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Book Review

Book Cover



Author: Robert Young
RRP: £0.77
ISBN: 978 1 30136 773 3
Publication Date: 31 October 2013

An unnamed man awakes in a hospital bed, mummified with bandages and no idea how he got there. Terrified, he flees the hospital, returning home to hide in a cupboard unsure what is happening to him. Not far away Roth, a brute of a man, is also having problems with his memory of a particular night, the events of which seem to have slipped his mind. Unknown to each other, the two are connected in a way which one of them will find exhilarating, the other terrifying...

Adrenaline (2013 - 233 pages approx.) is a new e-Book by Robert Young, who has previously published Bitter Sweet and Gatecrasher.

The book is a difficult one to review as Young takes both men and very, very slowly unravels the effect of one fateful night. So to say any more about the plot would be to give the reveal away, which would be a real shame as the first third of the book is a lesson in how to slowly build tension. By offering up slight changes in his two protagonists, like a kid at Christmas, every layer we peel back just makes us want to peel the next. We go along their journey trying to figure out what has happened and what, if anything, it all means. This sense of the slow tease even goes so far as to not, initially name one of the characters.

So, why had Young waited until nearly a third of the way through the book to name one of his characters? I think it’s because the author realises that the naming of things imbues them with power and meaning.

Roth, not unlike the word wrath, is named straight away and it is a name which suits him. His character is very much rooted in the real world; he is at heart a predator, a shark swimming in the shallows of London, in his own twisted way he is trying to live life to the full, even if it means living it on the extreme of behaviour. To name him offers him a solidity denied to our bandaged hero. Roth is a loner by choice whereas our unnamed protagonist is only one by inclination.

New to London, bandage man keeps only a tenuous connection with his home and mother. Working from home he believes he has friends, when really they are passing acquaintances, even his girlfriend fails to blend their household objects when she stays. He is a grey man disappearing into the background of life. To give him a name would only undermine Young’s attempt to paint us an image of this man who has already stopped living. Eventually both are named as events accelerate, one embraces the new, the other tries to run, but unbeknownst to both, they are being watched.

Having set up an intriguing premise, Young is able to bring the whole book to a satisfying conclusion. Overall, it’s a well thought out book, well written and with enough tease to make a burlesque cry. The best thing is that it's dirt cheap, I’ve had to read swill that was a hundred times more expense and a thousand times more derivative. Well worth a punt.


Charles Packer

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