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Tense, beautifully written chiller capturing a hot dry 1976.
on 3 July 2013
The Year of the Ladybird is a graceful, highly descriptive and beautifully written journey into self discovery.
Graham Joyce is asking the question 'what happens when the past reaches out to touch the present?' and does it in a way the reader keeps turning the pages to find out more. He also does an excellent job of blurring the lines between fact and fiction which adds a surreal, nightmare quality to his writing.
The location of the plot is Skegness and the era 1976. The times are well captured with the authentic atmosphere adding a sense of texture and depth to the novel.
1976 was a particularly rough summer in terms of the scorching hot temperatures and lack of water in many areas. The combustible setting of hot and dry provides something of a clue as to the combustible nature of the plot as it begins to unfold.
Into the mix arrives a young man, fresh from his studies, looking for a summer job in one of the run down holiday parks. He's a man with secrets buried away in his past, much of which he's unaware of, and as he begins his new job it's just a matter of time before the skeletons begin to appear from out of his past and the plot takes off at pace.
Add some seriously nasty political factions, with extreme views, the building temperature, the decaying holiday park and a young man on the road towards a discovery that will rock him to the core and you're only just peeling away some of the layers.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read, quick and easy to read, with plenty of tension, shadow and shade and a novel I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys a darker, surreal mystery with some lighter horror elements.