Incarcerated in a home for young offenders, Wee Danny Gibson has learned how to act in front of his teachers, his educational psychologist and the institute's supervisors. And if he continues to keep his nose clean, he could be rewarded with a day-trip to Castle Ward. But good behaviour is no easy task when his fellow inmates are determined to get in his face. Then there’s Conan 'The Barbarian' Quinlan, a gentle giant who Danny feels compelled to look out for. Friend or liability? Danny can't be sure, but he knows he needs to stay focussed on that little taste of freedom.
Wee Danny is an 18,000-word novella by the author of Wee Rockets.
It’s been a couple of years or more since I read anything from Gerard Brennan and seeing as this was a tick in all the boxes, it’s a slap upside the head for me and a reminder not to leave it so long next time around.
Wee Danny, who may or may not feature in the full length novel – Wee Rockets from Brennan (when I pull my finger out and read it, I’ll know more) - is the star of this 70 page blast.
Here Mr Brennan had me from the start………
Miss moves as if she knows I want her. She can read my thoughts sometimes. Sends me wee signals to prove it too. Like when the pencil rolled off her desk at the start of this class. It landed right in front of me. I pushed back my chair, ready to pick it up for her but she just raised her hand, cool as fuck. And then she stepped in front of me, hunkered down so that her perfect arse almost touched the floor, and snagged the pencil. She stood and twisted in one dance-like motion and I caught a glimpse of her knickers above the waistband of her black trousers. Then she adjusted the hang of her green blouse. The patch of pink cotton and tanned lower back disappeared and took the spit from my mouth with it. It happened in seconds, but I've replayed the images of Miss's graceful retrieval over and over for the last twenty minutes.
Danny is in an institution, I don’t know why. He’s growing up, he’s getting an education. He butts heads with other boys and some of his counsellors and he regrets being confined with the restrictions on his freedoms.
I like the mental jousting Danny has with Alan, one of the therapists and with Adrian, a fellow offender both sharing a mutual antipathy for each other. Danny would happily get physical but is cute enough to assess the angles and use Adrian’s lack of control to his advantage. Street smarts.
An unlikely friendship with big lad, Conan – Conan being borderline autistic, provides comfort to them both and allows Danny to focus on someone other than self.
A trip to Castle Ward offers both friends some time away from the institution. This sniff of freedom has consequences.
Pace, characters, setting, dialogue, confrontation, action and outcome.
5 from 5
It was short but was March’s best read. Sadly with the recent closure of publisher Blasted Heath, Wee Danny appears to be currently unavailable. Hopefully this situation is only temporary and the author secures it a new home.
Gerard Brennan has his website over at Crime Scene NI.
Catch him on Twitter - @gerardbrennan
I have lots more from him to enjoy yet – Wee Rockets, The Point, Breaking Point and Undercover all sit waiting.
and Other Stories And Nothing But Time have featured on the blog previously.
As has his contribution to the Fightcard series - JACK TUNNEY - FIGHTCARD: WELCOME TO THE OCTAGON
Read in March, 2017
Published – 2013
Page count – 71
Source – purchased copy
Format - Kindle