Sunday, 26 March 2017

A SHINY COIN FOR CAROL PRENTICE by Mark Barry @GreenWizard62

5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon.com HERE
On Goodreads HERE


How I discovered this book: I first got to know Mark Barry via Twitter, when he asked me to appear on his blog.  I read one of his books out of interest and it was so good I carried on reading them, the best (in my opinion) being Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminals.  You can click that title to see my review; links to those for Carla, The Night Porter and Ultra Violence are to be found at the end.

I read 90% of this book in one session ~ I had to know what was going to happen, and I knew I wouldn't be able to settle to anything else until I'd finished it.  I can't describe too much about the plot without giving away the story, but... Carol Prentice is a young woman recently returned to her hometown after university.  In this hometown, businessman and politician Leonard Gifford is king, while the handsome, popular and privileged prince is his son, Toby.  Carol starts work part time in a book shop run by Steve, a man much older than her, and with whom she begins to form a deep connection.  War breaks out between Steve and the Giffords, with Carol in the middle.  What starts as a mild spat escalates into something much, much more serious....

This book has a slow start, and at first I just thought, yes, Mark Barry's always worth reading, but maybe this isn't as hard-hitting as my favouritesBut by only 10% it became much more interesting, and I was reminded why I like his stuff so much.  The observations, the character detail, the dialogue, the sharply viewed snippets of popular culture, the fearless sentences that might make lesser writers think 'hmm, I want to write that, but dare I?' ~ I loved it.  The basic you-got-it-or-you-don't talent, and he has, in spades.  Unanswered questions kept me agog all the way through the first half; what was Carol's connection to the Giffords?  And what were these mysterious 'work outs' with 'Gnasher' about?

Up until 52%, it was a jolly good book, I thought, but then ~ whoosh!  It became something else.  Questions were answered, and there were some passages of real brilliance (feedback for Mr Barry: Steve's speech about why he doesn't talk about feelings, and Carol's description of Steve's bender).  The plot stepped up about ten notches, and all of a sudden I was reading a different novel.  I couldn't read it fast enough, so eager was I to find out what happened.

At the beginning, we're told that it's connected to Barry's earlier book, Carla, and I never, ever guessed how ~ nice one, and it made me want to read Carla again!

I have only one criticism, and that's the constant repetition of Carol's dialogue 'tics' that I had to train myself to gloss over so that they wouldn't spoil it, but I am exceptionally picky about stuff like this, and this one minor irritation doesn't stop me from recommending this story of love, pain and revenge absolutely, totally and wholeheartedly.  

 

11 comments:

  1. Excellent review Terry, I loved this read. Review to follow!!

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    1. Cheers, G! I read yours this morning, have now logged into another browser so I can comment (I discovered that was how I could!)

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  2. Can’t wait to read it! Great review, Terry.

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    1. Cathy, you're going to love it! :)

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  3. Terry, thanks for reading and reviewing. Your continued enjoyment of my work is seriously appreciated and valued.

    You'll know as well as I do that writing a novel is easy, but writing a novel that people actually want to read is one of the hardest things we can do (an unawesome job!) and I hope as a result of your review that some of your readers and blog followers are entertained!

    Until next time,

    Marky x

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    1. And I hope that one day your work gets the mass approval it deserves :)

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  4. Great, insightful review that I've come to expect from the pen (or computer) of Terry Tyler. I hadn't heard of this author - will look him up!

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    1. I don't know if he would be up your street, Noelle, as he's very English pop culture, and some of the points of reference might mean little to you, but hey - there's a challenge! It's on the book review team list, I think :)

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  5. Great review TT! I will admit I've tried Mark's books and realised I'm too out of British culture loop altogether in general, let alone pop culture, so they are on the back burner ready to be tried again another time...maybe after a spell with my nieces :)

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  6. I should perhaps clarify that and say I don't follow much of what people talk about, so references, assumed knowledge etc just escape me and sometimes street talk leaves me baffled. I'm in a linguistic time warp!

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    1. It's all to do with your personal taste, isn't it? I've seen books that lots of my book blogger friends love, tried them and been unimpressed. It's just the way it is... :)

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