This review is part of the LOVE BOOKS TOURS book tour. Thank you to them and to the author Ewan Gault for sending me a gifted proof copy.
In a dead-beat coastal town in North East Scotland, seventeen-year-old Malky Campbell is desperate to help his pregnant and heroin addicted girlfriend. DI Stark, a middle-aged detective, alarmed by the rise of teenage and gang crime in Port Cawdor, uncovers the operations of a county line gang that are flooding the area with drugs and engaging in a vicious turf war with the local crime family. Malky has just started working on his family's trawler with his cousin Johnny, when their boat pulls up Johnny's brother in its nets.
The rest of the crew, the tightly-knit community and the police start to suspect that the cousins are responsible for his death. With his brother dead, Johnny inherits the family trawler, which he had planned to use to smuggle drugs into the country for the county line gang, giving him enough money to start a new life. Ewan Gault's debut, The Sound of Sirens is a tough, modern crime novel, presenting the complexities of young life in a town at the end of the line.
A hard hitting crime novel involving some seriously dark topics including death, violence and drug addiction.
The first few pages didn't grab me with this one but I pushed on and as I did I was drawn into the story. The story covers some dark topics including death, violence and drug addiction. I did feel sorry for one of the main characters Malky, he initially seemed torn between following with the crowd in his dead beat coastal home-town and escaping to create a new better life. Family pressures and situations that arrived seemed to force him to stay. The author did really well in presenting the struggles that the community in the town, especially the youth faced.
I found the language used hard to connect with, I know it was used to emphasis the characters and the town / country they are from but as a reader with no real knowledge of the dialect I did struggle at times to know what on earth they were talking about. There were times that I wondered if there were simply spelling and grammar errors or if it was supposed to be part of the dialect, in fact I'm still not sure on some parts but I was reading a proof copy so it could well have been simple errors. This is just a personal pet peeve though and I'm sure others won't be as put off as I was.
The perspective jumped from 1st person to 3rd person (viewing from the point of view of the police) through the chapters, usually I don't mind this but for some reason it niggled at me with this one. I much preferred reading the chapters in 3rd person, those were the chapters I seemed to enjoy more.
The story line itself was interesting and progressed well, I think the reason I struggled a little to get into it and enjoy it was just the language. Once I got used to it I was able to enjoy the book and actually it was well wroth it. I'd be happy to recommend this book to fellow crime fiction fans.
On another note, it really got me thinking about the way some are forced to live. The author did really well here in creating not only a great fictional novel but getting us to stop and think.
(I was torn between 4 & 3.5 here, I only went lower to be honest about my personal enjoyment with regards to the dialect.