🎉🎉🎉 Happy Publication Day to Simon Van der Velde 🎉🎉🎉 The Silent Brother is out today!
Many thanks to the author and Northodox Press for my advanced e-copy of The Silent Brother.
When his beloved little brother is stolen away, five-year-old Tommy Farrier is left alone with his alcoholic mam, his violent step-dad and his guilt. Too young to understand what has really happened, Tommy is sure of only one thing. He is to blame.
Tommy tries to be good, to live-up to his brother’s increasingly hazy memory, but trapped in a world of shame and degradation he grows up with just two options; poverty or crime. And crime pays. Or so he thinks.
A teenage drug-dealer for the vicious Burns gang, Tommy’s life is headed for disaster, until, in the place he least expects, Tommy sees a familiar face… And then things get a whole lot worse.
What Did I Think?
Tommy lost his brother and then he lost his best friend. From a young age, Tommy learnt to fend for himself and that led him down a very rocky path through to adulthood . Can he find any salvation from his past? And can he find his brother?
The journey I went on with Tommy spanned a significant period. His impressionable years were those that made him the criminal he grew up to be. His upbringing wasn’t easy and life didn’t cut him a decent deal. The situations he found himself in as an adult were of his own making but this young man had little choice.
I read alongside Tommy with a geordie… I mean northern eastern accent narrating the story. The areas of the North East are very territorial so I’d hate to upset someone. I heard Tommy’s north eastern twang talking to me through his shenanigans. Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for that accent!
The Silent Brother is a gritty read set in the metropolis of the north east where no one can be trusted. Where childhood friendships become adult obsessions. Tommy’s life left me feeling battered and bruised. It’s a different kind of crime fiction that I read. Van Der Velde has curated an intricate complex story littered with gangland crime, obsession and emotion. I doubt I’ll read anything quite like it for a while!
Who Is Simon Van Der Velde?
Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, laborer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as traveling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Prize, and The Harry Bowling Prize – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost short-story writers.
Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife, labradoodle and two tyrannical children.