Introducing the most unforgettable investigator of 2020. Gritty, Newcastle-set crime for fans of Ian Rankin and Val McDermid.
It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn't heard it - the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.
Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it's time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard - or thought he heard - turns out to be just the beginning of the story.
The police don't believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new.
But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose.
After seeing a few things on Twitter and then seeing this one on Net Galley I was intrigued by the idea, not the usual troubled detective, but a very different protagonist, a homeless war vet suffering with PTSD. Trevor Wood introduces us to his sort of anti-hero, Jimmy Mullen in this his debut book, The Man on The Street.
Whilst trying to get some sleep in the great outdoors of the streets of Newcastle, Jimmy is the unwiling witness to an argument between two men, which ends with one of them being thrown into the river near by. Jimmy wants nothing to do with it so he pretends it never happened, it's not his fight. Until he sees a newspaper article, a girl, Carrie is looking for her missing Father. This awakens something in Jimmy as he makes contact with Carrie to tell her what he thinks he saw...
This leads to an unlikely alliance between Carrie and Jimmy, and also Jimmy's rag-tag bunch of friends, Gadge and Deano, who together try to find out what's happened.
With police not helping, Jimmy finds himself under the spotlight as a possible suspect.
This is Gritty, and at times dark as Trevor Woods portrays and describes Jimmy and his suffering with PTSD with skill and also sympathy, the nightmares, the hallucinations and the pent-up aggression.
It's also quite refreshing to have a protagonist so different from the rest whilst also bringing attention to a problem in society that many probably are unaware of. Trevor Wood also writes so well the trials and tribulations of homless life, Something most of us could only ever imagine.
It is addictive reading as Jimmy doesn't let up, at times hard-hitting, it is also spliced with humour with Gadge and Deano providing some light relief.
The writing is excellent, welcoming and easy to read, the protagonist and characters are engaging and the story and plot are clever and intriguing.
This is a sparkling debut, from an author and a character I very much look forward to reading more of.
A Highly Recommended Read
Thanks to Quercus and Net Galley for my e-Arc in exchange for my honest review.