I'm back in the hands of Maia Press again with Danny Rhodes' first novel Asboville due out on October 18th so I went in search of his website and blog and what do I find? Gone Fishing.
He'd given it up as self-gratifying twaddle which made me for one examine my motives and urge him back or I'd have to give up too.Thankfully he has returned so I'm still here.
I for one will be intrigued to see what Danny has to report in the run up to publication and just how it impacts on life in general. Things must change surely? Book launches and signings and all that sort of exciting first novel thing to come.I'm sure men don't think like women on this score but I'd be in the bookshops rearranging the displays to my advantage for a start!
I've just finished Asboville and have to declare it a really promising and well written first novel.Information gleaned from his website suggests Mr Rhodes is a teacher and I reckon I would have been happy to have found him tutoring my offspring. He has an understanding of both the male and the female teenage psyche that jumps off the page.They are complex creatures and his main character JB amongst the most mixed up of the breed on the surface, but like them all his needs are really quite simple beneath the bravado.
When JB is named and shamed and made the subject of an ASBO and then dispatched off to paint beach huts on the South coast you get a very rounded view of a very confused young man. He wants to be back on the London estate with his mates and the only world he has known but actually starts to enjoy the project.JB also starts to witness the effects of anti-social behaviour himself and he starts to learn from it.
OK that's an ideal world but it's one that gives a message that there are ways through it all and we may not have found the best ways yet. There is a particularly good viewpoint from JB's mother speaking in her son's defence; it's one that makes you stop and think.
We've done boys here, they won't mind me saying you have to hold your nerve, especially when they shoot up a foot taller than you, and in these days of relentlessly bad press about the state of the nation's children and everyone feeling entitled to an opinion from Jamie Oliver to the Archbishop, teenagers need all the positive messages we can possibly send them.
Writers like Danny Rhodes are seeing it from all angles and telling a very complete story. Sympathies in this novel are apportioned in every direction, to the children, the police, the residents, the victims, the youth justice workers, everyone is actually trying to do their best given the circumstances they have been given to work with.
There is so much that can be developed from this first novel that I can't wait to read what comes next from Danny Rhodes.