Book review: Matthew And The Derelict

By December 22, 2015

Theatre & Dance. Leeds.


Photo Credit: Darren Copley

“A vindictive nihilist and his sycophantic sidekick delight in petty urban terrorism and indulgent hedonism. But when the course of events spiral out of control, the sidekick is suddenly left with more responsibility than he could have ever imagined – knowledge of how the world will end. 

Now a leader with his own sycophantic followers, Matthew will struggle with his new role and the responsibilities it brings, all the while searching for a way to evade the imminent apocalypse that he has become the prophet of.

I admit that I struggled to read the first part of this story and hoped that there would be a turning point that would end Matthew and Alan’s enduring rampage through the city enjoying violence, drugs, vandalism, kidnap of a minor, and all manner of alcohol fuelled degradation. I was left feeling uncomfortable to say the least. But that was the point. This is the author’s style. There’s no sunshine and roses in this book, only rain and the grim reality of life depicted in a way that makes you believe that such characters live out there in the streets, trying to survive in their version of the world. According to Alan it’s one where it’s OK to walk through the streets bleeding, acting like this is normal whilst getting a kick from people’s reactions.

I was relieved to find the second part took a more sedate ride in comparison with Matthew as a reluctant leader following his surprised ‘epiphany,’ by way of a vision. On his mission he recruits three teenagers and passes on his street skills of burglary and theft to aid his quest. At times you cringe at Matthew’s physical suffering until you remember all the things he was involved in previously and how he was self-destructing at every turn of the page. Did he change? Matthew was weak and wanted to give up, to become that broken man that he always was with nowhere left to run, his past waiting to catch up with him.

I did enjoy this dark, edgy book in the end and I would consider reading other fiction by this author. I would rate this book seven out of ten.

Joseph J. Wood hails from Leeds and has had some of his writing featured in anthologies including: Blood Sushi and Dark Clouds. Matthew and the Derelict is his debut novel, first published on Kindle, November 2015. His next project is an experimental novel made of short stories: A journalist, a webcam pornstar, a wresting cameraman and an architect journey into the darkness of their psyches on a search for the next dimension of liberty.

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