Banb, Bang, You're Dead!

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Narinder Dhami
May 2009
I snatched the gun from him. It felt cool and smooth to the touch, and the weight and shape of it in my hands was completely alien and therefore completely fascinating.

Mia shares a highly unusual relationship with her brother Jamie, one that is dominated by obsessive fascination. The reasonsfor this appear to be apparent from the outset, their mother suffers depressives phases, the severity of which has increased since the death of her father.

The childhood that Mia and Jamie share in this gritty, urban novel is one that is foregrounded constantly by the state of their mother's mental health. A crisis point is reached when Jamie's tolerance finally wears thin and he resolves to push his mother 'to the edge', forcing her to 'sit up and take notice'.

Having set the familial thrust for the novel, the novel turns into a relentless thriller set amidst a suitably chilling evacuated school building within whose realms lies a gunman. Conscious of her brother's resolve to force his mother's hand, Mia believes her brother to be the gunman. She sets off determined to find him and dissuade him from continuing his scheme.

This is a fast-paced, race of a read with twists and turns that keep you guessing and gulping throughout. It represents a departure from Dhami's writing style and is a highly contemporaneous story exploring bereavement and familial uncertainty. The shock ending certainly comes as a surprise and draws question to the weight of significance our individual backgrounds exert upon our present. It leaves readers with a lasting sense of the desperation and desolation Mia has faced. An accomplished novel.

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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on June 15, 2009 5:26 PM.

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