Thursday, 29 June 2017
CHARLES HARRIS - THE BREAKING OF LIAM GLASS (2017)
With London knife crime now on the rise, this is not so much a whodunnit as a blackly comic what-they-did-after-it satire, that resonates in a timely way.
Teenage footballer Liam Glass is stabbed on an estate next to London’s Regents Park and, with an eye to the main chance, journalist Jason Crowthorne sets out to make the most of the story and build a crusade against teenage knife-crime.
In the following 24 hours, Jason creates his campaign, hiding a scoop from rival journalists and avoiding arrest. But other powerful figures are determined to exploit the boy’s story as much as they can, and they have fewer scruples! Liam Glass is a darkly satirical look at the deep splits in modern communities, asking deep moral questions in a sympathetic and humorous way.
A slight departure from my usual crime fiction reading with Charles Harris and his satirical novel, The Breaking of Liam Glass. A young teenager gets stabbed at a cashpoint and robbed of his phone and while he lays in a coma in hospital, the aftermath unfolds.
Jason Crowthorne, a journalist with a local rag seizes the opportunity to build a career for himself and a healthy bank balance by manipulating Liam’s story - sexing-it up with the introduction of an absent celebrity footballer father (fake or real, who cares?) and running with it in one of the nationals. A tad delusional, he sells it to his conscience, by convincing himself that a campaign to raise awareness about knife crime might also take off.
We also have a local politician, concerned about a forthcoming election and the prospect of losing her seat. A struggling gym owner and his partner – a good guy who foolishly discovers a blood-stained knife (the knife in question – who knows?) and moves it, then in another panicked action moves it again. A police detective, struggling to cope with fatherhood and thrust to the forefront of the investigation into the crime.
A topical book. We get a glimpse of life in the world of tabloid journalism with the vultures gathering as rumour and counter-rumour spread with a fake celebrity involvement in the tragedy. Facts are no longer a consideration if a falsehood can sell some copy. Shady deals for lies, as Jason worries about getting his byline on the story before the opposition hijack it. Dreams of a foot up the journalistic ladder and being able to offer more to his daughter; a daughter who has always taken second place to his quest for a story.
Social media also plays its part with rumour circulating about the racial identity of the attackers spreading and causing tension in a community used to being ignored by politicians. Sounds familiar.
I enjoyed the book and Harris had me flip-flopping in my attitude and feelings towards Jason. One minute I deplored his tactics and actions; at other times I sympathised with his plight and wanted him to succeed and seal the deal and get his story over the line.
An interesting book, with some serious points made regarding life in present-day Britain, with a few wry chuckles along the way.
4 from 5
Charles Harris is an award winning film writer-director and a best-selling non-fiction author. The Breaking of Liam Glass is his debut novel.
He has his website here and is on Twitter - @chasharris
Read in June, 2017
Published - 2017
Page count - 422
Source - review copy received from author via Linda MacFadyen (publicist)
Format - paperback
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Thank you for this great review Col. I'm honoured.ReplyDelete
Your readers might like to know that the publishers of The Breaking of Liam Glass have kindly put on a special launch day offer just for today - including a reduction of the paperback price and free short stories. Details at http://www.thebreakingofliamglass.com
Charles, no problem I really enjoyed the book. A bit of a different angle to my usual reading.Delete
Sounds interesting, Col. And I do like a novel that has some dark wit in it. That look at tabloid journalism interests me, too.ReplyDelete
Margot, it was an interesting read, especially getting the insider view from the journalist at the heart of the storyDelete
Thank you - I had great fun and a very revealing time going behind the scenes at tabloid newspapers, especially the Mirror. It was an essential part of planning the novel and my story of that research is one of the giveaways with the book today.Delete
Will we be seeing you linked to any phone hacking scams? HahaDelete
LOL. Luckily, I wouldn't know how to hack a phone if my life depended on it. Well, that's my story, m'lud.Delete
Hmm, we'll have to take your word for it!Delete
And if not, I have some phone conversations of yours I can use against you ;-)Delete
Col – A satire on violent crime and unscrupulous reporters? Oh yeah, I am definitely reading this one.ReplyDelete
Well worth a look, a little bit different from my usual reading.Delete
Elgin - it's definitely got all of that. Enjoy!Delete
Very interesting sounding - anything about journalists can tempt me.ReplyDelete
I reckon you could probably relate to this one with your background.Delete
I hope you're tempted - Clothes In Books... and there are definitely a few nice clothes descriptions there for you too (though not as many as in my next one). Plus if you are tempted, do tell me what you think.Delete
Moira - 2 v 1 - you have to read it!Delete
OK, sounds good!Delete