Growing up in a small country town, Ben and Fab spend their days playing cricket, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab’s dad hits him, or how the sudden death of Ben’s next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.
Then a newcomer arrived. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab’s dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.
Twenty years later, Fab is going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can’t ignore the past any more.
Australia seems to be home to a wealth of talent recently and Mark Brandi with ‘Into the River’ has firmly cemented himself into that category with this stunning debut novel.
Bringing the 80’s back to life I am sure it will invoke some memories in a lot of you, especially if like me you were a child of the 80’s, dodgy hairstyles, fire hazards clothing and Kyle and Jason’s wedding being just a few!
The story is told from two perspectives, Ben in the former years and Fab in the present day and it all begins with the discovery of a green wheelie bin found in a river.
A character driven plot with a wonderful attention to detail in the scene setting capturing the feel of that era growing up in a small town. This is a story about friendship, tragedy and coming of age and how the past impacts on future lives, showing the dark side of human nature as well as the good.
It does get quite dark in places but it is still utterly compelling, and although the plot twist probably won’t come as a surprise to many people and you know where it is headed, it doesn’t take anything away from the hard-hitting effect this book has.
It did bring to mind Stephen King’s Stand By Me but darker!
Not the easiest of read’s I have to say, but nonetheless, an utterly compelling, powerful read.
A fantastic debut from an author to watch out for. Into The River was published on 01 March 2019 and can be purchased now below