The debut novel by Shane Jeffery tackles the delicate subject of paedophilia with the unashamed vigour of Jimmy Savile in a paediatric ward.
This is not a novel for the faint hearted. Please don’t come to this book expecting a tear stained, heartfelt story about overcoming childhood abuse. No, this is a full-on, fucked-up-the-arse horror story. This book will shock you. This book will make your skin crawl. This book will leave a bad taste in your mouth. But this book will also give you one of the most original, well written stories you have read in a long time.
Sam Nash (AKA Gnashie) is the poster boy for nurture over nature. Violently abused by his father and forced to run from the family home at a young age, he stumbles into a theme park where he becomes embroiled in a paedophile ring. Abused daily, all his attempts to escape come to nought and he must find his own ways to endure.
The story follows Gnashie through various stages of his life. Adolescence to high school to middle age. All the while, the ghosts of his past try to catch up with him, try to drag him back down to the dark places of his childhood. Can he resist their urges? Can starting a family of his own bring some normality?
Tragedy lingers next to Gnashie, but the reader will also sense the character’s intellect as he, at times coldly, philosophises about the problems that have beset him.
For me the most extraordinary thing about this book is the narrator’s voice. As Gnashie matures, there is a sense that the reader is maturing with him. From the childlike horror of Part 1, through to the calculating, considered family man in Part 3, Jeffery has nailed the voice of the character, making his progress through life believable. The prose is fractured, occasionally confusing, all of which adds to the sense of oppression and desperation felt by Gnashie.
As I said, this book will not be to everybody’s taste. It is violent, graphic and, at times, nauseating. All the elements of good horror. If you can stomach the subject matter, you will be rewarded with an intelligently written story that will make you think as often as it will shock you.
An astonishing debut novel.
- Duncan Ritchie
Linda Gillis Reviews The Park (4 Stars)
Carrie Lange Reviews The Park (5 Stars)
Marco Capitano Reviews The Park (11/10)
David Bridge Reviews The Park (4 Stars)