A DISH BEST SERVED COLD
Chris Kinsey (Candy Jar)
Though judging a book by its cover (or title) is famously frowned upon, one expects a plot riddled with cliché after reading the title of Chris Kinsey’s debut. Perhaps this is a disservice when considering how unique the story is, drawn in part from horrifying real-life experience. But this writer is inclined to say it’s simply what makes this even more of a whirlwind.
The story kicks off most violently as young Sonny Wilton watches his father brutally stab his mother to death – an autobiographical detail. But unlike Kinsey’s tragic story of being passed around the social care system and his father’s early release for a ‘crime of passion’, Sonny’s father dies and he goes to live with his doting grandparents enjoying what seems like a happy life, albeit dysfunctional on account of the drugs, crime and his grandfather Alf being the head of a small-scale Welsh mafia.
But nothing stays sunny for Sonny, and a drug-dealing thug decides Alf’s reign is over. Sonny flees, but things go wrong from the moment he falls asleep on the train from Cardiff to Birmingham. Enter Patch: an ex-military man with a big heart and the belief that revenge is a dish best served piping hot. What follows is fast-paced and gruesome, but heart-rending: a story of loss and hatred, but also love, trust and kindness. Published by Cardiff’s Candy Jar, the story is distinctly Welsh and set largely in Mynydd Du to the backdrop of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. MEGAN THOMAS
Price: £8.99. Info: www.candy-jar.co.uk