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This is the first Shaun Hutson book I have come across, but as I enjoy reading thrillers I was willing to give this a try after reading various reviews of his other books.
The storyline follows a gang of teenagers. Well some of them are only about 10 or 11 so they aren’t even proper teenagers, but as with most gangs, the younger ones follow the older ones to gain respect etc.
CARL THOMPSON – 16 years old, definitely the ringleader of the group. He lives with his father in a council house. His father doesn’t worry what Carl gets up to as long as he’s out of his hair.
DONNA FREEMAN – 14 years old. She is into injecting herself with whatever she can lay her hands on. She idolizes Thompson and will do whatever he says. Her father is a strict man.
GRAHAM BROWN – 14 years old. His father is a drunk who regularly beats his mother. Graham has no respect for anyone.
There are others in the gang, but these three play the biggest parts in the story. They are out to terrorize anyone they can, steal anything they can get their hands on and regularly break into people’s houses for the fun of it.
The book is set in an area called Kempston. It’s set thirty miles north of London on a large estate that is comprised of half council, and half private homes. The private homes were built in an attempt to modernize and clean up the estate.
SHELBY HOUSE – Shelby House is a private residential home to nine old aged pensioners. It costs in the region of 600GBP per week to reside there. This home is run by a lady called Veronica (Ronnie) Porter. She is in charge of three staff and nine residents. She is married to Andy and also visits her father James Connor who also lives on the estate, every day.
The teenagers and Shelby House don’t clash immediately at the beginning of the book. We start by learning about the teenagers and some of the residents of Shelby House who I wont name here. You can learn about them if you read the book. We see how the gang steal from shops, and terrorize people on busses, and generally cause havoc around the town.
One day however, one of the residents of Shelby House happens to be traveling on the same bus as Thompson and Brown. Donald Tanner witnesses then lads trying to steal a woman’s bag as she approaches the bus at one of the stops. He intercedes and grabs the bag from the lad.
This is where the trouble begins. Thompson wont let anyone get away with anything once they have upset him. He has even been known to terrorize and torture a cat that walked in front of him.
The gang follows Donald Tanner back to Shelby House, and they soon target all the residents and staff within the building.
I don’t want to give the story away, but a mixture of graffiti, broken windows, dog napping and various other abuse all take their toll on the residents. The police are either unwilling or unable to help, considering most of them are underage.
The residents decide to stand up for themselves and a counter attack begins, with then end result arising with not everyone surviving.
I’m not going to tell who wins, or who dies, just tell you to read the book yourself.
It’s 400 pages long, and gripped me from start to finish. Some nights when I put the book down to go to sleep, I had to check the door was locked, as the graphical descriptions the author gave spooked me to believing it could be real.
It is great writing, and I will certainly be checking out other books by the same author. If you like a gripping story, and don’t mind being cautious, if like me you are easily spooked by things like this, then read it.