Friday 17 June 2022

The Silent Brother - Simon Van Der Velde

The Past Never Dies

When his beloved little brother is stolen away, five-year-old Tommy Farrier is left alone with his alcoholic mam, his violent step-dad and his guilt. Too young to understand what has really happened, Tommy is sure of only one thing. He is to blame.

Tommy tries to be good, to live-up to his brother’s increasingly hazy memory, but trapped in a world of shame and degradation he grows up with just two options; poverty or crime. And crime pays.

Or so he thinks.

A teenage drug-dealer for the vicious Burns gang, Tommy’s life is headed for disaster, until, in the place he least expects, Tommy sees a familiar face…

And then things get a whole lot worse.

What did I think?

Wow - what a book!  The Silent Brother left me speechless, breathless and completely stunned.  Simon Van Der Velde has written a gritty, poignant, dark and disturbing masterpiece.  Set in the east end of Newcastle, this is what it would have been like if The Sopranos and Shameless had been set here.

Tommy Farrier has had a tragic life and oh how I felt for him.  His mam cares more about booze than she does her own children, so it's no surprise when Tommy's younger brother is taken into care.  This harrowing event shapes Tommy's whole life and the shadow of it hangs over his every move.  To survive, Tommy joins the Burns gang and this sets him on a dark and dangerous path with seemingly no escape...

Simon Van Der Velde has captured the heart and soul of Newcastle in this breathtaking book and the unique voice of Tommy is portrayed beautifully.  It's heartbreaking to read at times, especially as you start to care for the characters, but I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page.  Poverty and crime often go hand in hand, like two sides of the same coin, and the story is very true to life as so many children will have followed in Tommy's footsteps.

Beautifully written, The Silent Brother is a raw and gritty thriller that really has the wow factor.  Do not miss this one!  It's an absolute masterpiece and I don't have to think twice before awarding the full five stars - I'd give it more if I could.  I'll definitely be reading it again and I really can't recommend it highly enough.

I received a digital ARC from the author and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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