels … pure gold(Bleach House Library)
fast-moving thriller … the short chapters keep the pages turning … an imaginative noir with an unusual narrator(www.promotingcrime.blogspot.com)
a tense read … an ending that is more poignant that you would usually expect in a crime novel. This for me added an extra touch to a well-written and gripping novel(fictionisstrangerthanfact.blogspot.co.uk)
a dark story, often violent, but with a tenderness that more than offsets the gory detail(Random Things Through My Letterbox)
a sweaty slice of dark Americana, part crime novel, part coming-of-age tale … heady, atmospheric journey into the dark heart of adolescence. And, by god, we liked it … gothic noir, a small town fever dream in the vein of Jim Thompson, and in this world of cookie-cutter procedurals, that can never be a bad thing(Crime Thriller Fella)
powerful and atmospheric coming of age story ... beautifully atmospheric, the unfolding story is hauntingly realistic and the sparseness of the narrative only emphasises the stark reality of the story. The writing is imaginative and well-conceived; the author captures perfectly the brooding nature of small town America, a place where resentment lingers and long held grudges are allowed to fester and grow … a compelling page turner and the need to know just how the story would eventually be played out kept me turning the pages long into the night(Jaffa Reads Too)
The big Sunday question- why have I never read Sam Millar @Thebrinksman before? #amreading Black's Creek- it's ace!(Raven Crime Reads)
When you begin to review a book with the phrase, “How the hell have I not read this author before?” you know you may be on to a bit of a winner. Such is my reaction to this recent discovery of Sam Millar … this is a real read-in-one sitting book as the slowly escalating sense of peril and Millar’s descriptive prowess, both of characters and location, keep you immersed in the events of this small but multi-faceted community. There is a brilliant build-up of tension, offset by the powerful dynamics of friendship and family that Millar brings to bear on the story. Millar pulls no punches in his depiction of the violence that permeates the attacks, with the more violent interludes in the book being perfectly placed, so the details of these and their ramifications for the community at large, become more vital … Highly recommended and an author that I will unquestionably seek out again(Raven Crime Reads)
From the Back Cover
… a sickening déjà vu kicks me back through all those years; to a time I had hoped would remain buried, days and nights filled with madness and nightmares, when I was barely a teenager, with cold-blooded murder in mind ...
When young Joey Maxwell drowns himself in Jackson’s Lake, near the small town of Black’s Creek in upstate New York, everyone knows who is responsible – an outsider who molested Joey in the woods. The police investigation seems to be getting nowhere, and three teenage boys decide to take justice into their own hands.
A brooding, atmospheric novel from Ireland’s master of noir.See all Product description
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With its central storyline based in a small town community in upstate New York and focusing on a group of three teenage boys, comparisons to Stephen King’s Stand By Me (one of my favourites) are justified to a certain degree, as this coming of age tale had me hooked from the outset. This small town has been brought to the edge of fear, by violent sexual attacks on local teens, with Millar focusing on the atmosphere of fear and suspicion that these have wrought. The book is narrated in the first person by Tommy (the book being bracketed by himself as an adult) recounting the events in the small community in which he grew up, as the son of the local Sheriff. Following the suicide of a young boy, Joey, himself a victim, three teenage boys, Tommy, Brent and Charlie, make a blood-brother pact, to exert their own retribution on local man, Norman Armstrong, who has been tried, but not convicted of Joey’s attack. Tommy, also experiences the added complication of a fledgling relationship with local girl, Devlin, from the wrong side of the tracks, which leads to its own heartbreak for our young crusader. The characterisation of Tommy and his cohorts is absolutely spot-on with all the attendant naivety, rivalry and angst that accompanies their teenage selves. All three are from differing backgrounds, and Millar captures the intrinsic differences of their familial backgrounds superbly, including the underlying tensions of Tommy’s parents, the welcoming attentions of Brent’s flirtatious mother, the more well-to-do status of Charlie’s family and Devlin’s peculiar artistic upbringing. The interplay and dialogue between the boys in particular, is completely engaging in their mission (influenced by their love of superhero comics) to exact revenge on the altogether creepy Armstrong, despite the danger and family strife that arise from their actions. I also loved the understated effect of the lawful investigation on Tommy’s father, in the glare of publicity. His descent into despair, caused by the pressure of the case, is gradually revealed, as his son blunders on regardless, fuelled by the impetuosity of youth, seemingly unaware of the effects of this investigation as a whole, close to home.
This is a real read-in-one sitting book as the slowly escalating sense of peril and Millar’s descriptive prowess, both of characters and location, keep you immersed in the events of this small but multi-faceted community. There is a brilliant build-up of tension, offset by the powerful dynamics of friendship and family that Millar brings to bear on the story. Millar pulls no punches in his depiction of the violence that permeates the attacks, with the more violent interludes in the book being perfectly placed, so the details of these and their ramifications for the community at large, become more vital. I did feel the ending was a little rushed, in comparison to the pace of the rest of the book, but taking into account what had gone before that was of little consequence. Highly recommended and an author that I will unquestionably seek out again.
This multi-layered book is more than just a crime noir. It is a story of friendship, idealism, innocence and trust. Tommy, Brent and Horseshoe are witness to a traumatic event and it shakes them up badly. The police force have their hands tied up in the legal tangles that a teenager cannot understand. When Brent suggests they take the law into their own hands, even drawing blood for a blood oath, the boys become connected in a world of deceit. Tommy's father is the town Sheriff and the town folk look up to him, calling to the house at all hours of day and night, with their woes. Tommy adores his father and all he represents. But when he snoops around in his fathers office he finds a diary containing the mans innermost thoughts. Suddenly the Sheriff becomes less hero and more human. The boys plan doesn't end the way they expected and their friendship is tested. But when the body of a young girl is found, the town looks to the Sheriff to find the culprit. Tommy wills his father on, while learning to deal with his own grief.
Sam Millar has written a novel of deep and intense feeling. The boys are young and innocent but each has their own individual personality, and very different sets of parents. The horror they have witnessed has changed them for ever and they will always feel that invisible bond. The writing style has echoes of Huckleberry Finn, Stand By Me and other wonderful coming of age novels. However, the book that kept coming back to me, as I read Black's Creek, was To Kill A Mockingbird. The character of Sheriff Hendersen has ideals and values that are similar to Atticus Finch, and his son completely trusts him, looks at him with adoration and learns from him in many ways. Not flawless, Tommy's father is a balance to his wife, who is a non-stop nit picker who has Tommy's heart broken with well intentioned nagging. The overall atmosphere in the Sheriffs house is one of logic and love. Tommy is a genuinely good kid, with a big heart and feels a need to put the world to rights. His friends, Brent and Horseshoe are also harmless kids who are trying to grow up at different rates and are finding themselves on a daily basis.
There are lessons to be learned for each character in this book. The narrative is strong, a town weighed down by grief and the uncertainty of how it will cope under pressure, also very similar to Harper Lee's classic novel. What Sam Millar has done, though, is bring the story to the forefront, allowing the adolescent protagonist lead, but not take over completely. A clever way of hooking the reader from the start. I would challenge anyone not to devour this book in one or two sittings, and I can confidently say that this is a novel like no other I have read in contemporary crime fiction. It is a story of a boy, a dark summer and a harsh introduction to adulthood. Pure Gold.
Narrated by young Tommy, this is a dark and brooding crime story that is very atmospheric and quite chilling in parts.
Tommy and his two friends are swimming in the lake, despite the numerous warning signs and the danger of the black, deep water, this is a regular haunt. When Joey Maxwell appears at the lake and starts to wade into the water they egg him on, everyone knows that Joey is a bit weird. When it dawns on them that Joey isn't going to resurface, they are terrified and Tommy tries his best to prevent the inevitable from happening.
Joey doesn't make it and it is this tragedy that sets the scene for the rest of the story. These three boys are determined that the person responsible for Joey's state of mind will pay, and between them they hatch a plan for revenge.
Black's Creek is not only a well plotted crime story, it is also a fine coming of age tale. Sam Millar layers the tension on each page, bringing to life this small community and it's occupants with great ease.
The location and characters, the resentment and passion remind me of R J Ellory's books, and Sam Millar has proved, as Ellory has done many times, that novels set in America don't have to be written by an American.
A dark story, often violent, but with a tenderness that more than offsets the gory detail.
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I have read several Sam Millar novels including THE REDEMPTION FACTORY,...Read more
Black’s Creek by Sam Millar is a wonderfully dark crime thriller with a wonderful twist this is the noir genre at its best.Read more