The blurb of Whole Lotta Love tells you that the novel is a contemporary re-imagining of a Dickens novel which has been re-set in the 1980s of Margaret Thatcher's Britain.
The protagonist is Brian Sinclair who is drawn from his dull, monotonous life of beer, leather jackets and 'Metal' into the world of organised crime. His motivation - to try and impress a girl he hardly knows.
As you read the novel, which we are told is Brian's attempt at catharsis, you are drawn with him into a world of underclass morals and behaviours. You first get to know his unappealing and slobbish circle of friends which he re-places as the novel goes on with another circle of equally unappealing but increasingly dangerous friends.
In some ways, the narrative stretches credulity but the structure of the novel gives it a plausible grounding which makes you want to read on. As Brian explains in the opening pages he is going to write it all down to get it out of his head. He also has a set of cassette tapes that are going to help him do just that which are transcribed intermittently throughout the novel. This device works well to move the story on and to offer alternative perspectives to what's going on.
There are several aspects of the 1980s which are explored in the novel. These include the gentrification of run-down areas, boy-racers, police corruption and governmental attitudes towards society. This creates a well developed sense of where and when the novel is taking place and contributes to building up the characters that feature in the book.
I particularly enjoyed the boy-racer aspects of Whole Lotta Love. I'm sure the details are accurate; they feel very authentic anyway and make Brian into a much more interesting character who may well have got into the difficulties he does because of his need for excitement.
Once again, author David Harris Wilson has told a good yarn with some unusual aspects and details. I've already read his other novels and am impressed that each one is so different from the others. I still think Tales of Johan is his best novel but Whole Lotta Love is well worth a look.
Some while ago Mr Harris Wilson contributed an author interview to my blog and said that he was working on his next novel The Plain of Jars. Well, I hope he's making good progress because I for one am looking forward to reading it.
LINK to David Harris Wilson's author page on Amazon
Indie Bookworm interview with David Harris Wilson
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