Friday, 6 April 2012

Frank's Wild Years by Nick Triplow

Caffeine Nights are rapidly making a name for themselves as a publisher of quality fiction. Triplow's offering is an intelligent and thoughtful character driven novel that I found difficult to put down.

Frank’s Wild Years has a rich tapestry of strongly drawn and evocative characters. The opening scene sees us viewing an old fashioned south London pub and pitying an old drunk, Frank, who chooses to communicate his need for a drink by flicking peanuts at the barmaid.

Triplow soon drags us kicking and screaming into the past and the uncommunicative drunk is soon outed as an intelligent and resourceful character, a former fixer for a local gangster. The dialogue is realistic and interesting. The authors social commentary and insights are at all times smart and often fraught with an emotional depth rarely seen in novels of this genre. Refreshingly the author doesn't always fill in all of the blanks, he allows the reader to draw their own conclusion on a number of occasions. This is a brave and confident step for any writer but the signs are clear and Triplow is a competent guide through Frank's Wild Years.

This is a deftly recounted tale of loyalty, betrayed trust, nostalgia, wasted years, expectations, strong family bonds and Friendship. You'll find yourself as interested in the memories of Frank's past as with the next development in the present. It's quite a slow going novel as the focus on two timelines takes a lot of developing. The impatient reader looking for a quick action fix will find this perhaps not to their taste. However, there's enough going on to keep all but the most fickle of readers engaged with the story.

As intelligent a gangster related novel as you will ever read. I suspect the author worked very hard to make this one come out just the way he wanted it to. The conclusion is a bittersweet fusion of the happy and sad. A perfectly constructed end that will leave the reader with a smile and perhaps a couple of questions. Caffeine Nights once again proving that they know how to pick an author who can tell a hell of a story. Highly recommended.

Genre:  Crime
Publisher:  Caffeine Nights
Format:  Paperback / E-Book Novel
Rating:  5/5

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