British pulp fiction at its best. A twisting story, a detailed world and an ending with a real sting in its tail.
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Since I started writing about indie books back in the summer, I’ve found myself reading about them a lot more too, getting involved in chatter on twitter and the like and reading some of the fantastic blogs that are out there. (A particular favorite is The Beardy Book Blog – check that out here). Maybe it’s just me but I’ve noticed that there seems to be a group of stories that fall between the cracks a little where reviews are concerned. Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, novellas provide some gripping, exciting, engrossing, thought provoking story telling. When The Music’s Over is a superb example of the form.
I actually read this one a lot earlier on in the year, before I started this blog. It’s stayed with me though and has come to mind again recently as Aidan has a new book out on December 7th (Rival Sons on Shotgun Honey Press – check that out here), which I am looking forward to getting my hands on. Our story follows Wynn McDonald who is dragged out of retirement by his old gangland bosses to investigate and avenge the murder of one of their sons, Harry Weir whom it appears has been killed by his business associate Benny Gower. What follows is pure pulp. Concise but detailed language really brings the world of Wynn to life, there is a great sense of loss that he has been pulled back into a world he had escaped from alive. A feat not many achieve, in fiction at least. Wynn is old school and trusted by Weir Snr to get the job done. A setting that’s split between the 90’s and the present day serves as an interesting narrative tool. We see the development of the characters and start to understand how they might have set off on the path that led them to where they are today. Whilst Weir Jnr may be the deceased in the present day, he’s very much alive and in Benny’s world in 1993.
As the title might suggest, music plays a key role in the story. Forming not just the backdrop but also a range of influences throughout the book – helping Aidan bring his world to life in vivid detail. The kind of clubs and gigs described certainly bring to mind my experience of university life in what my parents only half-jokingly still refer to as my ‘gap year’. Anyone with a love of live music will find something to reminisce over in the wonderful sequences describing hot, sweaty, electrically exciting club gigs. I enjoyed seeing a world I recognized to some extent as the backdrop for events, its makes the story that little more relatable when you can see elements of your own experience reflected.
With an unexpected and quietly moving ending which took me off guard, When The Music’s Over is a compelling example of the novella form and highly deserving of your time. It’s available in e-book and paperback direct from the publisher, if you think this sounds like your kind of story support an indie author and press and buy direct using the links at the top of the page.