Saturday, June 18, 2022

The Silent Brother by Simon Van Der Velde

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

I was extremely excited when Simon asked me if I’d like to be an early reader for The Silent Brother, and waited in anticipation for my review ebook so I could dig straight in. And boy am I glad I got to read this!! Thanks so much to him and Northodox Press for my arc ebook.

The Silent Brother had me glued to the screen. Being a born and bred Geordie had me loving reading about the places in the book, the bars and pubs, the areas I know and pass through quite often. We took our kids to Inflataspace last week, and passed the Byker Wall on the Metro, I immediately thought of Tommy and Annie.I love it when a book does that, and places and things take you back to it.

So The Silent Brother had been described to me by someone as a Geordie ‘Shuggie Bain’, and you know what? They were totally right. The sadness and poverty in the story really shows itself and is always there in the background. The crime rang so true, in Newcastle the crime, especially drug related crime is huge, and something we see around here more often than not. Reading the way Tommy felt like working for the drug gang was the best way forward, makes you see how easy it is to be pulled into a lifestyle like that. 

The first few chapters had me reading with my hand on my chest, and as I told Simon, my stomach was in my arse! Benji, oh sweet Benji, his story is remembered all the way through the story, and pulled at my heart strings. But also Annie, ‘the girl with the scrunched up face’. I loved reading about her and Tommys friendship and how it developed when they were young. 

There were so many things that made me smile, or cry, but I don’t want to get into much more and spoil anything. 

Please give this book a go, it really is amazing. 

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