Bent Met police detective DI Frederick Street rules as the Sheriff of Shoreditch who loves shaking down the street goons he arrests. Elvis Street is the son who cannot stand his father for being the balls-out crook he caught in bed with his girl. Elvis wants to take Frederick down and end him forever. Neither father or son realises how much the other understands what controls them. Neither father or son will ever back down. Night Time Cool is the story of why?
It’s my turn on the blog tour today for Night Time Cool by Jamie Paradise. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the opportunity to read the book and to the publisher for my copy, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I’m going to honest from the off, this book was a challenging read for me, which pushed me well out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure that I am the target audience for this book (middle-aged, perennially un-hip, rural-living mother-of-five) but I’ve often said that one of the joys of blog tours is being given the opportunity to read book I would never normally choose, and books are all about exploration and gaining a different perspective on the world from your own, so being pushed and challenged is not necessarily a negative.
This book is set in a world of which I have not the slightest experience. A world of drug dealers and drug takers, pimps and prostitutes, bent policemen, porn stars, DJs and party animals. A gritty, fetid, dirty underbelly of a part of London dragging itself from ignominy to a rough-hewn, hipster trendiness, and the characters, plot, and particularly the language, all reflect this. If any of these things offend you, prepare to be offended, but I would suggest that you go in to the book with an open mind, because all of this is essential to the mood and character of the book and its inhabitants, and there is beauty to be found amongst the grime.
The characters in this book are, largely without exception, unpleasant. Even the ones that start out seemingly innocuous turn out to be something other. However, they are all interesting. Whether or not they are realistically portrayed is not something I am equipped to judge since, as noted previously, this is an alien world to me. All I can say is that I did believe them within the context of the novel. I suspect they are enhanced caricatures of real people, but whilst I was suspended in the world created by the author, I believed in them and was intrigued by their actions, motivations and their fates.
The setting fascinated me, grounded as it were in the predominately night time world of bars and clubs and hotels of Hoxton and Shoreditch, and the book convincingly transported me to that world. I could feel the bass beats of the music, the throb of energy and euphoria from the crowds. The writing was almost poetic on the subject of the club scene and I could tell that this was a world in which the author is passionately engaged; his ardour for the scene leaps of the page, reflected perfectly in his choice of rhythm and language to describe it. Whether or not this is something you have experience of, you can’t help but feel infected by it, be caught up in the tempo.
That being said, the language and sentence structures the author chooses to tell his story are unconventional and may be testing for some readers. His sentences are often staccato and unfinished. The language is crude in places; a dark urban patois that sounds like a foreign dialect to readers such as myself who are not from that world. The characters’ voices are coarse and jarring in places. All of this is quite deliberate and necessary for the story the author is telling, the world he is building, the characters he is creating, but it isn’t always easy to read. You will need to persist.
If I had one criticism of the book, it would be that the central story of father and son battling to outwit each other in a labyrinthine plot involving many other characters also trying to gain the upper hand and double- and triple-crossing one another became so dense and convoluted that I got lost and, somewhere in the middle slightly lost interest. However, the characters and language carried me through and it picked up again at the end. Again, you will need to persist.
In the end, for me, the persistence was worth the effort. The book paid off in stretching my mind and attitude. It challenged me, opened my eyes, made me uncomfortable, made me think. It gave me a new experience. It wasn’t a warm, happy, lazy reading experience, but it was one worth having.
Night Time Cool is out now and you can buy a copy here.
To follow the remainder of the tour, check out the poster below:
About the Author
Jamie Paradise writes all his stuff in a darkened mansion filled with the cadavers of ancestors
The Observer says of Night Time Cool: “Paradise conveys the sheer thrill of partying beautifully; he writes of a piece of music that: ‘It wailed, it reprised, it was a choral hymn a kaleidoscopic, sensate burst of everything right now…'”
Simon Mayo’s Books of the Year podcast: “Like John Niven, Jake Arnott – I really enjoyed it – very much worth your time.”
Mail on Sunday: “A punchy streetwise caper, packed with memorable characters.”
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