With Christmas less than a month away, we’ll all become more acutely aware of the pressure placed on us by TV and social media, to be of good cheer and surround ourselves with large gatherings of friends and family. But in doing so we overlook the people in society who are more vulnerable, who are left with a greater feeling of loneliness, depression and in some tragic cases feeling suicidal at this festive time.
This month’s fourth book review is a thriller based around of a number of mass suicides that take place across the globe, it’s Nothing Important happened Today by Will Carver and published by Orenda Books (www.orendabooks.co.uk) on the 14th November
Nine strangers arrive one night on Chelsea bridge in London, then all at once they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, with a pre-written suicide note and a page containing a single sentence, “Nothing Important Happened Today…”. The event is witnessed by passengers on a train, two will be next, then 24 hrs later a dormant social media page has thousands of followers and there are numerous other mass suicides around the globe.
Who are “the People Of Choice” and what links the rapidly increasing membership, with the number of suicides rising, can the police find the leader of this cult and stop the next mass loss of human life.
This is the second of Will Carver’s novels that I’ve had the opportunity to read and review. Having loved ‘Good Samaritans’, I was excited to read this offering. I expected violence, I expected edgy, I expected dark humour. I never expected what I actually got.
This novel’s contents were unexpected in that I wasn’t prepared emotionally, I think, to experience the endless bitter, vitriolic and loathsome ideology that fills this book. I’m not thinking, or I’m at least hoping, it’s not the way Will Carver thinks of his fellow humans. It is instead told primarily through the observations and opinions of the orchestrator of the numerous deaths that populate the story. We hear their intolerance, their lack of respect and empathy, their sneering disapproval and evidence of their own inflated ego. Think of the worst examples of internet trolling you might have come across and you have a feeling for what is contained within the covers of this book.
The story its self is broken into chapters examining briefly the lives and problems faced by each of the suicides. It is mind-numbingly and relentlessly depressing. I struggled to pick it up and carry on reading on numerous occasions. I persevered in the hope of a change of tack. I recalled that the Good Samaritans was a slow burn initially and hoped for a similar turn of events here. I was disappointed.
This is English author Will Carver’s (@will_carver) sixth book, his others include, Girl 4(2011), The Two(2012), Dead Set(2013) all featuring his protagonist Detective Inspector January David. Then there’s a novella in The Killer Inside (2013) followed by his highly acclaimed Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express Book Of The Year, Good Samaritans (2018). A keen rugby player, he turned down a professional contract to study Theatre and Television in Winchester, where he went onto set up a theatre company. Currently he runs a successful fitness and nutrition firm and lives with his family in Reading.
I loved the dark humour in the previous novel. If there was meant to be any such humour in this novel, it passed me by. It needed something! Jonathon Pye, a satirist, who does short videos pretending to be a news anchorman, caught off camera , ranting about the story he is doing for his news channel , manages to say the most outrageous things , make a few actual insightful points and be funny , whilst making you think about the issues raised. This novel felt like it was trying to set an agenda sometimes. More often it felt like it was trying to get its readers to jump off something too. Some books are difficult and not enjoyable reading, like, for example, ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver, but you feel you’ve gained some insight or understanding from doing so. I don’t feel this book enlightened me in any useful way and failed to entertain me also.
Not a book I think I could recommend to anyone I know. A Christmas present for your enemies perhaps? Encouraging the budding sociopath in your circle? Certainly, don’t buy it if you’re feeling low! I’m off to cheer myself up with a crime novel about a serial killer. It’ll be light relief!
Reviewed by: Georgina Murphy
This review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of this book visit their sites listed below. Then, if you get a copy and read it, comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d love the feedback.