Quercus Books June 2021
A series of bizarre drug-related deaths among runaway teenagers has set the North East’s homeless community on edge.
The word on the street is that a rogue batch of Spice – the Zombie drug sweeping the inner cities – is to blame, but when one of Jimmy’s few close friends is caught up in the carnage, loyalty compels him to find out what is really going on.
One Way Street sees the welcome return of Jimmy Mullen, the homeless, PTSD – suffering, veteran as he attempts to rebuild his life following the events in The Man on the Street.
As his probation officer constantly reminds him: all he needs to do is keep out of trouble. Sadly for him, trouble seems to have a habit of tracking Jimmy down.
Thanks to Ella at Quercus for reaching out and inviting me to be involved in the Social Media ‘Blog Blast’ celebrating publication of One Way Street, the second book featuring homeless vigilant sleuth, Jimmy Mullen. Having been involved in the social media for the first book, The Man on the Street it was not without enthusiasm that promptly replied!
A likeable central character Jimmy has had some rough knocks, a services veteran who struggled post serving and following a stretch in prison is now living in a hostel, a probation lifer, trying to rebuild his life, one small step at a time. With a strong moral compass Jimmy is a loyal friend who will do everything he can to help out a mate. Wanting justice but not altogether trusting of the forces in place to ensure this, Jimmy all too often takes matters into his own hands often finding himself on the end of a beating or the wrath of Sandy his probation officer.
When Jimmy’s young friend Deano is missing Jimmy is concerned, a vulnerable care leaver, Deano struggles to stay clean. He does turn up but sad news follows and Jimmy finds himself trying to help Deano and in the thick of some dodgy ‘Spice’ on the street and some suspicious deaths.
Covering a range of themes including criminal exploitation and discrimation towards the homeless population this is an insightful read with a gritty crime investigation at its heart. Fast paced, I did have to track back a couple of times to keep up with the plot and its characters but this read well and tied together nicely, which for me is essential in crime fiction. In Jimmy we have a strong and likeable character although I must admit there were a couple of times I could have screamed at him as he put his liberty and abode on the line to help others!
Shaping up to be a Jack Reacher type character, sitting outside the law and off the radar, getting into scrapes but for the right reasons. Thus far this is recognised as helpful albeit not quite following the correct channels, Jimmy is a real rough diamond who I would 100% want on my side!
I am hoping (but not necessarily expecting) a bit of a smoother ride for Jimmy next, maybe a roof over his head, a woman in his bed – for those who have read this book you will know who I mean! But equally the trio of Jimmy, Deano and Gadge are a special group, watching out for each other, in the knowledge that no one else will and with an appreciation of the hazards of life on the streets.
Recommended for all those crime fiction fans out there, this continues to be a stong and promising series but make sure, as always that you start at the very beginning! The Man on the Street is reviewed here.
About the Author
Trevor Wood has lived in Newcastle for twenty – five years and considers himself an adopted Geordie. He’s a successul playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for sixteen years. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. The Man on the Street, his frist novel, was published to widespread acclaim and went on to win the CWA New Blood Dagger, One Way Street is his second novel.