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The Craze

by Paul Southern

A fast moving read with the potential to work on your social conscience or heighten your cynical despair about life in inner cities (specifically Manchester). Not the most politically correct read I've ever had. The three main characters are drawn from disadvantaged white, gay and Asian communities and the plot reflects the more negative stereotyping of those cultures. However, there is a certain inevitability about that in any thriller depicting the seamier side of the human psyche in whatever setting and the characters have sufficient depth to move us beyond the stereotypes. The interweaving and ultimate collision of the three plotlines works well and is convincing enough, and there are some flashes of humour to lighten the way!

Extract

He ran back past the park. Back past the kids on the railings. This was the way of the world, the way it had always been, a life of escalating violence and diminishing returns. They were all poor tykes round here. He grew up knowing it. All roads and all avenues, every tower block and cul-de-sac, led to despair. Every dig, every score, was a slender epiphany that relieved it, punctuating the life as the needle punctured the arm. All roads led here. They brought you peace. When madness took you, when life was just too much, they brought you succour.

Parallels

The Tesseract by Alex Garland
Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace
The Estate: A Novel by Martin King
 

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