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The Breaking of Liam Glass Kindle Edition
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I'm a slow reader and often don't make it to the end of any book over 200 pages! This one though held me all the way through it's 400+.
Good summer read. I look forward to the next.
It is not an especially new premise (politicians, celebrities and journalists latching onto a 'cause' for their own gain), so what drives the story and what kept me riveted was the characters, who are all so well drawn and distinct and whilst it's hard to agree with some of the choices they make, it's easy to understand why they make them.
Pitched as a multi-character story, this actually focuses more on Jason -a grasping journalist, only ever one step away from disaster- with the other characters having to share the remaining pages between them (at a crude guess I'd say 7/10 pages are devoted to Jason). The titular character barely features, but that is exactly the point, this isn't about Liam, this is about what happens around Liam.
Described as "not so much a Whodunnit as a blackly comic What-They-Did-After-It" this leans very much more towards satire than crime and deftly manages to take swipes at just about every facet of modern Britain, though the author clearly has sympathy for all his characters and what they represent, so that this doesn't come across as sneering.
A few little surprises along the way -especially one involving Liam's family which I genuinely didn't see coming- also help to keep this rattling along at a brisk pace.
The author has a very visual eye, and I could see this making its way to TV, which would be well worth a watch as this was certainly well worth the read.
There is a some secret invisible thread binding all the characters lives together.
I would definitely recommend The Breaking of Liam Glass to friends.
All the while, the two people at the centre of the tragedy, Liam and his single mother, Katrina, are trampled under the growing public outrage, the police investigation and a maelstrom of press interest.
In spite of the tragic story-line, there are some truly hilarious moments in the book, which is mainly told from the point-of-view of the reporter Jason who, while fighting his conscience, goes to dangerous lengths to guarantee a national scoop.
As you may have guessed, nothing quite goes to plan. This is a highly recommended and, sadly, topical read. I received an advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Jason Crowthorne, a journalist with a local rag seizes the opportunity to build a career for himself and a healthy bank balance by manipulating Liam’s story - sexing-it up with the introduction of an absent celebrity footballer father (fake or real, who cares?) and running with it in one of the nationals. A tad delusional, he sells it to his conscience, by convincing himself that a campaign to raise awareness about knife crime might also take off.
We also have a local politician, concerned about a forthcoming election and the prospect of losing her seat. A struggling gym owner and his partner – a good guy who foolishly discovers a blood-stained knife (the knife in question – who knows?) and moves it, then in another panicked action moves it again. A police detective, struggling to cope with fatherhood and thrust to the forefront of the investigation into the crime.
A topical book. We get a glimpse of life in the world of tabloid journalism with the vultures gathering as rumour and counter-rumour spread with a fake celebrity involvement in the tragedy. Facts are no longer a consideration if a falsehood can sell some copy. Shady deals for lies, as Jason worries about getting his byline on the story before the opposition hijack it. Dreams of a foot up the journalistic ladder and being able to offer more to his daughter; a daughter who has always taken second place to his quest for a story.
Social media also plays its part with rumour circulating about the racial identity of the attackers spreading and causing tension in a community used to being ignored by politicians. Sounds familiar.
I enjoyed the book and Harris had me flip-flopping in my attitude and feelings towards Jason. One minute I deplored his tactics and actions; at other times I sympathised with his plight and wanted him to succeed and seal the deal and get his story over the line.
An interesting book, with some serious points made regarding life in present-day Britain, with a few wry chuckles along the way.
4 from 5
Read in June, 2017
Published - 2017
Page count - 422
Source - review copy received from author via Linda MacFadyen (publicist)
Format - paperback
Rita Wheeler - writer
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