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The Dead City Rollers by R T Stroud
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The Dead City Rollers

by R T Stroud

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Recently added byKateVane, LastCall

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This novel begins with Alistair, a small-time dealer in Swansea with a death on his conscience and a sense that his life could be better, if he deserved it, if he could be arsed. The story pans out to take in his whole world – drug gangs, police and the people who run the city on both sides of the law.

The novel is full of the energy that its characters mostly lack. It has a bleak humour and a kind of heightened absurdity. There’s also, beneath the mayhem, a sense of the power structures of the drugs world and a feeling that cities like Swansea have been forgotten, that the wider world is content to let the people become the plaything of criminals and small-town despots. One of the most moving parts of the book is when Alistair visits an affluent part of Bristol and observes that there are people who look healthy and scrubbed and occupied with ideas beyond just getting through the day.

My main criticism of the book is that it is too long. There is a huge cast of characters and a great sprawling plot. Luckily the characters are well drawn and distinctive (apart from the few women who appear, who seem generic). Even so, I lost track a few times.

There are some very good set-piece scenes, but there are too many of them. (It’s always harder to cut a well written scene, even if it doesn’t add to the whole.) As the book nears the climax, instead of the tension building I felt distracted by yet another drugs deal which added nothing to the story.

Reading this book I went from excitement to exhaustion to exasperation. But it did make me laugh out loud quite a few times.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. ( )
  KateVane | Dec 10, 2014 |
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