Tuesday 21 September 2021

The Sound of Sirens by Ewan Gault @EwanGault @leamingtonbooks #TheSoundOfSirens #BookReview

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 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 a local 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 plans 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.

The Sound of Sirens by Ewan Gault is published on 23 September 2021 by Leamington Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I have been absolutely consumed by the plot and the characters of this stunning debut novel. Ewan Gault is an incredible talent. This is a story that has lingered in my head for days. It is often brutal, it is dark and grim, but it is beautifully constructed and packs such an emotional punch. 

Port Cawdor is a town on the coast of Scotland. Once a thriving fishing community, it is now well known as the town with the drug habit. The young people just want to get out and the older ones are just resigned to their fate. 

The construction of the story is perfectly done, as the reader learns about each character. We find out what they think about, what they'd like to be and who they are. The town is described excellently, it's a dark and dreary place, there's not a lot of laughter but there's so much pain. 

Malky recently started to work on his uncle's trawler and on this particular day, the net that they haul in doesn't contain fish. Instead, they drag up the body of his cousin Joe. Joe went overboard some weeks ago and his body is not a sight to savour.

DI Stark is tired of Port Cawdor. He is tired of the drug dealers, the organised crime gangs who run the county lines. He's tired of the addicts and he wants out. He wants more for his two daughters than a life surrounded by drugs and hopelessness. Stark doesn't believe that Joe's death was an accident and starts to ask awkward questions of Malky and the other crew aboard that night. 

Joe's brother Johnny has plans for the trawler. He can get rich and it involves drugs and will also put him and Malky at risk. There's already drug dealers in town, and they don't want to share their patch.
Malky just wants his friend Nikki to have a decent place to live. Nikki is pregnant and a heroin addict, and Malky is determined to find a clean home for her and the baby when it arrives. He soon finds himself doing things that he could never imagined.

The tension builds and the pace increases toward the shocking finale of the story, I was utterly gripped. 

The story is brutal, grim, very dark and very emotional. We see humanity at its very worst, we see people who have no hope in life and those who do hope but who have everything in their ways. It's a look at fractured relationships and small town politics. Unflinchingly honest and at times very moving. 

This is Ewan Gault's debut novel and it is stunning. Highly recommended from me, one of the best books I've read this year. 

Ewan Gault is the author of the novel ‘The Most Distant 
Way’ and numerous short stories that have appeared in anthologies and magazines including New Writing Scotland and Gutter.

In his new crime novel ‘The Sound of Sirens’, a body is 
dredged up in a trawler’s nets bringing with it submerged secrets to the surface. Extracts from the novel have won the Fish Knife Award and the Toulmin Prize. 

He works as an English teacher in a sixth form 
college in Tottenham.

Twitter @EwanGault

No comments:

Post a Comment