Broken Dreams by Nick Quantrill
Reviewed by Tim Roux
Over the last couple of years, Nick Quantrill has made an enviable reputation for himself as a highly accomplished true-to-the-gospels (of St. Elmore Leonard and St. Raymond Chandler) crime fiction writer who reliably delivers precisely crafted plots, authentic hardboiled dialogue and classic PI fisticuffs action.
His tales are suffused with an atmosphere of compounding tension which slices through the shifting dynamics and corkscrew effects of the narrative and where the characters will inevitably find themselves hanging upside down in their own story.
After many successful and celebrated shorter tales, Nick wrote the full length ebook Black & White which started out in leisurely fashion but soon got into its stride as a police procedural investigation of the dark fate of a body found in a dockside container.
Photograph by Roland Standaert
I particularly enjoyed the accompanying side-story of the relentless stress of the anti-heroic DS Coleman's working life being exacerbated considerably by his wife's undermining resentment of her husband's all-hours, underpaid job (not a new theme, but tenderly done).
In his first paperback novel, published by the recently-established Caffeine Nights imprint, we get to catch DS Coleman from another angle, as an incidental character, while two new characters step to the fore - the private detective Joe Geraghty whose wife died during an arson attack two years previously, and the City of Hull itself.
Nick has a tremendous knack of making his prose sound like it is pounding the streets as he types but this time he has raised it to a pitch which is almost CCTV, where you can follow Joe Geraghty in telescopic close-up as his footsteps echo against the tarmac amid the faded after-life of the Hessle Road distributaries, in the sleazy town centre of casinos and massage parlours offset by the glistening St. Stephen's Centre, and in the aspiring trendiness of the Newland Avenue bistro and bar zone.
This book looks Hull, smells Hull, sounds Hull, and maybe even tastes Hull, meticulously rendered as it is in reams of flat, blunt, staccato, wry dialogue which dominate the text.
Whereas Black & White tarried awhile to establish its premises, its successor Broken Dreams fizzes and crackles from the first page as it outlines the puzzle to be solved - a murdered wife, a mysterious embezzlement and a missing daughter, soon to be supplemented by loads of other seedy and tragic goings-on.
The side-story is much more lusty too this time as it tracks the increasingly affectionate relationship emerging between Joe, still seeking closure for the death of his wife, and his partner Don's more than attractive daughter, Sarah, whom Joe will be required to invite to join him in a swingers' club to assist him in his enquiries - something for Joe to get worked up about!
Photograph by Roland Standaert
Between scenes of continual action and painstaking investigation, Nick interweaves the thick atmospheric thread of the history of Hull itself and especially that of the shattered fishing industry once the raison d'\352tre for the vibrant, tough and close-knit Hessle Road trawling community.
Photograph by Roland Standaert
To readers brought up with Hull folklore in each nipple, the stark realities of a trade classified as casual labour carrying with it no fringe benefits, no accident or redundancy compensation and sometimes not even any pay, and yet in its day representing the most dangerous and brutal industry in Britain, will come as no surprise.
To foreigners from beyond the borders of the East Riding of Yorkshire these details will add an enthralling documentary underpinning to the story, enhancing its already earthy credibility.
As someone who also has a book, Missio, coming out over the next couple of months which uses the Hull fishing industry as its back-plot, I was delighted to find that our facts and takes matched impeccably almost to the point of repetition, as did our respective side-swipes at the dissipated state of the Hull Royal Infirmary.
I have noticed that in his last couple of outings Nick has been increasingly willing to have his characters snarl provocatively at unsatisfactory features of the city, adding pleasingly to the spicing of his literary concoctions while no doubt discomforting its targets accordingly - no Hull Tourist Board (sic) sponsorship there.
Apparently Nick's next book is already progressing even more smoothly than this one, to which I can only comment that if it turns out to be better still, it will be beyond brilliant.
Reviews, Books - The Unitary Authority Of Ersatz by Rich Sutherland Reviewed by Tim Roux
You know when you are sitting there typing away at your new book and suddenly a million tons of waterfall cascade all over you and sweep you away, and there is nothing you can do to resist as you tumble mid-air among all those words and ideas, but you know that when you hit the pool at the bottom, and should you survive, you will be handed a tick-box questionnaire by the publisher
Reviews, Books - Breaking Faith by Stuart Aken Reviewed by Tim Roux
One of the great pleasures of reading indie authors is that they are often literary Luddites, exuberantly smashing the commercial frameworks imposed on their more industrially-produced cousins, replacing them with a more zestful, fresh, individual and, might I say, compelling approach to their work.
It is not that they do not recognise as well as anyone the existence of the rules
Reviews, Books - A Book at Christmas Reviewed by Tim Roux
About eighteen months ago I decided to look around and see who else was writing books in the Hull and
East Riding region, much encouraged by discovering the work of Hull crime fiction and gangster authors
Nick Quantrill and Danny Birch.
I thought that there would only be a few of us knocking about, veritable prophets on our own shifting
mud banks, but Nick Quantrill and Rich Sutherland (then at Waterstones) Read more...
Reviews, Theatre - Tuesday 27th October 09 - Write To Speak Featuring Kate Tempest and Matt Panesh at Hull Truck By Dick Spring
The consistency in stunning quality of acts brought to perform at this night (which is Yorkshire's only theatre based spoken word / poetry night) by Hull poet Joe Hakim is simply phenomenal.
With another fantastic and packed house, it was a thoroughly enjoyable event.
Opened as usual by Hull's flag bearing poet in residence Joe Hakim and his stage partner Mike Watts, their competence and stagecraft is second to one, with lots of good interaction
Reviews, Theatre - Tuesday 27th October 09 - Write To Speak Featuring Kate Tempest and Matt Panesh at Hull Truck By Michelle Dee
Just had to write something about Tuesday's Write To Speak at Hull Truck Theatre. The regular event showcases the best poetry and spoken word from around the country.
Tonight we have the incredible vocal dexterity of Kate Tempest (London) and the poems, ponderings
and profane humour of Matt Panesh (Manchester) on his Welcome to the U.K. tour.
Reviews, Theatre - Write to Speak featuring Kate Fox and Scarlet Lights at Hull Truck - Wednesday 16th September 09 By Mark Walmsley
The first performance of the new season of Write to Speak came round pretty quickly and most definitely replicated the first gig a year ago with regards to support and talent.
On a personal level, I fully understood what was on offer and although the event didn't seem very well advertised, I was notified by thisisUll the day before and without a hesitation changed my appointments for the big day in order that I made sure I was there for the kick off, in fact I was
Reviews, Theatre - Wednesday 16th September 2009 - Scarlet lights Theatre Company Performs Retail is Detail at Write to Speak at Hull Truck Theatre By Danielle Rhodes
Retail Is Detail is undoubtedly a 'maverick' production of contemporary comedy, embodying a highly versatile and compatible cast as rare as rocking horse shit. From start to finish the audience is inflamed by the radiance from the performer's energy and fast pace scenes.
The play displays a young educated girl facing unemployment, regrettably a conventional product of the current recession. In her despairing attempt to find employment
Reviews, Theatre - Write to Speak featuring Tony Walsh and Dennis Just Dennis at Hull Truck - Wednesday 15th June 09 By Mark Walmsley
The third and final Write to Speak event of this season at the Hull Truck Theatre on Wednesday 15th July, was headlined by two nationally acclaimed performance poets, Dennis Just Dennis and Tony Walsh, who both hail from Manchester.
The nights entertainment was introduced by local poet Joe Hakim who was, in effect 'on the subs bench' as far as performing on these occasions go.
Joe has a bigger challenge and I dare say a bigger audience to present himself to at the fourth
Latitude Festival in Suffolk where he is performing in the poetry arena on Sat 18th and
Sun 19th July.Read more...
Reviews, Theatre - Write to Speak featuring Luke Wright at Hull Truck - Monday 29th June 09 By Mark Walmsley
After attending the first Write to Speak session back in May featuring Mike Watts, Joe Hakim and Mandi Lowe, I certainly wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to attend the second instalment with Luke Wright on Monday night.
I arrived at pretty much the same time as the last Write to Speak performance at about 7.20 pm for an 8.00
Reviews, Films - Emma Rugg's Directions Tour By Steve Rudd
It's fair to say that it has been relatively quiet on the Emma Rugg front over the past couple of years. I, for one, thought she'd relocated to the United States in the wake of the Directions Tour she undertook there with Henry Doss in 2007. Having first made contact through the BBC radio show Raw Talent in 2003, Emma had visited Henry in the states on a couple of occasions prior to heading over to hit the Read more...
Reviews, Arts - Adrian Johnson: All Wound Up - Red Gallery exhibition, March-April 2009 By Philip Wincolmlee-Barnes
I am currently re-reading John Carey's The Intellectuals and The Masses, a fascinating (and sometimes troubling) survey of how the former regarded the latter from the late 19th Century until the 1930's.
He charts a course via Nietzsche's theories of 'the Superman vs. the common people' (guess his preference
Reviews, Theatre - Write to Speak at Hull Truck - Wednesday 27th May 09 By Mark Walmsley
Having found the thisisUll website by accident while looking for an
outlet for my hobby and passion, Writing, I was welcomed by Cilla after an initial
contact who took a page of my work I submitted and pasted it on the World Wide Web as
seen, titled as The Right Hand of God. In addition to this, she asked me if I would be
interested in attending the Write to Speak gig at the Hull Truck on Wednesday 27th May.
Reviews, Theatre - Funny Turns and the Opening of The New Hull Truck Theatre By Gary Clark
I was fortunate enough to get an invite to the opening gala night of the very
impressive Hull Truck Theatre to get a first hand look at the new venue and to see the
opening night of the latest John Godber play, Funny Turns.
The company went to great expense to make all the invited guests welcome with vats of free champagne and a choice of wines already poured out for the 440 guests to gorge
Reviews, Films - AWAYDAYS at The Bradford Film Festival By Margaret J Shillingford
When Carty meets Elvis at a Bunnymen gig, they fall headlong into a volatile friendship that each of them aches for but neither can control. Violent, sexy and funny, Awaydays is a blade-sharp rites-of-passage that buzzes with the post-punk energy of its late-70s Liverpool setting.
Based on the classic novel by Kevin Sampson, and pulsating to a soundtrack of
Joy Division, The Cure, Read more...
Reviews, Films - The Confession By Steve Rudd
Expertly directed by Dave Kebo and Rudi Liden, The Confession is an extraordinary movie for many and varied reasons, not least because it was shot all in one take. Another major reason why the movie is so unique comes down to the fact that it is 'interactive' and features three and a half addictive hours of multi-angle footage.
Having been shot via a multitude of strategically placed CCTV
Reviews, Films - Slumdog Millionaire By Ruth
I don't go to the movies, and I don't usually enjoy love stories.
My idea of a good love story is Thelma and Louise, Crash, or possibly Monster
(with Charlize Theron).
The darker element of humanity is what I find appealing.
I went with my family to view this film and was utterly blown away.
We left the cinema feeling as though we'd been slapped hard across the
face and somehow enjoyed it.
Reviews, Books - The Dance of the Pheasodile by Tim Roux (Upfront Publishing) Reviewed by Nick Quantrill
With his sixth novel, Hull native Tim Roux, is certainly one of the city's most prolific writers. A committed champion of all things East Yorkshire, the publication of his crime story, The Dance of The Pheasodile is his well deserved opportunity to take the limelight.
With a fulfilling job, a successful wife and two beautiful children, Keith McGuire leads an idyllic middle-class life in the south of England.
Reviews, Books - How Not To Manage by Adam Kirkman and Daniel Mayhew (Quick Brown Fox Publications) Reviewed by Nick Quantrill
Think you're a great manager? Think you know how to get the best out of people whilst
increasing your personal performance and worth? Think again - you can be better -
it's simply a matter of attitude. If this all sounds a bit too much like hard word,
fear not, this new spoof management manual from York's Adam Kirkman and Daniel Mayhew
is here to