I was asked by the author, Nicky Black, if I would like a copy of ‘The Prodigal’ in return for an honest review. I was delighted to accept. It is available from Amazon, currently for 99p, as an e-book and also in paperback.
Detective Sergeant Lee Jamieson is returning to Newcastle, after 16 years away, to meet his daughter for the first time and take up a new police post. He isn’t prepared for just how deprived, and depraved, the area he grew up in has become. When he finds himself involved with Nicola, his world becomes ever more complicated and dangerous.
I’m not a natural reader of crime fiction but I can honestly say that I found ‘The Prodigal’ absolutely brilliant.
The fact that this originally began life as a television script serves only to amplify the quality of the writing. Much of the original dialogue has apparently been retained and means that speech is natural and completely realistic. Equally, descriptions are stunning and the whole novel is highly visual. Both setting and characters come to vivid (and sometimes terrifying) life because of the carefully wrought crafting. Each character is so clearly defined and three dimensional that the reader almost becomes them. I thought Micky was a triumph.
The themes are huge and sadly still all too familiar. Nicky Black does not shy away from divorce, domestic violence, drug culture, gangs, and relationships in all their brutal truth. To quote from the narrative, what we have here is often ‘Hardened, pitiless, vicious’. Reading ‘The Prodigal’ genuinely made my heart thump.
The plot is incredibly fast paced. There are twists and red herrings so that the reader is absorbed into the drama throughout. I cannot believe that the original script didn’t make it to production.
As well as being a fantastic read, I thought ‘The Prodigal’ was actually a terrifyingly accurate portrait of some of the most deprived areas we have, with the violence, filth and, more importantly, the lack of hope some people face. For what is, in essence, a crime novel, ‘The Prodigal’ is, curiously, profoundly moving. I cannot recommend it highly enough.