I’ve written before about going to one of the stop-offs for the Orenda Roadshow. Among the books I bought that night was Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver.
In advance of the Roadshow, I’d read several reviews of the book and was intrigued by the concept, so it wasn’t a difficult choice to make. At the same time, like most of the authors there, Will had come across very well when he spoke, which only served to entice me further.
There has been a delay in me getting to the books I bought that night as I was away from home when lockdown occurred shortly after – and they were piled up next to my bed. When I did finally get access to them, I had to make some difficult choices about which to read first. My partner helped my decision-making by grabbing Nothing Important and ‘volunteering’ to read it so I could concentrate on others. Her selflessness knows no bounds…
In the meantime, Will has released another book, Hinton Hollow Death Trip, and it was while reading reviews of this that I realised one of the characters in it appears in two previous books, with Nothing Important being the second. And that is why I ended up downloading Good Samaritans, the first of the Detective Sergeant Pace novels, and reading it before touching the others.
As it happens, Detective Sergeant Pace is not, on the face of it, a central character. Indeed, although his appearances are filled with his thoughts and feelings, there is a detached air to his involvement that seems to contradict the apparent intensity of those feelings. It will be interesting to see if this is maintained in future books, or if it will be built on.
The core characters are more elaborately drawn, as we get more of an insight to their personal lives – screwed up as those lives are. And yet Carver writes sparingly, leaving the reader to fill in a lot of gaps for themselves.
There’s also an unevenness to the writing, and that works well with the subject matter, which is, itself, unsettling. A growing trend with authors has been to have a mix of first and third person narrative in the same book. In this case, there is one person whose story starts out as third person, then becomes first person part way through. I mention this as an example, but it only adds to the effect of not really knowing what the author – and the story – is going to do next.
From a personal point of view, I found the ‘twist’ on the final page a little cliched, but that is a minor issue compared with the twists and turns that came throughout the book. I certainly came away from it with my head buzzing as I reflected on everything I’d just read. It’s probably safe to say that I can’t recall reading a book like this before. Some of the content had been used before, but that’s true of my own writing, along with pretty much every other author I’ve read; but the narrative style and the concepts behind the story gave it an originality that took it to a different level.
Now I’ve just got to wrestle Nothing Important back so I can find out if that originality is maintained.
If you’d like to try it for yourself, you can click on the cover above to check out the eBook on Amazon. You can follow that on to check out the paperback too, but you can always try your local independent bookshop – if you’ve got one. If you haven’t, and you like the idea of getting books from a site other than Amazon while still supporting independent bookshops, click on the cover below for the paperback at The Hive.